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gabe & ashley’s wedding ~ the details

72-texas-stonebridge-wedding-venue-detailsI’m back with the second post from Gabe & Ashley’s perfect wedding day at Stonebridge Wedding Venue in Blum, TX. You can read more about this special wedding {and why it meant so much for me to photograph} in the first post here. Today, I am sharing all the pretty details.

Ashley’s talented sister in law, Michelle, made the beautiful bouquet, above.

Ashley & Gabe orchestrated their day to play out a bit differently than most weddings. They started things off with a barbeque dinner and games for guests to enjoy. They each had more casual ensembles for this part of the evening. Here’s Ashley’s dress she wore for the dinner.69-texas-stonebridge-wedding-venue-details74-texas-stonebridge-wedding-venue-detailsAnd the wedding dress, for the sunset ceremony and dance party after! :)68-texas-stonebridge-wedding-venue-details73-texas-stonebridge-wedding-venue-detailsI love a good bow tie! This one was perfect.87-texas-stonebridge-wedding-venue-details86-texas-stonebridge-wedding-venue-detailsStonebridge is full of lovely, serene moments like this sweet vignette.85-texas-stonebridge-wedding-venue-detailsThere’s also a grand building, perfect for receptions, called Tuxedo Hall. Inside, these amazing chandeliers totally stole my heart – as evidenced by the million photos I took of them! ha. I just love how this place has such a cool, modern vibe.70-texas-stonebridge-wedding-venue-details71-texas-stonebridge-wedding-venue-detailsThe reception decor was a real family affair, with Ashley’s sisters and me and my sisters, plus Ashley’s friend Lindsay, all pitching in to set up this loveliness.78-texas-stonebridge-wedding-venue-detailsWhen I was in elementary school, I agonized over my cursive penmanship {just ask my mother – I seriously stressed over my homework!}…Well, all that practice is still paying off, and allowed me to contribute my handwriting for the little chalkboard signs. ;)76-texas-stonebridge-wedding-venue-details75-texas-stonebridge-wedding-venue-details77-texas-stonebridge-wedding-venue-detailsAshley named her tables with the titles of country songs – a nice nod to her Texas upbringing. :)79-texas-stonebridge-wedding-venue-detailsNo modern wedding is complete without the perfect hashtag, right?!80-texas-stonebridge-wedding-venue-details81-texas-stonebridge-wedding-venue-details88-texas-stonebridge-wedding-venue-details82-texas-stonebridge-wedding-venue-detailsAshley’s friend Lindsay not only stood as her maid of honor, she also baked and decorated this incredible wedding cake!83-texas-stonebridge-wedding-venue-details84-texas-stonebridge-wedding-venue-detailsThere was a special table set up to honor and remember Ashley’s first husband {my brother Jack} and Gabe’s brother Elijah. They both gave their lives in military service. Even now, as I’m typing this, I tear up seeing this beautiful tribute.89-texas-stonebridge-wedding-venue-details90-texas-stonebridge-wedding-venue-detailsI’ll be back soon with more to share from this most special wedding. <3

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gabe & ashley’s wedding ~ the bride and groom

005-bride-groom-stonebridge-weddingYou guys, I have to tell you about this wedding. This is Ashley & Gabe. They’re amazing. And so is their story. As you read, you will see why this is one of the most special weddings I’ve ever shot.

About twelve years ago, Ashley became part of my family when she married my brother, Jack. Even before that, she had become a close friend of mine and my sisters. We were all overjoyed when she and Jack met, fell in love, and got married. They had five brief and gloriously happy years together before Jack was taken from this world too soon, at the age of twenty-six, while serving as a Green Beret. That same year, 2009, Gabe’s brother Elijah’s life was also cut short while serving.

Then, a few years ago, Gabe and Ashley met while working for TAPS, a wonderful organization that provides help to those who have lost people in the military. They began dating, and I was so very happy for Ashley. I could tell when I talked with her that Gabe was special. Then when my family met Gabe, it was so apparent to me this was such a God thing.

It’s difficult for me to put this all into words, but I’m going to try my best, because I want you all, but mostly Gabe and Ashley, to understand how their relationship has been a balm to my soul. Ashley could have met Gabe and “moved on” with her life. She could have left my family back with the heartache of losing Jack. She could have turned the page and not included us in the next chapter, in all the chapters to come. But she didn’t. And Gabe, he could have felt intimidated by the looming shadow of Jack, with our family coming along into his new relationship with Ashley. But he didn’t. Gabe was steady and confident and loving and understanding. And Ashley was and is full of joy again, so in love again.

Gabe and Ashley live in Texas now, and they’ve come up many times to visit. Gabe’s sister-in-law and niece live here in Oklahoma also. And we all get together when they are here, and I just look at this jumbled family gathering, and I think h0w God pieced us all together from broken hearts and interrupted lives. And it is so very special.

In August, Gabe and Ashley got married at the beautiful Stonebridge venue in Blum, TX {seriously, it’s stunning – but I’ll write more about it in posts to come}. I had the privilege of photographing their wedding. As you can imagine, it is one of the most meaningful weddings I’ve ever done. I have about a million favorite photos to blog from it, but I thought we’d start today with images of the gorgeous bride and handsome groom. :) Their wedding was unique and included a wardrobe change for both of them, which I loooove. Here they are in their first outfits, but keep scrolling to see what they wore for the second half of the evening.010-bride-groom-stonebridge-wedding011-bride-groom-stonebridge-wedding001-bride-groom-stonebridge-weddingI have to throw in a huge shout out to Darla, who did a fantastic job on Ashley’s hair and makeup!012-bride-groom-stonebridge-wedding002-bride-groom-stonebridge-wedding004-bride-groom-stonebridge-wedding003-bride-groom-stonebridge-weddingSee how they look at each other?! It’s a beautiful thing.006-bride-groom-stonebridge-wedding007-bride-groom-stonebridge-wedding008-bride-groom-stonebridge-wedding009-bride-groom-stonebridge-weddingThe above outfits were worn for the first part of the evening, which included a barbeque dinner, fun games, and mingling with guests {again, I’ll share more in posts to come}. Right before the ceremony, Gabe and Ashley changed into something a little fancier. The moments alone when they first saw each other after changing were so sweet!

013-bride-groom-stonebridge-wedding014-bride-groom-stonebridge-wedding015-bride-groom-stonebridge-wedding016-bride-groom-stonebridge-wedding019-bride-groom-stonebridge-wedding017-bride-groom-stonebridge-wedding018-bride-groom-stonebridge-weddingThey had a sunset ceremony, so immediately afterward, we jumped on a golf cart and raced to the river to grab a few portraits right at dusk. I am in love with the images we got!023-bride-groom-stonebridge-wedding024-bride-groom-stonebridge-wedding025-bride-groom-stonebridge-wedding026-bride-groom-stonebridge-wedding027-bride-groom-stonebridge-wedding020-bride-groom-stonebridge-wedding022-bride-groom-stonebridge-wedding021-bride-groom-stonebridge-wedding028-bride-groom-stonebridge-wedding030-bride-groom-stonebridge-wedding029-bride-groom-stonebridge-weddingThen we headed back for the after party {dancing! cake! more dancing!}. But first I had to capture some photos along the lighted pathway. So pretty.031-bride-groom-stonebridge-wedding032-bride-groom-stonebridge-weddingMore posts to come…..

Ashley & Gabe~

I love you guys. I’m so happy you found each other. Thank you for allowing me to capture your very special day.

~abi~

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photo shoot ~ josh’s very fun two year old portrait session

105-family-phtos-at-parkThese are my friends Sam, Rach, and their awesome, energetic two year old, Josh. We’ve done pix together lots of times before, and this time Rachel asked me about maybe doing Josh’s two year old session at a splash pad or park or somewhere like that. I loved the idea, and immediately thought of our perfect downtown oasis the Myriad Gardens. They have a great splash area during the summer that’s really visually pleasing, and there’s a cute park attached to it, so I thought it would be perfect.

We started out with a few family photos on the other side of the Gardens.104-family-phtos-at-park106-family-phtos-at-park107-family-phtos-at-park108-family-phtos-at-parkSide note: Sam and I went to elementary school and high school together here in OKC {in between, I lived in Iowa}. Sam’s brother Jake is one of my lifelong friends. And I posted a newborn session of Evelyn the other day – well, her dad Jorge was in Sam’s class in school. :)109-family-phtos-at-park110-family-phtos-at-parkThen we did some of Josh alone with this cute “two” Rachel painted.

127-2-year-old-outdoor-pictures128-2-year-old-outdoor-pictures129-2-year-old-outdoor-pictures130-2-year-old-outdoor-picturesTo reward Josh for being such a good little model, we headed over to let him play in the water.

132-2-year-old-at-splash-pad133-2-year-old-at-splash-padCan I just say I love, love, love these photos?! It was such a fun session, and perfect for a two year old!135-2-year-old-at-splash-pad134-2-year-old-at-splash-pad136-2-year-old-at-splash-pad137-2-year-old-at-splash-pad138-2-year-old-at-splash-pad139-2-year-old-at-splash-pad140-2-year-old-at-splash-pad141-2-year-old-at-splash-pad142-2-year-old-at-splash-pad143-2-year-old-at-splash-pad144-2-year-old-at-splash-pad145-2-year-old-at-splash-pad146-2-year-old-at-splash-padAfter Josh was thoroughly drenched, we changed outfits and let him air dry at the little park. :)111-family-phtos-at-park112-family-phtos-at-park113-family-phtos-at-parkSam is an Olympic wrestler, so we had to document some wrestling moves, of course.114-family-phtos-at-park115-family-phtos-at-parkI really love these relaxed, lifestyle type of portraits we got.116-family-phtos-at-park117-family-phtos-at-park118-family-phtos-at-park119-family-phtos-at-park120-family-phtos-at-park121-family-phtos-at-park122-family-phtos-at-park123-family-phtos-at-park124-family-phtos-at-park125-family-phtos-at-park126-family-phtos-at-parkRach, Sam, & Josh~

As always, I had an absolute blast hanging out with you guys! Thank you for all the amazing years of photo shoots and even more years of wonderful friendship! You guys rock. Love ya!!

~abi~

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photo shoot ~ isla’s one year birthday party and portraits

074-one-year-old-coral-birthday-partyJust a week or so after I photographed Jake’s one year old birthday party {blogged yesterday}, I got to shoot pretty Miss Isla’s party and portraits. She was looking too cute in her sparkly “one” top paired with a fluffy tutu. We grabbed a few pix of Isla alone in her room before heading out to celebrate with all her friends.072-one-year-old-coral-birthday-party071-one-year-old-coral-birthday-party073-one-year-old-coral-birthday-partyIsla’s mom, Jennifer, is another mom who does an awesome job of hosting fun at-home birthday parties for her kiddos. I also photographed her son Callum’s one year party, and it was equally as chill and enjoyable as this one.079-one-year-old-coral-birthday-party075-one-year-old-coral-birthday-partyI mean, glittery cupcakes and this adorable chocolate covered cake – too perfect, right?!076-one-year-old-coral-birthday-party086-one-year-old-coral-birthday-party078-one-year-old-coral-birthday-party077-one-year-old-coral-birthday-party080-one-year-old-coral-birthday-party081-one-year-old-coral-birthday-partyOf course we had to get some photos with the bright, happy balloons!082-one-year-old-coral-birthday-party083-one-year-old-coral-birthday-partyHanging with dad at her party – so sweet.084-one-year-old-coral-birthday-partyI’ve taken so many pictures of Callum over the last couple of years, I figured it was only fair to let him turn the camera on me {er, sort of}. :)085-one-year-old-coral-birthday-party087-one-year-old-coral-birthday-partyAlmost time for some cake – weeeeeh!088-one-year-old-coral-birthday-party089-one-year-old-coral-birthday-party090-one-year-old-coral-birthday-party091-one-year-old-coral-birthday-party092-one-year-old-coral-birthday-party093-one-year-old-coral-birthday-party094-one-year-old-coral-birthday-partyThis is the face I’d make, too, if my brother decided to try my cake. ;)095-one-year-old-coral-birthday-party097-one-year-old-coral-birthday-party096-one-year-old-coral-birthday-partyOh yeah. This is how you eat a cake.098-one-year-old-coral-birthday-party099-one-year-old-coral-birthday-partyHere, try a spoon; it will be less messy. ;)100-one-year-old-coral-birthday-partyIt’s always fun to see other client-friends at shoots. :)101-one-year-old-coral-birthday-party102-one-year-old-coral-birthday-partyAfter all that chocolate frosting, Isla had an outfit change and came back out eying those cupcakes. :)103-one-year-old-coral-birthday-partyJennifer~

You and Paul have been so great to work with for shoots over the past couple of years. I’ve really enjoyed getting to document your cool family. Every time I’ve been around you guys, I’ve been so impressed by your parenting. Your kids are awesome! Thanks so much for choosing me as your photographer!

~abi~

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photo shoot ~ jake’s one year {fishing} birthday party, baby dedication, and portraits

034-perfect-one-year-old-fishing-birthday-partyOkay, I have lots of stuff to say in today’s post. This little guy is Jake. He turned one in July. His mama Jenna is a wonderful friend of mine. {Jenna has a very good blog you can check out here.} Jenna and her husband Trebor have two cutie boys named Bobby and Jake. I am a huuuuge fan of how Jenna did both Bobby and Jake’s one year old birthday parties. This is her magical formula: keep it pretty low key {at her home, with easy but yummy food, and simple but cute decor}; enlist help from family and friends; hire a photographer {that’s me!} to do a combo of covering the party plus doing a few one year old portraits and family pix, too; and have a pastor friend come dedicate your child in front of those who are there to celebrate with you. It’s so great, y’all! I mean, as in tears-when-I-am-photographing-it great. I love how Jenna keeps it all very relaxed, but manages to make it all such a meaningful time with her loved ones! #MomGoals, for real.

And here’s where I have to veer off into a side note {paragraph} about blogging my photo sessions. See, over the years, I photographed Jenna and Trebor’s engagement and wedding, Jenna with her girlfriends {still some of my most re-pinned images to date!}, some maternity photos when Jenna was pregnant with Bobby, and Bobby’s one year old party/baby dedication. And of all those shoots, I’ve only blogged a small handful of images. As you can tell if you follow my blog, I’ve been trying to do much better at getting my sessions on the blog lately, and this is part of the reason why. I wish I could link here to every session I’ve done for Jenna, and I can’t. Bummer. I think I’m gonna do a whole blog post soon on this and other reasons why I am really stepping up my game for sharing my photo shoots on my blog. Okay, blogging tangent over.

Now let’s get to pictures of this cute one year old! :)035-perfect-one-year-old-fishing-birthday-partyJake’s eyes are so stunning!037-perfect-one-year-old-fishing-birthday-party036-perfect-one-year-old-fishing-birthday-partyA few pix with mom and dad.038-perfect-one-year-old-fishing-birthday-party039-perfect-one-year-old-fishing-birthday-party040-perfect-one-year-old-fishing-birthday-party041-perfect-one-year-old-fishing-birthday-partyAnd then we tried to get some of their little family of four…with mixed results. Haha! Here’s one of the many things I love about Jenna: she shared this photo, this one, with Jake crying and Bobby hiding his face, on her social media. Because she loved it as much as I did. And I knew she would! Some people wouldn’t. But she gets it. This is real life. This is funny. This is fun! This is two boys, who are one year old and two years old. Let’s capture this, share it, remember it. Love it.047-perfect-one-year-old-fishing-birthday-party048-perfect-one-year-old-fishing-birthday-partyJenna wrote a lovely post about her one and two year old boys here. It’s good stuff.049-perfect-one-year-old-fishing-birthday-party050-perfect-one-year-old-fishing-birthday-party051-perfect-one-year-old-fishing-birthday-party052-perfect-one-year-old-fishing-birthday-partyMeanwhile, inside, Jenna’s sister and brother were helping set everything up for the party.042-perfect-one-year-old-fishing-birthday-party043-perfect-one-year-old-fishing-birthday-party046-perfect-one-year-old-fishing-birthday-party044-perfect-one-year-old-fishing-birthday-party045-perfect-one-year-old-fishing-birthday-party069-perfect-one-year-old-fishing-birthday-partyOur friend Scott Williams was there to do the baby dedication part of the evening. Scott also performed Jenna & Trebor’s wedding ceremony. He’s a very gifted speaker and great friend of mine and of Jenna and Trebor’s.054-perfect-one-year-old-fishing-birthday-party055-perfect-one-year-old-fishing-birthday-party057-perfect-one-year-old-fishing-birthday-party058-perfect-one-year-old-fishing-birthday-party056-perfect-one-year-old-fishing-birthday-party059-perfect-one-year-old-fishing-birthday-partyAnd here’s Friday, the family pup.053-perfect-one-year-old-fishing-birthday-partyJakers waiting for his cake.060-perfect-one-year-old-fishing-birthday-party061-perfect-one-year-old-fishing-birthday-party062-perfect-one-year-old-fishing-birthday-party063-perfect-one-year-old-fishing-birthday-party064-perfect-one-year-old-fishing-birthday-partyThat blue frosting made for some awesome pix. :)065-perfect-one-year-old-fishing-birthday-partyAnd the kiddie pool was perfect for easy clean up.066-perfect-one-year-old-fishing-birthday-party067-perfect-one-year-old-fishing-birthday-party070-perfect-one-year-old-fishing-birthday-party068-perfect-one-year-old-fishing-birthday-partyJenna~

You hosted the perfect evening once again. Thank you so much for including me so many times over the years for shoots that have all been an absolute pleasure to do! You’re an incredible mother, wife, and friend. It’s been awesome watching your life change over the years. God is truly so good. Love you!

~abi~

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