wedding photography

Austin & Andie | Carleen Bright Arboretum Wedding | Waco, Texas

A newly married couple kisses on their wedding day underneath a sunset sky - Jason & Melaina Photography - www.jasonandmelaina.com

Do y’all remember Austin & Andie from their engagement session earlier this spring? More importantly, do you remember the romantic way Austin proposed? ICYMI, Andie is a instructor for deaf students in Waco ISD, and so when Austin proposed to Andie while celebrating Christmas Eve with her family, he got down on one knee in her parents’ living room and signed his proposal to Andie.

Seriously, it’s one of the most romantic proposal stories we’ve heard, and we’ve heard a lot of them as wedding photographers! With such a sweet proposal, it was no surprise to us that Austin & Andie’s wedding day was full of sweet and sentimental touches. Or that Austin & Andie come from such sweet families!

One of the first things Andie proudly told us when we arrived at the Arboretum was that her dad BUILT the arbor she & Austin were getting married under. And to see how the arbor transformed with Andie’s wedding day flowers of white hydrangeas, sunflowers, blush roses, and soft blue flowers was truly amazing. It was such a special touch, and one they can take with them into their backyard now!

It was also touching to see how Andie’s 3 sisters surrounded her on her big day, helping her with makeup and perfecting the placement of her headpiece. Or how Austin and his mom took a few moments to practice their dancing on the patio in between taking family photos. And while I missed out on all the shenanigans at the groomsmen’s Fixer Upper AirBnB beforehand, Jason assures me that this group of guys was supporting Austin and having a blast doing so!

But I think our favorite sweet moments from this wedding are just seeing Austin & Andie experience so many happy emotions throughout the day. Being there when Andie showed her mom her bouquet and started tearing up. Seeing her dad’s look of glee when he first saw Andie, and their tears through the smiles as they hugged. Watching for Austin’s face when he saw Andie for the first time THE ENTIRE DAY when the doors opened as she began her walk down the aisle, and seeing this HUGE smile break out across his face. In fact, just watching Austin & Andie smile at one another through their vows, sneaking glances at each other...you just knew this was a couple that was so in love and so excited to begin their marriage.

And when they danced around sporadically to “I’m So Excited” as their final dance, with all their family and friends dancing in a circle around them, it was the perfect ending to the perfect wedding for this sweet couple- a day full of joy, smiles, laughter, and fun, surrounded by their amazing family and friends, beginning their new life together.

Navy, white, yellow bridal details - summer wedding in Waco, Texas -Jason & Melaina Photography - www.jasonandmelaina.com
Diamond wedding band detail - summer wedding in Waco, Texas - Jason & Melaina Photography - www.jasonandmelaina.com
Navy, white, and yellow wedding details - summer wedding in Waco, Texas - Jason & Melaina Photography - www.jasonandmelaina.com
summer wedding at the Carleen Bright Arboretum in Waco, Texas - Jason & Melaina Photography - www.jasonandmelaina.com
summer wedding at the Carleen Bright Arboretum in Waco, Texas - Jason & Melaina Photography - www.jasonandmelaina.com
summer wedding at the Carleen Bright Arboretum in Waco, Texas - Jason & Melaina Photography - www.jasonandmelaina.com
summer wedding at the Carleen Bright Arboretum in Waco, Texas - Jason & Melaina Photography - www.jasonandmelaina.com
summer wedding at the Carleen Bright Arboretum in Waco, Texas - Jason & Melaina Photography - www.jasonandmelaina.com
summer wedding at the Carleen Bright Arboretum in Waco, Texas - Jason & Melaina Photography - www.jasonandmelaina.com
summer wedding at the Carleen Bright Arboretum in Waco, Texas - Jason & Melaina Photography - www.jasonandmelaina.com
A mother helps her daughter in to her wedding gown - the Carleen Bright Arboretum in Waco, Texas - Jason & Melaina Photography - www.jasonandmelaina.com
summer wedding at the Carleen Bright Arboretum in Waco, Texas - Jason & Melaina Photography - www.jasonandmelaina.com
summer wedding at the Carleen Bright Arboretum in Waco, Texas - Jason & Melaina Photography - www.jasonandmelaina.com
A groom and his groomsmen hang out in a Fixer Upper Airbnb for his summer wedding in Waco, Texas - Jason & Melaina Photography - www.jasonandmelaina.com
summer wedding at the Carleen Bright Arboretum in Waco, Texas - Jason & Melaina Photography - www.jasonandmelaina.com
First look with dad at a summer wedding at the Carleen Bright Arboretum in Waco, Texas - Jason & Melaina Photography - www.jasonandmelaina.com
summer wedding at the Carleen Bright Arboretum in Waco, Texas - Jason & Melaina Photography - www.jasonandmelaina.com
summer wedding at the Carleen Bright Arboretum in Waco, Texas - Jason & Melaina Photography - www.jasonandmelaina.com
blue and white wedding bouquets - summer wedding at the Carleen Bright Arboretum in Waco, Texas - Jason & Melaina Photography - www.jasonandmelaina.com
summer wedding at the Carleen Bright Arboretum in Waco, Texas - Jason & Melaina Photography - www.jasonandmelaina.com
summer wedding at the Carleen Bright Arboretum in Waco, Texas - Jason & Melaina Photography - www.jasonandmelaina.com
summer wedding at the Carleen Bright Arboretum in Waco, Texas - Jason & Melaina Photography - www.jasonandmelaina.com
summer wedding at the Carleen Bright Arboretum in Waco, Texas - Jason & Melaina Photography - www.jasonandmelaina.com
summer wedding at the Carleen Bright Arboretum in Waco, Texas - Jason & Melaina Photography - www.jasonandmelaina.com
summer wedding at the Carleen Bright Arboretum in Waco, Texas - Jason & Melaina Photography - www.jasonandmelaina.com
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A groom smiles when he sees his bride coming down the aisle - summer wedding at the Carleen Bright Arboretum in Waco, Texas - Jason & Melaina Photography - www.jasonandmelaina.com
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Pale blue bridesmaids gowns and navy slacks and yellow ties for groomsmen
A bride and groom in the garden at Carleen Bright Arboretum in Woodway, Texas - summer wedding at the Carleen Bright Arboretum in Waco, Texas - Jason & Melaina Photography - www.jasonandmelaina.com
Blush wedding gown with full layered skirt and lace details from Georgio's Bridal in Waco, Texas
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George's Restaurant in Waco, Texas caters a summer wedding at the Carleen Bright Arboretum in Waco, Texas - Jason & Melaina Photography - www.jasonandmelaina.com
A bride and groom's first dance in The Pavillion at the Carleen Bright Arboretum in Waco, Texas - Jason & Melaina Photography - www.jasonandmelaina.com
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Sunset portraits during a wedding reception at a summer wedding at the Carleen Bright Arboretum in Waco, Texas - Jason & Melaina Photography - www.jasonandmelaina.com
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4-tiered white buttercream bridal cake and Baylor groom's cake by All Sugar'd Up in Waco, Texas - Jason & Melaina Photography - www.jasonandmelaina.com
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Glowstick send-off at a summer wedding at the Carleen Bright Arboretum in Waco, Texas - Jason & Melaina Photography - www.jasonandmelaina.com
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Dear Austin & Andie,

It was truly an honor to photograph your wedding day. It was such a beautiful day full of sweet moments that we hope you carry with you in your memories for years to come. May the love and smiles you had for each other on your wedding day grow bigger with each anniversary!

Love, J&M

A bride and groom silhouetted by the Texas sunset at their summer wedding in Waco, Texas - Jason & Melaina Photography - www.jasonandmelaina.com

Venue | Carleen Bright Arboretum

Florist | HEB Blooms

Baker | All Sugar'd Up

Caterer | George's Restaurant

Bridal Gown | Georgio's Bridal

Tuxes | Old Navy, Men's Warehouse

Bridesmaids Dresses | Azazie

How to hire your wedding photographer

Photo by Jason & Melaina Photography - www.JasonAndMelaina.com

It’s Engagement Season so we’re writing some helpful blog posts for all you recently engaged sweethearts out there! Last time we wrote about the first 5 things you need to do after getting engaged. (If you missed it, check it out here!) #5 on that list was to book these 3 wedding professionals - your venue, your planner/coordinator, and your photographer(s).

But what’s the best way to book your photographer? When you start talking to potential photographers you found on Google or referrals from friends, how do you know who is right for you?

In today’s post, we’re going to outline the 4 things to consider when booking your wedding photographer(s). Considering these 4 things will help you make an educated decision and find the perfect photographer for you!

PORTFOLIO

When you start checking out photographers’ websites and social media accounts, the first thing you want to look at is their portfolio so you can learn their style. There are so many different ways photographers shoot their images, and edit their images, so you need to find a photographer who does what you love.

As you're looking at different photographers, notice what type of wedding photos draw you in. Take a look at what pins you’re saving to your Wedding Pinterest board and see if there’s a dominant style there. Because you really, really want to choose a photographer who already shoots and edits in the style you love. Otherwise the whole process is going to be a headache for both of you!

3 popular photography styles you’ll see in wedding photography are Portraiture, Lifestyle, and Artistic.*

www.jasonandmelaina.com - Jason and Melaina Photography

-Portraiture can look more traditional or classic, or even swing more into the editorial realm (think high-fashion model type poses). This style focuses on posed portraits, getting you all the traditional portraits you think of when you think of wedding photography. This is a great style for you if you want some model-worthy type images of you and your groom to hang up in your new home.

-Lifestyle wedding photography falls more in the realm of photojournalism and documentary. This style focuses on capturing the moments of your wedding as they happen. There will be some direction in posing, but most of the images you’ll see in their portfolio are moments that occurred naturally on a wedding day. If it’s important to you to remember all the little moments of your wedding day, and see the ones you missed, this is your preferred style.

-The artistic style focuses on getting epic photos of the couple. Think colored smoke bombs, shooting through a prism, focusing a lot on light and shadows, interesting angles. If you love wedding photography that’s outside-the-box, this is definitely your style.

*Side note- a good professional photographer will be able to do all 3 of these styles, and will mostly use a blend of them on your wedding day. A lifestyle photographer isn’t going to not take your family formal portraits, and a portraiture photographer isn’t going to refuse to photograph the best man’s toast unless he can pose him. But each photographer has a favorite style tbh, so find a photographer who showcases the style you prefer most.

A quick word about editing style - just like shooting style, each photographer has a preferred editing style as well. Some love kicking up the contrast and editing their wedding images with a dark and moody vibe. Others prefer focusing on the highlights and editing with a light and airy vibe. Still others prefer offering their couples neutral edits that are clean and true to what your eye sees. It’s best to figure which editing style you prefer and find a photographer who excels in that style, so you can get the wedding photographs you want.

Heirloom linen wedding album with slate gray cover

PACKAGES

Keeping with our alliteration, the next thing you want to look at when you start narrowing down your preferred photographers list is what is included in their packages.

-Look at how many hours of coverage are included. Ask yourself what events of your wedding day are the most important for you to be photographed. Do you want lots of photos of you and your bridesmaids getting ready and probably need full day coverage, or would 6 hours of coverage for your ceremony, family formals, and most of the reception be enough for you?

-See how many photographers are offered and know what you prefer, and who exactly will be photographing your wedding day. Is there only 1 photographer all day, 1 photographer with a second one joining in at the ceremony only, 2 photographers the whole day? If having 2 photographers is important to you, make sure that’s included in the packages or at least is an available add-on. Some photographers have associate photographers who photograph weddings under their business name. Make sure to note which photographer you will have for your day and decide if that’s okay.

-Decide what products and services you want and see if they are included. Do you need an engagement session? Want an album? Can’t wait to share all the digital images on your Facebook page? Make sure the photographer provides the product you want either in the packages you’re looking at or as additional add-ons.

-And finally, figure out how your wedding photos will be delivered to you and if that’s what you prefer. Some photographers provide print quality digital images with a print release (so you can print your photos yourself), delivered to you either through an online gallery or on a USB/disc. Other photographers provide web quality digital images to their couples for social media sharing but only offer print or products ordered through their studio. Make sure and discuss with potential photographers how they will deliver your wedding photos to you so you know what to expect.

PROFESSIONALISM

Speaking of how different photographers structure their business, the third thing you want to consider when picking your wedding photographers is their professionalism. It’s important to say here that we’re not meaning you need to pick the photographer with the most experience. Years of experience do not necessarily equal professionalism. Instead, you want to look at the way the photographer runs their business and make sure they have good business practices that protect you. Almost every other type of photography session can be redone, but your wedding is a once-in-a-lifetime event that can’t be replaced or rescheduled. So it’s SO IMPORTANT you chose a photographer you trust who will take care of you before, during, and after this once-in-a-lifetime event.

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Things you want to look for when evaluating the professionalism of your wedding photographer are-

  • Do they have a contract that protects you and outlines well the process of working with them?

  • How do they secure and backup the images they take on your wedding day?

  • In case of a life-or-death emergency on their end, do they have professional backup photographers who could replace them on your wedding day?

  • How is their communication with you? Do you feel like you can be honest with them? Do they respond back to your emails in a timely manner?

  • How prepared are they to shoot in the rain, or in a dark building? A lot of planning goes into a wedding day, of course, but sometimes last minute changes happen. You’ll want a photographer who can shoot in any given circumstance on short notice.

PERSONALITY

Checking out a photographer’s portfolio, packages and professionalism are important and common practices when picking your wedding photographer. But something that’s just as important and often gets overlooked is making sure you enjoy your wedding photographer’s personality.

Photo by Jason & Melaina Photography - www.JasonAndMelaina.com

You know who is going to be with you the most on your wedding day? Maybe even more than your mama or your groom? Your photographer!! Especially if you book a full day of coverage, your photographer is going to be by your side from when you begin makeup and hair until the moment you and your husband drive off in the limo. So it’s super important that you like your photographer and mesh well with them! If you feel uncomfortable around someone, you don’t want that person following your every move on an already emotional day. You’ll be uncomfortable, they’ll probably be uncomfortable, and that’s not a fun way to remember your wedding day. So as you chat on the phone, skype, email and/or meet in person with photographers, make sure you enjoy them and want them with you on this special day!


Those are our top 4 things you MUST consider when you're booking your wedding photographer! 

  1. Check out their portfolio to make sure it shows what you love
  2. See if their packages include what you want
  3. Make sure they're professional enough to cover this once-in-a-lifetime event, and
  4. Have a conversation with them to make sure they're the person you want beside you on your wedding day!

If you do these 4 things, you'll find the photographer of your dreams, they'll find a couple to work with, and everyone will live happily ever after!

 

Did you find this article helpful? Please share the love with anyone else you know who's planning their dream wedding!

Best of 2017 J&M Sweethearts

It's here! It's here! Our first ever year-end wrap up blog post! 2017 has been amazing here at JMP, and we have worked with the most kind, beautiful, and fun Sweethearts this year. #Blessed! So as we are prepping the bubbly for New Year's Eve and looking ahead to 2018, we thought we'd look back on all the engagement portraits and weddings we photographed in 2017 here at Jason & Melaina Photography! And what a year it's been!

Keep scrolling to see our favorite portraits from our J&M Sweethearts' engagement sessions and wedding stories, and read on to learn some neat behind-the-scenes stuff too!

Spring - Engagement Photos, Rainy Weddings, and a special Sweetheart session!

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We began 2017 with Michael & Pamela's engagement session in Belton. We had not met Michael or Pamela prior to this evening, and we had also never photographed an engagement session in Belton. But thanks to some prior scouting, and to Michael & Pamela being some of the nicest people we've met, their session was amazing! We connected right away and spent most of the shoot laughing together, and we found some really beautiful places in Belton that made for the perfect backdrop for their portraits. 

For more of Michael & Pamela's engagement session, go here.

A groom and his bride kiss as they leave their reception at The Palladium in Waco, Texas - Jason & Melaina Photography - www.jasonandmelaina.com

Jason & Anne were our first wedding for 2017 on Valentine's Day weekend. These two met through their small group at Antioch Community Church, where they had their ceremony. It was really important to Anne we get a picture of her and her husband under the Antioch arch, so we made it a priority to squeeze in a few moments for that portrait before heading to the reception. And this last image right before Jason & Anne ran through their rose petal exit is one of our favorite stolen-moments shots we've captured for a wedding. They stopped unexpectedly for a kiss right before leaving, and Jason happened to look back over his shoulder as he was getting into place with his camera and snapped a quick shot.

For more of Jason & Anne's Antioch/Palladium wedding day, go here.

In early March it was finally wedding day for Michael & Pamela. They were married at La Rio Mansion, and we were all set for a ceremony under their beautiful trees. But the day of brought rain and plans had to be changed. The ceremony was moved into the covered entrance, all the reception tables were moved under patios, and a tent was put up to cover the dance floor. Even though the plans changed and we all had to think quick on our feet, Michael & Pamela's wedding turned out so lovely. Michael's reaction when he saw Pamela coming down the aisle is still one of my favorite reactions, and the rain in the background of their portraits made everything seem even more magical.

For more of Michael & Pamela's LaRio Mansion wedding, go here.

Photo by Jason & Melaina Photography - www.JasonAndMelaina.com

Cory & Jackie are some early J&M Sweethearts, before J&M Sweethearts was even a thing! We photographed their engagement session 8 YEARS ago! This year they welcomed their first little one, but before the birth of their daughter they wanted to have one last portrait session just the two of them. So we scheduled a sweetheart session for the two of them around some of our favorite spots in Waco. Jackie and I are both fans of Gilmore Girls and often discussed the Netflix movies on Facebook together. So when she suggested we do a birth announcement type photo in a gazebo, a la the famous final 4 words, this Gilmore Girls fan was all over it! 

For more of Cory and Jackie's session, go here.

A couple dances in the sunlight and embraces in strawberry fields during their engagement photos in Marble Falls, Texas - Jason & Melaina Photography - www.jasonandmelaina.com

In late April we drove out to Marble Fall to meet up with Jacob & Meghan. Jacob's best friend helps manage Sweet Berry Farms there, and Jacob & Meghan really wanted their engagement session at the farm. We've started digging in deep with our Sweethearts this year to help them pick locations for their engagement portraits that are meaningful to them. We have great location ideas to offer, but we feel like it is so much more special if our couples pick locations that help tell the story of their relationship. So when Jacob & Meghan suggested this fun farm that Jacob had a connection too, we were all for it!

While we waited for the strawberry fields to close to visitors, we drove over to the farm's wedding venue area. Once there, we saw this great grove of trees with all this sunlight shining through, and a field of yellow flowers. We knew we had to get our couple in those spots for some of the portraits, and man, they turned out so great! When the farm was finally closed to visitors, we headed back over to the rows of blackberry vines and strawberry fields to finish the session. We came home with some amazing portraits and some full stomachs from all the fresh strawberries we ate during it!

For more of Jacob & Meghan's engagement session at Sweet Berry Farms, go here.

Summer Lovin' - Engagement sessions in meaningful places and some gorgeous weddings!

Photo by Jason & Melaina Photography - www.JasonAndMelaina.com

Early May brought the second time we've photographed one of our sibling's weddings. Jason's youngest sister, Julie, married her sweetheart in Asheville, North Carolina, so we road-tripped it for a weekend celebration of these two. Julie & Anthony are a couple who love to laugh, so it was such a joy being around them! And we're not just saying that because they're our siblings! Photographing your sister's wedding can prove tricky, especially when it's time for family portraits. But luckily a bridesmaid stepped up and took over our camera for a couple of those. We may look a little out-of-place in our black attire, but we love that we could be there to serve our sister and brother-in-law!

For more of Anthony & Julie's Asheville, NC wedding, go here.

Photo by Jason & Melaina Photography - www.JasonAndMelaina.com

In June we drove up to the Dallas area for Randell & Fawn's engagement session. Fawn found us through our Instagram post from Michael & Pamela's wedding exit, and thus far we had only texted, emailed, and had one Skype call together. But as soon as we were with Randell & Fawn in person, we knew we had found some fun new friends and were so excited to call them Sweethearts!

When we talked through where to do their engagement portraits, we again asked about meaningful locations for their story. Fawn suggested we start at the apartment complex they met at, and even brought out their friends who still lived there. Randell, Fawn, and this group of friends used to sit out together in the breezeway between their apartments, and it was so much fun to recreate those scenes for their engagement session! We finished off the shoot at the park where Randell proposed to Fawn over a picnic date. As we were about to leave, Jason saw the sunset and the clouds, and we found a huge puddle from recent rain, so we set up one final burst of photos. And man, were we glad we did!

For more of Randell & Fawn's engagement session, go here.

A groom plays a song for his bride before their wedding ceremony in Waco, Texas - Jason & Melaina Photography - www.jasonandmelaina.com

In early summer some friends of friends contacted us about photographing their wedding in August...as in this August! We went from meeting Steven & Erin in early July to photographing their wedding in early August! But even though it was a quick relationship, we're so glad it's continued, because Steven & Erin have actually joined the small group we lead through our church. So it's fun to have some Sweethearts in our small group and to stay connected to them in that way!

Steven & Erin's wedding was full of intentional, sacred moments. Immediately after their first look, Steven led Erin to the piano and played "In Christ Alone" for her, and they worshipped together before their wedding. Then after the ceremony, they prayed together at the altar where they were married. It was special to witness those moments, to hang back and capture them forever so they can look back on them in the years to come.

For more of Steven & Erin's wedding at Central Presbyterian, go here.

August also brought Randell & Fawn's wedding at The Springs venue in McKinney. There are so many moments from this wedding that are amazing, you should just go read their whole blog post. But when we think of this wedding, some images stick out to us. There was the breath-taking bridals we were able to get in the early afternoon. There are the all the fun photos of Randell & Fawn tearing it up on the dance floor, surrounded by all their family and friends cheering them on. There's one of the sweetest first touches we've ever seen.

And then there's this last image. Back at their engagement session, Fawn told us she wanted to have a shot of her and Randell's first kiss as husband and wife with their loved ones in the background. So Jason & I figured out how to make it happened. We prepped the minister before hand and kindly asked him to step aside after pronouncing them husband and wife, and thankfully he remembered! Jason stayed crouched down in the aisle on the front row to get our traditional just-married kiss shot, while I stood behind Randell & Fawn on a step stool to get myself taller. Then Jason and I just used Randell & Fawn's bodies to hide each other in our photos! The first kiss is such a whirlwind moment, it only lasts a few seconds really, so you prep yourself and hope everything goes according to plan. But when we got home and uploaded our cards, and realized we got the shot, we did a happy dance!

For more of Randell & Fawn's wedding at The Springs, go here.

Photo by Jason & Melaina Photography - www.JasonAndMelaina.com

We finished out the summer with Charles & Alex's engagement session. These Sweethearts met in judo class, so we had thrown around the idea of taking engagement portraits there or somewhere in Cameron Park. But then Charles called us one day and told us he wanted to surprise Alex with horseback riding for her birthday, and asked if we could do the engagement session then too. Of course we said yes!

This was our first time photographing our Sweethearts on horses, and it was amazing! We got some fun action shots of them riding in from their lesson, and then were able to incorporate the ranch in the remainder of their portraits. We even had a pony photobomb them, but we just rolled with it and had them interact with the little guy. So fun!

For more of Charles & Alex's horseback engagements, go here

Fall - A Texas Reception, romantic weddings, and engagement portraits for some 2018 Sweethearts!

You may remember Brian & Kendra from their epic NASCAR engagement session or their second engagement session on Brian's grandmother's farm we did at the end of 2016. Though they were married in Kendra's home state of Ohio in the summer, they had a second reception for all their family and friends in Texas in September. It felt a little weird to hang out at our apartment until the afternoon, since there was no ceremony for us to photograph. We're more used to being with our Sweethearts all day! But this reception was still so much fun! We know Brian & Kendra as fellow wedding vendors, so being at their reception was like hanging out at a party with all our friends! They also did a Grand March dance, which is always fun to watch and photograph!

For more of Brian & Kendra's Texas reception, go here.

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October brought Charles & Alex's wedding day. This wedding was special for us because it was the first time we've photographed a wedding in our own church! Charles & Alex are fellow members at Highland Baptist, and so they were married in Highland's chapel. Our worship minister played the ceremony with the bride's brother, and our pastor officiated. We often work with our fellow wedding vendor friends at weddings, but this time we were working with our friends from church! 

This wedding was also special because Alex's grandmother flew in from Taiwan to attend. We've learned through our own wedding that weddings are often the few times an entire extended family are together. So we know those family portraits from the day are important, because having everyone together is rare. It was an honor to photograph Alex, her mother and her grandmother together and to be able to give them those portraits to have as family heirlooms.

For more of Charles & Alex's church wedding, go here.

Photo by Jason & Melaina Photography - www.jasonandmelaina.com

Fall ended up being a busy time for us, but we loved it! We had weddings, family photo sessions for Christmas cards, and then engagement sessions for our early 2018 Sweethearts. Our first 2018 Sweethearts were James & Elizabeth. James proposed to Elizabeth while they were fishing together, so of course we wanted to photograph their engagement portraits somewhere that helped tell that part of their love story. And when the sunset works out perfectly and our Sweethearts kill it looking so in love, it's an awesome day!

Connecting with our Sweethearts and helping them feel 100% comfortable in front of our cameras is our #1 goal. So while we know giving our couples beautiful pictures to hang in their home is a great end result of an engagement session, our real goal here is helping them feel at ease with our posing technique and in front of our cameras. It just makes the wedding day so much easier when we've already photographed our Sweethearts!

For more of James & Elizabeth's engagement session, go here.

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Okay, I know I just said we do an engagement session before our Sweethearts' wedding day to help them feel at ease in front of our cameras. But in the case of Steven & Erin, the schedule just didn't allow it! We gift each of our Sweethearts an engagement session, though, so we still wanted to make it happen for them! Erin works for Baylor University, and when they were dating Steven & Erin would often walk around campus together and grab ice cream at Heritage Creamery. So for their engagement portraits we decided to recreate a Baylor date night for them! I love that these pictures tell the story of their relationship, and that they can tell that story to future generations when they look at them.

For more of Steven & Erin's engagement portraits at Baylor, go here.

A man dips his fiance for a kiss with the Waco Suspension Bridge behind them during their engagement photo session in Waco, Tx - Jason & Melaina Photography - www.jasonandmelaina.com

Robert & Abbie were our second 2018 Sweethearts to have their engagement session this fall. We knew we wanted to finish our session with them at the Suspension Bridge, because that's where Robert proposed to Abbie while playing a game of tortilla toss. But we also wanted to get some images for them in an outdoor setting. So my daughters and I went exploring in Cameron Park and off of one trail I found a steep little path that led to this rocky outcrop on the Brazos River. I normally advise our brides-to-be to wear high heels for an engagement session (read here to find out why!), but I was so glad to see Abbie chose these adorable flats to wear so she could hike down to the river for these portraits!

Also fun behind-the-scenes note, in the kiss-in-a-dip portrait I'm hiding behind them with a flash, and because they dipped I didn't have to be edited out at all!

For more of Robert & Abbie's engagement portraits on the Suspension Bridge, go here.

November brought Jacob & Meghan's wedding, and we were so excited! We hadn't seen Jacob & Meghan since their strawberry field engagement session way back in April, and we were happy to be with them again. Also, we were going to be working at a new-to-us wedding venue and with some new friends in the wedding vendor community, so we were excited to make all these new connections! 

When I think back on Jacob & Meghan's wedding, all the special little moments are what stick out in my mind. Meghan with her girls, their foot-washing ceremony after their vows, and how even though it was so cold our Sweethearts trusted us to leave the warmth of their meal to stand out in a driveway as the sun was setting so we could get a beautiful moment for them. Also, Meghan had made so many special little touches for their ceremony. She had her parents' wedding bands tied to her bouquet, a piece of her mother's wedding dress sewn into her own dress near her heart, and the Bible her ring bearer carried was her new father-in-law's Bible he had received when he became a Christian so many years ago. Jacob & Meghan's wedding would have been beautiful regardless, but all these special moments and sentimental touches made it such a meaningful day.

And since we're talking about some behind-the-scenes stuff in this post we didn't share in the original blog, shout out to Travis from Cinderella Films who helped us out with his flash so we could get this last kiss through the limo's tinted windows before they drove away! It took 3 flashes and 3 of us set up in different places, but the shot was worth it!

For more of Jacob & Meghan's wedding at Bearcreek, go here.

Winter - A Christmas wedding for a couple of Sweethearts!

Photo by Jason & Melaina Photography - www.JasonAndMelaina.com

We finished out 2017 with Henry & Cassandra's engagement session and wedding day, all in December! We didn't meet these Sweethearts until November, but luckily we found a Saturday that worked for all our schedules to fit their engagement session in before their big day! We also were excited when they said they wanted to have a city vibe for their engagement photos, because we had some fun new spots downtown we wanted to try out. And as the sun was setting we were glad Henry & Cassandra were willing to hop in the back of our minivan to head to the top of a parking garage so we could get the sunset and the Waco skyline.

For more of Henry & Cassandra's engagement session in downtown Waco, go here.

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And then just 2 weeks later on Christmas weekend we photographed Henry & Cassandra's wedding at First Baptist Church, Waco. If you've never been inside this historic sanctuary, you are missing out! The soaring ceilings and stained-glass windows throughout the church are breath-taking, and it was a dream to photograph in there. Also, their wedding reception was a first for us in that we photographed all the family playing fun games together on the dance floor. You'll definitely want to check out their blog post coming in early January to see all the fun!

Some fun extras!

HMU: Hair & Beauty Art Studio - Dress: Georgio's Bridal - Model: Brittany King - Photos: Jason & Melaina Photography

Earlier in the year our good friend, hairstylist Jessica Gudino, asked us to help her out with a bridal styled shoot. She wanted to showcase her team's talents for bridal hair and makeup, and got 2 gorgeous bridal gowns from our friends at Georgio's to use. We met them in East Waco for the first portion of the shoot, photographing our model at Rapport Academy. But when the sun set Jason headed with them back to Jessica's studio, and they set up some more moody shots utilizing our off-camera flash system. 

The end result isn't our normal style when we're photographing a bride on her wedding day, but it was fun to play around and get some more moody, model-like shots!

For more from this bridal style session, go here.

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At Brian & Kendra's reception, their wedding consultant Lois Ferguson, told us to get together with the Sweethearts and she would take our picture with our camera. It was a perk of working with fellow wedding vendor friends! We realized this was the first time we've had our picture taken on the wedding day with our Sweethearts, and now we're wondering if we should make it a thing!

from 2017 to 2018 -

And that's a wrap on 2017! Looking back through all these engagement sessions and wedding days stored on our hard drive was so encouraging. It's easy to give a cursory glance back over the year and vaguely judge it a good one. But to go through and pick out favorite images from each session really drove home the fact that we've had some amazing opportunities with our Sweethearts in 2017! So if you're reading this and you were one of our 2017 J&M Sweethearts, thank you so much from the bottom of our hearts for being awesome and amazing and for picking us to be your photographers. We consider you all BFFs now, and would love to go on a double-date with you if you ever have a free night in Waco!

As this week ends and we look ahead to 2018, we can't help but be excited for what the future holds. We really feel like we've found our people and 100% of our Sweethearts are amazing couples who become our friends. So 2018 is only going to bring more of them in our lives and WE. CANNOT. WAIT!


Are you newly engaged and want to learn more about the J&M Sweetheart experience? Then...