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!!


ethan + gina ENGAGED!! Custer State Park photography
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Five years ago, Gina spotted Ethan at a Johnny Holm show. Her friend knew his sister, introductions were made, and after a couple dances they ended up exchanging numbers!

I like to think they had a moment similar to this on the dance floor that first night. :-)

michael + rebecca ENGAGED!! Rapid City engagement photographer
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More and more of my couples are opting for sunrise engagement sessions and I am LOVING IT! Especially since sunrise this time of year isn’t until after 7am. But then again, during this time of year, none of us can feel our fingers at sunrise, which made this first photo even colder than it looks. Poor Becca had Mike’s ice-cold fingers on her neck, and there were some really hilarious outtakes that I can’t wait to share in my annual ‘best of’ blog post coming soon! ;-) But look how romantic they look despite freezing their fingers off!! #engagementsessiongoals

These two were so giggly during their session, that I hardly had to say anything to get them to get genuine smiles. Such naturals!

Plus, since it was so cold out, they automatically snuggled up as close as possible. *bonus points!!*

Mike + Becca – I can hardly wait for your morning wedding this coming summer!! I fully expect you to have some PB Bumpers to share with your guests. :-)