I’m so happy that my friend Bryan Johnson of A Bryan Photo agreed to write a guest post for Snippet & Ink while I’m away on maternity leave. Bryan has cultivated such an incredibly talented team of photographers, and it’s clear that all of them absolutely love what they do. And while I would normally let the photos do most of the talking, in this case, Bryan has perfectly put into words the importance of wedding photography in preserving family moments…

I recently was faced with the overwhelming task of documenting a wedding for a bride and groom who each had a terminally ill parent.  Going into the wedding, my heart felt heavy for this beautiful young couple and the weight of the situation.  In my mind it became perfectly clear what was most important about their wedding day.  It wasn’t about capturing the special details & decor or finding a way to make this wedding the most unique.  No, those things took a back seat.  Instead the focus was on these two lovely families and the life they have built together.  A month after the wedding, the groom’s father passed away and I helped the family choose prints for the memorial service.

Often I forget, unless I’m faced with these dire situations, what is most important.  I need a reminder that these quiet family moments should be the lifeline of the wedding story.  A wedding is the culmination of a family’s legacy and history.  The photography should be preservation of a life that has been built and shaped by those closest to the couple.

When Ashley and I got married ten years ago, our wedding was not cool or unique.  It wouldn’t be worthy of being published on any blog nor in any magazine.  Yet when I show my wedding album to my kids, they light up looking at images of their parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles. These are the images that still matter and that carry significance a decade later.  This is why the documentation of families deserves great respect and attention on the wedding day. Whether by taking a few great portraits with siblings or by capturing those quiet and endearing moments with parents, great effort should go into their preservation.

A Bryan Photo A Bryan Photo
A Bryan Photo A Bryan Photo

A Bryan Photo A Bryan Photo

A Bryan Photo A Bryan Photo

All photos by A Bryan Photo.

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The beginning of summer is so magical. There are so many things to love about it – the first trip to the pool or beach, an early season family barbecue, anticipation for an upcoming vacation… But my absolute favorite thing has to be the light at dusk right before the sun goes down entirely. What is your most favorite thing about summer?

Pretty June downloadable calendar.

Take a ride on the world’s tallest bike!

The cutest citrus juicer from Honestly Yum.

Sometimes a fun new notebook really helps my productivity.

How much would you love to snuggle up in this pillow blanket?

We love the range of beautiful paper goods from The Lettered Olive, like this unique Just Married sign.

A vase that is designed to remind you to water your plants? Brilliant!

Artist Marc Johns has a unique sense of humor that I just love. This print of his is one of my favorites.

Learn how to make an ice cream cone with your Panini maker with this ice cream drumstick recipe!

I’ve loved lobsters ever since this scene from Friends where Pheobe tells us that “lobsters mate for life” – hence why I love this Top 10 Summer Wedding Gift roundup.

Check out this great inspiration for how to add a white denim vest into your summer wardrobe from Gal Meets Glam.

Congrats Maybelle Imasa-Stukuls on your new website!


Have a lovely weekend friends!

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With all of our focus on how to make your wedding special, we thought it was important to highlight some ways to make your marriage awesome, too. Introducing “Snapshot of a Marriage,” a series from contributor Emily Westbrooks, who interviews couples on some of their secrets for a strong and successful marriage.

 Josh and Debs’s first meeting wasn’t picture perfect, but it certainly was memorable! The two were paired together to play doubles tennis in high school, and Debs remembers, “Josh told me after a few minutes of playing that maybe if I left the court then he could win the doubles match! I followed that nice comment up with the equally nice gesture of throwing his racket out over the fence!”

But the seeds of their friendship were planted, and the two found themselves spending more and more time together. Five years later, Josh was ready to pop the question. “My proposal wasn’t very calculated. It was more an explosion of youthful excitement. I had spent the summer as a 19 year-old working landscaping in California to pay for a small diamond. I had been away from Debs for three months and had spent hours staring at the small ring waiting to give it to her. I should have thought a little more about presenting it to her, maybe getting down on one knee even? Maybe talking to her parents beforehand? As soon as I had her alone, I gave her the ring. It was still in a paper bag! I wish I had realized that this story would be recounted for years to come – I may have thought it through a little more carefully!”

Over more than eighteen years, Josh and Debs have experienced the ups and downs of marriage, but learned how to work through them. Debs explains how a particularly difficult time in their marriage was also a particularly important time in their relationship: “After we welcomed our third child into our family I had a devastating year of postpartum depression. Within a short time I really lost all connection to the world around me, I couldn’t eat, sleep or interact with people. I was not able to make any decisions that remotely made sense in regards to the baby or my other kids or life in general. During that year Josh was incredibly calm, deeply caring and literally kept every single part of our lives together. He cooked, cleaned, took care of the kids, worked his computer engineering job, led the youth ministry and waited for me to slowly pull out of the heavy fog I was under. He never tried to force me to feel better or act like I was better. He did, however, pray and trust that healing would be full and complete. Which it was and is.”

In recent years, Josh and Debs have started officiating weddings and working with couples leading up to their weddings. They also often talk with couples about how to receive the waves of advice that come from family and friends when a couple is set to get married. Debs recounts the lessons they pass on to new couples, “Advice is so healthy and important and needed, but you have to receive it and filter it through what you know is right for you as a couple and as a family. Humility to hear from others but also strength to make decisions based on who you are and not who others want you to be or expectations around you.”

Josh’s final piece of advice to newlyweds? “It’s not about facts or right or wrong or proof – it’s about love. I wish I had understood that when I was 19!”

SNAPSHOT SUBMISSIONS  Do you know a married couple whose relationship you admire? Or maybe you’re married and want to share your words of wisdom! We’re now accepting submissions from couples who have been married for ten years or longer. Email Emily at emily@fromchinavillage.com with your first names, how long you’ve been married, and a few sentences about why you’d like to be interviewed for our Snapshot of a Marriage series.
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Whether you’re dreaming of a rustic wedding reception, or looking for ideas for another event, Amanda and Philip’s lovely rehearsal dinner is just full of eye candy and inspiration…

From the groom’s family: “Amanda and Philip’s rehearsal dinner served as an ode to the couple’s love of nature. When we first gathered ideas for the evening, we kept referencing the couple’s love for hiking and kayaking through the Blue Ridge Mountains. Inspiration came from the beautiful trails that traverse this area of the country. Ferns, queen anne’s lace, and orchids were gathered to accent the natural interior. We found a beautiful french grain sack linen for the head table and paired it with family china.”

Escort cards were actually copper garden markers, “planted” in boxes of moss. Find similar markers from Gardener’s Supply Company.

Signature drinks were bourbon and Coke and Prosecco garnished with blackberries. Blackberries also made an appearance in the favors. From the groom’s family: “Wild blackberries grow on our hunting property, and every year, for as long as we can remember, we have picked blackberries and made the most delicious blackberry jam. Shortly after Amanda and Philip’s engagement, we picked the berries and canned 80 small jars of jam for guests to take as they left the dinner.”


See all of this rustic rehearsal dinner in the gallery.


Why did you choose this location for your wedding weekend?  The mountains around the Chattooga River are a special area to us and Long Creek is particularly special as it’s where Philip took me for our first Valentine’s Day. The views of the mountains from Kingwood Resort, located just outside of Long Creek in Clayton, Georgia, are gorgeous and it offered up a variety of things for our guests to do while they spent the weekend with us.

What was your favorite moment or part of the rehearsal dinner?  The toasts were my favorite part of the dinner! We have incredible family and friends who gave us really heartfelt toasts that night. It was unexpected and really wonderful.

What was the best advice you received as a bride?  To enjoy every moment of the wedding and rehearsal dinner and not stress about what may have gone a little wrong. The wedding weekend will go by in a blur, so don’t worry about the little things that no one else would even notice.

Photographer: Ashley Seawell / Event Planner, Floral Designer: Ashley Rhodes Events / Venue, Catering: The Lodge at Kingwood Country Club in Clayton, Georgia / Dress, Shoes: Kate Spade / Groom’s Attire: J. Crew / Stationery: Reaves Engraving / Rentals: All Star Tents and Events / Music: West End String Band / Cake: Holly’s Cakes / Stirrers: My Wedding Reception Ideas
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