I have known Ms. Heidi since she was a youngen. Her cousin Audrey and I have been best friends since we were in 7th grade at Vail Middle School. Though our lives have gone in opposite directions, Audrey and I find time to connect. I met Heidi one day when she came over to my house with Audrey. Immediately, I wanted to photograph her. I tried to get Heidi to partake in a Disney shoot that I was planning. She would have made the perfect Alice! Our schedules conflicted so I was not able to include her in that session. Naturally, I photographed Audrey's wedding and was completely honored to do so. Heidi took part in her wedding and swore one day, I'd get to take her pictures! She contacted me a few months later and asked if I would be interested in photographing her wedding! I was completely ecstatic and without hesitation, I said "ABSOLUTELY". Not only was I excited to finally get to photograph her wedding, but I was even more excited when she told me it was in Pinetop Arizona! One of my favorite places to be. Absolutely a perfect place for a wedding!!
Val is from Russia and Heidi is from Norway.... They incorporated their heritages into their wedding like no other wedding I have seen before. From the Russian birch-wood trees to the trunks of Norway. This was the coolest culture shock I have ever had. Their traditions run thick in their families. Not only does that show, but their family is so tight. They have supported this couple through everything. Every little detail that was composed in this wedding had something to do with who they are and everything they will become.
While the bride was sips on Mimosas, the girl chat was awesome. Between the make up artist, the hair stylist, the Maid of Honor and the flower girl, it was definitely so much fun being apart of this.
The First 'First Look'
The bride and the groom eloped on this day 5 years ago. It was only fitting that they renewed their vows and had a wedding. As mentioned before, so much heart and soul went into planning this. While these two have been through it all already. The stress of venue booking, preparing all the details, making timelines and taking a vow in front of God and everybody, the groom was a ball of nerves. The bride conspired a trick to help out with that. She had a friend that had an old wedding dress laying around. Heidi thought it would be hilarious to send the her brother down in a wedding dress, in her place for the first look. Needless to say.... It worked and the grooms reaction was utterly priceless. Just see for yourself! These pictures are breaking the internet over the last several hours! LOL Yes! They are THAT good!
The 'Actual' First Look
Now that the groom had fully been relieved of anything that caused him nervousness, it was then time to actually have his first look with his bride. While he doubted that it was actually her, he was just as amazed to seen his bride. He was in complete awe of her. Completely and understandably so. She's flawlessly gorgeous. Wouldn't you agree??
While the sermon is lengthy, its totally worth a read. The Brides brother was very emotional but he's a funny guy! He, the bride and the groom were willing to share with me to share with the world!
THANK YOU EVERYONE FOR MAKING TIME OUT OF YOUR LIFE TO COME CELEBRATE THIS VOW RENEWAL WITH HEIDI AND VAL, THEY RECOGNIZE THAT THIS IS UNCONVENTIONAL. IT WAS IMPORTANT FOR VAL AND HEIDI TO BE ABLE TO CELEBRATE THEIR LOVE AND RENEW THEIR COMMITMENTS TO EACH OTHER SINCE IT WASN’T POSSIBLE TO DO SO 5 YEARS AGO WHEN THEY ORIGINALLY MARRIED.
FOR THOSE OF YOU WHO DON’T ALREADY KNOW, I WOULD LIKE TO SHARE WITH YOU THE STORY OF HOW HEIDI AND VAL GOT HERE.
IT ALL STARTED IN SPANISH CLASS AT SAGUARO HIGH SCHOOL FRESHMAN YEAR. HEIDI AND VAL HAD SPANISH CLASS TOGETHER, AND FROM DAY ONE HEIDI WAS INTRIGUED BY THE CURIOUS RUSSIAN BOY WITH THE SKATE SHOES AND THE HOCKEY SHIRT. HEIDI'S BROTHER CARSON WAS AN ACCOMPLISHED ROLLER HOCKEY PLAYER AT THAT SAME HIGH SCHOOL JUST A FEW YEARS EARLIER AND SHE WONDERED IF VAL WOULD EVER LIVE UP TO THE STANDARDS HE HAD SET.
VAL WAS ALWAYS QUICK TO CLASS AND STUDIED HARD. WHEN HE WALKED INTO CLASS HE WOULD HARDLY EVEN LOOK IN HEIDIS DIRECTION. THERE WERE MANY GIRLS IN CLASS AND THEY ALL BLENDED TOGETHER. HEIDI WAS A BASIC…
BUT BEFORE LONG VAL DID NOTICE HEIDI AND THEY BECAME GOOD FRIENDS, ALL THE WHILE HEIDIS CRUSH ON VAL BECAME STRONGER AND STRONGER. SHE WAS THROWING OUT ALL THE SIGNALS TO LET HIM KNOW SHE WAS INTERESTED, LOW CUT TOPS, TIGHT CUT JEANS, REALLY HIGH PONY TAILS, HEAVY LIP GLOSS, ALL THE WHILE VAL WAS OBLIVIOUS. DURING SOPHMORE YEAR HEIDI THREW A PARTY AT HER HOUSE AND FINALLY WORKED UP THE COURAGE TO PLANT A KISS ON VAL. IT WAS THEN THAT VAL FINALLY REALIZED THAT HEIDI LIKED HIM AND THEY NEVER LOOKED BACK. THEY WERE LIKE PEAS AND CARROTS TOGETHER.
WHEN IT WAS TIME TO START PLANNING LIFE AFTER HIGH SCHOOL THEY HAD SOME TOUGH DECISIONS TO MAKE. VAL PLANNED TO JOIN THE UNITED STATES NAVY AND HEIDI WAS GOING TO ATTEND COLLEGE. IT WAS NEVER AN OPTION TO BREAK UP, HEIDI AND VAL WERE GOING TO SEE THIS THROUGH! THEY HAD RECENTLY SEEN “DEAR JOHN” ON A DATE NIGHT, A MOVIE ABOUT A MAN WHO HAD TO LEAVE HIS LOVE TO FIGHT OVERSEAS WHILE SHE STAYED AND TRIED TO FULFILL HER DREAMS. IT WAS THEN THAT THEY RECOGNIZED THE STRUGGLES THAT MAY LIE AHEAD, AND AFTER ALL, THAT WAS JUST A MOVIE AND VAL WAS DEFINITELY NO CHANNING TATUM! THEY PERSEVERED THROUGH 2 YEARS OF A LONG DISTANCE RELATIONSHIP, AND ON A PERFECT EVENING IN PENSACOLA, FL. VAL SURPRISED HEIDI WITH A SUNSET BEACH PROPOSAL.
STILL UNABLE TO LIVE TOGETHER THEY ENDURED ANOTHER SIX MONTHS APART. BY THEN VAL WAS STATIONED IN SAN DIEGO AND HE AND HEIDI EXCHANGED VOWS IN A PRIVATE CEREMONY ON THEY BEACH. SHORTLY AFTER IN 2013 HEIDI MOVED TO SAN DIEGO TO LIVE WITH HER HUSBAND, “HUSBAND” IT WAS STILL EXCITING TO SAY! DURING THE 5 YEARS THAT THEY LIVED IN SAN DIEGO VAL COMPLETED 2 TOURS OVERSEAS AS A NAVY CORPSMAN IN THE MIDDLE EAST AND PACIFIC, HEIDI CONTINUED BOUNCING IN AND OUT OF COLLEGE AND WORKING ON HER TAN.
IN 2017 THEY DECIDED THAT VAL WOULD LEAVE THE US NAVY AND HE AND HEIDI WOULD MOVE BACK TO ARIZONA TO BE CLOSER TO FAMILY. HEIDI HAS RECENTLY RECEIVED HER DEGREE IN NUTRITION FROM ASU AND VAL IS CURRENTLY WORKING TOWARDS HIS DEGREE.
THROUGH ALL OF THE TRIALS AND TRIBULATIONS THAT THEY HAVE ENDURED ALREADY THEY NEVER FORGOT ABOUT A PROMISE THAT THEY MADE TO EACH OTHER 5 YEARS AGO AT THEIR WEDDING CEREMONY THAT THEY WOULD RENEW THEIR VOWS IN FRONT OF FAMILY AND FRIENDS ON THEIR 5TH ANNIVERSARY.
AND THAT IS WHAT BRINGS US HERE TODAY!
HEIDI AND VAL
YOU HAVE KNOWN EACH OTHER FROM THE FIRST GLANCE OF ACQUAINTANCE TO THIS POINT OF COMMITMENT. AT SOME POINT, YOU DECIDED TO MARRY. FROM THAT MOMENT OF YES TO THIS MOMENT OF YES, INDEED, YOU HAVE BEEN MAKING PROMISES AND AGREEMENTS IN AN INFORMAL WAY. ALL THOSE CONVERSATIONS THAT WERE HELD RIDING IN A CAR OR OVER A MEAL OR DURING LONG WALKS — ALL THOSE SENTENCES THAT BEGAN WITH "WHEN WE'RE MARRIED" AND CONTINUED WITH "I WILL AND YOU WILL AND WE WILL"- THOSE LATE NIGHT TALKS THAT INCLUDED "SOMEDAY" AND "SOMEHOW" AND "MAYBE"- AND ALL THOSE PROMISES THAT ARE UNSPOKEN MATTERS OF THE HEART. ALL THESE COMMON THINGS, AND MORE, ARE THE REAL PROCESS OF A WEDDING. THE SYMBOLIC VOWS THAT YOU ARE ABOUT TO MAKE ARE A WAY OF SAYING TO ONE ANOTHER, " YOU KNOW ALL THOSE THINGS WE'VE PROMISED AND HOPED AND DREAMED- WELL, I MEANT IT ALL, EVERY WORD." LOOK AT ONE ANOTHER AND REMEMBER THIS MOMENT IN TIME. BEFORE THIS MOMENT YOU HAVE BEEN MANY THINGS TO ONE ANOTHER- ACQUAINTANCE, FRIEND, COMPANION, LOVER, DANCING PARTNER, AND EVEN TEACHER, FOR YOU HAVE LEARNED MUCH FROM ONE ANOTHER IN THESE LAST FEW YEARS. NOW YOU SHALL SAY A FEW WORDS THAT TAKE YOU ACROSS A THRESHOLD OF LIFE, AND THINGS WILL NEVER QUITE BE THE SAME BETWEEN YOU. FOR AFTER THESE VOWS, YOU SHALL SAY TO THE WORLD, THIS- IS MY HUSBAND, THIS- IS MY WIFE.
To Be Continued......
A Long Journey int he making this day has been. Today I stand in front of you and all of our families and publically declare my love for you. You have been the most amazing and comforting aspect of my entire life. My sun rises and sets with the thoughts of you every single day. This day is representation of our love and commitments to each other, but I think its also a fortuitous opportunity for me to thank you. Thank you for your compassion, love and undying commitment to me through thick and extremely this. You have s tuck with me when the nights have been dark and the days extremely long. You drive meto be a better man then I was the day before and you truly inspire me every single day through your positiviy and beautful outlook on life. YOu honestly make me jealous on how calm, cool and collected you treat every situation on hand. I vow to love and hold you and massage your feet every day of my ilfe. I vow to feed you when you are hungry for your sake and mine and hang the clothes in the proper place in the closet. i vow to always see your side of the story and IMPORTANTLY to always admit you were right. You are my everything and so much more. I adore you with all my heart and thanks for being my best buddy when no one else would.
My Valentin. Words can't describe how lucky I feel to be standing here with you, my high school sweetheart, 10 years after we first met. We have, and continue to, beat all of the odds, and we have grown so much together just as much as we have grown separately. Everyday since our first date at baskin robbins so long ago, you have given me another reason to fall in love with you. At 16 I fell in love with a shy hockey player from Russia, at 18 I fell in love with a Navy corpsman wanting to make a difference in the world, at 20 I fell in love with my fiancé turned husband, and today I get to share my love with you, my best friend, publicly with all of our friends and family. I can't wait to fall in love with you once again, being the future father of my children, and standing here again 45 years from now saying "we did it." Val, you are ever-changing, and I fall in love with you, every part of you, all over again everyday. You are the main part of all of my best memories in life, and not a day goes by that you don’t show me how much you love me. I promise to always be your best friend, and tell you the truth even when it hurts to hear it. I promise to always make you laugh, and sing you spontaneous songs in a variety of different voices. I promise to bake you all of your favorite goodies, especially banana blueberry muffins. I promise to always take adventures with you and to never stop exploring with you. I promise to never go to bed mad at you. I promise to continue to strive to be the best wife to you, and always assure you that no matter where life takes us, you have a home here in me. Thank you for choosing me to do life with. I truly feel so lucky and honored to be called your wife. I love you.
WHEN TWO PEOPLE ARE ABLE TO STAND IN FRONT OF FAMILY AND FRIENDS AND READ ALOUD ALL OF THE FEELINGS THEY HAVE, AND PROMISES TO EACH OTHER FOR THE FUTURE IT REALLY MAKES YOU BELIEVE IN THE POWER OF LOVE.
I WOULD LIKE TO READ A POEM ABOUT THAT VERY THING BY THE GREAT HUEY LEWIS.
THE POWER OF LOVE IS A CURIOUS THING
MAKE ONE MAN WEEP, MAKE ANOTHER MAN SING
CHANGE A HAWK TO A LITTLE WHITE DOVE
MORE THAN A FEELING, THAT'S THE POWER OF LOVE
TOUGHER THAN DIAMONDS, RICH LIKE CREAM
STRONGER AND HARDER THAN A BAD GIRLS DREAM
MAKE A BAD ONE GOOD, MAKE A WRONG ONE RIGHT
POWER OF LOVE WILL KEEP YOU HOME AT NIGHT
DON'T NEED MONEY, DON'T TAKE FAME
DON'T NEED NO CREDIT CARD TO RIDE THIS TRAIN
IT'S STRONG AND IT'S SUDDEN AND IT'S CRUEL SOMETIMES
BUT IT MIGHT JUST SAVE YOUR LIFE
THAT'S THE POWER OF LOVE
THAT'S THE POWER OF LOVE
IN CLOSING I WOULD LIKE TO GIVE YOU A LITTLE MARRIAGE ADVICE. YOU HAVE MADE IT THROUGH THE FIRST 5 YEARS WHICH IS ALREADY A HUGE ACCOMPLISHMENT. BUT IT IS WHATS GOING TO HAPPEN NEXT THAT IS GOING TO BRING THE BIGGEST CHALLENGES. THERE WILL BE CHILDREN IN THE FUTURE…
NEVER PUT YOUR MARRIAGE ON HOLD WHILE YOU ARE RAISING YOUR CHILDREN. IF YOU DO THIS YOU WILL END UP WITH AN EMPTY NEST AND AN EMPTY MARRIAGE.
YOU WILL FALL INTO ROUTINE…
MAKE TIME TOGETHER A PRIORITY. BUDGET FOR CONSISTENT DATE NIGHTS. TIME IS THE CURRENCY OF RELATIONSHIPS, SO CONSISTENTLY INVEST TIME IN YOUR MARRIAGE.
PRIORITIZE WHAT HAPPENS IN THE BEDROOM…
IT TAKES MORE THAN SEX TO CREATE A STRONG MARRIAGE BUT ITS NEARLY IMPOSSIBLE TO HAVE A STrONG MARRIAGE WITHOUT IT.
HEIDI AND VAL, YOU HAVE BEEN THROUGH A LOT TOGETHER. YOU’VE SHARED LAUGHTER, TEARS, SUFFERED LOSS, AND ENDURED SEPARATION, THROUGH ALL THE OBSTACLES YOU HAVE MANAGED TO BUILD A MARRIAGE THAT YOU CAN BE PROUD OF AND FRANKLY ONE THAT I REALLY ADMIRE.
IT IS NOW, IN FRONT OF FAMILY AND FRIENDS THAT I HAVE THE DISTINCT PLEASURE OF PRONOUNCING YOU THE NEW AND IMPROVED HUSBAND AND WIFE! NOW SEAL IT WITH A KISS!
HEIDI AND VAL EVERYONE!
A few of My Favorite Formals
A Guest Not Forgotten
It was brought to my attention that Heidi had recently lost her dad and that he would not be joining her for the celebration of her wedding. This hit such a soft spot in my heart, as my dad was not present for my wedding. Its a void that cannot be filled at any expense. My heart broke for her. I asked the bride to give me brief story about her dad and his love for his family. He may not have been there in person, but he certainly was there to fill everybody's heart with his warm memories.
A note from the bride....
Grab your tissues
My dad was always singing, whistling, or dancing when we were growing up. He loved music, my momma, dancing, the lake, crown royal whiskey, and just having a good time. When he passed in 2011, it was hard on our whole family. Him and my mom just celebrated their 37th anniversary, and I had just graduated high school. Because he knew his time was coming, my dad pulled me aside to send me off with some life advice and love- and to also give me his blessing if I ever wanted to marry Val in the future. He had known Val for 3 years at that point, and told me he couldn’t have picked someone better for me. It’s crazy to think that his blessing actually came in use years later. In some odd way however, his passing made us so much tighter as a family unit. We spend all holidays together, and always reminisce stories of my dad. Every Christmas, we share a family shot of crown royal in memory of daddy, and daddy always makes sure to visit us in his special ways too. That’s why the seat saved for him was so special and unique. He had his boutonniere his boots, and a crown royal shot with his name on it. Even though he wasn’t there to walk me down the aisle, we felt his presence everywhere.
Celebrating with family is the very best part
While we did not forget about her father, there were several family, friends and loved ones that attended to celebrate with Val and Heidi. These people have supported them in every obstacle this amazing couple has overcome. Both sides of this family are nothing less than amazing. I am so pleased to have known the brides side and I am honored to have met the grooms side. Its incredible when two families become one.
I am not by any means a blogger, and I still struggle with artificial light. But I believe that I have captured this wedding and told the story as it was watched. This is why I love what I do. Val and Heidi will have these memories for a lifetime. I have been photographing weddings for 10 years. As each wedding is unique and tells its own story differently, I have yet to photograph a wedding like this. I am beyond honored to have been an important part of their special day and I hope to photograph many more memories for these two as their lives fulfill their goals and dreams.