Earlier this year I travelled to Atlanta to attend Imaging USA, the annual conference for the Professional Photographers of America. I attended intense classes for 3 days and was able to really up my skill level, as well as leave there being more inspired then I have been in a long time. In one of the classes, a speaker was talking about how important our jobs are. He was driving home the significance of the images we create and how they will be cherished for many generations to come. It was during this class that I had the realization that I have spent my entire career capturing so many families, but I rarely take the time to capture my own.I left Atlanta with a vision. I came home and immediately called my Maw Maw the very next day. She and my Paw Paw have been married for 40 years this year. My mom's mother passed away when she was 16 and my Paw Paw remarried 5 years later, which was 4 years before I was born. My Paw is now 97 years old and is quite the treasure. He's hilarious, intelligent, stubborn, strong, loving, and literally a living time capsule. My Maw Maw is loving, patient, kind and gentle. I've photographed them before, but this time I wanted to take it to a new level. With their 40th wedding anniversary right around the corner this year, I knew I had to take the opportunity to honor them. I also knew I wanted to surprise my family with these images, so keeping this entire process a secret for so long was incredibly difficult!!
I called up some of my favorite people here in the St. Louis wedding industry and together, we executed one of my favorite sessions I've ever shot. Shelli Alred (Alred Wedding Consultants) took my vision to another level. She was the mastermind behind bringing all the elements of this sessions together. Kelly Jurotich (The Crimson Petal) created some of the most stunning, creative florals I've ever seen. Trisha Davis (Salon Dacota) provided the gorgeous hair and makeup for Lorraine. Stallone's Formal Wear donated a tuxedo for Paw that day and I "Rented the Runway" for Maw Maw. The Chase Park Plaza graciously allowed us to use their Side Car Bar as the setting.
Surprising my family with these images was an emotional experience. Please know that there's nothing more special then having photographs of your family together. Life is too short to wait. Don't skimp, either. Go all out and gather everyone together. The experience will bring you closer and will even create new memories! Hire a professional and get the best photos you've ever had! You won't be sorry.
My incredible team of contributors:
Planning & Design: Shelli Alred | Alred Wedding Consultants (assisted by Julie Fiedler)
Floral Design: Kelly Jurotich | The Crimson Petal (assisted by Garret Skupinski)
Hair & Makeup: Trisha Davis | Salon Dacota
Venue: The Chase Park Plaza
Tuxedo: Stallone's Formalwear
Dress: Rent the Runway
Flatware: Premier Party Rentals
Chairs: Premier Party Rentals
China: Premier Party Rentals
Photography: Abbie Rudolph | Abbie Takes Pictures (assisted by Jen Jarrell)