Category: weddings

kelsey + cody // Kloc’s Grove Wedding

Filed in weddings shot by on at

It’s always a huge honor when we’re asked to photograph a fellow pro photographer’s wedding day. Kelsey is an amazingly talented wedding and lifestyle photographer (check her out here!), and we were lucky enough to be the chosen ones to document her own big day. Kelsey made for one seriosuly stunning bride and was clearly just as comfortable in front of the camera as she is behind it. If we didn’t know better we would honestly think she was a pro-model; this girl can really slay, and so can her man! These two made our jobs so easy. Tyra Banks needs to take some notes.

There really were so many things to love about this day. Kelsey and Cody were high school sweethearts who have known each other since they were just 5 years old. How often do you hear that these days?? The emotions between the two of them during their ceremony were so pure and genuine. You could almost see all of those years between them as they finally pledged their lives to each other in front of their closest family and friends. It was so special to be able to capture the way that Cody looked at Kelsey; like he’d never seen anyone more beautiful in his entire life. It’s so evident how much they both truly treasure each other, and we are so grateful to have had the opportunity to freeze these special moments for them forever.

As you scroll through their post, be sure to read along with their story :)

Kelsey: “My dress was a complete accident. I picked it from the rack because I loved the all pearl straps and found them so unique. I was dead set on a completely different type of dress, but once I had put it on I just didn’t love it as much as I thought I would. When I slipped on my ‘random’ pick I was completely smitten with how beautiful it made me look and feel!

Kelsey: “I decided to get ready in a barn on my great Uncle Gordon’s property. It’s a piece of architecture that has not only withstood the test of time but stayed beautiful while doing so. My grandmother used to spend her childhood playing inside with her four brothers. It’s always been a marvel for our family and I am so blessed I was able to create my own piece of history inside it.

Kelsey: “Cody and I have known one another since elementary school. For many years we even ended up in the same classroom. When we were in fifth grade I remember having the biggest crush on him. He has the best sense of humor and I remember that whenever I was in his presence I would just always be laughing. The summer before our sophomore year of high school my crush was back, and in full swing. We struck up a friendship and we officially began dating on homecoming.

Kelsey: “Our first date was when we were both newly 16 years old, and neither one of us had our driver license. We got a pizza and rented the original ‘Halloween’. I was extremely nervous but the scary movie gave us an excuse to finally hold hands.

Kelsey: “Before he planned to propose, Cody had told me earlier that week he had made lunch plans with his parents. I didn’t think anything of it. I also had been battling the flu so by the time Saturday rolled around I was happily resting on the couch. I was in the bathroom washing my face after a lovely three-hour nap when he came home. As I walked out to say hello, there he was down on one knee. I couldn’t comprehend what was happening. I just kept staying ‘STOP IT!’ and ‘IS THIS REAL??’ It was such an honest and real moment in our lives. It was completely us.

Kelsey: “Our free time together is comfortable and effortless. We go grocery shopping, try out a hole in the wall sushi place, and take lots of random turns on our way home just to see if we discover a quicker way than our usual route. It never is faster but we don’t even notice.

Kelsey: “We are the proud parents of two beagles, Boomer and Capone. Any chance we can get to just sit home and spend time with them we take.  Nothing beats the both of us curled up on the couch, a dog on either side, while watching some classic Food Network show that makes us extremely hungry and want to travel to said city just to try it.

Cody: “We did a first look and that was really special for us, but actually seeing Kelsey walk down the aisle to officially become my wife was a feeling I’ve never felt.

Kelsey: “The best memory from our wedding for me was our vows. I wasn’t expecting us to become so emotional but the whole moment mixed with our pastor’s incredible sermon about not just us, but love as a whole, was an incredibly sweet and wonderful feeling.

Kelsey: “Being together for over ten years we have both witnessed one another change in ways neither of us ever saw coming. We have been nothing but honest from day one, and when we feel a problem sitting at bay we take the time to discuss it. We each have quirks that the other embraces. Our trust and patience have never faltered. We take the time to not just listen to one another but also the time to laugh and enjoy all our lives have brought us.

Cody: “Our venue was fantastic to us, and we are so grateful for how well everything worked out. From the food to the entire celebration, Kelsey and I and all of our guests had a great time that we will never forget.

Kelsey: “We have a lot of songs that fit us however we’ve always come back to ‘My Best Friend’ by Tim McGraw. Every time we hear it we smile and think back to the days we had just fallen in love.

Kelsey: “My parents raised me and my brother on the music of Fleetwood Mac. Because of that, they are one of my favorite bands. Being a daddy’s girl, I knew I wanted to surprise him with a song that was special and a little different than what you normally would hear. When I was listening to the live version of ‘Landslide’ and heard Stevie’s opening remark ‘this is for you daddy’, I instantly knew that would be the song.

Cody: “My mom and I danced to ‘Because You Loved Me’ by Celine Dion. I left the decision in her hands and she picked this song because I have been a strong support system for her throughout the years.

A few wedding planning words of wisdom from Kelsey: “Be prepared for plans to change! It’s inevitable. And hire a planner – the last thing you should think about the day of your wedding is whether or not things are arriving or being set up. Give yourself the ability to focus on just marrying the love of your life!

Cody and I both had complete trust in the Ayres team’s entire process. We were comfortable in front of the camera and for many moments forgot it was even there.

Kelsey and Cody’s flowers were so gorgeous! Click here to see another William’s Florist wedding!

Wedding Vendors Include:

Venue: Kloc’s Grove
Wedding Planner: Social Maven Event Planning
Florist: William’s Florist
Hair: Alycia Sawyer
Make-up Artist: Brianna Ronan
Dress Shop: Lovely Bride Rochester
Bridesmaids Dresses: Weddington Way
Groom’s Look: Men’s Wearhouse
Invitations: Minted
Dessert: Paula’s Donuts

7 Tips for Stress-Free Family Formal Wedding Portraits

Filed in planning, weddings shot by on at

Family. We love them. But, let’s be honest, they can REALLY stress us out. Now, add the typical family stresses to the stress of a wedding day, and mix in people’s opinions and emotions and personal agendas, and then tell everyone to get together, real close, and all smile at the same time?! What?? Oh, and did we mention that this has to be done like, 10+ times?? With multiple different groups of people?? And all within a very small and specific window of time?! Yeeeah… Family formals can definitely get a little crazy. But it doesn’t have to be that way! With all of the many things going on on your wedding day, family portraits do not have to add to the chaos. In fact, here are 7 super easy ways to avoid the added stress of formal family photos on your wedding day! You’re welcome ;)

1. Compile a list of all group shots, and do this well before wedding day. This isn’t a task that you want take on by yourself, nor do you want to wait until the week of your wedding to do it. Sit down with your fiance, as well as both sets of parents, to talk about what shots are important to them and who absolutely must be included in the portraits. Sometimes all you really want are a few good shots with your parents and grandparents, but other family members might have a completely different list of people in their head and you want to make sure you know about it BEFORE your photographer starts flashing. Nothing screams stress like a surprise list of “must have” photos presented by your brand new mother-in-law just before you’re about to walk down the aisle, because no one took the time to let her voice be heard beforehand.

2. Consider (and discuss) minimizing the number of groups. The more individual groups you have, the more time it will take away from your own portraits and/or even your cocktail hour. If you (and your parents and soon to be in-laws) want to make sure that Aunt Jinny on your mom’s side and Uncle Steven on your dad’s side, and cousin Mary, and your fiance’s second cousin once removed, are all photographed with you on your wedding day, consider simplifying things by just doing one (or two) large group shots on each side of the family. It saves so much time, so much hassle, and everyone gets their photo with the bride and groom!

3. Make sure your photographers are aware of sensitive situations and physical limitations. Divorces, separations, family feuds, small children, elderly relatives… these can all present some interesting challenges during your family formals. It’ll be even more of a challenge if you didn’t make your photographers aware of them before your wedding day. Does grandpa have trouble standing for long periods of time? Let your photographers know ahead of time so that they can be sure to get his portrait quickly, or where there’s a nice place for him to sit instead of stand. Mom and dad are divorced and get along great but mom isn’t too keen on your dad’s new girlfriend? Let your photographers know so that they don’t unknowingly try to get them to stand next to each other looking cheerful. Plan on having lots of children in your photos? Keep your photographer posted so they can get the kid photos done ASAP and move on to the adults afterwards.

4. Plan to take all family formals immediately following the ceremony. This is the most opportune time, as everyone is already in the same place because they all just watched you get married! If you try to have large groups of people relocate to a “prettier” photo spot, or if you choose to just wait until the reception for your group photos, you’ll likely loose a few people in the transition somewhere. Aunt Chris always gets lost. Uncle David will absolutely hold everyone up, because you know he always gets caught up in conversations and loses track of the time. You’ll definitely have a hard time pulling Kristen and Laura off the dance floor. Wait, has anyone even seen grandma recently?? Oh, and not to mention, everyone has now been throwing back drinks for an hour and a half (including grandma), so… good luck with that.

5. Make sure everyone who is to be included knows about it ahead of time. Reach out to everyone on your shot list a week or so prior to your wedding day to make them aware of it. Be sure to tell them exactly where they need to meet and what time. This way they know what to expect and they can plan to stick around after the ceremony. No one needs your mother racing around the ceremony venue trying to find them, meanwhile they’ve already ducked out to your cocktail hour because no one told them they’d be needed for a photo.

6. Appoint someone (or several people) to be in charge of wrangling everyone together at the designated time. You have enough things on your plate on your wedding day. The last thing you want to be doing is chasing people down for a photo. While your photographers should definitely have your shot list by now, they will be of little help when it comes to trying to tell the difference between Grandma Lucy and Great Aunt Marge. Your best bet is to give the task to a few trustworthy family members on each side of the family. Have a cousin or two on your mom’s side, and a few aunts on your dad’s side in charge of making sure everyone is where they need to be and when they need to be there. Introduce them to your photographer(s) so they can communicate with each other about what people are going to be needed in the next shot. Make sure the wranglers each have a copy of the shot list, as well as giving a copy to your parents to hold on to also (this will help avoid the frantic, “Wait, honey! Isn’t cousin Alex supposed to be in this one??” question for every. single. shot). It can also be helpful to send out a pre-ceremony text saying, “Don’t forget! Photos on the front steps immediately following the ceremony!”

7. Allow yourself enough time. Talk to your photographers about your shot list before your wedding day and ask how much time they think it will take to get through all of your groups. If they come back with a length of time that you aren’t stoked about, instead of saying “eh, we’ll just move fast, it’ll be fine”, consider combining a few groups together or eliminating the unnecessary ones.

We figured out what works best to make family formals quick, easy, and stress free throughout many years of experience and trial/error, and we pass that along to our couples in the form of education, worksheets, questionnaires, and other organizational tools. In other words, if you’re an Ayres couple, we’ve got you covered! As stressful as this part of the day could potentially be, you’ll be able to sail right through it with us at the helm. ;) If you’re not currently an Ayres couple, but you’d still like to get your hands on our family formals worksheet, you can sign up here to download it!!

Interested in more wedding planning tips?? Click here!