Emily and Andrew | The Oread and Arterra Gallery in Lawrence, KS

I sure hope you enjoy photos, because this is a very photo-heavy post… so I’ll keep the words short and sweet.

If you take out the 100% humidity on July 5th, Emily and Andrew’s day was perfect. Emily and her bridesmaids started their day at Headmasters Salon in Lawrence (a photographer’s dream salon… check out those colors and that light!!) before heading to the beautiful Oread Hotel to finish getting ready. The rooms there are big, clean, and gorgeous. I may or may not have become a little teary-eyed when Emily told me the story behind her dress: the skirt portion of it was from her Grandmother’s wedding dress. The top half was custom designed for Emily and the fabrics matched perfectly.

After Emily and Andrew did their first look on the 5th floor terrace, we hopped on the party bus (and boy was it a party!) to go around the campus at the University of Kansas for some group photos. Their ceremony was back at the Oread Hotel in the Hancock Room. These two got engaged at a winery and it felt just like one in this room!

Their reception was held at the Arterra Gallery, which is also in Lawrence. It was so much fun to bring The Photo Bus (our VW photo booth) to their reception! I posted enough photos that I think I’ll let those tell the rest of the story of Emily and Andrew’s wedding day!

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Mark and Kendall | A Baseball Proposal

Mark and I (Cate) have known each other since high school, so when we reconnected in person (Facebook doesn’t count!) at a wedding of a mutual friend a couple of months ago, it was no surprise to me he hadn’t proposed to his girlfriend of 4 years yet. He takes all of the right steps to everything he does, and he takes his time to make sure it’s exactly how it needs to be. With Kendall, he knew it was right the moment he met her. But he wasn’t going to rush the proposal/engagement/wedding because he knew there were things they needed to finish first, like school, for example. So it was wonderful just talking with them at the wedding about life. I mean, they got up early before their friend’s wedding to go fishing because the weather was perfect for it. Kendall was telling me they’d gone looking for engagement rings but they weren’t quite going to get engaged yet… maybe in a few months or later in the year. I told them I’d keep my eye on Facebook for the big news.

It turns out I didn’t need to do that. Mark called me one day and told me his plan: he wanted to take Kendall to Kauffman Stadium for a tour before a Royals game and propose to her on the pitcher’s mound. Baseball has been part of his life since the little leagues and they met in College at the University of Kansas because he played baseball and she played softball. As always, he was one step ahead: He’d already been talking with the awesome people (HI TOM!) at the stadium to arrange it, it was just a matter of picking the day and he wanted John and me to be there to photograph it “because apparently girls like this.” I told him it’s true, as I look through our proposal photos and video at least once a week, and said we’ll absolutely be there.

They didn’t get to make it to the pitcher’s mound (game day/tour regulations) but the moment was so special. She hadn’t noticed us peeking around the dugout and it took her a second to realize the baseball Mark had been carrying around in his pocket wasn’t actually just in case they ran into players: he’d turned it into a box to hold the engagement ring. He cut it in half and put magnets in the bottom to hold the ring down and magnets around the outside to keep it closed.

Thank you so much to everyone at the Kauffman Stadium for your part in keeping us hidden from Kendall and keeping everything a surprise!

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Ashley and Nick | The President Hotel Wedding Reception Kansas City

For most brides, when you put on THE DRESS you know it’s it. For Ashley, it was the venue. She walked in to the President Hotel in downtown Kansas City and she was overwhelmed with excitement and tears… because THIS WAS IT: the place she would celebrate marrying her best friend with her closest friends and family members.

Ashley started her getting ready process at the home she grew up in, while Nick took it easy with his groomsmen at the hotel. The girls then packed up their belongings and headed to the church where her grandfather used to be a Pastor, which is where she would put on her dress, see Nick for the first time, and finally say, “I DO!!”

We highly encourage our brides and grooms to do a “First Look” before the ceremony because it gives us more time for bridal party photos after the ceremony so they can get to the reception as soon as possible to celebrate with their guests. This is a time for them to get some nerves out before the ceremony and have a very private moment with just the two of them since the rest of the day can get pretty busy. Nick and Ashley were not opposed to this idea at all, but their family requested to be in the room at the same time. It wasn’t until a couple of weeks after the wedding that we really understood their reasoning behind this, and it makes a lot of sense! Their parents asked to be there because that moment with the groom sees his bride for the first time (and vice versa) is a very exciting time for everyone… not just the bride and groom. Their parents wanted to be part of this special moment. After the happy tears were wiped away, they did leave the room to give the love birds some private time together to exchange letters.

This was one of my favorite moments of the day because Ashley has told me so much about Nick’s goofiness. On the way to the church she was telling me they weren’t doing gifts, but instead they were going to exchange letters… and she wasn’t too sure Nick had actually finished his. It was during the first look that he reached in to his jacket pocket and pulled out the letter he had written to her. She started reading it, looked up at him with her “You have to be joking, right?” eyes, only to see that he’d pulled another letter out of his pocket while she was reading. The first one made her chuckle, the second one touched her heart. Nick sure knows his girl:)

After the ceremony the bridal party ducked away from the threatening rain clouds and headed to the Liberty Memorial for some portraits. This is when the guys busted (ok, gently unbuttoned!) their shirts to reveal their true identities: SUPERHEROES!

Then the reception began: the colors of the day were based around the beautiful blues and greens of a peacock, mixed with the incredible golds in the reception hall at The Hilton President Hotel. They had a little twist to the “dollar dance” in that instead of the money going to them and their unplugged honeymoon in Ochos Rios Jamaica, the money was donated to two animal rescue shelters in the Kansas City area, because both Ashley and Nick have an incredible soft spot in their hearts for their rescues.

Ashley and Nick also had us bring our open air photo booth (the alternative to The Photo Bus!) to their reception, and it was so much fun!

To see their downtown KC engagement session, please visit their blog post with photos!

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Kilmer Wedding at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Kansas City

The story goes back to 2007 at Kansas State University. Traci Shannon and Sean met through mutual friends and they flirted with each other, but neither of them realized it, and they went their separate ways. Flash forward to Memorial Day weekend in 2010 and Traci Shannon had an internship in Dallas but she was home in Kansas City for the holidays visiting her family and friends. All day long her friend was asking her to come to a pool party and she kept putting it off… until 10pm. When she finally showed up, everyone was having a pretty good time and she started talking to Sean. They continued talking until 6am, when she finally convinced him to let her drive him home (his best friend has borrowed his car) and she returned back to Dallas for her internship without his number. A few days later he messaged her on Facebook, two weeks later he visited her in Dallas, and two years later he took her family out to dinner (without her) to ask their permission for Sean to move to Dallas with her. But Traci Shannon always knew she was going to marry Sean, so when he said, “I heard you want input on your engagement ring” as she had a bite of chicken sandwich in her mouth, she was so excited. He told her to go shopping for rings and she just didn’t find what she wanted, so she drew it on a post-it note… which her mom somehow managed to take when she wasn’t looking and gave it to Sean. He had the ring custom made through a jewelry designer in Houston (all via email, without ever seeing a picture of the final ring!) and sent it to his parent’s house because he had an idea: he was going to propose on Christmas eve. You see, there’s a tradition in the Yost household. Every Christmas Eve Traci Shannon sits under the Christmas tree and reads The Polar Express. The bell is stored in the same place it has been for years: a little pink Barbie box. When she opened it up she not only found the bell, but also the ring. His dad was the only person who knew (besides Sean of course).
This isn’t a story we typically tell for our wedding posts, but it’s important to the details of Traci Shannon and Sean’s wedding day.
Every detail in this wedding had a story. The ribbon sticks the guests shook during the grand entrance of the wedding party at the reception had a bell on top of them, representing the bell from their proposal story. The 3 triangles on the pocket of Sean’s jacket matched the 3 triangles on her dress (which is funny, because that’s the one thing he cared about and she kept telling him to trust her, as it would all make sense as she walked down the aisle), the pockets of the groomsmen matched the back of the bridesmaids dresses, the design of the cake and the focus on circles is based on her dress, and light pink has always been her favorite color as it makes her feel calm and happy. But there’s even more to pink: Sean’s mom is a breast cancer survivor. The candy bar had mints wrapped in the pink breast cancer ribbon, and in lieu of giving their guests favors to take home, they made a donation to the Susan G. Komen foundation with the amount of money they would have spent on favors.
The highlight of the bride’s day was seeing her dad and her Papa for the first time. Her 91 year-old grandfather is legally blind but he can still see in his peripheral vision. Because of this (and the fact that she kept her dress a secret from everyone except her mom and the vendors who needed to see it for inspiration!), she wanted him to see her before she walked down the aisle. He said, “all I see is a white cloud, but I know you’re beautiful”. Having that moment with him and with her dad was so special.
Their day was perfect. Traci Shannon worked on the planning while in Dallas with her mom in Kansas City and they have a 3 inch binder full of all of their hard work to pull it all together. She said their relationship and their constant communication about the entire day is what helped tremendously with that.  All of the little details had so much meaning, the dress was STUNNING, the Maid-of-Honors speech (er, song) was perfect (as was the best man’s speech, which was made so much better when he spoke from his heart!), and no one had to drive home after the reception, which is why they chose the Crowne Plaza Hotel.

Enjoy the photos from this beautiful Kansas City wedding!
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Vendors who helped make this wedding day perfect at the Crowne Plaza Hotel:
Month of Planner: Michelle Layman (Events by Elle)
Event Coordinator at the Crowne Plaza: Libby Huff
Video and DJ: Ted Kurzdorfer (Complete Music and Video)
Florist: Jillian Sharlow (The Vintage Petal)
Cake: Andrea Adams (Classic Cakes)
Invitations: Susie Azorsky (First Impression)
Officiate: Pastor Jeffrey Kirby with the Church of the Resurrection
Photographer: John DePrisco and Calvin McGuire (DePrisco Photo)
Photobooth: Open air photo booth (The Photo Bus)

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Ben & Liza Mead - We enjoyed sharing your most special day with you, Sean & Traci Shannon, in thoughts & prayers. These beautiful pictures helped us feel like we were there to celebrate from across the country! We continue to wish you all the best for a lifetime of love.

Love,
Your cousins,
Ben & Liza Mead
Raleigh, NC

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Marissa and Matt | KC Engagement Session

Back when I (Cate) was a very young, self-taught photographer without a clue what I was doing (and John was finishing up his photojournalism degree at Mizzou, with a TOTAL clue what he was doing) Marissa asked me to take her senior pictures and we made a family trip to the Kansas City West Bottoms. I recently looked back at that senior session and just chuckled to myself… the editing was atrocious and now I just shake my head wondering why anyone ever paid me!

Now, many years have passed since those crazy edit days and Marissa is even more beautiful now than she was as a curly-haired 17-year-old… and to top it all off, she’s engaged and planning to celebrate her love with on love day: Valentine’s Day. She just laughed at the edits and asked John and me to photograph her princess wedding… and we can’t wait!

Matt and Marissa met at the gym. He was working at the cafe and she was working out. Some time passed before they both realized they’d been asking their mutual friends who the other one was and they finally went out on a date, and had their first kiss on a hammock. A year and a half later he picked out a beautiful ruby ring and asked her to marry him!

I had so much fun with these two near our studio in the River Market and a park for their engagement photos. Marissa told me whenever Matt sees a camera pointed at him he gets a deer-in-the-headlights look so I kept them talking and moving and interacting. He has such a great smile, especially when he looks in to her eyes. They asked to do some photos in their workout clothes since it’s how they met, and they sure do made LuLuLemon look good! (Even when being photobombed!)

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