Avia Photography

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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. = )

Saturday, February 12, 2011

.:going to the chapel and we are stressed!:.

Brian and I love all of our clients. Seriously. But, we can honestly say that the wedding days in St. Louis and Kansas City are almost always a better experience for everyone involved. Why, you ask? Are we biased against some of us smaller town folks? Nope. In our experience, the biggest difference between the St. Louis/K.C. weddings and the Columbia/Jefferson City areas comes simply in the form of wedding planners.

I know, I know, you have a small budget and you can't afford one. But seriously, if we could have a side-by-side comparison of the stress levels of the families who have a wedding planner/coordinator on the day of their wedding with the stress levels of the families that don't, I think you'd seriously consider hiring one! What we often find is that in St. Louis and Kansas City, wedding planners are a must. They are built in to every budget and our couples are all super laidback and SO relaxed on their day. Why? Because they and their families can enjoy their awesome day just as they had hoped! Couples without planners have a tendency to be much more emotionally and physically drained and overwhelmed on their big day than those that have planners. And they have every right to be exhausted! With the constant phone ringing, the set up, the multiple trips home to get things, the worrying about accomodating friends/relatives, the multiple "to do" lists, the last minute googling to figure out who should go where when, the trying to figure out what vendors get paid when--it's enough to give anyone a nervsous breakdown!

But don't take our word for it. We just take pictures. But to give you a clearer picture, we asked one of our favorite planners, Ashley Rath from Dishy Event Planning in St. Louis to write us a blog post on why hiring a wedding planner can be one of the best decisions you make for your wedding day and your sanity!

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Why Hire a Wedding Planner?

Actually, I have a better question for you--why NOT hire a wedding planner? I know, I know, you're on top of the planning process and you have all of the big things worked out. All of us planners totally get it, not everyone needs the full blown deal. But what you don't know is that hiring a planner for just your wedding day coordination can make such a huge difference in not only your stress level but your overall satisfaction on your wedding day.

Given those statements, I have a few questions for you:

  • Do you want to set up the linens, flowers, place cards, menu cards and favors on the morning of your wedding day instead of enjoying a morning of pampering?
  • Do you want to have your phone ringing off the hook for every little decision that needs to be made or issue to address durin gthe day instead of savoring moments with your bridesmaids?
  • Do you want your mom (or sister or cousin or friend) lining you up to go down the aisle or coordinating your first dance timing instead of watching it happen?
  • Do you want to worry about how long you have to take pictures, where you need to be after the ceremony or when you need to be seated for toasts?
  • Do you want your parents to deal with lugging wedding gifts up to a hotel room or out to a car instead of boogying down on the dance floor?
My guess is that your answer to each one of these questions is NO, absolutely not, no way, no how, not even close! And these are just some of the things a wedding planner or coordinator can help you with on your wedding day, but there is so much more!

  • A typical offering from a planner/coordinator for day-of services might include:
  • 1-3 meetings to discuss planning and timing details, and anything else on your mind.
  • Confirmation and follow up with all of your fabulous wedding vendors.
  • An obnoxiously detailed schedule that you can share with family and friends.
  • 1-2 hours of availability to coordinate and run your rehearsal.
  • Full day of services, including set-up of decor, all logistical coordination (i.e. timing for walking down the aisle, announcements, toasts, first dances and tosses) and clean up services.
  • On, and on, and on...
This is just the tip of the iceberg here, people! If you're feeling a little overwhelmed with the planning process or really just want you and your family to relax on your wedding day, I highly recommend giving a planner a chance. Nine times out of ten, I can guarantee that you won't regret it! Besides, who wouldn't want to have someone at their beck and call for just a day?!? You might actually enjoy it! Cheers!

This post was written for Avia Photography by Ashley Rath. Ashley is the owner and event planner of Dishy Events Planning, specializing in wedding and event planning for the St. Louis, Missouri area.

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You can see Ashley in the background helping the mother of the bride lace up Beth's dress. Ashley showed up bright and early and was ready to do whatever she needed to make the day run smoothly. As you can see, Beth is all smiles because have no fear, Ashley is here!

While we were taking photos of Beth, Stephen, and their bridal party, Ashley and her assistant were finishing up the final touches with the vendors over at the zoo:

Again, while Ashley and her assistant were busy making sure the cake was in place, the florists had the flowers in the centerpieces, and the guests were being entertained by the walking petting zoos, Stephen, Beth, and their bridal party had plenty of time to play with photos and fun on the bus!

You'll notice there's no tension on Beth's face! Because she didn't have to worry! All of Beth and Stephen's family made it onto the bus with us, too and when they arrived at the reception they were ready to eat, drink, and enjoy the night, exactly as they should!

Needless to say, now you know why we get so excited when our couples tell us they have hired a wedding planner/coordinator! Happy couples on the day of the wedding make for happy pictures!

You'd be surprised how much sanity and peace of mind can be worth. = )

Until next time!

-Mallory (& Brian)

Friday, February 11, 2011

.:even cats have love languages:.

Hello everyone! Meet Balthazaar, one of our cats. (Say Balthazaar five times fast! Guess who named her?)

Balthazaar was the first kitty we got when we first were married. Brian begged me until I relented a few weeks after our honeymoon. We made a trip out to my parent's farm and, because she was the bravest of the kittens we found, she was the one to come home with us. Her personality came out almost immediately, much to my surprise. We noticed that she was a little lazy, a little moody, and absolutely did NOT like to be touched. She hasn't changed. We've noticed that she's happiest when we do things for her that she likes. She likes to be furminated, she likes clean and cold water in her large bowl in the kitchen, she likes to drink out of the humidifier bin when Brian changes it, she likes for her hind legs to be scratched when she asks, she likes fresh kitty litter, and she likes to sleep alone. Rather than sleeping with us, she generally crawls into either Brian's sock drawer (as she is pictured above) or into the drawer with my pajamas. In short, she's pretty independent.

Brian, within her first year, decided that he wanted to get Balthazaar a companion. He thought it was sad that we were leaving her alone all day with our jobs so, after some more begging and convincing of me, we made a second trip to my parent's farm to go get Mr. Mostly Mittens. We found him at the bottom of a barrel and fell in love. Brian thought he would be the perfect companion for Balthazaar. We brought him home and had to bottle feed him for a few weeks.

Now, check out what he started to do immediately:

Can you tell what is most important to this little kitty? Snuggling!

I know, adorable, right?

Mr. Mostly Mittens was the exact companion Brian had been hoping for Balthazaar. Mr. Mostly Mittens was sweet, gentle, affectionate, and loved to snuggle. However, we soon noticed a problem with this new companionship. Look at Balthazaar's face. Think she looks annoyed? That's because she is. The new little one would move in to snuggle her and she would tolerate it for a few moments and then either whine or move away. You'd think Mr. Mostly Mittens would get the picture and move on, right?

Nope. As he got a little older, he learned a few tricks. If he came into a room and she was sleeping he would quietly get inches away from her and stay still for a few moments.

Then, he'd ever so quietly creep closer and closer and then gently pounce across her body to drape himself over her for a super close nap. Inevitably, each time Balthazaar would wake up and scream at the top of her lungs as if he was trying to kill her.

Still today every morning after breakfast he will jump back into bed with Brian and get as close and as cute as humanly possible. If I'm there, too, he'll make sure that he reaches out his paw to touch my face so that he's touching both of us:

While Balthazaar sits feet away, and could care less:

So despite Brian's best intentions, two years later, the cats still aren't best friends. Mr. Mostly Mittens continues to annoy Balthazaar on a daily basis and she continues to insist that we express our affection for her through the little things that she loves.

My point is that Valentine's Day is coming up. (You're wondering right now why I switched from cats to Valentine's Day) Valentine's Day, in theory, is a day to celebrate our love for one another and for many of us, it is a day for exactly that. However, for some it brings up more emotions of emptiness and despair than love and joy. We remember failed relationships or all of the ways we feel unloved by our boyfriend/spouse.

"He never buys me flowers anymore like he used to when we were dating."
"He never helps me out with the kids at night when he comes home."
"He doesn't ever talk to me anymore, I'm not sure if he even likes me."
"He never tells me I'm beautiful."
"He never holds my hand like we did when we first got married."

Here's the connection! Our cats speak different love languages--Balthazaar receives love through acts of service while Mr. Mostly Mittens receives love through touch--and, chances are, if you are feeling lonely and unloved, then you and your partner likely speak different love languages.

Years ago when I first learned about this concept it was a HUGE revelation. I had several close friends and family members that I felt positive did not care about me. But then I realized they were speaking a different love language than I was. They constantly did things for me (acts of service) while others brought me little trinkets/treasures they had purchased or made for me (gifts) but, because these were not my love languages, I didn't understand that my family and friends were communicating their love for me in their love languages.

So, for Valentine's Day, take our cats as your example! Learn your love language and learn your partner's love language. Then, after you've done this, make your love languages a priority every single day. If you never learn your partner's love language and make it a priority, there will be continual misunderstandings and hostility just like our cats (as I type this I can hear Balthazaar screaming in the next room because Mr. Mostly Mittens is trying to snuggle up next to her). If we could just get Balthazaar to tolerate Mr. Mostly Mitten's affection and get Mr. Mostly Mittens to scratch her hind legs when she asks, so much would be solved! So learn how your partner feels most loved and make their love language a priority!

In case you've never seen it, here's a summary we put together of the Five Love Languages (we're teaching a class on love and relationships and one fellow got so excited when he heard about this that he left the room immediately to go call the girl he liked and tell her about them!) We pray that this information is as much a revelation and a healing hope to your relationships as it has been to ours:


1. Words of Affirmation. If your primary love language is Words of Affirmation, you feel most loved and cared for when someone tells you how wonderful or beautiful or amazing that you are. It could be verbally through a written note or through another way that expresses all of the great qualities you possess and all the ways the world is a better place because you are in it. (Examples: "You are so beautiful. You are so smart. I think you are an amazing woman and I could not imagine a more perfect wife in all of the world.") If your love language is words of affirmation, you are most hurt when someone says negative things about you or to you about yourself. Negative comments and words about you hurt a lot.

2. Acts of service.
If your primary love language is Acts of Service, then when someone does something for you then you feel very loved. (Examples: washing the dishes, cooking a meal, cleaning the house, making repairs to the apartment, working long hours at a job to provide for the family, re-decorating the home, watching the children, etc.) If your love language is acts of service, you are most hurt when your spouse or friend forgets to or neglects to do common chores that would help you in your daily or monthly routine.

3. Affection (touch).
If your primary love language is Affection then simple touch is the way you feel most loved. (Example: holding hands, kisses, sitting very close together on the couch, hugs, intimacy within a marriage.) If your love language is affection, you are most hurt when your spouse will not touch you for days (or months!) at a time. Your spouse refusing to give affection when you are arguing is one of the most painful things you can experience.

4. Quality time (or conversation about meaningful topics). If your primary love language is Quality Time, you feel most loved when you are spending purposeful time with your friends or your spouse. (Examples: attending a play together, playing basketball together, watching a movie you have both picked out and then discussing it, having long conversations on a couch about meaningful topics.) If your love language is quality time, you are most hurt when your friend or spouse does not make the time (or have the time) to spend with you and only you. You will feel lonely and abandoned if your spouse does not make consistent time to be with you.

5. Gifts. If your love language is Gifts, you feel most loved when someone gives you something. If someone makes something for you especially you will feel very honored and cherished. (Examples: receiving a few wildflowers from your spouse, receiving candy, receiving something new that you had been wanting, receiving a handmade gift even if it is ugly!) If your love language is gifts, then if your friends or spouses never give you gifts you will assume that they no longer love nor care about you.

So Happy Valentine's Day, folks!

-Mallory (& Brian)

Tuesday, February 8, 2011


Cutest. Moment. Ever. After taking a whole bunch of awesome/happy/dramatic photos:

"Wow, Katy, you know, you smell really good."
"Did you use a different shampoo?"
"Can I smell it?"
"Sure, why not?"
"Wow, that smells really great."

I love these moments. = )

I promise I will post more photos of Katy & Ryan's GORGEOUS wedding from Windows on Washington in the next few days. Check our our facebook page for lots more photos than what you'll find in these virtual pages!

Love and kisses!


.:every day the sun rises:.

Some of you know that after this summer, Brian and I will be moving to K.C. Odessa, to be exact. We'll still be doing weddings in St. Louis, Columbia, & K.C. areas until late summer 2012. The plan is, Lord-willing, that we'll end up in Eastern Europe after the summer of 2012. Hopefully adventure will ensue!

As such, Brian will make his way out to Odessa once a week to help with a home remodel with the folks we'll be staying with. I dropped him off this morning. It'll be our first night without one another in a long long time.

Before we left I noticed the morning sun coming in through our curtains and shining on the wall. It filled me with joy for being alive. It also brought to mind a line from a movie Brian and I love, in it, the main character repeats the line, "All is well" throughout the film almost as a Greek chorus would narrate in old plays. By the end you find your own self saying "all is well."

It is. All is well. What a beautiful day, snow and all. A little lonely without my hubby, but the sun still rises anew every morning.


Thursday, February 3, 2011

.:how to get free in a blizzard when your street still hasn't been plowed and you don't have a 4-wheel drive vehicle:.

As you may know from the previous post, we are in the middle of a blizzard. Yes. Missouri's version of a blizzard. Yes, our doors still opened. Yes, the main roads were snowless and operational within 24 hours. Yes, Wal-Mart never closed and Formosa's neon light stayed lit "OPEN" through all of the crazy days, but still, some of us still have yet to see the city snow plows.

Those of you who are our friends on facebook know that we finally caught a glimpse of the snow angel that has been plowing our driveway these last few snows. He has a beard and drives a mini John Deere snowplow. Needless to say, we were rather disappointed when we hadn't seen him these past few days. We have a wedding to shoot on Saturday in St. Louis (woot woot, Katy & Ryan!!!) and, well, not getting out was not an option. So Brian mustered up his gumption, bundled up, and was on his way out the door when, lo and behold, the mystery bearded John Deere angel showed up! He made a little path all the way down the street to our driveway. On his way back, he shoveled some other home's driveway and they talked him into shoveling them a wide enough path on the street to get out onto freedom. Guess what? That left only 3 house lengths left until we could connect with the clearing. Brian bounded outside with shovel in hand to begin doing what no Columbia plow had done yet: clear a path!

I finished my lunch in time to get out while Brian was clearing those last few feet of snow to widen the path. Thankfully, right before he started the first vehicle (a Tahoe) braved its way down our street and left us some tire tracks to do perfect measuring of how wide we needed to shovel.

Well, we were finally free with those last few shovel fulls. We could leave. But then, sad day, we turned around. And guess what? There were not one, not two, but SIX more houses past us that were still locked in with the snow. It appeared that unless they had a 4-wheel drive vehicle (and we were guessing they didn't seeing that no one had tracks out of their cleared driveway) there was no way any of those folks were getting out. That Tahoe did it only a few minutes before, but there's no way that little cars like ours that are without 4-wheel drive would have even a chance of getting down the street.


So, I put away the camera, grabbed a shovel, and started hollowing out the road between the tire tracks. Brian soon joined me after he finished packing down the snow with our car on the newly cleared portion of the street. The next thing we knew, four more neighbors had joined in the effort (and another lightheartedly peaked out her door to laugh at us "city folk" getting antsy to get back to the real world by clearing out the street when the plows hadn't yet come). The neighbors helped us clear all the way down the street to all of the driveways and a few even helped connect some of the other driveways to the cleared path!

I felt like we were part of a movie where all of the neighbors on a street feel like strangers and wish that they could be more of a community. Then, one day, a blizzard comes which traps everyone in their homes for several days and the city never comes to clear the street. After a few days of stir craziness, one neighbor picks up a shovel and takes it to the street to help others out, then another, then another, and then before you know it everyone is friends and talking and the street is clear. The moral of the story? It only takes a blizzard to create spontaneous goodwill and selflessness as everyone (well, not everyone, but more than just us!) joins hands and works together to get the job done. We even got a few new facebook friends out of the deal! Who knew? = )

See what we all did? Now every driveway on our little road can connect to our little one car width wide pathway to Garth. Columbia citizens unite!

Oddly, it only took us about an hour and a half. That's teamwork, eh?

After it was all done, I told Brian to give me a corny thumbs up.

"Hey, SMILE, silly!"

How funny is it that only a few feet away, the world had already gone back to normal days ago. The library is in full operation and Broadway is completely clear and has been for some time. Next time, we'll be parking our car in the library parking lot, thankyouverymuch, so that we can actually use it the next time the blizzard hits! Much better to just hop a snow pile than to spend hours shoveling.

All in a day's work. = ) Sorry, ladies, this fine man is taken.

Peace out, ya'll!

-Mallory (& Brian) (courtesy of Brian's iPhone)

P.S. I noticed the loveliest ice crystals forming on our window this morning so I decided that they needed to be documented. If only my camera could even begin to capture their beauty.

However, I must say after I stared at the empty photo, full of only ice crystals, it occured to me that the photo was asking to be written on. So, the only thing I could think to write on the photo in post production was perhaps a little juvenile but when Brian comes home from running his "Thank the Lord we can finally get out of the house!" errands, he's going to smile and giggle when he sees the writing.

Happy blizzard of 2011, my friends!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

.:a short intro to the columbia blizzard:.

If you are reading this and live in Missouri, you know that this is the first ever blizzard that the weather service has ever declared for this little Missouri county. As such, most of us are still snowed in as those who are plowing have been concentrating on the main roads. Those of you that are NOT from Missouri, we made a short little video to show you what we're dealing with. Beautiful, yes?

Brian said his favorite part of the movie is the ending. Sorry, friends!

-Mallory & Brian

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

.:LOTS of snow and LOTS of pasta:.

If you're in Columbia, you probably know of a place called Bambino's. You may remember it as a place with great pasta, great schooners, or even as a little rundown. Well, have no fear, my friends, Bambino's has moved! Bambino's has a new website, new management, new ownership, and a whole new look.

As such, Brian and I were privileged enough to help with this new transition by taking photos of some of their dishes. Before Christmas we snapped a few shots of some of their favorite pastas. When they made the new menus they put a few of the photos in with the listed items. What they found was that they sold more of one of the items in the first day than they had sold in the past two years combined. What did that tell them? Photos, GOOD photos, sell your product!

Needless to say, we were called in again. But this time to take photos of all of the menu items (including some great looking desserts!) and their hot new location. The only problem is that the shoot was scheduled for the day the blizzard was supposed to begin! Luckily, we live less than a mile from the new Bambino's and told them that if they could still make it there and make the dishes that we would be there. Jeff Weaver, the new owner, picked up Jason Frazier (the lone cook who did an AWESOME job) and several hours early so that they could prep all of the food. Another of Jeff's friends picked us up in his 4-wheel drive vehicle and the shoot was on!

Three hours later we all piled back into the vehicle and went home with bags full of pasta from the day. Jealous? Check out their website to see their menu and a few of our photos from the last shoot: http://www.bambinositaliancafe.com

Here are a few of our favorites:

(And, yes, I did manage to eat part of this chocolate cake slice afterwards. I know, totally tough to be a photographer sometimes, yeah?)

And some of the new space:

Bambino's To Go!

Yes, those are THOUSANDS of corks up on the wall.

Gotta have the classic Bambino's Schooner.

MUCH nicer than the old place. Go check it out!

Peace and love and all that stuff. Stay warm, folks!

-Mallory (& Brian)