November 24, 2022
Chris and Chelsey’s November Wedding at Cabins on Strawberry Hill is not one I will ever forget! This couple, this family, and this wedding had my heart from our first video consultation earlier this year. These are the kind of couples I love buoying up. These are the stories I feel deeply honored to tell.
I always feel both a sense of excitement and nervousness when I hop on consultation video chats with inquiring couples. It did not take long at all into the call with Chris and Chelsey to feel at ease with our conversation. “These are my people!” Went through my head many times during that call. They are the kind of people you want to rally behind, to be close to, and to love on. They are solid and the adoration they have for each other, their families, and for God is evident.
I already knew I wanted to be the one to capture their story, but when Chelsey told more of their unfolding story I knew I was 1000% behind them with my whole heart. They were planning a wedding in a few short months as her father’s inoperable brain tumor was not responding to treatments.
I knew I would bawl on their wedding day, and I knew it would be cold (being November in Strawberry, AZ) but I also knew I wanted to be there for them and their families for this extra special and beautiful wedding celebration. The peace, calm, and love I felt and saw there touched my heart deeply, and I hope I was able to capture a slice of that feeling in the photos we created throughout the day!
Chelsey and her bridesmaids got ready at a gorgeous VRBO just down the road from The Cabins on Strawberry Hill. Sometimes the bridal suite is chaotic, sometimes there’s nervous or crazy energy, and sometimes it’s bouncing all over the place. That was not the case at the VRBO. It was calm, peaceful, and beautiful!
Chelsey had all of her bridal details ready as she sat sipping her coffee, re-writing her vows to a new card, and letting her hair curls set.
For years, Chelsey’s dad saved up for their weddings through buying bonds. He kept immaculate records and had a beautiful letter included with the bonds in a tin for his girls. Chelsey brought those to be photographed as a part of her wedding details. It was such a beautiful touch to the day and the details!
Chelsey asked if she could do a First Look with her Dad as one of the first things she did after she was totally ready. She had a beautiful gift ready for him and was so elegant walking down those spiral stairs to greet her dad.
Daddy Daughter First Looks are such a sweet part of any wedding day, but this one was extra touching and beautiful. There have only been a few moments in my 15+ years of wedding experience where I have felt like I’m intruding and try extra to be as in the background as I can be so as not to disturb what is going on. This was one of those. It was sweet, personal, heartfelt, and had the sweetest feeling.
As a part of their First Look, Chelsey had a beautiful engraved and personalized hammer for him as a gift, as he is a skilled builder.
Chris and his Groomsmen got ready together at the Cabins on Strawberry Hill, where they would hold their wedding ceremony and reception. He was excited and ready to get the day rolling!
To be sure they had their First Look to themselves and to add variety to their portraits, Chris and Chelsey opted to meet at the Pine Trailhead before the ceremony. They were both feeling a nervous excitement and were ready to dive in and to get to be together.
The morning was quite a pleasant temperature, even through setting up for the First Look. As the two walked towards each other the chilly breeze set in and never left, yet you can hardly tell in the photos. They were so happy to be there with each other and to have their wedding day there.
As a part of their First Look, Chris and Chelsey shared their vows together and exchanged gifts.
Once the vows and gifts had been exchanged, we moved into their first portraits of the day. This was my first time photographing them as a couple, and it felt so natural and comfortable with them.
Want to see something cool? The next two shots are from the same moment…first from my second shooter’s perspective and the second photo is from my perspective. I love them both! Having a second shooter there allows for so much more of the day to be captured, and to have extra portraits from that 2nd perspective.
Even when the extra cold breezes would come through, you can make those snuggle to stay warm moments into cute portraits!
On the way from the Trailhead to the Cabins on Strawberry Hill, we stopped quickly at the area where the would stay for the first few days of their honeymoon. We loved the view of the forest and mountains through the entrance gate!
Once we got back up to the Cabins, we set in with photos of the whole wedding party. And goodness gracious the flower girls were adorable!
Remember when I said that Chelsey’s Dad is a builder? He made this beautiful cross for them as the backdrop for their ceremony and for behind their sweetheart table at the reception!
While the bridal party went in hiding before the ceremony, we took some moments to photograph the gorgeous setup at the Ramada. The Cabins built this in 2020 during the height of the pandemic cancellations and it has been such a BEAUTIFUL addition to their property and has elevated the weddings held there.
I am loving seeing these charcuterie tables at weddings! This one was impeccable and was oohed and ahhed over all night!
Let me just say that there were many people with tears and smiles on their faces as Jim walked Chelsey out of the Cabin and up the aisle. This picture my second shooter got of Courtney, the sweet sweet sister of the bride, in that moment grabbed my heart immediately!
The Bridesmaids all huddling together to stay warm was a sweet part of the ceremony! They were so good and kind to each other all through the wedding!
After Chris and Chelsey had time to warm up after the ceremony and family photos, we slipped out to the forest behind the Cabins to catch the golden light of sunset. The temperature was dropping fast, but the light was still incredible and it was beautiful to have those moments with them before the reception celebrations began.
You’ve heard me say it before, and I’ll say it again…the wind adds problems, but gosh it can really add to the photos! I LOVE how the wind played with Chelsey’s hair and the blanket fringe at the same time.
“Do you know how to dip?” Boy do they know how to pull off a dip!! They needed no coaching!
POV: Dad is asked to say the prayer and prays for Grandbabies. I loved the smiles and giggles that rippled through!
The favors were the most AMAZING mints, made by the father of the bride using their family recipe. They were beautiful and had the perfect texture!
Following the special dances, the dance floor was opened up specifically for the kids. It was so fun to see them out there having fun and dancing their hearts out.
With the fire worry always present in the forest, sparkler exits are a thing of the past at the Cabins, but that has meant that couples are getting creative with their exits, and I’m here for it! These two opted for a lined walkway of their guests holding strings of christmas lights. It was beautiful!!
Chelsey and Chris, your day was beautiful in every possible way! There was the sweetest feeling all day. You could feel the love, the faith, and the connection. I loved seeing you and your families buoying up each other. It was such a joy and an absolute honor to be there. I am deeply humbled to have been the one to capture your incredible day! Love you both!
VENUE: Cabins on Strawberry Hill
MUA: Kelsey Jones Makeup
DJ: Impact DJS
BRIDE’S DRESS: Emerald Bridal
BRIDESMAID DRESSES: Baltic Born
FLORIST: Blissful Blooms AZ
CAKE: Kendra’s Country Bakery
CATERING: Gibson’s Smokehouse
PHOTOGRAPHER: Marquette LaRee
SECOND SHOOTER: Deborah Allen Photography
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