winter wedding

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 -

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 -

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Henry & Cassandra | Traditional Wedding at First Baptist Church | Waco, Texas

A traditional church wedding on Christmas weekend inside First Baptist Church, Waco, Texas, Jason & Melaina Photography -

We ended 2017 with the beautiful, traditional church wedding of Henry & Cassandra on Christmas weekend, and we are so excited to show it to you! If you read Henry & Cassandra’s engagement blog post, you’ll remember these two Sweethearts met when they were younger because their families attend First Baptist Church, Waco together. So FBC was the perfect choice for their wedding ceremony!

If you asked us what would be the most beautiful sanctuary in Waco for a traditional church wedding, FBC Waco will definitely be one of our top suggestions! With the soaring ceilings, all the stained-glass windows, the rows of beautiful wooden pews, the architecture of the is just such a gorgeous sanctuary! The beauty of the sanctuary and the small touches of red poinsettias for Christmas provided the perfect backdrop for Henry & Cassandra's wedding day.

Henry & Cassandra continued the traditional theme of their wedding by choosing not to see one another before her walk down the aisle. However, to help calm their nerves and to have a special moment together before, they decided to do a “first touch.” We love when our Sweetheart’s choose to do a first touch, taking a moment to connect and talk together before saying "I do." Since we couldn’t find a great doorway without exposing Henry & Cassandra to all their guests who were arriving, Jason found a small bench in front of stained-glass windows on the second floor landing. I brought Henry up from downstairs and had him sit facing the corner, and made him PROMISE he wouldn’t turn around. Then while Jason got into place, I brought Cassandra out of her bridal suite and placed her behind Henry on the bench. Maybe Cassandra was able to sneak a little peek at Henry before the ceremony and see him looking all dapper in his blue tux, but this location paid off in one of the most beautiful first touches we’ve photographed.

After the first touch it was time for the ceremony, and it was such a meaningful ceremony filled with beautiful moments. A pastor from Mexico closely connected with the family presided over much of the ceremony, encouraging Henry & Cassandra in their new roles as husband and wife. There was also a time in the ceremony when relatives and close family friends were invited to give traditional gifts to the couple getting married. One of our favorite parts was when Henry & Cassandra were encircled with the wedding lasso rosary during their time of prayer together. It was such a perfect symbol of marriage, being tied together, side-by-side as you journey forward.

A bride gets into her beaded wedding gown from Georgio's Bridal Salon, Waco, Texas - Jason & Melaina Photography -
A calligraphy wedding invitation suite laid out on bride's veil, surrounded by bouquet and bride's jewelry - Jason & Melaina Photography -
A bride gets emotional giving her father a gift before her wedding at First Baptist Church in Waco, Texas - Jason & Melaina Photography -
A bride and groom hold hands during a "first touch" at their wedding at FBC Waco - Jason & Melaina Photography -
A groom cries when he sees his bride coming down the aisle at a wedding ceremony at FBC Waco - Jason & Melaina Photography -
A bride and groom kiss in front of the historic First Baptist Church in downtown Waco- Jason & Melaina Photography -

After the ceremony, Henry & Cassandra invited their guests to a fun-filled reception at Castle Heights Bijoux Events Center. They kept the traditional reception elements such as the Father/Daughter dance, toasts, and of course, cutting their gorgeous wedding cake! But there were some fun additions to the celebration we had never seen before in our experience as wedding photographers!

Before Cassandra did her bouquet toss, she and Henry stretched her cathedral length veil between them and all the young women (and some young-at-heart) joined hands and ran through the venue and under the veil. Then, right before Henry tossed his boutonniere to the young, single men, they did the same! Also, a group of Cassandra’s cousins from Mexico swarmed Henry and tossed him up in the air to the music. He almost hit the ceiling!

After all the cake had been served and the bouquet had been tossed, a family friend led the entire reception in a few rounds of competitive games. It was fun to see the women compete against the men, each team trying to win for the bride or groom! The fun reception ended with everyone praying over these Sweethearts, praying blessings on their new marriage as they left the reception to start their new life together.

A bride and groom dance together during their wedding reception at Castle Heights Bijoux Events Center in Waco, Texas - Jason & Melaina Photography -
Guests at a wedding reception run under the bride's veil - Jason & Melaina Photography -
Guests throw the groom into the air on the dance floor during his wedding reception at Castle Heights Bijoux Events Center - Jason & Melaina Photography -

Dear Henry & Cassandra,

There were so many beautiful moments on your wedding day that we hope you cherish in your memory for years. We hope you remember the joy and emotions, the way all your family and friends came together to support your love and marriage. And we pray that the way you two smile at one another and the love in your eyes for one another doesn't fade but grows stronger with each anniversary. Blessings on your marriage!

Love, J&M