. . . planning a wedding . . .

My husband I got married two weeks after he graduated from high school.  We went to Disneyland on our honeymoon.

We moved from our hometown and got an apartment.

We finished college, had babies . . .

We had been married eight years before we bought our first home.  During all those years before we our home, we didn’t hang a lot of pictures on the walls.  You see, it was always someone else’s home, and we didn’t want to be responsible for putting holes in the walls – doing any damage.  We wanted to take care of the place we were at.

When we bought our home, we fixed it up, painted the walls, put our furniture right where it needed to be.

When it came time to hang pictures on the wall though, it felt so permanent.

What if I changed my mind?

What if I didn’t like where it was hanging?

We had put so much time and effort into fixing up our little house, that it all of a sudden made me fearful that I might have to fill a nail hole if I didn’t like my choice in a week or two.

I am a dreamer, a visionary – but when it comes time to make a “permanent” decision, it becomes a bit more challenging.

We didn’t hang any pictures in our home.

NEVER AGAIN.  The next home that we call our own . . . we will fill.

We will fill the walls with memories.  We will fill the wall with our story.

Fuzzy pictures.  Over-exposed pictures.  Under-exposed pictures.  Perfect pictures.

Anxiously awaiting that day. . . .


This summer I had the great pleasure of photographing her wedding.  She is a bit like me.  She is a dreamer.  A planner.  She is someone whom picked 25 bridesmaids dresses and decided the morning of the wedding which one her attendants would wear.

I love that about her.

Her (well, their) wedding was incredible.





So much time and effort went into planning her wedding, and when I asked her to share a bit about the process, I was amazed at her response.

I thought all of you bride-to-be’s would enjoy hearing her story.


And don’t forget!  When you are finished getting a peek at her wedding day, you can see a slideshow of more of her wedding pictures by clicking here!!


Congratulations to Aeric and Maren Riley!!!!



Aeric and I got engaged in February and decided to have an August wedding.  I’m not exactly sure when the excitement of the engagement wore off enough for reality to set in and I realized that I finally had to stop dreaming about my wedding day and actually plan it.  I have always been an anticipator, dreaming and planning every big event in my life from the time I was little.  My wedding was no different.  However,  now I had six month to make it happen.  While this certainly didn’t mean the dreaming had to end, it did mean that I had to start making some serious, concrete decisions.  And, a dreamer I am, a decision maker, I am not.  🙂


After looking at some different wedding blogs and photos, it didn’t take me long to decide that I wanted to go for a vintage feel.  I’ve always loved vintage, simple things and thought it would be perfect for our wedding.  I had also developed a sort of odd infatuation with old doors and furniture which I hoped we could somehow incorporate into our plans.


Wedding dress shopping was lots of fun, but again, difficult as I didn’t really have an idea or a vision of what I wanted.  I knew what style I liked on the models, but as it would turn out, I didn’t necessarily like that style on me.  Of course.  🙂 I knew I wanted something that was different.  I didn’t want it to be just another white dress that no one would remember.  Honestly, that ended up being my goal for my entire wedding.  I didn’t want it to be just another wedding.  I wanted my guest to leave at the end of the night thinking “That was really neat.  She really had some fun, unique things.”  My dress ended up being completely different than I would have ever imagined, but I loved, loved, loved it.  I was happy knowing that I found something I loved that was also unique.

Bridesmaid dresses…  Over the course of the six months I had to plan my wedding, I would guess that I bought over 20 different styles of bridesmaids dresses before finally finding the right one. It was crazy. 🙂  I knew I wanted something simple and neutral, (that would go with my coral flowers) something that didn’t look like a “bridesmaid” dress.  I wanted my girls to be able to wear their dress again and not have it just hang in their closet for 27 years before they decided to donate it to Goodwill.  I ended up loving the dresses I chose.




After much planning, dreaming and creating, August 18th finally arrived!!



It was a beautiful sunshiny day.  The bridesmaids and I started getting ready around 10:30 am so we could be ready for pictures at Gibson Park by 12:30.


We decided to go with jeans and cowboy boots for the guys.  We felt like we kept trying to keep things as simple and informal as possible so tuxes for the guys didn’t really make sense.  It ended up being so fun and the guys were so much more comfortable, plus it ended up saving us quite a bit of money when it came to tux rentals, so it was a win, win for everyone.

Then came the big moment.  The ceremony was my favorite part of the day by far.  The musicians (my friends and family) did an amazing job, as did our pastor.  It was awe inspiring to stand with Aeric, in front of all of our family and friends, and be able to make such an important and real commitment to one another.




Finding a reception venue proved to be one of the most difficult of the wedding planning tasks.   Due to lack of options in Great Falls that would accommodate the large number of guests we anticipated, we decided on the Elks Lodge.  The Elks is a wonderful facility but it wasn’t really what I wanted in terms of aesthetics.  I hoped that we would be able to bring in enough vintage inspired accents and decor to transform it into the simplistic, vintage feel I was hoping to create.







Following the ceremony, we headed over to the Elks to “Eat, drink and be married”!!  We ended up having nearly 280 people in attend our reception, and everything went wonderfully.  We couldn’t have been happier with our caterer.  The food and service were outstanding as was our cake.  Oh, can’t forget to mention our treat table!!  I love sweets so it only seemed appropriate that we have a treat table.  Aeric and I each chose two of our favorite treats to share with our guests.  It was a bit hit and, I have to admit, I most definitely indulged in several lemon cookies throughout the evening.  So yummy!!


I’m a firefighter for the City of Great Falls, and was so excited to use our 1924 Stutz fire engine for pictures and as for our wedding party transport vehicle from the church to the reception after the wedding.  Unfortunately, the Stutz had a few mechanical issues after our pictures so we weren’t able to use it after the wedding.  That was a bummer, but I was very thankful we had it for pictures because it fit perfectly into my vision for the day.  After we took wedding party pictures we headed to the church for family pictures.




It ended up being a perfect day and I think that I was at least somewhat successful in pulling off my vintage theme, even at the Elks.  In retrospect, there are certainly a few things I would do differently, but at the end of it all, I was married to the most amazing man in the world.  It is that, and nothing else, that made the day so perfectly wonderful.


To see a slideshow of many more of their wedding pictures, CLICK HERE!