Happy Monday, friends!

I know, I know... this isn't a #MitzvahMonday special, but it's a special day nonetheless: Seven years ago today, I photographed my first-ever wedding. These two lovebirds have been married SEVEN years today and 2 beautiful kiddos later, I can tell you they're still VERY in love. We may not all look like babies anymore, but as much as their lives have changed in the last seven years, mine has as well. 

I knew Ashley + Corey from middle school through high school and post high school. They were forever and always together, so of course, it was no surprise when they became engaged and began planning their wedding. Facebook was a new fangled thing then and I remember Ashley got in touch with me through a message, asking to meet so we could talk about possibly me photographing their wedding, as she saw some darkroom photography images I had posted during my undergrad. WHAT?! I WOULD PHOTOGRAPH A WEDDING? I was beyond nervous, but I met with her and she essentially said, "Since you'll be at the wedding anyway, why don't we just pay you to take the pictures?"

That was it: I was officially hired for my first real photo job. Within a month, I bought a basic digital SLR camera with a kit lens and a flash. I searched high and low for wedding photography inspiration, ideas on posing, lighting, cool effects. You guys should have seen some of the books I bought on wedding photography. YIKES. I decided to scratch all of that and go with my gut. 

I bawled like a baby during every critical moment but I still got the shot.
I posed these families and they listened to me.
I sweat my buns off in the middle of a hot June summer and forgot my extra battery at home, so my 16 year old brother had to bring it to me at the reception in Rosemount. 

I sent them the photos and they were overwhelmingly grateful. 

Four years later, they called. They were expecting baby #1. 
Over a year ago, they called again. Baby #2 was on the way.

It doesn't matter that I shot the entire wedding on an automatic mode or edited the images in Picasa. What matters is that I remember falling asleep that night with a beaming smile on my face because I LOVED EVERY SINGLE SECOND. I could cement the biggest day of their lives with the images I took. They trusted and believed in me enough to allow me to be that person. 

I've learned so much since that hot day on June 16, 2007. I found what makes my heart grow 1928374 times the normal size and the "job" that feels like a party every day. Because as much as this day is about my first-ever clients, it's about celebrating growth. 

I'm overwhelmed and grateful every day for the immense honor my clients give me to document their lives - the big moments and the little ones. My fabulous repeat clients-turned-friends are such a gigantic part of my life and I wish sometimes that we could all hang out together, eating cupcakes and dancing our buns off. You make my world go 'round, guys. Thank you doesn't feel big enough.