HILARY + SEAN || ENGAGEMENT SESSION + HURRICANE WEDDING

Oh, oh, oh! This is a good one - it’s not often I get to work in such a close proximity of time with my clients. Originally, I had Hilary and Sean (and Ellie!) on deck for a good ol’ standard session, but that quickly became an engagement shoot after Sean popped the question.

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And then things went from a big ol’ rush to get things ready for a summer backyard throwdown turned in to what felt right for H+S - getting hitched with their nearest and dearest, and having an intimate party, but more on that in just a sec!

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We had a fabulous time taking the boat out, with Ellie being a most excellent first mate…

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We even found a mostly willing participant to help us with our photo shoot in the most Maryland of ways - a blue crab!

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Don’t worry - we put her back in the water, and Ellie was determined to not be outshown.

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OKAY SO! Since I don’t think I’ve ever put both an engagement session and a wedding in one blog post, here’s the equivalent of pretty hold music on the phone in photo form - some snaps from a sunflower field I happened upon on the way back from the first session.

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Okay, thanks for holding! How was that for a fluid transition? Not the best? Whateva, here’s Hilary and Sean fresh out of the courthouse and laughing in the face of hurricane threats.

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No, seriously. The dock in downtown Annapolis was underwater the day before their I-Do’s, so we definitely lucked out getting to shoot there without getting our feet -too- wet.

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Hilary and Sean welcomed their family to McGarvey’s for a delicious lunch and lots of drinks (that I maybe might have had - shh, tequila is delicious with Friday celebration lunches!)

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Ahh, so much fun! I’m so glad the weather (mostly) held out for both of our shoots, and that I get to work with adventurous folks that embrace what and who they love. Congrats to Sean and Hilary!

SEBASTIÁN + KATIE || EVANSTON, ILLINOIS

What are the essential components of a wedding? Poll the audience, and it usually comes back to the essentials: some pretty dang dapper threads, carefully curated accessories and blossoms for bursts of color, rings as symbolic as the ceremony that ties two loves in to one entity, and some sort of a feast to mark the occasion.

While these things may be what pops readily in to most minds when they think of nuptials, they pale in comparison to the greatest thread that binds and brings together on a wedding – family. Whether by blood or by choice, the people who lift up and laugh with and love a couple on this momentous day are what truly make a wedding special.

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True, a wedding is technically about the I-Do's between just two, but if you stop and think about it, a wedding is celebration that is full to the brim of the many various relationships cultivated through highs and lows, over great distances and times and generations.

I am beyond honored to count myself as part of the family that got to rejoice with Sebastián and Katie on this beautiful day. It's not often that I get to hop on a plane with my momma and my partner to both celebrate and photograph a wedding, and it’s even rarer that I get the incredibly strong perspective and appreciation for family and community that this event impressed upon me.

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As with every snapshot, there was so much to be told beyond just what was happening on this day. In my retelling, two great chapters should be touched upon before I present a host of photographs.

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The first is both the love and the loss of Katie’s late father, the most rad Reverend Richard Adams. A prolific writer, musician, and a man most dedicated to outreach programs, I had the great pleasure of meeting him in 2016. He threw out fabulously punny jokes and showed off his art collection despite fiercely battling terminal lung cancer. Rev. Adams died in early 2017 and was interred at St. Augustine’s Church where Sebastián and Katie were married, but his presence on this day would be indelible no matter the proximity.

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The second is one that’s enormous to even comprehend, let alone write about. It’s certainly strange to condense such a devastating experience for many in to just a few sentences, but Sebastián’s relatives and friends in Puerto Rico experienced incredible loss in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria last year. Because of such limited reaction and assistance through the government, S&K made the choice to use their wedding savings to provide the most basic of necessities like batteries and flashlight and baby formula for their extended community.

It’s heartening to say that so much of their family - from work, from church, from near and from far - eagerly pitched in to this homegrown aid effort last year, and it’s even cooler to see things come full circle with donations of flowers and food and drink and setup and cleanup and venue and all sorts of special elements to this day.

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And maybe I’m just partial because I’ve glimpsed a lot more of Katie and Sebastián’s story than with most clients I work with, but I think the smiles were just a little bigger, the hugs lingered a little longer, and the laughter rang out all the louder because of the wildly winding path that everyone walked to get to this day. Thank you guys, sososo much for letting me capture this precious and joyful chapter of your story, and congratulations, felicitaciones, and much love to my dear friends! -MEJ

SEE MORE OF SEBASTIÁN + KATIE’S DAY HERE

SARAH + MARTIN || SURPRISE VOW RENEWAL

I always brag about how cool my clients are, because, well, they are. I am so lucky to continually meet such interesting and passionate people, and Martin? No exception. I got an email from him saying he needed someone to capture a surprise vow renewal for he and his wife's anniversary. We got to talking about how the afternoon would play out, and I had to pick my jaw up off the floor afterwards by how thoughtful the gesture was. Here was the plan:

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I would hide in the bushes outside of the hotel they were staying in, pretending to be photographing the boats and basically blending in to the background as best as a super excited human can do.

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Martin had spent his entire marriage swearing up and down he would never do a vow renewal, and the long con would pay off when he would get down on one knee and re-propose to Sarah.

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Martin would lead Sarah down the pier to where two additional surprises were waiting for her - the same bouquet that she had held on the alter recreated by the same florest, and the Reverend who had presided over their wedding.

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Martin would render his generally gregarious wife utterly speechless by telling her just how amazing of a mother and a partner she is, and how all of their hardwork and strong love had led them to this milestone.

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We would then grab some photos of the group before they headed off to dinner, and maybe some snaps afterwards for some softer light (y'all know I'm a critter who loves sunset and sunrise...)

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All in all, I think things went preeeeetty well! Congrats to Sarah and Martin, these lovely lovebirds. -MEJ