Avia Photography

My photo
Columbia, Missouri, United States
Warning, the following ramblings are those of a sometimes sidetracked photographer avoiding accomplishing tasks on her list. All we ask is that if you use one of our photos from here or elsewise, you kindly give us credit. = )

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

.:melisabeth & skyler:.

Those of you that have been in Columbia for awhile likely know of a little hole-in-the-wall business tucked away in a basement corner of one of the downtown buildings that used to house the Artisan. If you know the business to which I'm referring, I'm sure you've heard stories. We won't go into them here but have no fear, the workers are all engaged in good, clean, legal cold-calling for a good cause and they can make decent money if they work hard. There are people from all ages and walks of backgrounds that work there so when cute, red-headed Melisabeth came waltzing in with her bubbly sassyness one day as "the new girl," Skyler was impressed that they finally had hired some eye candy. (Cute, right?) Like the suave dude he is, Skyler made sure to find every excuse to talk to "the new girl" and, you know, show her the ropes. Melisabeth was grateful, if not a tiny bit suspicious, of his offered expertise but, nonetheless, was just thankful that this overly-energetic fellow was being helpful. One night after work, the two found themselves in a conversation that lasted into the wee hours of the morning. (If you know them, you know they are the king & queen of great conversation!) It wasn't long until these two cats made it official that they were an item and everyone could see that they were a perfect match.

Melisabeth contacted me almost a year in advance of their wedding to inquire about photography. We were going to schedule a meeting but her schedule and mine (as I was still working another fulltime job then) weren't meshing. She said she'd have to deal with the photography when she wasn't so busy and about to pull her hair out. Later turned into several months and I finally sent her an e-mail letting her know our pricing was changing. The next day I received not one, but two phone calls from a frantic Melisabeth on the east coast asking how to officially book us. We got the contract written up and deposit figured out via mail and agreed we'd meet the next time she had a free moment when she got back to Columbia. Next thing I know, I discover that Melisabeth has moved to Iowa. Still we hadn't met! It wasn't until two days before the wedding that Melisabeth, Skyler, Brian and I all finally met. I'll admit, I was a little apprehensive. Melisabeth had sent me her timeline just a few days prior which was, to say the least, super ambitious and, from our experience, was a timeline that would likely end in a nervous breakdown with everything that was packed in it! I was 100% convinced that we were going to encounter a bridezilla with a sour face and an attitude when we met them at Kaldi's that morning. (Silly Mallory, I should have had faith in the fact that all of the people--no joke--that pick us as their wedding photographers all turn out to be tremendously kind-hearted, intelligent, stupendously amazing people and definitely NOT of the bridezilla sort). When they finally walked through that door and sat at our table and we began to talk, all of my worries were eased immediately. Yes, they were a little frazzled and overwhelmed, yes the timeline was still ambitious, and yes, there was still definitely a possibility of a nervous breakdown in a few days with the schedule, but it would only be minor. Melisabeth was no bridezilla and Skyler was no sullen, personality-less groom. They were perfect for each other. We were a perfect fit for their photographers. Melisabeth, Skyler, Brian and I were a match made in heaven. Literally. They were the best friends we never had and the mirror image of our own coupledom. Sounds weird, doesn't it?

It's hard to explain, sometimes, the connection we have with some brides and grooms. It's odd, really. As strangers we should theoretically go through the normal questions, "Where did you grow up? What did you study? What are your plans in life? What's your favorite food?" We do go through some of those questions, sometimes. But other times, there are people like Melisabeth and Skyler where we jump from the basics into lifelong BFFs in the blink of an eye.

I show up at the salon with my camera in hand and Melisabeth and I exchange knowing looks without words. We don't have to speak, we know what the other is thinking. As she's getting her hair done, we roll our eyes together, we laugh together, we chit chat about the day, we go over the schedule, we talk about our love for theater, and we make sure the other one's hair is in place before we walk out the door. It sometimes confuses friends and family. When this happens, sometimes I hear whispers and see questioning looks as they look at one another, "Is this one of her friends or is that the photographer? Did she know the photographer beforehand?" When I encounter it, I laugh inwardly and want to say, "Nope, we just get each other. It's okay." We become an unstoppable tag-team for the day that operates like a well-oiled machine. Soon people stop asking questions and just hop on board. "No worries, the bride and I have it handled, today will be awesome. Just trust us."

I wish I could explain it. I love Melisabeth. I love Skyler. For reals.

Brian and I are pretty dynamic people. Well, we're really dynamic people. We're pretty loud (sometimes obnoxiously). We smooch in public. We say ridiculously cute things to one another all the time. We hold hands in Wal-Mart. In short, most people in public still assume that we are newlyweds (it isn't unusual for strangers to ask us). If 3+ years count as newlyweds, then, yes, indeed, we are. Maybe that's why we can relate and instantly bond with brides & grooms like Melisabeth and Skyler. They're giddy about one another. We are too. They're sickeningly sweet. Us, too! They encourage one another in front of the world. We do the same.

The world doesn't get it. We're in love. The kind of love that puts the other first. The kind of love that still gets butterflies. The kind of love that is still patient and kind. The kind of love that wants the best for the other and cries for joy with the other's success and weeps in pain with the other's wounds. The kind of love that forgives easily, forgets wrongs easily, hopes for the best and forges through the worst. In short, we get love because we're still in it.

Melisabeth was indeed one of "those girls" who had been planning her wedding since she was a little girl. However, she didn't just get super excited about the wedding because she'd been planning one, she got super excited because she was marrying Skyler. That did not stop her from creating (and letting me in on) her wedding blog (yup, she kept a wedding blog) where she chronicled, from time to time, her desire to have a green wedding (not the color) and give her guests favors they wouldn't throw out. She told us about wanting to make homemade cooking vanilla (did she realize how busy she was?) but discovered the price of vanilla beans had raised drastically in the past year. She told us about her love of morning suits, her fear that she'd choose winter entrees since she was visiting the Tiger Hotel in the cold to make plans, and how she hoped to personally embroider intricate tea towels for all of the guests in place of her vanilla. Thankfully, in the end, she scrapped many of her Martha Stewart do-it-yourself wedding favor ideas and went with the easier, still fantastically creative, yet, good-for-your-sanity route. A vintage soda bar with 30+ different types of soda. Yea buddy! It was so cool to try a different soda each time one went up (except for the one with a cool graphic that tasted like cough syrup) and it was so totally accessible and loved by all the diverse guest list (even me, the girl who doesn't normally like soda, indulged in a few!).

Melisabeth picked vintage tea tins (LOVED!), old books, and antique postcards from places they had traveled for centerpieces. She had gorgeous vintage-inspired dolls for their cake topper and a candy bar for the guests with all of the colors of the rainbow. All of this plus the Tiger Hotel's gorgeous mirrored ballroom made for one pretty reception. (The "Thriller" dance wasn't bad, either.)

But most of all, self-centeredly, I feel like we made some awesome friends. Too bad they're in Colorado now. Melisabeth and Skyler, sad that fate brought us together so late in life but thrilled we met you anyway. Come visit soon!

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Skyler wrote a VERY long letter to Melisabeth.

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It was one where Melisabeth both laughed and cried through the whole thing.

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One of Melisabeth's bridesmaids did all of the bouquets and boutonnieres.

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First Christian Church in downtown Columbia had BEAUTIFUL stained glass.

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Yup, those are the tears. Melisabeth walked up the aisle to an organ playing "Sunrise, Sunset" from Fiddler on the Roof. Best processional song ever.

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Melisabeth & Skyler had all sorts of fantastic poems read by friends and family during the ceremony.

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These were their vintage cake topper dolls. I love how their hair and outfits almost mirror Melisabeth & Skyler's! (Can you spot the rings?)

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Tiger Hotel. Gorgeous as always.

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Vintage soda bar!

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Did I mention I love vintage-inspired ANYTHING?

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No heavy winter food, Melisabeth. Great job on picking the lunch menu!

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JC was the best man and his fiance, Ali, was also a groomsperson. Since she was dancing with her (female) aisle partner JC took the hand of another groomsmen.

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Enjoying her vintage pop.

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Wedding party Thriller dance off.

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The winner of the bouquet toss got engaged shortly after the wedding. Maybe it does work!

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Gosh, Melisabeth, you are so beautiful my dear!

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Melisabeth, like many brides do, picked out a super sassy pair of shoes for the day-tall red pumps. She regretted it almost as soon as she put them on. Thank the Lord for flip flops for the reception!

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So this cute little cake topper was apparently the first thing that Melisabeth & Skyler bought for their wedding after they were engaged. They fell in love with the tiny cake topper and had to have it. In the end they found the dolls for the top of the cake but they kept the tiny cake topper for sentiment's sake. I grabbed it off of their gift table for this last shot to memorialize the two.

*Sigh* Isn't love grand?

Friday, September 10, 2010

.:amy & dave:.

Dave was an instructor at Hockman's ATA. One day a cute blonde walked in with her family for their first day as white belts at the school. Amy's dimples, sweet demeanor, kind heart, and that blonde hair had him hooked immediately. Problem was, she was too young. Well... or so he thought. Might as well be friendly though, right? So he talked with her before and after class, they found they had a lot in common, and he loved that he made her laugh. It wasn't until one day when their mutual instructor mentioned that they were born the same year that Dave realized she could really be an option. He kept their friendship slow and steady and finally, after a year, he took a deep breath and asked her out. Amy and everyone else around sighed in relief, it was about time!

Now they can laugh together all they want, they can work out their stress and fights with sparring (I totally thought I was clever and original when I mentioned that but turns out that everyone and their mother says the same thing, total bummer), and Dave can keep an eye on his cute blonde. (Cute story, when Dave, Amy, Brian and I were meeting the week of their wedding I was telling one of my stories about a guy friend who once told me it was important that I turn my dark strawberry blonde hair into regular blonde hair to increase my romantic prospects because, statistically, guys like blondes better. Dave grinned, looked over at Amy with a sheepish smile and said, "It's true. Blondes are much cuter." To which Amy, in her adorable way, blushed and looked away.)

We did their engagement photos at Capen Park a couple of weeks before the wedding where only a few years before I did photos of Amy with all of her brothers and sisters as one of my first portrait sessions ever! They decided on a time bright and early (6:00 is WAY early for us now that we make our own work schedule!) and we were able to catch some of the most breathtaking photos ever thanks to the gorgeous sunRISE!










Dave started scaling the bridge supports and, like a man, Brian egged him on while Amy and I stood there with our mouths open as I gently pleaded, "Dave, please don't fall and die. This would not be cool." Nothing like being a man, right?



Last minute, Amy and Dave decided to forgo the wedding tradition of waiting to see each other until the ceremony to create a "first look" for their big day rather than wait until after to do their photos. Some say that seeing each other beforehand takes away from the specialness when a groom sees his bride before the wedding and that he won't have the emotion he would have otherwise when she comes up the aisle. Oh how they are SO wrong! Dave was stunned when Amy turned him around for their "first look" but that did not stop the tears from flowing when she finally came down that aisle only a few hours later. It takes a real man to cry--how could you not when it hits you that a beautiful, kind-hearted woman like Amy is before you and she'll be yours until death do you part?

Not only did they set up a "first look" but Amy remembered that her mom had said when she and Amy's father got married they spent the morning of their own wedding doing last minute chores and cleaning together (read: stressful morning!). Amy didn't want that to be their memory so they set up a private picnic with just the two of them the morning of the wedding before they starting getting ready. And on a beautiful day of 75 degrees, the weather couldn't have been more perfect!

Amy and Dave made fortune tellers for each of the tables for the reception (with real, awesome fortunes!) and filled them upside down with nuts and mints. What a fantastic idea! Amy picked a rich purple with a few accents of hot pink. They chose their siblings and Dave's best friend for their intimate bridal party and chose Riechmann Pavilion for their reception spot. A first for us, we had Sophia's for the reception dinner! While the guests were finishing their delicious Sophia's pasta we stole away with Amy and Dave to get a few more shots of them by themselves in the gorgeous sunset light. It paid off. What a wonderful day.

I rarely post "getting ready" photos of the groom and groomsmen because they are normally stuck in the basement or youth room with 10 mismatching 70s & 80s couches. (See our post on that talks about getting ready settings here) Instead they were in a room with fantastic natural light. Yay!
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When we asked Amy & Dave what their getaway car would be, they told us it would probably be a Cadillac. Imagine my surprise when I'm taking photos of Amy at the salon and I see through the window a black limo pull up. I stuck my foot in my mouth when I said, "Ummm... Amy... there's a limo pulling up" and I see the hairdresser and Amy's mom's faces make the "Sssshhh! It's a surprise!" face. Great job, Mal. Way to ruin the surprise! Amy was absolutely delighted that both she and Dave's family went in on the limo that day. She and her sister, Ashley (who I lived with for a month before Brian and I got hitched) decided to wear matching flannel shirts in honor of Runaway Bride. (You'll have to see the movie to understand.) We all shared bottled water in champagne glasses on our way over to the church!
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Amy & Dave's "first look". (I overheard several of the parents and family saying that they all did their portraits before the wedding when they were married and that they thought that the tradition of waiting was a new phenomenon. Who knew!?!?)
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Allen's flowers put together elegant bouquets for Amy & her bridesmaids.
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Because Amy & Dave did their "first look", we stole away for some portraits with the two of them before the wedding. I love it!
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Is not Amy's mom GORGEOUS? We see where Amy gets her stunning looks!
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You can still see a trace of Dave's tears as he walks Amy up to the altar. Enraptured would be the word.
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See Dave & Amy's fortune teller handiwork? Cute, I know!
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When I took this photo I told them that it looked a fairytale. Amy laughed and said, "Well, it feels more like we're walking down a hill and I'm struggling to keep from tripping on my dress." Ah, but the photos tell a different and much better story, Amy. You look radiant!
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Whew, Amy, you are smoking hot!!
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Dave thinking about how sizzling his new bride is. ; )
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And you can see that Dave gets his handsome genetics from his strikingly beautiful mother. Mom's boy is all grown up!
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Amanda, Dave's sister, did an amazing dive for that bouquet! (Ashley looks a little jealous, though!)
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Too cute!
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You know I had to use the fortunetellers for their rings.
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Liz (one of Ashley's best friends) did so much work helping to plan the wedding with Ashley & Amy. I couldn't resist throwing Brian into the photo. This blog doesn't see enough of his sparkling face. Sassy, Brian, sassy!
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On to new adventures! Amy will be moving straight to Ohio when they return from their honeymoon tomorrow. Talk about new beginnings! Congrats, you guys!