I love you to the Death Star and back - Brandon + Caitlin - Bend OR Elopement

If this were any other wedding blog it may start out with something like this; "The two soon- to be- wed got ready in their individual rooms with butterflies in their stomachs and happy anticipation for the first time they would see each other this day.  Standing at the alter in their tux and gown." -but this is not your normal wedding blog. Instead, standing in their matching star wars shirts, sneakers, and one black tulle dress, Brandon and Caitlin chose to do their wedding like they do everything else in their lives; Their own way.

May 4th 2018 brought partly cloudy skies to Bend OR. The wedding of Brandon and Caitlin Skinner was quite unlike any wedding any of them had ever been to. The Star Wars themed wedding was hosted on a quiet riverbank in the backyard of Bend Brewing Company. The hum of lunchtime chatter carried on a slight spring breeze, a delightful juxtaposition between the business of downtown Bend and the intimate ceremony transported guests into a world all their own. Under a towering and commanding Evergreen tree, the guests surrounded the couple. With beers in the hands of their closest friends and family, Brandon and Caitlins ceremony highlighted everything that made the two of them perfect for each other.

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Brides Father

I am proud of you both. You have done very very well and I think you are both going to be very happy. Make sure that you laugh a lot and enjoy the time you have together. I am glad Brandon is a part of our family

Grooms Father

My favorite thing about Brandon is his passion. He gives it 100% every time and this is true for his love for Caitlin. The moment he talked of her he instilled 100% of his passion into her. He is the happiest I have ever seen him and that is the most important thing any parent wants for their child is happiness.
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G-MA

I love you! I love you! I love you! Caitlin you are just a fantastic lady and perfect for him!

Lindsey - Grooms Sister

Brandon has always been my best friend and always been there for me. I am so proud of him, I am so thankful for Caitlin! Congratulations!
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Taco-bout Love! Landon + Megan Engagement Session - Ashland OR

When you are thinking about weddings, engagement sessions or, love, you are probably not thinking about Taco Bell. But let me explain.

Landon and Megan are two individuals who would quickly describe themselves as unique and more specifically - nerdy. It is a trait they both embrace about themselves and value in their partner. However, these two took their love for one of their specific shared interests to the next level by incorporating it into their engagement photos. Megan and Landon both know that there is nothing better than staying true to yourself. Each have remarked many times how incredibly blessed they are to have found someone who shares their love for Star Wars, Spielberg, video games, movies, nerdom and, yes, Taco Bell.

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Landon

I was born in Portland Oregon to Jeffrey and Heidi Keith. I have two brothers and two sisters.We moved to Saint Helens when I was five. I was not nearly as involved in High school as most, I wanted to get out of high school as fast as possible. I was very good in science. I graduated in 2014 from Saint Helens High School. I am currently at Umpqua Community College taking my gen eds to get my degree in nursing and plan on transferring to southern Oregon. I am currently working as a medical assistant. One of the fondest memories I have, especially around Christmas time, is watching the Empire Strikes Back with my grandfather. Watching the whole trilogy is a tradition over Christmas that started with him.There is something about the Star Wars universe that I gravitated to as a child. My great grandfather is a man’s man. Hard working man but very caring, loving and compassionate. My father is the same way and has also been very influential. They really shaped who I am. I love pro wrestling, video games, and heavy metal.
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Megan

I was born in Mountain View California to Kathleen and Tim Malone and moved to Saint Helens Oregon when I was four years old.I am the youngest of three girls. When we moved to the Saint Helens area we became very involved with our church which is where I met most of my friends. I played sports in middle school and did not really enjoy it, but in high school I was captain of the color guard for three years and loved it. I was part of the backstage crew in theater and was acting towards my senior year. My first role was in Fools, a town that was cursed , and I was cast as the crazy cat lady. I had no lines. All I did was stand on stage with a cat. I did a lot of stage managing and was part of the year book and photography club. I graduated Saint Helens High School in 2014. I am a communication major in college and I am heavily involved in the Film Festival. I really want to work at the Film Festival once I graduate. I love watching films with my favorite movie being the Empire Strikes Back. My mom and my sisters have been very influential in my life as well as my color guard instructor. They definitely shaped my passion and being a hard worker in anything I set my mind to.They have driven me to be the best person I can be.
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The Proposal

 

We knew that each other existed. We lived in the same town and went to the same school. We started talking in our sophomore year. I sat behind her in psychology and she would flirt with me in our Spanish class. She would steal my seat and my friend Trevor would give her the dirtiest looks. We decided to go on a double date to see Avengers and that is what really set us in motion. The first movie together solidified our feelings. I wanted to muster up the courage to talk to her and my dad had to give me a pep talk. However, Megan ended up making the first move. On Pay it Forward Day, Megan pulled me aside and handed me a card from her and kissed me. I was shocked. Although we had gone on several double dates, our first official date was Megan's birthday. We went to a Mexican restaurant and saw the Amazing Spiderman.

 

I had known I was ready to propose for quite some time. I think we both kind of knew that was what we both wanted and we had talked about it a lot. We both want to be together for the rest of our lives. I made a point that she had to be halfway done with college. I wanted to make sure she had her education done, its important.

 

I had been trying for a year to buy a ring. For some reason all these jewelers would not take my card. I had the cash on my debit card and the cards would not work, it was the most bizzare thing. It finally worked in October. The day I picked up the ring is the day I proposed. I knew Megan had plans to get her senior photographs done, so I had convinced her to get the date changed to the day I got the ring and she was able to do that. I had been texting her photographer, making sure she knew what was going on and where to meet at the park. I was shaking. I knew her answer. But Megan still manages to give me butterflies. I went up to her and told her I love her and got on one knee. I was visibly shaking and telling her how much I love her. As I am doing this there is this guy in the background yelling to his friend on the phone, “Holy shit! There is this guy at the park proposing!”

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Guns and Roses - Justin + Desiree Umpqua River Engagement

Oregon during springtime is a mixing bowl of every variety of weather. Hail, rain, hurricane like winds, 70 degree and sunny, 34 degrees and snowy. Luckily we were blessed with a beautiful sunny day for the official first day of Spring! The birds were chirping, the pink buds of cherry blossoms trees polka dotted the green shag carpeted countryside sponged with winters rain. All matters of life were out basking in a sun they had not seen in what felt like years. It was a beautiful day to go to the shooting range and share with Justin and Desiree an activity they both love to do together on their weekends.

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Desiree

I was born in Fallon Nevada I have 4 siblings 2 younger brothers 1 older brother 1 older sister (my only full blooded sister) I lived in Mojave California with my mom. I remember every Thursday I would go to the Franz bread store with my grandma and she would give me a quarter to get whatever candy I wanted. I moved to Colorado with my dad and stepmom and 2 young brothers and sister when I was 7 ! That’s when I got into cheerleading and softball and band. We moved to Lapine Oregon the end of my 8th grade year three months before the end of the school year. My freshman year I joined cheerleading and made the varsity team. I did cheerleading all four years of high school as well as played softball all through high school (sports were our life in my family all 4 of us kids did a sport every season) I joined dance with my best friend my sophomore year of high school and quickly dance became a huge part of my life. I can honestly say my dance family is the reason I am who I am today. Dancing helped me connect with myself and others on a level that I can’t explain to someone who has never experienced it. All the emotions I had as a teenager , anger towards parents (because we all know that parents are the devils at that age!) sadness from the boy who broke my heart, the high school drama ... were all channeled into dance. I finally found a group that I was accepted into with open arms even though I was a terrible dancer when I first started! The greatest emotion I have ever had even still to this day are the nerves you get right before going onstage and competing against a 1000 dancers who all have different levels of training or different styles of dance the different emotions you see in the faces of your competitors is just unreal! I then started teaching classes with my friend which is an experience in its own! Being able to give kids the same escape and opportunity I got was unreal! Even when I moved to Wyoming with J I was still Skyping with the team learning the choreography so when we moved home I could jump right back into it dancing and teaching! We moved to Roseburg and I would commute back and forth to Lapine every Monday and Tuesday for about a year until that sadly ended. Since then I have thought about opening my own studio maybe one day I will!
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Justin

I was born in Portland Oregon to Chris and Karin Conboy. I have one brother and one sister and two step brothers. I went to Aumsville Elementary school until 2001 when my family moved to central Oregon. I spent the summers working with my dad and can recall a lot of fond memories from then. My brother is five years older than I am but for the longest time he was a role model of mine. I wanted to do something that mattered. One of the big things for me, and being so young and remembering 911 (I was in the 5th grade when it happened and remembered watching it all from my living room) it gave me motivation to do something else. It was then I decided I wanted to join the military. At 17 I enlisted into the army with my parents consent. As soon as I graduated high school I went straight to basic training. I went thru basic training at Fort Knox Kentucky and from there AIT at Fort Sill OK and then was stationed at Fort Drum NY. I spent a year in Afghanistan between 2010-2011, during which time I was fortunate enough to keep in touch with a lot of old friends; but Desiree was always my constant. I left the army after I injured my knee.
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The Proposal

Justin: “We met in high school in Early Childhood Development class. Desiree was a freshman when I was a junior. I had not had my license that long, but a mutual friend every day would hitch a ride with me. One day when it was raining my friend said “We are going to give Dez a ride” I did not know who she was but gave her a ride. That was how we initially met. We text a lot and skyped a lot because I was stationed out of state. When I got deployed to Afghanistan there was a lot of girls that I talked to but there was nothing there. Desiree and I were seeing each other but it was not official that we were dating at this point but we talked all the time for the year I was away."

It took a little while but about three years into our dating I think is when I decided that I was ready to propose. I really wanted to find that person that I could spend the rest of my life with. It was a matter of figuring out how I wanted to do it. We went to the coast and originally my plan was to take her to Shore Acres and propose in this beautiful spot. So we are driving out to Coos Bay and then down to Bandon, then to Florence… I was literally scouting for the perfect place. We would be driving down the road and I would see a park and I would think, “oh a park!... lets pull over heeerre..” But I didn't. I don't find anywhere I want to propose. So we go to our hotel which is on the beach and Dez says she wants to get up early and walk on the beach and watch the sunrise. So the next morning we get up super early and get coffee. We go down to the beach and I suggest we go for a walk. We walk a solid mile down the beach and that was when I saw these cool rocks.  

I am thinking, “Alright, I'm going to figure out how to make this work. Right now.” So I climbed up on this slippery rock and Dez is asking me what I am doing and I tell her I am trying to get pictures. I stood on this really awkward shaped rock and I knelt down the best I could and I pulled out the ring and she cried like a baby and here we are today."

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Oh the places You'll Go! Cody + Megan Engagment - Brownsville OR

In Oregon its work hard and play hard regardless of weather and this rule was certainly no exception for Megan and Cody. It was a typical frigid Oregon day, winter still trying to cling to the countryside while spring tries to push herself through with hurricane like winds and torrential rain storms. Cody loaded us and his four wheelers into his truck and we took a quick jaunt over to Shotgun Creek, where Cody and Megan enjoy four-wheeling together in both rain and shine!

After much gallivanting in the woods we tucked ourselves into a four top at a local pub, where Cody and Megan spilled the beans on what makes these two tick.

So what I’m going to do is have you guys tell your stories. From the beginning. I want to know who Cody and Megan are. How did you meet?

Cody

I was born in Mountain View California in 1990. I was born to Jan and Anita Huxman.I have an older sister and a younger brother. We lived in California until my mom was offered a better position in Oregon. We moved into Pioneer Village when I was four and the moved to Philomath when I was six or seven. I played soccer as a kid, (like everyone else basically) and in middle school I switched over to footballand played that into my senior year. I was a left tackle or guard usually. My family was always very busy. My family is always breaking out in song, they are obnoxiously musical. My dad was a singing waiter in San Fransisco, my mom plays the piano and is also a gifted singer. I was always drawn to the drums when I was a kid, that is all I can remember is being obsessed with drums. When I was in the fourth grade my parents succumbed to it and bought me a red sparkly drum set that the paint had kind of rippled and chipped off, it had leather heads, and I absolutely loved it. I have played for a couple of big recording studios for churches and it has been a big part of my life.
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Megan

I was born in Bend Oregon and then moved to Redmond California. My parents are Dave and Becky McKinney, and I have two siblings I am the oldest of three. We lived with our grandparents for a while and then moved onto a ranch on the outskirts of Redmond. My most fond memories are of the ranch. We had horses and irrigation canals that we used to swim in all the time, (now looking back on is totally disgusting.) I played basketball and softball and rode horses. We were always very involved in sports and we camped a lot when I was younger. My parents surprised us with tickets to Hawaii and I was so excited that I cried. The first time I ever have been so excited about something I have cried. We stopped taking family vacations as we got older because we were so involved with sports and it was really fun. I went to Northwest Christian University in Eugene and played my Freshman year and got hurt. My major was undecided at first but I wanted to do something with teaching and church. After my first bible class I changed my major to Christian Ministry. Halfway thru my senior year in college I questioned my major again but didn’t want to be in school forever so i graduated with my Pastoral Ministry Degree. I absolutely love my job and now I am back in school so I can teach seventh and eighth grade English.
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The Proposal

Cody: "I had no plans of getting married. My goal was to be a rich bachelor. I really wasn't looking for anything. I wasn't looking for a fling or a relationships. She messaged me first because she is a go- getter. She saw my dashing good looks and she couldn't resist. We started talking and went out to breakfast. She talked the entire time, I don't know if I said anything. She asked if I wanted to hang out again and I said sure.  After our third date when I dropped her off at her house I high-fived her. As I was driving home I was thinking, 'oh my God did I high-five her?' I text her and asked and she said I did. I hadn't been dating in seven years so I was used to being with the bros."

I don’t think anyone is ever super ready to propose. I asked her dad, “When did you know it was the right time?” I asked my dad as well. As for me, I don’t know if I was ready, but I couldn't imagine a world where she wasn’t in it. So when I got to that point where I couldn't imagine my day to day life without her in it, I knew that I was ready. I can tell her anything and I don’t feel self-conscious around her. I think we have been married in our minds a long time.

I bought the ring in August and proposed at the end of November. I tried to propose three times and she kept screwing up. I had plans and then she would ruin them by making plans for us that weekend. If I planned something she would know. I am moderately spontaneous. I do not plan anything. Finally I came up with this plan. She loves Christmas, it's her favorite thing in the whole world. Oregon Gardens does their light display and I set it up to where my good friend Richard and his wife asked us to go with them so she didn't think i planned to do anything. I practiced proposing to Richard in the bathroom on one knee. Richard says to me, “Every good operation has a walk thru.” While I'm trying to get married to Richard they were doing whatever in their bathroom. There was this big giant 10 foot lit up present. I'm thinking A. super good picture.  B. I'm giving her this gift, she is the gift of my life, super cool symbolism. Family is super important to her so I made sure Richard was face-timing her parents so they could watch and be a part of it and she almost screwed that up as well. We get in the box and I get down on one knee. I wanted to say really romantic things but all that came out quietly was “will you marry me?” When we walked out of the present there were like 70 people standing outside watching.

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52 Week Challenge - Week 4 - Off Camera Flash

This week may have been a challenge for some of us photographers who shoot primarily "natural light." For those of you who do not "talk camera", photographers who shoot primarily in natural light are those who only use that of the sun to light their images. There are other photographers who employ the use of flashes ( strobes, softboxes, etc) to light images in equally amazing ways. This weeks challenge for us creatives was to use an off camera flash (a flash that is not built in or connecting to our camera bodies) to light an image. I unfortunatley had to bow out of this challenge, as we are deep in the process of moving our life 12 miles down the road into our new house, but there was some awesome peices submitted this week!

 Translucent Photography   

Translucent Photography

 

 Arcanum Photography

Arcanum Photography

 Eric Wyatt Photography

Eric Wyatt Photography

 Amy Booker Photography

Amy Booker Photography

 Gummow Photography

Gummow Photography

52 Week Challenge - Week 3 - Between 11pm-12am

What do photographers do when they are not logging countless hours in front of their computers creating stunning masterpieces for their clients? Why doing a 52 week challenge with their peers of course! These challenges give photographers the chance to use their creative juices and be a little wacky and fun with their work. The challenges are often obscure and thought provoking, resulting in some pretty incredible images! Last weeks theme was "Between 11pm - 12am" 

 Lauren Reber Photography

Lauren Reber Photography

https://www.facebook.com/LaurenReberPhotography/

https://www.instagram.com/laurenreberphotography/

 Celina Fournell Photography

Celina Fournell Photography

 Poppy and Sage Photography

Poppy and Sage Photography

 Brayden Video and Desgin

Brayden Video and Desgin

https://www.facebook.com/braydenvideo/

 Kristen Gargan Photography

Kristen Gargan Photography

 Connect Photography

Connect Photography

Beer - Icecream- Love - Justin + Kacie Enagement, Portland OR

Portland knows how to take engagement sessions to the next level and did not disappoint for Justin and Kacies outing a week before Christmas! The typical grey Oregon sky kept us cold but fortunately dry, the taps were flowing, the ice- creams were scooped and the dinosaurs were.... dinosauring. The epic saga of Justin and Kacie will take you across oceans, around the country and through the ever entertaining and precarious online dating world. Where we will learn that love prevails, and will always find its way, even when provided with the smallest of radius'. 

So what I’m going to do is have you guys tell your stories. From the beginning. I want to know who Justin and Kacie are. How did you meet?

Kacie

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I was born in Reno Nevada, the same hospital my mom and my sister and brother was born in. I am the oldest of three, ( and just had their 30th wedding anniversary! Congratulations!) It is very cool to watch them be together. I grew up and my family was very active in the church. Some of my fondest memories as a kid was going camping. It was a huge deal to my family. Every summer we would go camping, I remember this one time when we went camping with family friends we caught 50 fish that weekend and their sons would not gut any of the fish and I did. My entire childhood was surrounded by college sports, camping and church and road trips. We loved it. I graduated from Spanish Springs High School in 2008 and then I went to ministry school in Redding CA. I have always been fiercely independent. Straight out of high school I moved out of my mom and dads house, moved into my own apartment, lived off credit cards because I couldn’t find a job. Did the whole, ‘I’m 18 I am going to find my way!’ Then I moved to southern CA with the excited blessings of my dad, and was one of the best decisions I have ever made. All of my bridesmaids are from Orange County and that time of my life. Those girls are definitely my ‘ride or dies’. In 2014 I just had this little inkling in my soul around New Years that things were going to change, and I packed up and moved to Oregon by myself.

Justin

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I was born in Oklahoma City on Tinker Air Force base on one of the worst winter storms Oklahoma City has ever had. Which I think is why I love cold weather so much. Soon after we moved to Germany, which is where my first memories are from. I love the snow and I had these two friends Alex and Daniel that I remember hanging out with all the time. When I was four or five we moved from Germany to San Antonio and then two years in Tampa and then finally in Oklahoma, which is where I consider home. I remember starting school and I remember one of the first friends I made ( Chris, who happens to be in the wedding! ) for whatever reason, he just let me follow him around. i would just sit next to him, not say anything and he introduced me to a lot of the music that I am into today like Blink 182, Sum 41, and we played in a band together for several years playing covers of Blink 182. I bought a bass just to play in the band. I have a very strong appreciation and respect for music and those who are naturally gifted with it. Throughout high school Chris , Jack Chip and I were always together. As we went through school together Chip and I went on more adventures together and we ended up going to college together. After college I worked at a few jobs and was not happy with what I was doing and graduated with a sports journalist degree that I unfortunately did not want to pursue anymore. I decided that I should brew beer with my friend, as that is both a passion of ours. It has been trying at times and I wonder if this is the right choice but this is something that I really want to do.

How they Met - The Proposal

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Kacie-

We met on Tinder while I was living in Salem, but I was house-sitting for some friends in Beaverton and Justin was in Portland at the same time. My radius on the app was super small, so it was kind of a fluke that we even met. We had really fun conversations. He is the less funny than the two of us. But I did not win the “more funny award” until much later because I was so nervous about meeting someone that was so attractive and super cute! So my coworkers were adising me to drive an hour and a half from where I work to see a guy that I have never met before and I literally was like, ‘okay fine’. So I shared my location with a couple of my coworkers so they could keep an eye on me. My plan was to walk up to the window and if I did not like what I saw then I would just turn around and walk away and he would never know. But then I walked in and saw him and I said to myself, “oh I hope that’s him!” So shortly after we sat down I excused myself to the restroom and I deleted the Tinder app off my phone right then because this dude was legit. I text my friends to let them know I was fine and he was super cute! my favorite part of that entire evening was the way he talked about his family. Especially when he talks about his dad and the impact his dad has in his life. I knew that Justin was a good man, it was not until that I grew to learn why. So two weeks after Justin and I met, we were walking down the street and he says, ‘I’m gonna marry you, girl I’ma marry you.
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Justin

I was up in Portland with a few of my friends and I was on Tinder to make a few friends. If I had not been logged into Tinder at that time in that small window Kacie and I would not be together. It blows my mind every time I think about it. Our first date was on a Tuesday night at 10:00pm. We met at Caves, and we sat in this little booth and just talked. We shut that place down. Then we went to a nearby bar called Squirrels. I asked her what the best date she ever had was and she thought about it for a moment and said, ‘well this one’ and I was like, that is good, that is good!

I really think that I have found the person that compliments me the best and in our conversations I have fallen in love with how big her heart is in the last couple of years. I love how much she wants to give to people, sometimes to a fault. Kacie takes it to another level with her compassion. She lets me talk, vent and cry. With us, its always about, ‘what can I do for you?’ When either of us is in a tough spot we are always making sure we are fulfilling the other persons needs. Kacie brought that out in me. When things get tough and hard, there is nobody I want to do those tough and hard things with expect for her.

There is no one moment where it was clear when I was ready to propose, it just sort of happened. I think I knew when I was ready was when I had the ring, as the ring is her grandmothers. Kacie made it very clear that I was to ask her dad for his blessing. So every couple of months we go visit her parents and I chickened out the first time. I had to write down what I wanted to say and I would pace the bedroom. So the next time we went down there I woke up really early in the morning pacing the guest room. Her dad is an early riser so to get him alone I asked him if he wanted to take a walk. It was not even a question. He says to me, “You know I’m not going to say no to you. I want you to make sure her dreams come true. We don’t know each other very well but I know you treat my daughter well and I love you.” So I proposed on December 9th 2016 and coordinated with some friends to meet with us at the fountain at the riverfront. I told her there was a Christmas light display being shown and we should go. We walked over to the fountain and she says, “where are all the lights?” and I said, ‘well they are still setting up.’ I think that might have gave it away. I had my friend Anthony take a picture and I wrapped my arms around her like the traditional prom picture and told her to take a step forward and then I asked her to turn around and said to her, “You know what I can’t wait for? Spending the rest of my life with you.

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Vikingsholm Lake Tahoe Engagement

We left the Truckee Meadows valley to the sleepy blue sage crowned with their dusty yellow buds on Black Friday morning, grabbing our habitual cup of coffee and cranking the heater up in our car as far as it would go. We made our climb, scaling 2k feet up the silver peak of Mount Rose, her majestic peak, being touched by the rays of the morning sun, piercing an azure winter sky.  Peculiarly, the smell of summer still clung to the air, summer refusing to give winter its turn of residence to the Sierra Nevadas. Snuggling ourselves beside a fire outside our second Starbucks of the day in Tahoe, we met with the lovely Jennifer and Fernando.

"So what I'm going to do is have you guys tell your stories. From the beginning. I want to know who Fernando and Jennifer are. How you met, and what your dream wedding is going to look like."

I hit the red "record" button on my iPhone, set it down face up on the coffee table and began to listen to an amazing story of travel and nautical voyages...

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Jennifer

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I am from Monterrey Mexico. I am the eldest of three children, I have a little brother and a little sister. I was the kind of child that loved to play outside all of the time. I played many sports, basketball, soccer and track, I was a pretty hyper kid. My parents loved to travel a lot, and we have always liked to go to new restaurants, (my dad especially) to try new foods and go to all the tiny little towns and explore. My family loves to spend time together. My parents still live in San Antonio, but the rest of my family lives in Monterrey. I have a really sweet dog, a chow mix that is a bit of a monster. I began my college career in Mexico, and eventually transferred to San Antonio where I attended UTSA and graduated with a degree in mechanical engineering. I work with frozen beverage dispensers, like the ones you would see in movie theaters, it is really fun I get to play with ice cream all the time. I am really picky about my movies, Fernando knows, but my favorite two movies are Forest Gump and the Gladiator, which I will watch again.

Fernando

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I was raised in Tamaulipas Mexico. I moved to McAllen Texas, which is basically like little Mexico and finished high school there. I am one of three siblings, and I have always loved to play soccer. I am also very good with dogs, some people call me the dog whisperer! I moved to San Antonio and graduated UTSA. I really enjoy playing video games, shooters and platforms.
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How they met & the Proposal

Fernando : “We met at the Hispanic association at the college we both went to. We were best friends, we shared stories and issues with each other. To be honest, we were super close. We spent a lot of time together. We were not thinking about getting together - at all-. It just kind of happened. We were really good friends. She was doing her thing, I was doing my thing and it just sort of happened. I always make fun of her now because she would always say to me, “You are not my type.” And I would see, “oh gee, okay!” And here we are. I guess I took that as a challenge. One day we were at a social and went to laser tag, so I picked her up and we had a good time with the club. Afterwards we went for frozen yogurt and she just threw herself at me. I’m kidding, she just hugged me. It literally just happened. Everything from there is just history. There was not a set time that I decided hey, I want to marry this girl, but it was this progressive feeling. So Jennifer won a trip on a cruise and I started planning this proposal behind her back. I told her parents that I had the ring and was ready, and she has always wanted her parents around when I propose as she is close with her family. So we had to rearrange our cruise dates to accommodate everyone. We went on a cruise to We touched port in Jamaica and Grand Cayman. She had no idea that I had the ring. I knew she was going to expect something to happen so I made it seem as though we were going to pick a ring after the cruise. The next day we went to Cozumel, I saw the beach, the most beautiful beach I have ever seen. Jennifer was somewhere in the water and so I rounded up everyone and said, “It’s happening now. Grab whatever you need cause its happening.” Her dad, who really likes to photograph and had been photographing us all week was ready to go and began taking pictures. I just told her, this is the best experience in my life and the best of experience of my life is because of her and I would love to continue doing this for the rest of my life. She was like, “What are you doing?” and i popped the question. She cried for about five minutes, I was on my knees it hurt, I asked her, “Is that a yes?” And it was. That was six months ago.
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Wedding at Historic Calapooia Country Church - Jack + Mia

Southern Oregon reserved one dry fall day on November 11th 2017 to herald the small country wedding of Mr. and Mrs. Randall. The quaint ceremony and cozy reception was held on the historic property at Calapooia Country Church. Built in 1906, the little white wooden church is surrounded by rolling emerald hills, the wizened oak trees, almost bare, shedding the last of their golden tresses.

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Mother of the Groom

I am so thrilled that Jack found such a wonderful girl, and one who sees and appreciates his own great qualities. We just love Mia - and her family! My favorite thing about Mia is her love of family! We see Jack more often and have so much fun with them. Mia makes Jack a better man. We are not just gaining a daughter but a new and improved son as well! Speaking as someone who has greatly improved by my own spouse, I can tell you that the best marriages are between people who make each other better people. Today is very much a family affair with our two clans working hard to pull off a loving and festive celebration. From homemade tamales to perogis, hand crafted decorations, borrowed tables and chairs, and the long distance traveled by many family members, I think this is a pretty amazing way to launch Jack and Mia into their new life together.

Father of the Bride

I am so happy that Mia was able to be married in a church, and Jack is a very good person. Even though Mia is now married she is always going to be my daughter, my princess. I will always be close to her, and she will always be close to me. My house is always open to her and her new family. I will always be there for her.
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Erika - Maid of Honor

First I wanted to acknowledge each and every one of you and hank you for coming, we wouldn’t be able to make this day happen without your love and support. The Lord has blessed us here today with a gorgeous bride and a handsome groom.
Mia and I always green up dreaming of our perfect wedding. And look around us, we could not be even more blessed to have such a beautiful day. Anyone can be passionate, but it take a real pair to be silly. When Mia and Jack are together they let their guard down. Together, the are two of the goofiest people I know. Jack and Mia are a very funny, sarcastic, and awkward couple. Jack has horrible jokes and Mia always seems to back them up anyways. Without Jack there is no Mia.
I have never seen her so happy in my life. Everything about Jack turns Mia back into the little 8 year old girl who spent her time planning her wedding for the future. And that future is today. There is a Bible verse that I would like to go over with Mia and Jack,
1 John 4:12 says: ‘ No one has ever seen God, but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.’
As for the couple, always remember that there is no love greater than Gods love.
I love you both dearly, and I wish you nothing but blessings.

Best Man

Mia - Jack is incredibly stubborn, and he twists any sort of fact and occurrence to fit any preconceived theory he has, even if those theory involves feelings and he wont give it up no matter what. Jack insists that onions did not make him cry for several weeks when he was about nine. To prove him wrong I chased him down with a cut onion to make him cry. Anyways, when Jack starts talking about how it might be aliens, don’t say I did not warn you. Have Fun!
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Father of the Groom

I am glad Mia is part of our family and glad that Jack met her. I think they are going to have a very happy and fruitful relationship and I look forward to seeing them grown

Mother of the Bride

My wish for Mia and Jack is to very happy and that their marriage be forever. May God bless them and their house and where ever their adventures take them.
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Pastor

I don’t know if you were expecting to be proposed to at a wedding, but that’s what’s happening right now. God Himself, who is doing the miracle in front of you, uniting Jack and Mia, would invite you to be his bride. And you can ask anyone who has that relationship with Jesus - it’s better if we’re together. Now, just from the fact that you are here for this wedding, you can agree that Jack and Mia are good together, and they love each other, and they have something together that they share that is special and worth having.

Jack - Groom

I love you. I have loved you for most of the time that I have known you, and I am glad that you finally agreed to marry me. You have made my life lovely and joyful, and there is nothing I would like more than to spend the rest of it with you. I do not know what the future holds, but I promise to always be there for you and to never forget the feelings that I have for you. If God is half as good to us in the years to come as he has been during the past two, then we are blessed indeed.
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Oh the sights you'll see! - Umpqua National Forest Engagement - Casey + Danica

It was a cool and brisk November fall day in the Umpqua Valley. Bulging grey rain clouds meandered above the emerald crowns of the Ponderosa Pines, while the Big Leaf Maples shed the last of their golden and auburn leaves. The Umpqua River, cutting a deep blue rivet through the valley, gurgled away as it typically does, small silver crests rippling across the surface of the rather busy river.  The forest was gentle, quiet, the smell of cozy wood burning stoves being left behind for the crisp clean perfume of fall time in the wood.

So what I’m going to do is have you guys tell your stories. From the beginning. I want to know who Casey and Danica are. How did you meet?

I pressed the red button to record on my phone and settled near the warmth of the fire. Casey and Danica, snuggled on their blanket, shared warm cups of hot chocolate as their joyful origin story of the future Mr. and Mrs. Barrett began to unfold.

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Danica

I grew up in Issaquah Washington which is 30 minutes from Seattle Washington. I am one of four children, I have two brothers and an older sister. I have the most amazing parents and the most amazing siblings in the whole world. I wouldn’t say that we lived on a farm, but we did have 12 llamas, we did 4H, and since we did not live near any friends (although my mom would always drive me to my friends houses if I asked) my siblings and I became my best friends. We always played with each other. We never had anything to worry about in Issaquah, it was a quiet and safe little town. When I graduated high school I thought I wanted to be in the fashion industry, so I moved to Los Angeles. At 17 yrs old i moved to LA and attended the Fashion Institute. It was extremely eye opening. I realized I preferred a smaller town, and although i made some great friends I did end up moving back to Washington. At that point I was not sure what I wanted to major in but I got accepted to the University of Oregon. I became roommates with three random girls off Craigslist, (THAT is always a fun adventure!) and shortly after I moved to Eugene I got a job. I ended up getting a job at Millais at 5th Street Public Market and that is actually where I met Casey.”
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Casey

I grew up in a small neighborhood and had a couple of friends on the street. I have 11 brothers and sisters so most of my friends were inside my house. I was one of the older so it was a little crazy growing up. I am used to a lot of noise and activity. In high school I made sure I worked, my Mom and Grandparents instilled a good work ethic in us, so we would spend the summers working on the ranch. I did not know what I wanted to study in college so I just started working in the family business with my Grandfather with the idea that I could learn a lot from him, and if I ever wanted to go back to school that was something that I could do. I have worked with him for the past 12 years and he is a very significant person in my life.
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And Then There Were Two...

So Casey and I were working on the same re-modeling project at my work. I honestly did not have my eyes on him at first, but everyone kept saying, “Casey on 5th Street, Casey on 5th Street,” I was having a Halloween and his roommate at the time had a crush on my coworker. So i invited them to the party and that is where our connection first happened. I let him borrow (he kind of stole) my aviators and ended up taking them home and someone I got his phone number that night. A week or two later I text him asking if I was ever going to get my sunglasses back and the rest is kind of history!
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The Proposal

We were dating for 7 years before we got engaged. I proposed on Secret Beach in Kauai. It was a stormy day and there were really big waves. I pretended that I had found a ring in the sand. I was down on one knee as Danica was looking at me like, “you just found this ring?” And I just kept saying, well we found this ring so we might as well get married.
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Its Fall!!

Its October! The time of year where the air in the Pacific Northwest is crisp and cool, heavy with the perfume of wood burning stoves. The leaves on the trees turning from their infamous green to all shades of yellows, auburn's, deep oranges and burnt browns. The Pumpkin Spice latte is back in full swing! (Yes I love me some Pumpkin Spice Latte) and I was able to haul out my suitcase of scarves and box full of boots. Additionally, my nightly ritual of lighting all 10 of my pumpkin candles scattered around my house is in full swing, (and I realize now I might have a slight pumpkin addiction.) However, October is my favorite month of the year and Halloween is my favorite holiday so if being a pumpkin - crazed addict is the worst thing that ever happens to me I feel like I’m doing a pretty good job.   

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As is the fall tradition that we are certainly not exempt from, this last Saturday my family and I made the small trek to our local farm ( Kruse Farms for you locals.) The Kruse Family has built quite the legacy with their public friendly farm. Their fruit stand is almost always busy, bursting to the seams with organic locally grown apples, walnuts, assorted veggies. It also has an entire wall full of homemade jams and a case full of homemade pies. It is amazing, it is the talk of the town. We pulled up to their pumpkin patch and Parker was off, winding through the bright green vines searching for the perfect “punkin.” It took about 5 minutes flat for the perfect punkin to makes itself known to the very picky 3 year old, and then the quest started anew for daddys and mammas punkins.

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Legend has it that an Irishman named “Stingy Jack” was having a drink in a bar with the Devil one night. Being true to his name however, Stingy refused to pay for his own drink. So the devil turned himself into a coin and offered himself as payment for the beverages of both. Stingy decided to pull a fast one on the devil however, and instead of spending the coin put it in his pocket next to a silver cross. The devil was now trapped for the foreseeable future as a coin for as long as he was next to the cross. Eventually Stingy did release him on a promise the Devil wouldn't take his soul if he died. The Devil was tricked by Stingy one more time (although this is amazing to me because he’s like, the devil) and finally when Stingy died both God and the Devil denied access to their respective realms because he was that bad of a person. He was destined to walk the earth with only a glowing coal in a carved turnip to light his way. Thus the Irish called it “Jack of the Lantern” or simply, “Jack O'Lantern”

 

The more you know right?    

 

Luckily for me and mine we did not have to trick the devil this day and carved cute little faces into our pumpkins because it’s what you do in 2017 and it’s fun and you don't have to worry about it lighting the way in some suspended universe.

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Wedding at Sunriver Resort - Bend OR - Michael + Kelsie

Bend Oregon. The perfect cute town which is highly doted upon by locale Oregonians. On the outskirts of town tucked quietly amidst the Western yellow pine trees is Sunriver Resort. A village all of its own, Sunriver is a home away from home, cabins dotting sage covered lots in clusters, the little village hosting pizza joints, several brewery's, a kayak rental, and where would a village be without its very own Starbucks. It was here were soon to be Mr. and Mrs Hirko would say their vows and dance the night away in the great hall of Sunrivers main resort.

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Kelsie Hirko - Bride

I am from Portland and Michael is originally from Florida but he has lived in Bend most of his life. Michael and I met while I was majoring in sports management i needed an internship. So one of my family friends suggested the baseball stadium in Bend. So after I applied and got the position the very first day I got there Michael was the first person I met. I went up an introduced myself. My first project while I was there was painting picnic tables and later Michael told me, “the whole time I just couldn’t keep my eyes off your butt!” Our friendship lasted long before we started dating. Since I was living in Bend alone at that time Michael’s parents took me in, and really became a second set of parents. At the end of each game I would go and have dinner with his family. After the summer I studied abroad and we were able to sustain a relationship long distance.

He proposed during a last minute vacation to our families beach house. I had a few stipulations. He had to ask my dad, he had to say my full name, I had to have my nails done and I wanted a picture of it happening! I knew he had been trying for a while to ask my dad. We had a nice long walk to the beach and then on our way back we stopped at a store to get wine. It took him the entire walk back to the house where he got down on one knee and asked me to marry him. After we ate mini corn dogs in celebrated all night long!

One of the reasons I know I love Michael is that when I go to bed before him I still miss him and I wont be able to fall asleep until he comes to bed.
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Father of the Bride

Keep your family and friends close. Be nice to each other, be nice to your friends. You will have a long and happy life. To Michael and Kelsie!”

Steven - Best Man

Alright! Always tough to follow the father of the bride! Thank you to bride and grooms families! They have always been hospitable since I first met them. I am truly blessed to be welcomed by the families and to be here. Mike I met you and we were junior in high school and ever since the beginning we always had fun. More than anything else that has always been where we have been as friends. I can honestly say from the bottom of my heart that getting to know and getting closer to Kelsie I have watched you grow up into a man. I thought I was supposed to be the best looking person in the room today... I’m a little offended! But Kelsie you look beautiful today! Take care of each other, as we have seen life happening thru good times and bad you two have been there for each other. Kelsie we know you like a challenge and hey, you guys have one right there.

Michael - Groom

We have been together for five years. We have a really special and strong relationship. I knew that it was something really special when she went to study abroad and we were able to sustain a relationship.

There was this one time I had to have shoulder surgery and I was really nervous. At the time we lived 3 hours apart and she drove all the way home one night to be with me for my surgery. That was really important to me.

Our relationship is really special. We are with each other 24/7 and we never bite each others head off. I love her and I think we are really strong togeher
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Wedding at Jasper House Farms- Pleasant Hill OR - Brian + Taylor

September 2nd 2017 became a toasty 103 degrees, a day that greeted Oregonians to a hot, humid and smokey day from the surplus of wildfires seen in the state throughout the month of August. The heat however was no match for the flame which was ignited by the love of Brian and Taylor O'Connor, who could have fooled anyone with how seemingly little concern they had for the fires , the smoke or anything else. Their eyes and hearts on this day were only turned toward each other.

The O'Connors shared their vows of matrimony with their closest friends and family at a quaint little farmhouse nestled in the golden backcountry of Pleasant Hill OR. Rows of hazelnut trees stood tall and regal, the leaves on the branches making a dry rustling sound, the herald of Fall soon to come.

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The smell of freshly made stone - oven baked pizza greeted the weddings guests after the ceremony performed by the brides brother. The aromatic smell of the baked dough was laced with the sweeter smells of the blackberry and plum bushes which grow all over the property, wrapping around the reception and whetting everyones appetites.

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Under the shade of a hazelnut tree, Brian and Taylor spent a few minutes alone, while setting behind them in the sky, the sun blazed a burnt orange and red, not unlike one of Tattooines twin stars. A truly fitting end to this couples destiny filled evening. 

Tristan - Brother of the Bride

"I want to say to you and Brian how you are meant for each other and the how the ceremony solidify s that. I want to tell you one thing about covenant. A covenant originally is like a sacred promise. As you join in this covenant there are going to be hard days, but it going to be worth it. You two are beautiful and meant for each other. You are in my thoughts and prays, I love you guys so much.

Mother of Bride

"Hi Taylor and Brian! Its mom. I want to tell you how much i love you both and how very happy I am for both of you. If I could give you any marriage advice it would be that, you fight But you work really hard for what you love, it means compromise, making concessions for one another. When you do those things the rewards are so great. There are going to be days where you don't like each other and that's okay. Work really hard to hold on to what you love. I love you, and I am so happy for you."

Garrett - Best Man

This is going to be really short and simple. Brian and Taylor used to work with me at CMS. Taylor used to hate me, so I thought. She used to monitor all my calls and give me bad monitors. Brian was always angry looking and people were intimidated by him until they get to know him. These two compiment each other, she has the brians, he lifts anything she needs lifting and puts it where she wants it. They couldnt be better together than anyone else I could imagine. Here is to them!"

Father of the Groom

"I wish Brian and Taylor all the best for the rest of their lives. To health, happiness and love! Brian you are very lucky."
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Nanette - Brides Stepmom

"Do not sweat the little things. Let the little things go and pick your battles. Make sure that when you fight you fight over things that matter. I still remember Taylor as a little girl and is so hard to imagine her being a bride today! I love you!"

Father of the Bride

"I just want to thank everyone that came today to enjoy this special moment with my daughter and my son -in - law. Marriage is a lot of hard work. It is not always fun and happy. But there is a lot of love. I remember when Taylor was a baby and I would carry her, she would go to nobody. She was always hanging on to me. I would have to hold her wherever we went. She would say, "Dad, dad!" Taylor is such a strong willed woman. She is so like me. We both want to lead. No matter what I love you and here is to many more years to you two. Let the party begin!

Taylor - Bride

"I used to work for a call center and I had to listen to Brian's phone calls. I fell in love in with him because he has an amazing phone voice. We went on a hike one day to Susan Creek falls when the weather was nice. I wasn't expecting the proposal. We were looking at the water and I was wondering if the water was cold. So he got down to the waters edge and touched it but then he turned around and got down on one knee. I was all hot and sweaty and gross looking and I was just thinking, "oh my gosh". It turns out he was not supposed to propose to me that way at all, he had planned a surprise party at the same time I was planning a surprise birthday party I wanted to throw for him because nobody in my family can keep a secret. I really love the way he ended up proposing though, it was sweet and intimate. 
When Brian and I got together it was during a rocky time in our life. He met my entire family within 24 hours of our dating. My family loved him immediately though and treated him as family.  I am proud of Brian and how far he has come and his accomplishments and becoming the man he wants to be. It makes me so happy and its amazing."

Groom

" Hey babe, its your husband I love you so much. I just wanted to say how excited I am to finally do this. It has been quite a ride. I remember the first time we met, and how you were scared to talk to me because I look intimidating. Look where we are now! I can not wait to see you in your dress and be together forever. You have treated me like a King during times when I should have been treated so well. You area always there for me. You are the best part of my days and my nights, my life. I never want it to stop. I can not wait for this to be complete led. This is all you, I am so proud of you and love you and I can not say it enough. I never want to stop loving you, this is amazing and I am happy that our families get along. I love you forever. I will see you at the altar."
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Wedding at Campbell House Inn - Cody & Lindsay

The wedding hosted at the Campbell House Inn was hosted in a charming and sweet pocket of welcomed shade in the downtown hustle and bustle of Eugene OR. This creme elegant home built in 1892 was potted among towering trees and framed with flowering bushes of every kind. Below, in a renovated bridal suite, Lindsay and her bridesmaids were enjoying the sunny days in the cool indoors, snacking on pizza and being properly pampered. At 4:00 pm Cody saw his bride for the first time as she walked down the isle, her face in a glowing smile as he tried to hide the tears in his eyes. In front of their closest family and friends, Cody and Lindsay announced their love to the world.  

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Lisa - Maid of Honor

I have known Lindsay for forever, since high school, and I have known Cody since she started texting him. Lindsay has gone thru a lot of hardships in her life, and to watch her meet the love of her life I knew the moment I met him he was going to be a Mr. Forever. Looking at them I actually see that true love happens in this world. I cant wait for them to grow in their relationship. Cody is such a caring and awesome person and I adore them both. Two people in this world managed to find each other and I am so happy. I could not wish for a better person to steal my wife away, because she was my person first Cody Paulsen don't you forget that.

Michelle -Mother of the Groom

I am Michelle, Codys stepmom, first of all I want to say thank you to the wedding planners and Campbell Inn. Secondly I want to thank Jim, thank you for making this day amazing and for supporting and loving them daily. Last but not least, Cody and Lindsay, I love you. I am so proud of you. I am proud of the woman and man you have become, the parents that you are, the family you have created. On behalf of everybody we will be here to hold you accountable and love you and support you for the rest of your lives . My only advice is to keep God as your center. If you keep God as your center, he will make everythign come together regardless of what happens. I love you and congratualtions.
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Jim - Father of the Bride

"During Kindergarten year, I had the privilege to coach her soccer team and many teams thereafter. The girls were always excited for their first game because of their matching uniforms. Lindsay had the privilege of becoming the first goal keeper I ever had, she stood in front of the goal cones smiling and watching the other girl run around, the ball came around and scored a goal. She was latched onto my leg in about 15 seconds, her head underneath my coat, and wouldn't come out. But she came out and went back on the field where she played for eight more years. Thru the years she tried gymnastics, basketball, indoor soccer, dance, softball, cheerleader and playing the violin. She did everything. As a father I didn't think there would be good enough for my little princess. I was very wrong. I have come to know and greatly respect Cody as they grow over time. Cody is caring, thoughtful and attentive. He works long hard hours and still makes time for Lindsay and the children. It is clear to me that he is the man for Lindsay. I am proud and happy he is in her life. He listens to her, he respects her, and he puts her on a pedestal. Cody and Lindsay seemed to form instant bonds with each other daughters. They get along so well, both are loving parents and put the children in front of their own needs. 'They complete each other' they calm each others fears, relax each others anxiety and work towards the future. Its a beautiful thing to see. Please join me in a toast for Cody, Lindsay, Paisley, Regan and Declan. To family."
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Lindsay - Bride

"My name is Lindsay I was born in Portland OR and have lived in Eugene since I was three my dad and brother. I graduated from Churchill High school in 2007 and went to U of O. Cody changed everything, we would always joke about one day getting married and having a baby and here we are getting married today and we have a beautiful baby boy. We met online and hit it off. I never wanted to get married, I never thought I would commit to somebody, but with him I am excited and I am not nervous at all. 
I had already picked out my engagement ring - because that is how I am. The ring was sitting in the closet and I was not allowed to wear it. So one day we were going up to Portland to my Grandmas house and I was a little irritable because I wanted to take the ring to show my grandma. Well apparently he had already told my family that he was going to propose that day (even though I did not know that)  and all day long everyone was on edge waiting for him to pop the question. He got down on one knee and he said my full name in front of my entire family. I kept saying, 'Are you serious?' Because I didn't think it was going to happen. Everyone was crying. He knows that I do not like surprises, i know everything about everything so that was a little bit of a shock.
We are just a team. I am his person and he is mine. Cody I love you so much and I am so excited to see you in a few hours and I can not believe we are doing this today. You are amazing and the best person I could ever wish to be with. I love you so much."

Patton - Best Man

"I am a long time friend of Codys, as long as I can remember. Before I start this speech, if i sound nervous its because I am. Cody, you have always been like a brother to me and a family member. From growing up together, like doing dumb things together at the skate park, breaking bones, or you knocking yourself out at the skate park here, or going to hard during our party days. Now man, you have became a role model as a father and a husband. I could not be happier for you and your beautiful wife, you two are perfect. Lindsay, I only met you a week before today, but you have made Cody the happiest I have ever seen him, and changed him into the best man I have ever met. For that I want to thank you. As the best man I guess I am supposed to give some advice on marriage, even though I am not. I would like to say, one love another and you will always be happy. It is as difficult and as simple as that. To Cody and Lindsay, I hope for the best marriage and a long life. I love you guys."
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A Tea and Taco Engagement - Brandon + Caitlin - Lauren Reber Photography

I pushed open the door to Townshends Teahouse and was immediately enveloped with the warm earthy tones that only an organic tea house can provide. The smell of dried herbs perfumed the air, and there was not one patron who did not have their nose stuck in a book. For bibliophiles like Caitlin, she was sure to be on Cloud 9. Brandon and Caitlin were sitting across from each other next to one of the three floor to ceiling windows that looked out onto a hip and adorably manicured downtown Eugene. I sat down next to them and shook both their hands and got right to it.

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"So what I'm going to do is have you guys tell your stories. From the beginning. I want to know who Brandon and Caitlin are. How you met, and what your dream wedding is going to look like."

I hit the red "record" button on my iPhone, set it down face up on the coffee table and began to listen to the All American tale...

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Caitlin

"So I grew up in the sunny central valley of California - Lodi. My parents (Ma and Pa Law as they are referred to by most of my friends!)  are incredibly awesome and I am so blessed to have them as parents. I love everything about my childhood. I played competitive softball growing up. Every weekend I would play softball and made some really amazing friends and it taught me how to prioritize things. Softball is actually what ultimately brought me to Oregon. I went to Willamette University to play softball but unfortunately sustained an injury which kept me from playing any longer. My first year in Oregon I really struggled because it was raining all the time, I needed my sunshine. One of my friends from softball convinced me to stay and see how beautiful the summers are. So I did. There is nothing quite like the access to all the hiking trails and being outdoors. It is really special to me.
I also love to drink beer! I love beer, its delicious, I have two hops tattoos. I have made friends in the beer industry. It has been a big part of my life in a non- alcoholic way. I am like the cheapest date ever! It takes me like two hours to drink a beer because I am so chatty! 
I am a nerd, lets just put that out there. I love Harry Potter. I was 12 when Harry Potter was 12 and I resonated with that because it was like growing up with that person and that magical world. My birthday is the same as Hermione!  In fact my grandpa is the one who bought the first book for me. It has been something I kept up with and have maintained friendships with people who are also crazy Harry Potter nerds. Standing in line for midnight releases for books and all of that.  I am also a huge Lord of the Rings fan, my dad gave me my first book, The Hobbit, so then of course I had to read the whole Lord of the Rings trilogy. My cat is named Treebeard! Treebeard and the Ents are my favorite characters."
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Brandon

"I grew up in Salem, born and raised. I finally left for this one right here." Brandon looks and Caitlin and smiles. " I went to the school right down the road from my house and two awesome parents and one sister who lives in Colorado with my nephew. I was little crazy back in the day. Nothing like, awful, but I was a handful for my mother I would say. It was bad. I feel bad for my mother, it took me a while to grow up.  I love to play Disc golf. I am all about it. It is like my yoga, when I am out there I really don't think about anything else. It is a very peaceful thing for me. 

How they met & The Proposal

"Well MY best friend met Caitlin's best friend. So she moved in with them for a little while. I looked at Lindsay and was like, "hook me up?" and she gave me the death stare and said "nope don't even think about it." I did not listen for long apparently." Caitlin laughed and added

"Our first date was actually here in Townshends! I love tea, and Brandon was like, "this is kind of weird" but the Tacovre was not open yet so I suggested we get some tea before tacos and then it kind of become a thing for us.

"I knew the proposal was coming! " Caitlin laughed. "So every Sunday I get off of work early and we go play disc golf together. He normally throws first but this time he finished a hole an suggested i throw first the next time. not thinking of it i threw it and crushed it and was freaking out because it was the best hole yet. I turned around and he had a beer for me with the ring tied to it. It was so cute, we were the only one of this tee pad so it was just the two of us."

"He did good. He did good. I had been looking at stuff on Pinterest and sending him pictures. He was shopping for rings and kept saying, "this is not the right one". I just told him that I wanted something evil looking. So we went to our first jewelry store in the beginning and I said, "yeah I am looking for a ring that could look like it would collect souls" and the jewelers face just dropped and was totally put off. The next jeweler we went to were totally amazing and had the exact ring in mind for me. They completely custom designed my ring and it turned out better than I could have hoped for."

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 The clock struck noon and Brandon's taco senses were tingling. Piling into the car we made the one mile trek to the infamous Tacovore, a taco joint nestled in the heart of downtown Eugene, always brimming with clients hungry for spicy taco-ie goodness and ice cold beers.  Brandon grabbed Caitlin's hand, his face looked a little thoughtful for a brief moment in between giggles, "If you had asked me before about getting married, I would have said 'Nope'. But when you just know. Well... things change"

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Follow Friday! Glow Skincare by Shannon

It is Follow Friday! Wait, what is that? Follow Friday will be a day designated to fellow business owners that I greatly admire and have worked with in the past and will be working with in the future. Too often we get wrapped up in business and in life. We hire people to work for us without getting to know who they are. What makes their business unique? Why is it they love what they do? This is where I would love to shed some light. Follow Fridays will host a plethora of unique businesses from photography to fine art replica designers. I am so excited and honored to introduce to you the creative minds of the working world and what they do make our lives a little more magical.

Glow Skincare by Shannon

Tell Us about yourself!

As an only child, I grew up on a llama farm in South Central Oregon. My weekends were filled with playing in the barn, swinging in a hammock and catching fish in the irrigation ditch.  As an introvert, I enjoyed being by myself and avoided being the center of attention.
I have a passion for interior design, green living, minimalism, traveling, loving people, flowers (beautiful aromas) and being creative.

I’m the biggest U2 fan ever! I have attended multiple concerts and can honestly say, those were some of the best moments of my life!

I have an amazing husband and two dogs named Jack and Teddy. 

A vegetarian for five years, I love organic whole food. Recycling is very important to me. (I’ve been known to pull stuff out of other people’s trash to recycle it.)

I am a supporter of humanitarian work and I give financially to those who work for the poor. I think giving to the poor makes a difference in the World.

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Why did you want to become an Aesthetician?

In my early 20’s I struggled with acne and made an appointment with my first aesthetician. After a few treatments—and starting a skin care routine—I saw an immediate improvement. I fell in love with skin care and developed a passion to help others obtain beautiful skin.
 
I light up inside when I think about helping people to have beautiful skin.  Everything about it is so fascinating to me!  It never gets old and there is always something to learn. When I see a client’s self-esteem rise after a skin treatment, makeup consult, or brow shape, it fills me with joy.
 
Skin is very personal. It is such an honor to be able to do something that affects a person’s self-confidence. I’ve seen women cry because they felt so happy and thankful. I had one woman tell me, after her facial, that it was the best moment of her life.

 

 

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What are some tips you can share to help people have healthy glowing skin?

I view skin care from a holistic perspective. Healthy-looking skin reflects your inner health, which means healthy glowing skin comes from the inside out. You have to take care of your skin internally and externally. Not just one thing works; it’s a multitude of things combined that provide whole-body wellness.
 

  • Eat whole organic foods—increase your intake of antioxidant-rich foods such as colorful vegetables, berries, fruits and drink green tea. 
  • Avoid dairy products if possible—they can be a contributor to acne.
  • Drink at least 8–10 eight-ounce glasses of filtered water a day.
  • See a Naturopath who can recommend the kind of supplements that can benefit your overall health.
  • If you smoke, quit. Smoking can add ten years to your skin’s appearance. 
  • Exercise daily to reduce stress, support your body’s natural detoxification, and reduce inflammation.
  • Throw out unnecessary products that contain toxic additives or the mystery ingredient “fragrance.” If they will not tell you the contents of the product, chances are it is not good for you.
  • Wear a chemical free, SPF 30 broad spectrum sunscreen everyday for the rest of their life, even if it is cloudy.

 
At home regimes: An “at home skin care regime” is so important!  What you do at home on a regular basis can make or break how your skin looks and feels. I highly recommend seeing an aesthetician to get you on the right track. Find an aesthetician who understands the importance of an at-home skincare regime. One who will work with your lifestyle and stay within your budget. They should be willing to teach you how to best care for your particular skin with organic plant-based skincare products.
 
Skin treatments: Facials are so much more than an hour of indulgent pampering. They have enormous benefits to the health and wellness of your skin, both in the short and long term. When you consider all of the regular visits you make—dentist, hair salon, gym—you'll realize you really should be focusing some time on your skin, especially when seasons change and your skin is at its most vulnerable.

 

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What is one misconception you would like to dispel about your profession?

First, we are not miracle workers. Good skin comes from you. Diet + facials + every day skin care = HEALTHY skin at any age!
 
Second, not every aesthetician will be a good fit for you. Do your research. A good aesthetician will listen to you, ask questions, and will recommend a home skin care regime while honoring your budget.

Ask if they offer a complimentary facial assessment. This gives you an opportunity to meet the person providing the facial. A “meet and greet” is a good way to determine if you feel comfortable spending your hard earned money with this skin care practitioner.

Let’s be real…having someone touch your face and extract your pimples and blackheads is an intimate and personal thing.  You want to make certain that you feel comfortable with this person and—if you are anything like me—you are going to want to make sure the facial room is spotless.

 

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What kind of new organic skincare products are on the market that we need to know about?

There are some amazing organic skincare lines out there. What I want people to understand is that skincare products can be a major source of toxins. Most are packed with chemicals and artificial ingredients that may only have a temporary positive effect on the skin. In the long-term they can have negative effects. Artificial ingredients can be absorbed  into the skin and build up in the body.

Cosmetics are among the least-regulated products on the market. Over 80 percent of all ingredients used in cosmetics have not been evaluated for safety by any publicly accountable institution. The FDA does not require companies to conduct pre-market safety studies on cosmetic products or their ingredients.

The good news is, there are natural options that work better than most commercial products, without all the harmful ingredients. When you are looking to buy skin care products, look at the ingredients. Try to select products with twenty ingredients or less. Research the ingredients. It is important to know who the maker is and how each ingredient is derived. Everything must be sourced naturally and never tested on animals.

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How do you feel you set yourself apart from others who offer aesthetician services?

One thing that sets me apart from others is that I offer apothecary facials. All my facial masks are handmade at the time of service using only the purest, organic plant based materials. Because your skin is the largest organ in your body, it is my job to make sure every product and service I offer is as clean as possible while providing amazing results.

For instance, I have a kale compound rich in vitamin K, carrot seed extract contains vitamin A—which acts like Retina A. Juniper hydrosol is beneficial for people with oily skin, rose Geranium hydrosol is beneficial for people with dry and sensitive skin, chamomile compound calms inflammation in the skin, and Arnica is antibacterial, antiviral, and anti-inflammatory.
 
I personalize my apothecary facials to each individual’s needs and let nature’s powerful soothing and beautifying effects heal skin naturally.

 


Facebook: Glow Skin Care
Instagram: @glowskincareshannon
Website: glowskincareshannon.com
Contact: 541-580-4998

 

Follow Friday! Hair By Kelly Ingvalson

It is Follow Friday! Wait, what is that? Follow Friday will be a day designated to fellow business owners that I greatly admire and have worked with in the past and will be working with in the future. Too often we get wrapped up in business and in life. We hire people to work for us without getting to know who they are. What makes their business unique? Why is it they love what they do? This is where I would love to shed some light. Follow Fridays will host a plethora of unique businesses from photography to fine art replica designers. I am so excited and honored to introduce to you the creative minds of the working world and what they do make our lives a little more magical.

Hair By Kelly Ingvalson

Tell Us about yourself!

I love traveling and going on adventures with my husband, being an Auntie, spending time with my family and friends, eating healthy and working out, finding cute coffee shops to hang out at, reading self - help books, and enjoying the freedom and peace of a minimalist lifestyle.

You can contact me here!

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/hairbykellyingvalson/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/hairbykellyingvalson/

What made you decide to become a hairstylist?
 

Being a hairstylist has always been a dream of mine since I was really young! Hair has been a passion of mine before I can truly remember! I started cutting my own hair at 2, and it never stopped after that! As a little girl, I was always doing my own hair and everyone else around me--I have two older sisters and I was constantly braiding and styling their hair any chance I could growing up, and that still hasn't changed to this day. But it wasn't just the love of hair that encouraged me to enroll in beauty school and pursue my dream -- I'm truly passionate about people! I love to uplift others and make people feel better not just on the outside, but on the inside too -- so I knew pairing my passion for hair and people would be the best career possible for me!

Is there anyone in the hair industry that inspires you?

Yes! Absolutely! I have so many hair artists that I follow who inspire me, motivate me, and encourage me. Here are a few people who have not only inspired me as a hairstylist, but also as a boss lady!

Riawna Capri and Nikki Lee -- hairstylists and owners of Nine Zero One Salon in LA. This dynamite duo are extremely successful business women in this industry and have top celebrity clients coming to them for their skills! Their colors, cuts, and styles I'm always obsessed with, and these talented girls were my inspiration even back when I was in beauty school. My dream next year is to fly down and attend the 901 Academy with them to further my education and learn from the best!
Larisa Love -- hairstylist and owner of Larisa Love Salon. She is a brand ambassador for Cosmprof, and I've watched her move on from having a small studio to opening her own beautiful salon and hiring a talented team. Her passion and the shared love for hair is what draws me to her, but it's her warm personality, natural skill, and raw talent that has kept me so interested in watching her work. She is a great example that with a strong work ethic, being true to yourself and own brand, it will pay off in the long run in this industry.

What's one misconception you would enjoy dispelling/correcting about your profession.

That hairstylists are catty and like gossip and drama. Although I know this may be true in some chairs, it isn't true in mine. I believe that getting your hair done should be a safe and professional place for each client to relax, and leave feeling better then when they came in. I want my clients to feel comfortable talking about their lives, but also to know it stays with me which I believe is super important in having a business in a smaller community.

 

How do you feel you set yourself apart from others who offer similar services?

My passion and love for all things hair! From the consultation, to the hair service, to the treatments, to the scalp massage, to the finishing style, to the education and tips I give my clients -- I love it all. I take time to listen to my clients needs and wants -- and then share with them my professional advice for what is best or possible for their hair. I'm realistic with my clients, and very upfront before doing a service. My number one priority is healthy hair first-- because healthy hair IS beautiful hair, and eventually my client can have their dream hair!

What are your favorite haircuts or hair colors to do in the salon?

My favorite haircut would probably have to be a textured LOB! I think it looks so good on everyone, and you can change it up on each person to give it a unique flair! It's a highly requested cut in my chair that people come back for more than once!
-- My favorite hair color to do behind the chair is balayage (also known as hairpainting) or lived-in color! My goal with every color is always to make it appear more "natural" and "lived-in" even if it's a bright red they are requesting! I love to give my clients low maintenance hair color with high-end results!

What are some tips you give your clients in keeping their hair healthy?

I love this question because I'm passionate about giving my clients ways to protect their hair from damage!

My top 6 tips are:
1. Maintenance -- keep up on regular trims every 6-8 weeks!
2. In the salon, ask to add Olaplex and conditioning treatments to your service!
3. Use professional quality products that protect your hair from heat and add moisture back in -- and stay away from using too much keratin!
4. Never put your hair in hair ties while your hair is wet or even slightly damp, this will cause a ton of breakage.
5. Invest in a dry shampoo, and start washing your hair less! I choose to go 3-4 days between washes-- in doing so, this keeps your own natural oils in your hair, drys your hair out less, AND is beneficial to not stripping out your color or toners as fast. Win win!

6. Turn down the heat on your hot tools and find ways to give your hair a break from using them so often -- whether it's wearing a hat or putting your hair in cute braids!

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Wedding at Eugene OR - Kenneth + Kyrie

It was a scorcher on July 22, 2017, but the heat still paled in comparison to the love Kenneth and Kyrie had for each other.  Surrounded by the stereotypical city-scape, their venue served as an island that hosted such a special day. Emerald manicured lawns were framed with multicolored petunias with large trees providing a much welcomed respite from the sweltering sun. Behind the home crept a silent little creek home to many friendly ducks and geese. 

The ceremony was held on the back lawn where the newlyweds pronounced their love in front of their closest friends and family. The bridal party, dancing back down the isle at the end of the ceremony, were full of smiles and good cheer as the reception began. The smells from the buffet were aromatic, and the laughter of children could be heard echoing across the lawn. Music from the DJ booth bounced off the walls of the cozy blue home engulfing the guests into their own private bubble of celebration amidst the concrete jungle they were surrounded by. 

The Hammontrees shared their love and their special wedding day with their sweet 8 month old daughter who stole the hearts of everyone around her. The newly weds were toasted with well wishes and loving words from family and friends.

"If you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change." - Wayne Dyer
"It's not what you look at that matters, it's what you see." - Henry David Thoreau

Follow Friday! Barbs Flowers

It is Follow Friday! Wait, what is that? Follow Friday will be a day designated to fellow business owners that I greatly admire and have worked with in the past and will be working with in the future. Too often we get wrapped up in business and in life. We hire people to work for us without getting to know who they are. What makes their business unique? Why is it they love what they do? This is where I would love to shed some light. Follow Fridays will host a plethora of unique businesses from photography to fine art replica designers. I am so excited and honored to introduce to you the creative minds of the working world and what they do make our lives a little more magical.

Barbs Flowers

Tell Us about yourself!

I am a social butterfly. Love to network and and share my experiences starting a business. I am very blessed and thankful that I have so many people that have helped me along the way to be where I am right now. I love to hear brides and my customers tell me that I designed an arrangement or bouquet to what they were visioning.
I love to paint but have not had a lot of time to do that. I love acrylic on canvas. I love my family and friends and everyone in between.

How did Barbs Flowers get started?

I have always been artistic. Once I got my hands in the flower world I just knew that was what I wanted to do for my career.  My background was retail/management. I was born to be a florist. I have been in the flower business for quite some time and knew this is where my passion is. So I purchased Premier Tanning and Nail Salon and put Barbs Flowers in it.  I have been here in the same location for over 10 years.  I love what I do. 

Which flowers are best for bouquets and which are not as sturdy?

I would say pretty much most flowers do well in a bouquet if it has a water source.  My Stephanotis is a hard one.  It can be touched and go brown very quickly same with Gardenias. 

What are some tips and tricks you can share to brides about keeping their bouquet fresh on their wedding day?

I always tell my brides and usually Mom’s that if someone is there with a pair of cutters to re-cut the bouquet after photos before ceremony and re-cut again after ceremony so they stay fresh and beautiful throughout the reception.

What is one myth about your profession you would want to dispel?

I hear people say all the time.. “how fun I have always wanted to do flowers”, but once they learn more about the process they realize it is a lot of work.  Especially weddings as you are booking the wedding, researching the flowers, finding the best source, ordering the flowers and hope they come in in premium condition or you will have to reorder then you have to put the wedding together.  So there is a lot that goes with flowers.  But if you love it.. it is not hard work.


How do you feel you set yourself apart from other professionals?

I listen to what my customers/brides want and I try very hard to create the vision.  I try to be up on what is new and current.  What is the vibe they are looking for.  I try to stay engaged with social media as much as possible.  I am a people pleaser so I and my staff strive to put out the best work we can.

Follow Friday! Tres Belle Cookies

It is Follow Friday! Wait, what is that? Follow Friday will be a day designated to fellow business owners that I greatly admire and have worked with in the past and will be working with in the future. Too often we get wrapped up in business and in life. We hire people to work for us without getting to know who they are. What makes their business unique? Why is it they love what they do? This is where I would love to shed some light. Follow Fridays will host a plethora of unique businesses from photography to fine art replica designers. I am so excited and honored to introduce to you the creative minds of the working world and what they do make our lives a little more magical.

Tres Belle Cookies

Tell Us about yourself!

I love going to estate sales and looking for beautiful dishes and serving pieces for the business. It's amazing what I have found. Gardening is also something I enjoy when I have time, and prowling garden centers looking for interesting plants.

Who in your industry inspires you?

Gesine Bullock-Prado, she's an incredible nationally known pastry chef who has a gift for teaching pastry techniques like no other. I'm a better baker because of her.

What are your favorite treats to bake?

Right now I'm doing a lot of mini tarts. They're a blank canvas, you can fill them with anything, lemon curd, chocolate ganache, pastry cream, on and on. Top them with fruit, berries, whipped cream, nuts. I make my own tart shells too.

What made you want to decide to own your own bakery?

What started me off was an interest in cookie baking as a child, that turned into a passion for baking as an adult. The more I studied, and the more skills I gained, the more fascinating it became. It's the perfect combination of science and creativity. But a group of my friends that I naked for actually talked me into going into business and getting paid for it.

 Photo Credit: Erica Ann Photography

Photo Credit: Erica Ann Photography

What sets you apart from others in your industry?

What sets me apart has to be the quality of the ingredients and most of all taste. I'm known for the intensity of my flavors, if it's lemon, I want it smack you in the face a little. If it's chocolate, I want it to be rich and intense.