After being invited to Shiraz Garden‘s open house, I put feelers out to see if anyone wanted their photos taken at the venue. It was a last minute request. Luckily, a wedding planner friend of mine, Jamie from Uptown Events, did the same for me on her Instagram stories. Within a few hours, she found a couple for me! And, they just so happen to be planning their upcoming wedding at that exact venue. So just like that, I scheduled the couple’s Shiraz Garden engagement session!
Meet Aylene and Brian
The couple’s names are Aylene and Brian and they met through co-workers of theirs. Right off the bat, they clicked. Aylene had not found her perfect soulmate and was willing to chance a first date with this Brian. During their date, he wasn’t scared away by her choice of an upscale steak restaurant or even when she mentioned she would love jewelry from Tiffany and Co.!!
Since then, it’s been smooth sailing for the two lovebirds. Aylene knows that he is it for her because “he is different from guys in my past relationships. He is very loving and caring. Brian is also very supportive and can always lift my spirits. He’s one of those guys that always opens my door. This is hard to find and that I’m not used to.” Not to mention that “he is very charismatic that drew me to him. I can go on and on … “
The Engagement Session
Aside from a few texts and emails exchanged, I knew very little about this couple. Our first meeting was the day of Shiraz Garden‘s open house.
I was taking photos of another couple when I heard my name. When I turned around, this petite, pretty lady introduced herself to me as the one and only Aylene. Perfect timing, as I was wrapping up my other session.
And so we began! We walked around the venue, talking about their love story, living in Austin, and getting to know one another. Of course, not without stopping and photographing beautiful photos of them!
I would say this was definitely a successful session! It was such a blast getting to know Aylene and Brian and I’m even happier to say that I now have friends in the Austin area! Now we just have to get their wedding date set!
After moving to Austin at the end of November, I reached out to a few wedding vendors to pick their brain about the new area I am now in. One of those vendors is none other than Foxglove and Grace‘s Mabry. With Covid-19 and her crazy schedule, we felt it was best to do a virtual coffee date. As we got to talking, I felt instantly comfortable with Mabry. So much so, that I asked her if she was interested in doing an engagement session at Shiraz Garden. She was as excited as I was and said, “yes!”
When I was scouting for wedding venues in the Austin area, I came across Shiraz Garden on Instagram. It was love at first sight! After speaking with the director of the venue and getting permission to photograph on property, I made arrangements with Mabry and her fiancé for their engagement session at Shiraz Garden.
Mabry and Jacob’s Love Story
Mabry initially “met Jacob in February 2020 at a college ministry retreat. We were in the same morning bible study but to be honest, I had had 4 hours of sleep the night before and as you can imagine, I didn’t remember a thing the following day.”
And Then …
In May of 2020, during a socially-distanced worship night, Mabry was singing and Jacob “heard my voice and looked for the person it belonged to and it was me. He claims his first thought was ‘wow, she’s pretty.'” Can we all take a moment and just say ‘awwwww?!’
“Later in the night, my friend and I hosted a campfire night at her parents house in College Station. Jacob showed up. However, at this time I liked another guy in the same ministry who will not be named. Jacob flirted it up with no avail, as I was oblivious and infatuated with another. He stayed that night until 2:30am with me and a few others. The next day, he slid into my dms.”
For two weeks, Jacob stays persistent in dming Mabry while she’s pining away for another man. But then there’s a shift!
Fate Would Have It…
Mabry decides to invite her entire college ministry to Austin for a day trip to Mckinney Falls Park. She also convinces Jacob to drive from Houston to come! “Again, I’m just being friendly and this man just likes me a lot so naturally he made the three hour trip and stayed with a friend. It is at this point that I begin to talk with him more eagerly. I’d be willing to bet most of my Instagram time was spent messaging him. Nevertheless I am still in like with the other boy from my college ministry so my heart is just not available.”
Well, the park is closed due to Covid, but never fear, Mabry is here! She shifts the plans to allow them to still hike in Austin and then meet up at her parents’ house later in the evening. When everyone leaves for the night, Jacob stays behind.
Meet the Parents and then…
“He talked with my parents and listened to stories about me and I started to catch a crush, so to speak.” At this time, Mabry’s parents catch wind that Jacob’s internship fell through because of Covid. Mabry’s father “mentioned that he was in need of workers and that he and my mom were willing to host him if needed.”
Long story short, Jacob did just that. And even abided the one rule that while living under her parents’ home, they were not allowed to date. Luckily, only a 1-1/2 months later, Jacob’s internship was back on. So he packed up and left, after making sure Mabry was now his girlfriend!
“Living with someone you like is hard. But also a blessing in disguise. My family got to know him in a way no family gets to know a boyfriend. We saw each other mad, heartbroken, happy and excited and I would never take any of it back. There is no other way I would have liked to get to know the man I now love. Because when you’re that close to someone and I mean close, you get to see every beautiful part of a person and Jacob is the most beautiful to me.”
How He Asked
Jacob “proposed on January 23rd in the backyard of my friend’s house. The same place we said ‘I love you.’ There is a back garden gate that he took me through and the path was strung with fairy lights. We walked up to this projector and it started playing a slideshow. Each slide has pictures and a date of significance such as ‘June 19th, The day we started dating.’ At the very end the last slide said ‘January 23rd, The day we got engaged,’ and I turned around to see him on one knee and he asked ‘Mabry will you marry me?’ I freaked out for about a minute.”
“And then I said ‘yeah, I’ll marry you.'”
The Engagement Session at Shiraz Garden
Their love story is not quite conventional. It’s even more romantic and sweet! So wouldn’t it be perfectly unconventional and fitting to do an engagement session before they were even engaged?! I mean, they already knew and know they are each other’s forever …
So that’s exactly what we did … see below for their photos from their engagement session at Shiraz Garden:
Tips from One Wedding Vendor to All Brides and Grooms
Wedding vendors are by far the best to talk to about wedding planning, especially if they’re brides themselves.
“My tip for brides is to GET AHEAD. There are twice as many brides booking things this year because of covid, so plan ahead and start meeting with vendors.”
You heard it, ladies and gentlemen! From Foxglove and Grace‘s Mabry herself … don’t procrastinate! Get ahead and start planning!!! The earlier, the better!
This Universal Studios family session was not only a celebration of a much-needed family vacation, but also their youngest daughter’s 10th birthday!
I’m a huge fan of having professional photos taken whenever I travel. And that’s exactly what this family does. Every vacation in any country is documented and they make it a priority to travel for all special occasions. Before their Universal Studios family session and vacation, they were in Paris. I mean, they’re living the life! #goals!!!
Universal Studios Family
Universal Studios is definitely one of my favorite parks, now that the Wizarding World of Harry Potter is there! I always have a blast walking around and entering the worlds they created. And I love it even more when I get to spend the day with a fun family, like the Nguyens!
We started in Dr. Seuss Land, where the girls got candy apples, that were red, not blue.
They rode rides, and met Dr. Seuss, Thing 1, and Thing 2. (Sorry, I couldn’t resist a little rhyme)!
It was sad to leave this family, and the park! But it was a blast and I am beyond thrilled with the photos that helped to document their first time at Universal Studios!
If you know me, you know that I’m a huge Disney lover. And anyone who knows my bride, Ariel, knows that she completely embraces her name with her love of mermaids and Disney’s “Little Mermaid.” So it should come as no surprise that Ariel would have a Disney wedding, inspired by under-the-sea colors and details, or that I would be so in love with the whole thing!
Behind the Love
We all love a good love story. Who better to tell Ariel and Adam’s love story but Ariel and Adam?
“It was a warm summer night on Berry College campus. Shannon and I reluctantly talked ourselves into changing out of our sweat pants and walking to Deerfield for a mocktail social. The scene was actually quite lively, despite the fact that everyone had a virgin drink with an umbrella sticking out of it (#drycampus). There was an outdoor ambiance that made it irresistible for Shannon and me to play frisbee.
There was a group of students next to us that was also playing frisbee. And there was one particular student in that group who overshot the frisbee and knocked over my mocktail not once, not twice…but three times! The frisbee in question was supposed to go to Adam instead of my mocktail. So after apologizing for a third time, Adam invited us over to join the group.
After tossing the frisbee around for about an hour, the big circle of people slowly dwindled down to just us. The three of us stood around chatting until 3am before Shannon and I hiked back up to Ford Castle.
And so the journey began.
That summer I went home to Florida while Adam went home to Atlanta. We continued to keep in touch via Facebook messenger.
Once back at school, we managed to squeeze in a boat trip on Lake Lanier. We got a group together to go rock climbing on Berry’s mountain campus. Funny enough, everyone was suddenly busy the night-of, and Adam and I climbed alone. There was an intense chalk fight, and then I made some corny joke which sparked the “Hey, do you want to get dinner together this Saturday?” from Adam.
Dinner was obviously a success. Seven years later, I am still making corny jokes and Adam is still asking if I want to go out to dinner.”
And the rest is history!
From Princess to Bride
Seven years later, Ariel and Adam are ready to say “I do” at their Disney wedding. As with all weddings and all things under the sea, it was magical. The wedding at Bahia Mar in Fort Lauderdale, from start to finish, was perfect.
Ariel and her father about to do a first look …
A Disney Wedding
Unique bouquets, an outdoor ceremony adorned with under-the-sea floral arrangements, and an enchanting underwater escape would make any Disney lover swoon!
How fun and unique is this outdoor ceremony? Hints of seaweed, starfish, and colors of the sea helped create my bride’s Little Mermaid vision!
Ariel’s brother composed the song that she walked down the aisle to. Personal wedding details like this literally brings tears to my eyes!
The bride’s father is a professional photographer, himself. Although he was forbidden by the couple to act as a photographer at his daughter’s wedding, he couldn’t resist! I can’t say I blame him … I’d do the same thing!
Sharing the love with those who couldn’t make it:
Ariel and Adam’s enchanting underwater escape was brought to life with shimmering tablecloths, coral starfish, and colors that you see when swimming with the fishes!
What would an under-the-sea wedding cake be without a hint of mermaid?!
If you really want to stand out from the wedding crowd, you are in the right place. And what better way to pimp your tux or three piece suit than with a range of carefully chosen groom style and accessories.
Let’s face it…your bride is not the only one that deserves to sparkle. Now we ain’t talking about going all out Snoop Dogg style. Talking about pooches, look at adorning your neck with an attractive silver dog tag. Add your names, wedding date or quote and wear something special with pride.
Yet, a few hand picked and subtle additions will no doubt elevate your appearance to greater heights. Another feature that will no doubt strike the right marriage chord are boutonnieres. But first, a little history. Derived from the French term for button hole, this lapel adornment came in at the beginning of the 19th century.
During this period, gentlemen started to wear turnover coats that revealed the actual buttonhole. This reverted to weddings and special events as flowers were used as a deterrent for bad smells and to ward off spirits! Available in a range of blooms, styles and fabrics, there are lots of guides about how to choose wedding boutonnieres creating a genuine statement.
Want to dazzle on and off the dance floor? Consult our list of groom accessories and styling tips to feel as fresh as a daisy.
What do they say…the tie maketh the man.
And in this particular case, it most certainly does. You cannot go wrong with a terrific tie clip that will showcase your shirt candy. For dapper men as well as distinguished gentlemen, choose from a number of tie pins, bars not to mention clips.
Offering functionality, these are ideal for a necktie and to make sure your tie doesn’t blow around in those all important photos. Tie in (pardon the pun) your wedding scheme or find a jewel encrusted tie clip or tie bar for that brilliant finish.
Ultimately, a clip is having the opportunity to showcase your form and personality. There are tonnes of guides offering guidance on how to wear a tie clip ensuring you don’t get in a flap on your big day.
Known as a collar stiff, tab or stiffener, no groom wants to have a floppy collar when making his way to the altar.
Shoot for success and take care of wearing your shirt with great pride. Gone are the days of traditional stays and instead you can find a plethora of smart and sleek stiffeners that won’t end up in the trash. Plus you can share the love with your buddies and take advantage of collar stays serving as a personalized memento.
Another cool groom style and accessory that will show off a bit about you is a pocket square.
Whether made from silk, cotton, wool or linen, there are a myriad of colors to choose from. Suitable for all manner of budgets, pop it in your suit lapel pocket and strut down the aisle with gusto.
Be as flamboyant as Liberace and opt for a patterned pocket square that will make a talking point or select a more timeless square. On the other hand, if you want to make a distinction between your wedding party, why not look at a completely different shade or tone from your best men. It really is whatever floats your wedding boat.
There are numerous hints and tips when it comes to folding a pocket square so you can look the part when tying the knot.
So don’t be a square and accentuate your wedding wardrobe with this cute number.
You may have completed all the finishing touches, found the florist and tasted the bubbly and haute cuisine menu options. However, you have always got time to transform into the next James Bond.
And nothing says bling more than a stunning timepiece. Your wedding party will be green with envy thanks to your sophisticated arm candy.
It doesn’t matter if you are a fan of chrono, mechanical, Quartz or pilot watches. Whatever you end up wearing, rest assured that you’ll create the perfect focal point.
Make a splash at your grandiose affair with a smart divers watch that will provide a focal point for your. Looking for inspiration? There are a wealth of articles offering insight on the best men’s wedding watches so you won’t be late when the time comes.
Those who wish to up the bling stakes even more can do it thanks to a super stylish bracelet. This is nothing off the cuff…who says they are just for the ladies. If you want to make as much of a stir as your future Mrs, this particular accessory is just the ticket.
And with the choice as extensive as your DJ or wedding band’s playlist there are several choices. From leather bracelets and infinity bracelets to a bespoke bracelet, make an impression with your blushing bride and party till the small hours with confidence.
Wear one to serve as a reminder of your big day while finishing off your suit or tux. With a range of materials, styles and colors, it’s really down to you to make the final fashion decision that fits your Groom style.
Better still, you can customize them according to your specific requirements such as the wedding date, your bride’s name and some unique words.
There are a plethora of ways to accessorize as the groom! So whatever your groom style is, make sure that it is an expression of who you are and one that makes you you!