Happy Thursday y’all!
Ahhh.. You are in for a visual treat with this gorgeous couple and their beautiful Texas Discovery Garden Wedding.
Lauren and Carl had booked me last year, and when I first spoke with them over the phone, I got all the fuzzy, warm feelings from their energy. They don’t live in Texas, and they were kind enough to set time aside to visit me at my studio when they were in town. We had bonded so well that I was looking forward to their wedding.
This past October/November, the busiest months of my fall wedding season, my body had some evil plans for me. I’m not going to get into too much detail, but my sciatic nerve decided it was timeout for me – and it got me all crippled, bedridden for over a month. I’m still experiencing pain, and I have my surgery scheduled for January 2024 – but I’m happy I’m at least somewhat able to work now… Man… I had so many panic attacks within one month – I feel like I aged another 40 years.
As much as I was looking forward to dancing with Lauren and Carl at their wedding, they were one of the couples that had to work with one of my associate photographers. Rachel… We met not long ago – but she already has my full trust, and if it wasn’t for her – I don’t know what would have happened. The second I called her, “I’m still in pain; I don’t have anyone to cover this weekend’s wedding.”
She didn’t even blink, “I got you, Tara; I’ll go in for you – you don’t have to worry.”
As much as I had only worked one wedding with her as my second photographer, I knew everything would be alright from what she brought to the table.
I will dive right in with the short and sweet interview I had with Lauren and Carl.
I know it was unexpected for my sciatica to decide it was the perfect timing to act up, bed-bound me, and prevent me from doing any of my weddings this season. As much as I was a pile of anxiety, with daily panic attacks – I’m happy to get positive feedback from my couples. How would you describe your experience with me in general and then your experience around my medical condition? This is kinda important to me because I NEVER in my entire 16-year career had anything like this happen to me (being bed-bound), so the clause in my contract, “if I’m unable to attend your wedding myself, I’ll make sure to get someone who can get the work done and make sure you’re taken care of” was just a clause in my contract. Well, now, it’s something we all lived through. So tell me more; I’m definitely going to include this section in your blog – or a separate blog post to inform my future couples.
Our photographs meant the most to us for what we’d take from our wedding day. So, even before setting any meetings, we prioritized finding someone who would bring something unique to our photos and be able to capture who we were. It was also important that we saw a range of diversity represented on the site – being Black, it’s not always easy to have the right lighting represented in our photographs, so we wanted to ensure we would be properly represented. From our first moment meeting, it was clear that Tara brought something different to the table. Her skill and expertise were apparent even before we set up a call, but her personable nature and caring approach made us feel so instantly comfortable that we knew she was the right person for us. Along the way, Tara kept that same vibe all throughout our planning process. Regularly checking in not just on the wedding day details but on us and how we were doing as people shows the humanity and care she brings. Communication was always proactive. She never waited for us to ask a question. That proactive nature came into play when she let us know that she was facing a medical issue that may have kept her from being able to perform as planned. We were bummed but not at all worried. Tara reassured us that we would have the same level of attention and skill, with or without her. But she stayed positive and hopeful all the way up to the day.
When the time actually came, and she wasn’t able to be there with us on the day, Carl and I weren’t one bit worried. Her associate Rachel didn’t make any big speeches or proclamations of reassurance but rather just jumped into action and began carrying out our plans seamlessly. Our family took note immediately to say how our photographer was so on the ball, and they were shocked when they heard us say (after the wedding was fully over and done) that she wasn’t our original lead.
She was so fun, brought the same energy, joy, and care as Tara, and was right in the action and thick of it with us from start to finish. Afterward, Tara shared a note to offer us an additional portrait session since she couldn’t attend. And we’ll gladly take her up on the offer, not because we don’t feel confident in the photos we got but because she’s so awesome that we’ll just be looking forward to having another chance to hang out! We couldn’t have asked for a better partner.
What was your most anticipated part of the day?
Carl: The ceremony. I couldn’t wait to see my beautiful bride walk down the aisle since we did a first touch vs a first look.
Lauren: I was so excited for us to say our vows. We each wrote something from our hearts to share before doing traditional vows, and I couldn’t wait to hear what Carl had prepared.
Did anything unexpected happen? What was the outcome?
Carl: Seeing Tara’s associate, Rachel, for the first time instead of Tara herself. It still worked out great! Rachel was awesome.
Lauren: The weather! For some reason, it had been storming and raining all week. And on the morning of our wedding, somehow, the skies were clear, and the sun was shining just long enough for us to have the outdoor ceremony of our dreams and to capture our photos. It was the best gift I could have asked for.
What ended up being your favorite part of the day?
Carl: Spending time with my new bride
Lauren: Dancing the night away with my new husband and all of our family and friends
What advice would you give to future couples for their wedding?
Carl: If you’re busy, get a good wedding planner. They will help you stay on track.
Lauren: Prioritize what’s most important to you and your partner, and try not to stress. Enjoy the process, and remember that it’s all about the life you’re starting together, not just this day. Nothing’s ever perfect, but it will most definitely be great.
Were you nervous? How did you squash the nerves?
Carl: I wasn’t really nervous. Give yourself time to prepare mentally.
Lauren: Not one bit. I kept waiting to feel nervous but never did. I was a ball of joy and emotion.
What was the biggest surprise on your wedding day?
Carl: I couldn’t believe how beautiful Lauren looked in her wedding dress when I saw her for the first time.
Lauren: I knew I would be happy, but I was surprised by just how emotional I was. It’s really a magical experience to have all the people in the world who matter most to you be there to witness such an important moment.
What was your wedding inspiration?
We didn’t have a theme, but we knew we wanted a certain vibe from the beginning. We aimed to create a warm, inviting environment that wasn’t overly fussy but had an elevated, modern take on a classic aesthetic. The color palette was bright & natural: white with touches of leafy green, nudes, and midnight blue.
Tell me about some of your favorite wedding details and how you came up with them!
- We framed many photos of us together and placed them in various areas. The welcome table, by the bar, at the cake table – even one of our dogs, Speedy!
- Having both my parents walk me down the aisle. Who says you have to pick just one?!
- Having a family friend who knew us and parts of our family officiate our ceremony was such a wonderful, personal experience.
- Jumping the broom brought a great cultural moment for us too. We got the broom from our friends who used it for their wedding and have since shared it with other friends who are using it for their wedding next year. It’s now the sisterhood of the traveling broom!
- Our violinist was freaking awesome. She brought all the vibes by doing modern songs on the violin. We knew we wanted a classical touch but brought our personalities with the pre-ceremony and cocktail hour playlist. Clover killed it.
- Signature cocktails! With the cutest sign at the bar. We each chose something we loved and gave it a unique twist. Carl is Haitian, so he added pineapple to a traditional Moscow Mule (his favorite), and I did an old-fashioned but smokey finish with a torch.
- Ending the night with a private dance just with us before getting the best sendoff with tons of confetti. It looked like snow in Texas!
How did you feel at the end of the day?
Elated. Over the moon. So very loved.
What are you most looking forward to as a married couple?
We’re most looking forward to being partners in crime and going through life’s adventures together, including having a family and facing the future side by side.
What did you like most about working with me? Is there anything you would have changed about the work/technique/etc?
We most enjoyed your personality and humor. Your talent was obvious, but you were so easy to talk to and work with and put us at ease, which meant so much to us. Our photographs were the most important keepsake that we wanted to take with us from this day, and even though you couldn’t be there in person, we felt supported and knew that we would be captured beautifully.
I’m sad that I couldn’t be there myself to celebrate these two wonderful humans. After culling and editing the images Rachel took – honestly, I felt like I was there for all the fun. I’m grateful to be surrounded by amazing friends who got me through this stage of my life. They all ensured my couples were cared for, happy, and worry-free.
Lauren and Carl, I can’t wait to see you two again after returning from my trip. And yes! I absolutely would LOOOOOVEEE to do a make-up portrait session. You’re already on the list that’s on my screen with a sticky note! 🙂
Thank you so much again for trusting me throughout the entire journey. I knew Rachel was the perfect fit for you! She couldn’t stop talking about how much she loved working with you – so there’s that! 😉
Big hugs to you both!
Lauren and Carl are married y’all!