Madeline & Dalton

For about a month, I have been wondering exactly how I could express the pure magic that was this wedding. And then I realized that my entire job was to document it. (You'd think I would know that, after seven years of doing it.) So I spent three hours arranging 5000 photos to show off just how amazingly detailed and gorgeous the day turned out to be. 

There were floral installations, tables dripping with delicately bound rosemary and hops, glittering champagne glasses, jewels intricately sewn into tulle, white candles accenting white cake tiers against white wooden walls, gigantic diamonds set in gold and nestled in glass boxes, custom handkerchiefs, blue suede heels, and dazzling sparklers. 

But what stood out as the most beautiful thing of all, to me, was a thin little college ruled notebook that probably cost one dollar. It most likely came in a pack of three from the office aisle at Target. What was inside it was absolutely priceless. 

Never before had I seen a wedding gift quite like this notebook. It was filled with daily love notes, funny memories, and little scribbles of stick figures holding hands and even a crude sketch of an avocado. I watched a beautiful woman with rosy cheeks and red lips flip through those pages, the jewels on her dress sparkling with the same sheen as the tears in her eyes.

I silently partook in that intimate moment, as she read pieces of a man's heart. A man who truly, deeply, and genuinely loved her. Even now, as I type these words at 1:30 AM an entire five weeks later, I remember how I felt when I saw the words, "She makes it easy to love her." 

I felt true joy for her. Because that is what every woman wants from a man. I felt joy, but I also felt my hope become reignited. I saw, firsthand, that a love like that does exist. It was reiterated throughout the day with tiny smiles, shoulder kisses, and the happiest of laughter. 

The joining of these two people showed me that fairytales can happen. And that magic exists between lines on paper. 

Thank you so much for an unforgettable experience. 

Congratulations, Mr. and Mrs. Brooks. <3 

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Jordan & Jace

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I've realized, after shooting for seven years, that the best way to begin an adventure is by getting in the car with the windows rolled down and driving for an hour to a new place. There's something nostalgic about driving past miles of farmland while hot, Texas wind rushes past and erratically whips my hair in every direction. Sixty minutes of uninterrupted scream-singing on the highway can heal some of the most deep-rooted ailments and leave me feeling excited, energized, and ready for whatever life throws at me. 

Except for jumping into a lake. 

Murky, slimy lake water is one of my biggest fears. Keep this in mind, people. 

After following Jordan to our destination, I felt like I had downed 18 Red Bulls. That girl drives about 120 MPH in a 75 and cuts across 10 lanes of traffic in one fell swoop. Luckily, she only ran two semi trucks off the road and just one of those caught fire. 

It was all worth it, though, because when I exited my Jeep, I was in a completely magical place. The sun was low in the sky, the grass was lush and green, and a lake sparkled across the lawn. Looming trees exploded into the sky and turkey tracks sprawled across the dirt road. Why did the turkey cross the road, you ask? He literally went to the other side. I followed the tracks. I know this. 

Another thing I've realized after seven years is that it really doesn't matter where I shoot because the beauty in photos stems directly from the subjects. Jordan and Jace are so beautiful together that we could have shot in the Walmart parking lot and gotten similar results. From Jordan's tousled, braided mermaid hair to Jace's straw hat with the yellow trim, everything just worked. But the love they shared was the best part. There were so many smiles shared between them and bursts of laughter resulting from fingers playfully poking ribs. 

After wandering around dry land for a while, we made our way to the dock just as the sun was setting. It cast a pink, rippling hue on the calm water and little speedboats full of lake lovers floated past us. 

We sat on the edge of the dock as it rocked back and forth with each tiny wave. Water lapped against metal and bolts creaked. Toes dipped down into the green abyss and flicked tiny droplets into the air. 

This is where things got real. 

If you live in Amarillo, you're aware that there isn't water. Anywhere. Unless you want to take nice dip in the manmade lake at Medi Park. (You don't.) It had been a goal of mine for quite a while to get some romantic, cuddly, water shots. So I suggested we all get in the lake. 

Remember how I told you earlier that my biggest fear is scary, dark, murky, slimy, bottomless pit, open water? The fact that I even suggested putting any part of my body inside of that water was a huge step for me. Add holding $4000 worth of camera equipment above it just made it scarier. 

In case I haven't made this clear enough, here is a handy bar graph that will allow you to understand me on a deeper level. 

McKay's Top Fears

It took a little while for me to work up the courage. I dipped my toes in first and audibly screamed as my blood turned to liquid anxiety. After donning the tiniest, borrowed, red exercise shorts and pretending to drink several shots of tequila, I forced myself to slide my pale body down into my deepest and darkest fear. There was a lot of screaming. And a lot of cursing. I may have cried a little. 

Jordan and Jace totally showed me up big time. They had stripped down to their skivvies right in front of me. (Warning: You're about to see some seriously toned butt.)

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Told you. 

These two proceeded to run, jump straight into the air, and cannonball directly into that freaky green water. 

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They happily swam over to me and I was just trying not to die. There were slimy plants between my toes and I was ankle deep in whatever kind of evil mud is at the bottom of lakes. I probably screamed no less than 45 times in a span of 3 minutes. So it was really just one continuous, agonizing scream. 

I told them how I wanted them to pose and then lowered my body down, down, and allllllll the way down until I was chest-deep in horribleness. My camera was just inches above the surface as I started snapping away. 

It was 100% worth it. 

Even when I drove home for an hour in the dark, underwear-less and in a soaking wet tank top, it was worth it. 

Thanks for the amazing adventure, Jordan and Jace! I can't wait to see what fear you make me face at your wedding!