Elijah & Jessica | Cameron Park Sunset Wedding | Waco, Texas

A bride and groom stand under a large oak tree during their wedding ceremony at Lover’s Leap in Cameron Park, Waco, Texas - Jason & Melaina Photography - www.jasonandmelaina.com

We kicked off our 2019 wedding season with Elijah & Jessica’s romantic sunset ceremony at Lover’s Leap in Cameron Park. And they were such a fun and beautiful couple to start the year with!

Back in 2012, Jessica was the director for the youth program with Mission Waco and Elijah started volunteering with the youth there. They developed a close friendship while working together, and Elijah got up the nerve to ask Jessica to “hang out” for the 4th of July. It was a wonderful first date, fireworks included, and the two began hanging out more and more. Only 10 days later, Jessica asked Elijah, “So, are we doing this thing or what?” And they became an official couple.

Fast forward to August 9, 2017. Jessica’s friend wanted to take her out for her birthday. But first they needed to stop by the Jubilee Theater at Mission Waco for nostalgia sake. When Jessica walked into the theater, she saw all their close family and friends, and her dad led her to a special seat on the front row. On the screen began to play an animated timeline of her relationship with Elijah. After the film ended, Elijah walked out on stage, got down on one knee and asked Jessica, “So, are we doing this thing, or what?” Jessica said YES! and these two Sweethearts began planning their forever.

Elijah & Jessica found a gorgeous ceremony spot at Lover’s Leap in Cameron Park. Nestled off to the side of the beautiful overlook is this green spot under a large tree, perfect for a golden hour ceremony. The rain from that morning drifted on and by ceremony time, the light and location were so romantic and beautiful , exactly what this couple deserved.

After the ceremony, Elijah & Jessica squeezed in a dramatic mini-session in front of the cliff overlook in Brazos Park East. Then they joined their family and friends at Cultivate 7Twelve for their rocking wedding reception. Watching Jessica dance with both her dad and mom, seeing Elijah dance with his mom, hearing meaningful and fun toasts, and seeing all their close family and friends celebrate their love was the perfect ending to such a wonderful start to a marriage. When we asked Jessica what meant the most to her on their wedding day, she said having a “…moment in time for us to have all of our favorite things in one place to celebrate our love and commitment to each other.” And we couldn’t agree more.

A bride hugs her mom right before her dad walks her down the aisle - outdoor wedding ceremony in Cameron Park, Waco, Texas - Jason & Melaina Photography - www.jasonandmelaina.com
A glimpse over the bride and her father’s shoulder as they start their walk down the aisle - Cameron Park sunset wedding in Waco, Texas - Jason & Melaina Photography - www.jasonandmelaina.com
A large oak tree stands over a beautiful outdoor wedding ceremony in Cameron Park in Waco, Texas - Jason & Melaina Photography - www.jasonandmelaina.com
A groom and his bride embrace in the near dark while back lit dramatically with flash in front of the cliffs by the Brazos River in Waco, Texas - Jason & melaina Photography - www.jasonandmelaina.com
Photo by Jason & Melaina Photography, Waco Texas

Dear Elijah & Jessica,

We pray the love you felt from all your family and friends, and the love you felt for one another, on your wedding day will be a memory you carry with you throughout the years. May each anniversary give you a chance to remember these moments and look forward to many more.

Love, J&M

A bride and groom kiss under sparklers outside their reception at Cultivate 7Twelve in downtown Waco, Texas - Jason & Melaina Photography - www.jasonandmelaina.com

Steven & Cassandra | Elopement in Waco | Waco, Texas

Groom in charcoal suit holds bride in gold sequin dress close to him in the front lawn of a private residence in China Spring, Texas - Jason & Melaina Photography - www.jasonandmelaina.com

We received an email in our inbox in mid-December with the subject line- Elopement 12/30 (The 2 week bride). With such an intriguing subject line, we couldn’t wait to open it!  The email was from Cassandra, and she and her fiance, Steven, were eloping in Waco and wanted us to photograph their ceremony if we were free. We did happen to have December 30th free, so I (Melaina) hopped on a call with Cassandra to learn more about their plans. And what sweet plans they were!

Steven & Cassandra live in the Midwest, but his family is located throughout central and east Texas. No one actually lives in Waco, but it was a central spot for all the Texas family so it was the perfect wedding location. They rented a large AirBnB in China Spring, right outside of Waco, and invited Steven’s family to join them. Rather than a traditional church wedding or reserving an area wedding venue, Steven & Cassandra chose to have an intimate gathering with family to witness their vows to one another right in the front lawn of the home. Their elopement in Waco was the perfect wedding for them- intimate and meaningful, allowing them to focus on the love they have for one another.

We were only with these Sweethearts for a couple of hours that evening, but in that short amount of time so many meaningful moments occurred. When we arrived to the AirBnB, I made my way back to the master bedroom to find Cassandra. She gave me a big hug, and I admired her beautiful gold gown. The dress was a surprise for Steven, so it was so fun to watch his reaction when he turned around to see Cassandra for the first time in their first look. Throughout the evening they would smile at one another, or look deeply into one another’s eyes, or even wipe away each other’s tears during their vows. All these little moments between them really showed the deep connection and commitment they had for one another.

Their connection was even more amplified when they doted on their daughter. One of the sweetest moments was when Steven carried their daughter back up the aisle with Cassandra after they were married. After the ceremony, Steven held their daughter and looked on proudly while Cassandra did a reading to mark the celebration. And one of the final portraits we captured was their sleepy daughter snuggled against her parents in their wedding attire.

After the ceremony and the portraits, we said our goodbyes. Steven, Cassandra and their family were moving on to the reception portion of their wedding day - steaks cooked over the fire pit in the back yard. It was the perfect ending to the day, a time with family celebrating the new marriage that had begun.

Dear Steven & Cassandra,

We are so happy you sent us that email! It was an honor to be with you on such a monumental day in your love story. We hope the memories of your Texas wedding ceremony will remain with you all your days, and that the loving looks you have for one another only grow as you grow old together.

Love, J&M

Couple holds one another and smiles at camera after their elopement at a private residence in Waco, Texas - Jason & Melaina Photography - www.jasonandmelaina.com

If you liked Steven & Cassandra’s story, here are some others you’ll want to check out!

Hayden & Samantha | Disney-Inspired Wedding at The Barn at 5 S Ranch | Central Texas

Bride & Groom hold each other as the sun sets behind them - Disney wedding at The Barn at 5 S Ranch - Jason & Melaina Photography - www.jasonandmelaina.com

Hayden & Samantha’s Disney-inspired wedding was such a fun and beautiful day! From the beautiful weather (which isn’t always a guarantee for December weddings!), to the beautiful details, to all the beautiful moments, everything came together perfectly for this Disney princess and her Prince Charming (or Captain America!).

While it wasn’t over-the-top Disney, a person with a keen eye would notice all the subtle Disney nods these two Disney fans had on their wedding day. There were hidden Mickeys throughout the day, including Samantha’s nail art, socks and garter, the bride’s cake, and even a fun ring shot. There was Disney font on the bridesmaids’ hangers and the ring box. Every bridesmaid was given a specific Disney princess pin to adorn her bouquet, with Samantha having Rapunzel as her chosen princess on her bouquet. Even the fellas got in on the Disney action, with each groomsmen wearing a Marvel superhero pin on his lapel and a coordinating shirt under his tux. Hayden’s hero of choice was Captain America, not only for his lapel pin and undershirt but even his groom’s cake was Captain America’s shield.

But checking out hidden MIckeys wasn’t the only thing to notice at this beautiful wedding. Samantha’s mother has a knack for creating beautiful spaces, and every area from the cake table, to the Sweetheart table, to the vignettes outside the reception hall showed off her talents. And it was all brought together beautifully by the table decor, complete with lanterns, fresh flowers, and individual sprigs of fresh juniper for each place setting. The Barn at 5 S Ranch is already such a gorgeous space, with its vaulted ceilings with white, string lights and it’s large, sliding barn doors. But Hayden & Samantha, and Samantha’s mom’s team, really brought the venue to life with all their details!

It’s neat to see how each of our Sweetheart couples choose the details that make up their wedding day, and when we walk into each space we see how perfectly the details showcase the couple. But while we love seeing the details, it’s all the little moments of the day that we’re really excited to see and photograph. And Hayden & Samantha’s wedding was full of these little moments.

Samantha didn’t want to have a first look with Hayden, but she did want to have one with her dad. When the door slid open and her dad saw her in her gown for the first time, it was so touching to see his eyes well up with proud tears. In fact, seeing Samantha, her mom and her dad tear up together was such a sweet moment to witness, because we knew this was going to be the last time it was just them three.

Even though Hayden & Samantha didn’t have a first look, they still wanted to connect before their ceremony and opted to have a “first touch.” They held hands around the sliding door in the bridal suite, and talked about how excited they were to get married. During this moment, Hayden gave Samantha a journal full of letters he had been writing her during their relationship. There wasn’t a dry eye in the room as she read through the precious gift.

And while there were so many other great moments throughout the day, the one we had been waiting for was Hayden’s reaction to seeing Samantha for the first time in her dress. We knew from our bridal portrait session with her how excited she was to see his reaction, and we couldn’t wait either. So when the curtains opened to reveal Samantha and her dad walking down the aisle, it was so touching to watch Hayden’s face as he saw his bride. He was a range of emotions, from smiles to tears to trying to hold it together. Seeing his reaction made all the hiding of Samantha in her dress worth it.

Sunny December wedding at The Barn at 5 S Ranch in Thrall, Texas - Jason & Melaina Photography - www.jasonandmelaina.com
Bride and groom leave their reception with a wildflower toss - Disney-inspired wedding at The Barn at 5 S Ranch - Jason & Melaina Photography - www.jasonandmelaina.com

Dear Hayden & Samantha,

Your wedding day was magical, full of love and joy! We hope you remember how it felt, remember all the little moments that added up to a once-in-a-lifetime day for a once-in-a-lifetime love. And we can think of no better blessing for your marriage than to say, “…and they lived happily ever after.”

Love, J&M

Bride and groom laugh together in the sunset light of golden hour - Jason & Melaina Photography - www.jasonandmelaina.com

Venue | The Barn at 5 S Ranch

Decor | Darling Decor and More

Florals | Family members, flowers from Sams Club

Gown | JoAnn’s Bridal

Hair & Makeup | Lexie Hill

DJ | Robby Cavazos

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