lex + heidi MARRIED!! Custer State Park wedding photographer
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In my mind, mid-September has always been the perfect time for a wedding. Even before I was married, I was photographing weddings at that time and thinking “this weather is perfect – not summer, not fall, just right.” Then, my husband and I got married mid-September because it was the only date that worked for the photographers I wanted. Now, I get to share an anniversary with this lovely couple you see here!

Lex + Heidi traveled down from North Dakota for a perfect South Dakota September wedding day. The morning was foggy, but by lunchtime the sun came out and shined so bright for these two!
After the ceremony, we had a full hour before Lex + Heidi were needed at the reception, so we went on a little adventure! :-)  Lex + Heidi – Thank you so much for having me at your wedding! I loved being able to create beautiful wedding photos that you will hopefully treasure as much as I treasure my own photos from September 15th a few years ago! :-) Thanks for letting me take you on a little adventure as well! I hope you had a fun couple of days here, and enjoy your honeymoon this winter!

david + marcy MARRIED!! Sylvan Lake Wedding
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David + Marcy could not have planned a more perfect September South Dakota State Park wedding. The details from Timeless Weddings & Events were so beautiful, as were the flowers from Jenny’s Floral. But my favorite part of David + Marcy’s wedding came from up above – the clear blue skies providing warm sunshine and the perfect breeze to keep everyone comfortable.

Also my favorite was David + Marcy themselves. After having photographed them twice for engagement pictures (because we just had so much fun the first time around and wanted to do it again), they were so at ease in front of the camera. So many last-minute wedding day details can be stressful, but the photo portions of the day were a breeze.

Can we take a moment to talk about Marcy’s dress? You see, she had ordered a beautiful mermaid-style gown with a tulle overskirt, but after alterations were made, she could hardly breathe, let alone sit down in it! So this beautiful number was off the rack, and the veil was made specifically for her. Marcy was comfortable and so she practically radiated beauty and confidence!! And her amazing updo by Tancy at Elite Hair Design helped boost that ‘beauty level’ up an extra notch. ;-)Memorial Day weekend at Sylvan Lake is nuts. Thank goodness for Photoshop! ;-) I loooooove stolen glances anytime throughout the day – especially during ceremonies when the officiant has said something that pulls a heartstring. Mary from Your Joyful Wedding creates and delivers the most beautiful ceremonies – it’s always a treat and an honor to get to work alongside her!! The plan for photos was to climb this rock immediately after their receiving line. The light was perfect, the amount of time before we had to get back to the reception was perfect, and the breeze was BEYOND perfect. Just you wait and see. :-)

Also, Marcy purchased her wedding shoes based on the fact that she would be climbing a rock for photos. My kind of bride right there!!! Poor David was stuck with slippery rental shoes. Oops!!
It’s very possible I shed a tear when I took this photo, and I know it has caused many other tears to fall since sharing it online a couple days ago. This is exactly what wedding photographer dreams are made of!!!
Okay so one more favorite thing about this wedding – the rock candy geode on the cake!!! David + Marcy – Oh man, how do I even begin to thank you for having me photograph you? I loved every minute of your wedding day, and I tried to savor it as best I could because I didn’t want it to end! Don’t be alarmed if I print up a few of these photos and put them up in my own home. Love you both, and I hope these first few months of life as newlyweds go smoothly with the move. Text friends forever, mmkay? ;-)

mike + becca MARRIED!! Black Hills intimate wedding
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Mike + Becca are the very definition of a sweet, fun-loving couple. They chose to get married in the morning with their closest friends and family, and after lunch they took off on their three-week-road-trip honeymoon!

You guys know I love a sweet mother-daughter moment! Gosh, it’s so hard not to cry at weddings!!

After getting dressed, Becca hopped in my car to go meet Mike… but we couldn’t resist a little walk through some wildflowers, so we pulled over and did just that. :-)

Their first look was the most endearing moment I have ever seen during a first look! Mike turned around to see Becca, and he barely even looked at her before embracing her in the biggest, longest ‘first look hug’ I have ever witnessed. ⠀

One minute and eight seconds. (I checked the time stamp on my camera settings.) 68 seconds of hugging before he even got a good look at how good she looked. And she looked gooood. ;-)⠀

But you know what? It didn’t matter what she wore! It didn’t matter what she looked like! It mattered that THIS WAS THE FIRST DAY OF THEIR MARRIAGE and they were SO excited just to be with each other.⠀

We had such a lovely, peaceful time in the meadow, but I wanted to give them some real ‘Black Hills’ photos with a bit more landscape. The wind also decided to join the party, but that didn’t stop Mike + Becca from having fun, as you can see from their ‘jazz hands’ below. ;-)

Classic wedding party portraits are always a necessity, but I love that Mike + Becca’s siblings and friends are just as fun-loving as they are, and photos that showcase that is even more special! Next stop: the Sanford Lab Homestake Visitor Center for their ceremony + reception, where the wind really showed off. Mike had been holding back tears since that morning when he was waiting to see Becca. When it came time for them to exchange vows, he couldn’t hold them in any longer!

Another sweet, thoughtful moment that Mike + Becca shared on their first day of marriage was having a first dance to themselves. Mike had the song on his phone in his pocket and they swayed together and let the wind dance around them.

And before you forget, not only are they sweet, they are FUN (insert jazz hands, again). :-D

Their car loaded up with their bikes on top, ready for their road trip!! Becca told me that she planned on wearing her dress to dinner that night in Colorado. As comfortable as her dress looked, I wouldn’t be surprised if she wore it for those 6-ish hours in the car ride that afternoon!

Oh man, Mike + Becca, how do I even begin to thank you for having me photograph your big day? Everything you planned was so thoughtful and down-to-earth. Your first look is one I will remember for years. Your sporadic jazz hands will also be hard to forget. :-) I hope you are having the best time on your trip, and I hope you have fond wedding day memories every time a gust of wind blows hair in your face.

david + marcy ENGAGED!! Needles Highway
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I have been waiting for the right couple to come along to explore some places near Sylvan Lake that I haven’t yet been to, and David + Marcy fit the bill perfectly! They had a free evening during their vacation, so we could be flexible with the incoming bad weather. They spent that morning and the day before hiking trails around Custer State Park, so I knew they could handle climbing around a few more rocks. PLUS they had already been in front of my camera once before, so there was less directing and less pressure (which means MORE FUN)! (Side note for those of you planning your wedding: have your wedding photographer take your engagement photos for this very reason!!!)

Huge thanks again to these two for making room in their vacation for a fun little photo shoot! I LOVED hanging out and I LOVE what we created!! Raise your hand if *you* want to go on a photo adventure the next time you come to the Black Hills! :-)

And in case you were wondering, we did have a *little* bit of fun out here! ;-)

lex + heidi ENGAGED!! Custer State Park photographer
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When I asked Lex + Heidi a few questions about each other, he said ‘her blue eyes made him weak in the knees’ and she talked about how ‘he always makes me feel safe and secure.’ Plus, together they like to enjoy nature, which I think is the perfect compliment to me as a photographer because I LOVE photographing people in nature! They traveled from northern North Dakota (so basically across two states) for this session, and they will again for their wedding in September, so I was thrilled to capture her blue eyes and his strong presence in the beautiful hills of Custer State Park!

They were so fun and loving and comfortable in front of the camera. They are also good dancers – wait till you see him spin her (fun surprise video at the end of this post)!

Throughout their session, I kept waiting for this moment to happen naturally – Lex’s arm around Heidi’s shoulders. Holding her safe and secure as they walked along. :-)

Also, creating videos has been on my list of ‘things I want to do’ for a few years now.

The fear of the end product not being worthy of sharing, on top of the fear of missing moments I should be capturing in still-frames stopped me from even trying.

But then I read this book about being the best-possible-version of yourself, and how you should only compare yourself with your past self. In small, every day tasks (like putting dishes directly into the dishwasher instead of next to the sink) and taking steps to reach your personal goals (i.e.: making videos).

It’s a simple concept, but man it is doing great things in my heart!!

So… long story short… these clips aren’t extraordinary, but they are fun and I hope my couples love watching them because that’s all that matters!!