We sat there at that little cafe. I hadn’t seen Nicole’s face in years due to adulthood pulling us in different directions. But upon greeting her with a hug, it was like no time had passed.
I’ve known Nicole since we were both in the 5th grade. The 5th grade. Can you believe it? And now here we were hitting our 30’s sitting at a cafe catching up. Delicious food, great company. Nights like this need to happen more often. Too often in life do we let the beautiful chaos of the world accidentally pull us apart. Luckily all of the stars aligned for us to be sitting there at that table together.
I remember it like it was yesterday. We were all on a trip with our 5th grade class to Sacramento. Nicole, our friend Stefanie and myself were in a group and Nicole’s father was our chaperone. We were all so excited when he treated us all to an Old Western photo session. You know those little boutique photo studios that let kids pose with 6-shooter pistols? Well there we were. All dressed up and mean mugging for the camera together. Nicole’s father ended up spending a small fortune on prints for all of us.
One day you are on a field trip to Sacramento together, the next your friend is sitting across the table from you happy and engaged. I still have that old Western photo of our little 5th grade faces and pistols on the wall. The world had brought us all on such different paths. Through everything, we always remained connected. In my heart I know Nicole and I will always have that connection. No matter where our adult, crazy lives take us. When we sit at a table to catch up – nothing changes. Just new exciting stories come spilling out of our mouths to each other in excitement.
When Nicole asked me to be her wedding photographer, my heart dropped a little. This was my friend since the 5th grade. I felt this immense pressure to create some of my best work for her. This is a person that through the years while others came and went, I knew I could always find her. One of the best humans I had ever met in my life was asking me to document her marriage to the love of her life. How do you create images good enough?
John Wayne said “Courage is being scared the death – but saddling up anyway”. So That’s what I did.
With excitement I told her that I would do it. But she had to tip me with some of her amazing custom Mickey Mouse Ears. Preferably, featuring BB-8. Also that we both better be wearing matching Ariat boots. She obliged. Helps she was already planning on making me ears as well as wearing her own Ariat boots!
There was already excitement for the photographs I could take when Nicole told me that Mark and her would be getting married at the incredible Barn SZ Ranch. I am a fan of dirt roads, animals, and real barns. So the ranch was one of my dream locations. After a relaxing drive I remember driving down that main dirt road and being amazed at the views. This was the perfect place for my friend to get married. The scene was set, my inspiration booming. And my heart felt like exploding I was so excited for this day to happen to her.
I got to watch the man Nicole loves cry happy tears when he opened up her boudoir photographs and say “I just love her so much”. I got to see my beautiful friend in her wedding gown on her big day. Memory lane was my destination as I got to see Nicole’s mother and father for the first time in I don’t even know how many years. It felt like everything had just come full circle.
Aside from the incredible wedding day where I got to see Mark and Nicole come together as man and wife, I got to see Nicole do something so wonderful. Mark’s son, Xander stood up with them during the ceremony to really solidify that this marriage not only brought this couple together, but Xander in as well. This marriage made them a family. While they had already been a family for a long time, it was that final topping on the cake of a wonderful story.
Who wants to hear how their wedding also had the best wedding favors?
Yes, that is a kitten. Yes she followed me around the whole venue. Her and her little sisters were a big part of the wedding celebration. Little barn babies won over everyone’s hearts! Nicole brought one home herself! And me? Well… I might have left with a box of kittens. Four kittens to be exact. While two of those babes were fixed, made nice and healthy and adopted out, this little girl and one sister can’t seem to leave.
All of Nicole’s wedding details were handmade. She runs her own incredible online store with crafts and wedding decor. Flower crowns, bouquets, EVERYTHING was hand made. Is this woman not superwoman?
So I hope you enjoy Nicole and Mark’s Bar SZ wedding photos as much as I loved photographing them. And I hope you enjoy kittens. Because you are about to see a lot of them.