Apr
14
Weddings by MJ

Happy Anniversary Jay & Kiera!


Jay & Kiera were married two years ago today on 4.14.12 at the Royal Palms in Phoenix. You can click here to see their original wedding blog post.

Today, in honor of these two, I asked them if they would be willing to share their favorite wedding photo and why it's so meaningful to them. I always find this so interesting to see which images mean the most to each couple. This was Kiera's response:

"It is so hard to pick just one favorite photograph because we love so many of them. Going back through the photos makes us feel like we are re-living each and every moment of our special day. You did such an amazing job at capturing everything and telling our story. We are forever grateful to have had you as our photographer. Thank you again!

We ended up choosing a few favorites. Sorry! I couldn't help it!

The picture below left was shortly after our first look and it shows how incredibly happy and excited we were to be married to one another that day. We were also very much anticipating what was to come and how much fun we were going to have celebrating with all of our friends and family.

Next to it, below right, is another favorite. We love this picture because it shows our true love for one another. It captures the day well. We were about to start our journey together as husband and wife. Our wedding was large, but in the end it was all about us and celebrating the love we will always have for one another. We felt as though no one else was around, despite all the photographers and videographers surrounding us.


These next two images are my favorites because they show the beauty of the Royal Palms Resort. The setting is so romantic and intimate. A perfect place for a wedding (which is why we chose it :-))!


Thanks again for everything! Everyone is always amazed by our wedding album!"

Thank you so much for sharing Kiera! These are some of my favorite portraits of you both too! What a gorgeous couple you make, and what a great day that was! Happy Anniversary!


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Apr
07
Weddings by MJ

Sean & Tiffany - Desert Botanical Gardens


Sean proposed to Tiffany by taking her back to where they first met.

Now, I know this in and of itself is not unheard of... however, there is just something about their story that makes the part of me that adores old, high-school romantic comedies so happy.

The place where Sean first met Tiffany? A middle school!
No. They did not meet IN middle school...
They met TEACHING middle school!

They were going back to see their "first class of students" graduate, and Sean suggested they take a quick detour over to the middle school building. You know, to see how it had changed in the 5 years since they had been there. They walked the halls lined with lockers to Tiffany's old classroom and then over to Sean's. Sean trailed behind her as they approached the door and when she turned around, Sean was down on one knee.

With the unique echo that only middle school hallways have, Sean told her that this was the very first place he ever saw her - and would she marry him.

Not even GLEE can write a scene that good!

Sean and Tiffany have moved on together and are currently teaching overseas in China at an International School -- she, 3rd grade, and he, elementary music. They are intelligent, goofy and fun -- everything you would want in a teacher. And I had SO MUCH FUN getting to know them and photographing their wedding day. They only had one week in the states for all of the festivities, and not wanting to be too jet-lagged, they decided to have their wedding in the middle of the week -- on a Wednesday. Only 50-some family and friends came, most from out of state, so it was an intimate affair.

The day started quietly with Tiffany getting ready in her hotel room with her mother:



I adored the flowers by Butterfly Petals, complete with succulents befitting their desert-themed wedding:


Tiffany made a gorgeous bride:





Sean couldn't stop kissing Tiffany when he saw her for their first look:



Sean and Tiffany made sure to let me know that they love the Chihuly Sculptures on display at the Phoenix Desert Botanical Gardens right now, so I made sure to incorporate some of them into their portraits:




There was a looming gray cloud over us most of the day, but the sun would occasionally pop out to say hello. This was one of those divine moments:


I also love this angle that my 2nd shooter, Janelle got:


Moments later, the clouds spilled on us and thankfully Victoria Canada was ready with some umbrellas! It always seems a bit magical to me when it is sunny and raining simultaneously and I love this image we got. What a fun memory!


Sean wore cufflinks that were a fun nod to his beloved profession:


And I couldn't get enough of these cute flower girls!



To begin the ceremony, Sean walked his parents down the aisle then awaited his bride:





Thank goodness the rain stopped in time for the ceremony. We only had a bit of wind and cold to deal with, but no amount of weather could dampen this celebration.




Here's a bit of that fun I was talking about:


The guests dined under the open sky with a few heaters for warmth:


And the gorgeous flowers continued to pop up everywhere:



A mariachi band kept the guests company during cocktail hour:



And the celebration of the sweet newlyweds continued into the night:


What a fun wedding! Congratulations Sean & Tiffany! Thank you so much for allowing me the honor of photographing your wedding day!

Vendors who made this event amazing: Preparation Venue: Tempe Mission Palms // Ceremony & Reception Venue: Phoenix Desert Botanical Gardens // Wedding Planner: Victoria Canada Weddings + Events // Florist: Butterfly Petals // Glass Artwork: Dale Chihuly // Officiant: Mike Hall // Ceremony Music: Mike Hall Quartet // DJ: James with Ray the DJ // Hair & Make Up: Dolce Salon // Dress: Essense of Australia from Uptown Bridal // Caterer: Atlasta Catering // Cupcakes: Kick Ass Kakes // Mariachi Band: Mariachi Corazon de Phoenix // Photobooth: Shutter Booth

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Equipment used for this wedding: Canon 5D Mark III // Canon 50mm 1.2 lens // Canon 24mm 1.4 lens // Canon 70-200 2.8 lens // 2 Canon 600EX-RT Speedlites // Gary Fong Lightsphere // 2 Lumedyne HV Tinycycler Battery Packs // Light Stand with umbrella bracket and cold shoe


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Apr
03
Weddings by MJ

Lucky Strike Bowling Alley Rehearsal Dinner


I just photographed Sean & Tiffany's desert wedding yesterday, and I can't wait to share it with you on Monday! But first -- I wanted to share some photos from their rehearsal dinner at Lucky Strike Bowling Alley in downtown Phoenix. These two are super-fun and goofy together and this was the perfect setting for them to bring their families and friends together to celebrate the night before the big day! I had so much fun shooting the fun and getting to know this great crowd!













What a great night! Stay tuned to see Sean & Tiffany's amazing wedding on Monday!

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Equipment used for this event: Canon 5D Mark III // Canon 50mm 1.2 lens // Canon 24mm 1.4 lens // Canon 70-200 2.8 lens // 2 Canon 600EX-RT Speedlites // Gary Fong Lightsphere // 2 Lumedyne HV Tinycycler Battery Packs // Light Stand with umbrella bracket and cold shoe


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Mar
31
Weddings by MJ

Jake & Andrea -- Montelucia Wedding


"Well. That went well." Jacob's tone was thick with sarcasm as he spoke to his roommate just moments after meeting Andrea face-to-face for the first time. She was just as beautiful as he thought she would be, and they had had plenty of successful conversations over text. But that first evening they decided to meet up -- he with his roommate and she with a group of girlfriends -- Andrea barely said a word.

He didn't stand a chance. She wasn't interested. He was sure of it….

He couldn't have been more wrong. Andrea was so nervous to meet him, she froze. She could do little more than smile and nod. She knew in that moment, the very first time she shook his hand, she really liked him. Afterward, in the safety of the car and with the familiar comfort of text, Andrea sent Jacob a message - it was nice to meet him, sorry for being so quiet.

What Jacob mistook for lack of interest, was actually Andrea... completely speechless.

Fortunately, when the time came for Jacob to ask her to be his bride she was able to find the word "YES!"

Saturday this incredibly sweet couple said their lifelong vows in front of family and friends at Montelucia Resort & Spa in Scottsdale. It was a gorgeous day and I KNEW it was going to be fabulous when I saw this stationery by Idieh Design incorporating calligraphy by Moira Ink:


Andrea's father became the General Manager of the Buffalo Bills in 1993 and the team went to the Super Bowl for the third consecutive year. He passed away years ago and was dearly missed on Saturday. Andrea carried his Super Bowl ring tied to her bouquet in his honor:



Andrea was completely in the moment all day, and I loved photographing her as she laughed, cried, and looked lovingly into Jake's eyes.



She made such a pretty bride!



Jake is the gentle, easy-going type -- perfect for Andrea in every way.


One of the things that connected this couple from the beginning is their love for the Buffalo Bills. The couple incorporated their team into some of the smaller details of the day:


Andrea and Jake lit up when they were around each other:







More pretty details!



Andrea's godfather Bruce was her dad's best friend, and he holds a special place in her heart. She told him he couldn't talk to her before the ceremony because she knew she would burst into tears -- which she did the second he showed up to take a portrait with her. I love this special moment my 2nd shooter Janelle captured right before Bruce walked Andrea down the aisle:


The ceremony was emotional and touching:


Andrea and Jakes' very first kiss as husband and wife!



After the ceremony, guests enjoyed cocktails out on the lawn and challenged one another to a friendly game of Buffalo Bills Cornhole:



The ballroom at the Montelucia was gorgeous and continued the colorful theme. A big shout out goes to the teams at Outstanding Occasions, Petal Pusher, and Cre8ive Event Rentals for their fabulous work!



SO MANY gorgeous details!!


The couple kicked off the reception with their first dance as husband and wife:



And the guests celebrated the night away!


What an amazing wedding! Thank you so much Andrea and Jake for allowing me to capture your day! It was such an honor!

Vendors: Wedding Planner: Outstanding Occasions // Venue: Montelucia Resort & Spa // Florist/Decor: Petal Pusher // Dress: Maggie Sottero // Bridal Dress Shop: Schaffer's // Bridesmaid Dress Shop: Uptown Bridal // Suits: Men's Wearhouse // Hair & Makeup: Andrea with Glam Lounge Artists // Stationery: Idieh Design // Calligraphy: Moira Ink // DJ: Matt with MT Sounds // Officiant: Reverend Rick Bell // Rentals & Lighting: Cre8ive Event Rentals // Gold Chiavari Chairs: Us 2 You Rentals // Lasercut Wooden Sign: Ten 23 Designs // Linens: La Tavola // Strings: Allegro Quartet // Cake: Let Them Eat Cake // Videographer: Serendipity Cinematography // Photobooth: The Self Portrait Station

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Equipment used for this wedding: Canon 5D Mark III // Canon 50mm 1.2 lens // Canon 24mm 1.4 lens // Canon 70-200 2.8 lens // 2 Canon 600EX-RT speedlights // 2 Lumedyne HV Tinycycler Battery Packs // Light Stand with umbrella bracket and cold shoe


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Mar
26
Weddings by MJ

Happy Anniversary Chrissy & Anthony!


Chrissy and Anthony were married three years ago today on 3.26.11 at Brophy Chapel with a reception following at the Arizona Biltmore. These two are super-unique and originally quirky and I enjoyed working with them so much! I knew I loved them the second they told me they wanted to do their engagement shoot in this amazing kitchen and their wedding turned out to be just as fun! You can click here to see their original wedding blog post.

Today, in honor of these two, I asked them if they would be willing to share their favorite wedding photo and why it's so meaningful to them. Like many of my clients lately, they are rule-breakers and they sent me more than one favorite. But what can I do? I can't yell at them. That would be mean. So I'm going to include all four. I do love what Chrissy shared about why each image holds a special place in their hearts:

"First, we love the portrait you took of us below right. We just love that this photo captured how truly happy we were that day. Those smiles are the kinds of smiles we continue to share in our marriage today. We can literally hear ourselves laughing together in this photo!


For many, one of the benefits of attending Brophy and Xavier is the ability to get married in the Brophy Chapel. Since we knew the prep room would be in one of the classrooms, we had always envisioned a photo with our wedding party messing around in class, reminiscent of the old days. Since almost everyone in the wedding party had attended a class in this room, it was an absolute blast to shoot! You managed to capture it better than we would've imagined!


This photo has so much sentimental value to us! Every time we look at it we are reminded of how blessed we are to have so much support from our closest family and friends. We always love reviewing each pew to see how well our families meshed. There was no formal 'bride' or 'groom' side, and we loved that! Beyond the people who were physically attending the mass, it really captures the beauty of the spiritual ceremonies that are held in Brophy chapel.


Finally, this one is probably my favorite of all. While simple in nature, this shot speaks to your true professionalism and we are incredibly grateful for your attention to detail. Many months before the wedding, you made a note to ensure that we were able to get a photo with my grandmother, who was terminally ill with Leukemia. She was so sick during this time that there was a chance she may not have made it to our wedding at all. She was becoming so weak she was unable to walk or stand up. The night was young, but you and your wonderful team noticed that she was starting to grow tired and would need to leave the reception early. We were chatting with some other guests when you politely pulled us aside and made sure we were able to get a shot taken with someone so very special to us. Shortly after our wedding, she passed away, and this photo was shared with our family to remember her strength and beauty - even in her last days. Thank you so, so very much for this. We'll cherish this image forever.


Again, thank you SO much for everything! Our day couldn't have been captured by anyone better."

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Wow! I had no idea that Chrissy's grandmother passed away so soon after their wedding. What a sad loss, she was a beautiful lady!

Chrissy, thank you so much for sharing this. You two are an incredible couple and I feel so blessed to have been able to get to know you and be a part of your love story! Happy anniversary and cheers to many more!


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