Surprise Engagements: Making Plans!

Details, Details, Details!

So you’ve chosen your partner, picked out your ring, picked the day, your photographer and even your location (see last blog post!) What else do we need to talk about, right? EVERYTHING!

Because this is a surprise, we need to think through our ruse. Is it a picnic in the park? A stroll before dinner? Perhaps an early happy hour just because… Whatever the ruse, the more we plan, the better!

Your photographer can help with a number of these details:

  • Picking up flowers, cookies, etc
  • Contacting the location
  • Working with vendors
  • Advise you on best times for the best lighting
  • Help with positioning at the location

Sometimes (if you share accounts with your partner), its better to work with someone else who is close to you so no suspicion is raised! We want to help make this day as easy as possible for all involved! And never underestimate the power of your future in-laws! They can always help with outfits, nails, transportation, etc! And in my experience, they love to be included, if possible!

I picked up and set up these beautiful flowers and cookies before Cole and Nicole arrived!

Moral of the story… Think through the whole experience – and don’t be surprised if your photographer asks about a million questions just to make sure you’ve covered all your bases!

Here are some great places we have collaborated with in the past that are always in for being a part of the surprise!

Next up… what to expect on the big day!

Surprise Engagements!

Timing, Locations, and Outfits, oh my!

Nick & Sydney celebrate their special moment in Loose Park

After my most recent clients (Nick and Sydney) celebrated their ‘Yes!’ in Loose Park yesterday, I was stopped by another couple and asked for some details on engagement photography and how did we pull off *another* surprise engagement, especially in such a busy location? And I thought… why not tell the world? So if you’re ready to propose to your partner – you’re in the right spot! I’m going to spill the beans on surprise engagements! We’ll review the top spots in Kansas City, how to prepare, what your photographer can help you with — and more! But first… Let’s do a quick recap of our other recent proposals and some of their special moments!

SURPRISE ENGAGEMENTS: LOCATIONS

Most of my clients have picked out the ring, the day, and sometimes even their outfit but when I ask, ‘where are we going for this special moment?’ the answer is almost always, ‘I’m not sure, do you have any recommendations?’ Yes, my friends, yes I do. Here are the list of questions to ask yourself (or that I will ask you) before we decide on a spot!

  • Is there a local spot that’s special to you? Maybe your first date? Maybe a spot you go to regularly?
  • Is there a specific background you’re looking for? Water? Flowers? Trees? Cityscape?
  • When you think back on this special day, is this a location you’re going to want to be able to access (if possible, think wedding, anniversaries, etc).
  • Formal/Casual dress attire?
  • Are you planning any activities pre/post engagement session?

Once we get through those – we can narrow down that right location for you!

If my clients have no preference on location, I refer to this blog post: https://kansas-city-photography.com/2017/02/03/top-10-photo-locations-in-kc/

But also I like to add in these options:

  • Powell Gardens
  • Nelson Atkins
  • Plaza
  • KC Rooftop Bars (think Crossroads area!)
  • Longview, Smithville and WyCo Lakes!

There are a number of locations to choose from and when recommending a place I like to consider the season – what’s blooming, what colors will show in the background? Is it rainy season? Are we going to get muddy (this might be something planned!) What’s planned for after the photoshoot – do you have time to get where you’re going if we pick a certain location over another. Also, are there several backgrounds for the photos or will we just have one or two to work with? Your photographer will work with you to brainstorm ideas and they’ll also take into consideration lighting, weather, permits (if necessary) and review all of that with you. Overall, a lot to think through but in the end, this is the backdrop for your special moment so we want it to be right!

Up next… How to prepare: The details for your special day!

Click here to book your engagement photos with Kansas City Photography (which is in both St. Louis & Kansas City)!

(Note: All photos in this blog post were taken by Kansas City Photography. You may not re-use without permission.)

Briana and Brian’s Rustic Engagement Shoot!

When I first arrived for Briana and Brian’s engagement shoot, I was met at the door with a grandma holding a shotgun. But more on that later!

Briana and Brian were winners from our free engagement shoot when I, Tatiana, first got hired on to work for Kansas City Photography!

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Briana had a vision for her photos, so she and her fiancé Brian chose some gorgeous farmland out in Buckner for their location! It was beautiful for a rustic, country setting.

The farm is actually owned by her friends family, and that friend is also named Brianna.

When I arrived, the other Brianna’s grandma came out with a shotgun. It wasn’t pointed at me or anything, but I still wasn’t sure if I should laugh at the sight, or turn around and make a run for it. I explained I was there for Briana’s engagement shoot, and the grandma was in shock.

She told me she didn’t realize her granddaughter was engaged.

I TOTALLY THOUGHT I SPILLED THE WEDDING BEANS ON ACCIDENT!

Thankfully, it was just a miscommunication (that I meant Briana and not her granddaughter Brianna) that resulted in a funny thing I could write about.

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Briana wanted a sunset photoshoot. We recommend doing 5:30 – 6:30 p.m. range for sunset backgrounds because once it starts setting, it’s not gonna wait on us to get to the next location! They are also using this antler for their “Save the Date” notice. So clever!

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I couldn’t get over how beautiful Briana’s makeup was and then she told me she got it done from the same woman who does some of the Kansas City Chief’s ladies makeup — Dani Jo Bell Makeup Artistry. Work that contour, girl!

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Brian and Briana met as Bass Pro Shop about four years ago to the dot. Literally, their anniversary was a week ago!

He proposed in the kitchen while dancing and cooking because all his previous attempts were interrupted.

First, he tried to take Briana to the place they first kissed, then later wanted to ask on a hunting trip; but then Briana was too sick to go. Finally, he just couldn’t wait any longer and asked her — right there in the kitchen!

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I couldn’t stop myself from asking Brain to get up on the silo for this shot.  This farm was a photographer gold mine! It was worth the constant bug attacks, right?

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I love it when I get questions like “Can I get a picture of me touching his butt?” The answer is always a resounding “YES! Touch that booty!”

Seriously, it really brings personality to the photos! Also, it’s just really funny.

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Remember what I said earlier about how the sun waits for no one? Well, that was true for the last half of the shoot. Still, I worked my photographer magic, played with the recipe of the photo, and pretended something was taken in daylight — can you even tell it’s nighttime? 😉

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And it wouldn’t be a photoshoot I did without a furry friend somewhere. This doggo was following me all over the farm! I think his name was Buddy.

I really wanted to take him home, but Eric would probably not be too happy.

He just wanted to wish Brian and Briana a happily ever after — as do we at Kansas City Photography!

Sydney and Zane’s West Bottoms Engagement Shoot!

Sydney and Zane won a half price engagement shoot we gave away back in March when I, Tatiana, got hired onto the team!

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They chose West Bottoms as the location for the vibrant colors of the graffiti and urban inner city vibes.

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I asked Sydney to share how Zane popped the big question, and here’s what she said:

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“He proposed with our best friends. They took pictures at the plaza by the water where the gondola rides are, then they had us get up there to take our picture and I turned and saw him on one knee!”

Sounds like everyone was in on the magic — how romantic!

The Country Club Plaza is a shopping district in downtown KCMO that offers amazing architecture and soft lighting — especially during Christmas time! Keep us in mind for a seasonal shoot! 😉

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I also got the privilege to meet Miss Whinny, their gorgeous fur baby! She was so sweet, but still less than a year old, so getting her to look at me was quite the challenge. I’m used to photographing puppers since I have my own fur babies, so we got some great shots!

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Sydney had a great idea inspired by the beloved Pinterest for the ring to be on Whinny’s nose, but again — we were working with an energetic puppy who was thinking, “Oooh, that’s shiny! LET’S EAT IT!” So, for the safety of the ring, we nixed that idea.

And what a ring it is!! Wooo-weee!

Let’s try again when Whinny is older — we’re going to need a newlyweds shoot! 🙂

For this next shot —

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Zane wanted to do something fun and silly, so he could not control himself from trying to pick the nose of this poor, defenseless graffiti woman. I feel like he gets the “you’re a dork, but I love you” look from Sydney often.

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And now that they’re getting married, they have all the time in the world for funny looks, smiles, and kisses on the forehead. We at Kansas City Photography wish you all the happiness and success on your big day (they are planning a destination wedding)!

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Also, special shout out to Sydney’s BFF, Gabriella, for helping us with Whinny during the shoot!

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Wedding Series: Tips For Brides — The Family Shots

You’re getting married! There’s so much to do, and so many things to get done. Find a caterer, a florist, get the perfect dress, and then make sure you’ve hired the right photographer to capture all of your hard work!

Well, you’ve definitely taken the right step as far as a photographer goes [oh hey, we travel]! 😉

Every Thursday over the next six weeks, I will be doing a piece for our “Wedding Series: Tips For Brides.” It’s going to highlight tips and tricks for the bride when working with a photographer.

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WEEK FOUR: THE FAMILY SHOTS

There are really two types of family photos I’ve found people want — traditional or non-traditional. 

Traditional is typically done at the altar. After the wedding, everyone stays at the church. You line everyone up and get shots like this:

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Sometimes, brides who are fairly traditional (or come from families that are) want these types of shots. The only issue I ever run into with these is lighting. I always ask what it’s like inside their venue, because sometimes churches can be very dark, which make it hard for good pictures — even with lights!

If it’s a well-lit location, and this is really the style you like, then let’s go for it!

The second type of family portraits after the “I Dos,” are the non-traditional. These are ones we take outside. This is also where we can get those candid shots!

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But we can get non-candid, regular smiles, too!

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Or strike a silly pose!

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Make sure to talk with your photographer about the style of photos you are wanting. Do you want them at the altar? Do you want them outside? What’s the lighting situation inside? These are all things to think about!

Tune in next week!

Want to see the series so far? See the entire “Wedding Series: Tips For Brides” series!

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Wedding Series: Tips For Brides — It’s All In The Details

You’re getting married! There’s so much to do, and so many things to get done. Find a caterer, a florist, get the perfect dress, and then make sure you’ve hired the right photographer to capture all of your hard work!

Well, you’ve definitely taken the right step as far as a photographer goes [oh hey, we travel]! 😉

Every Thursday over the next six weeks, I will be doing a piece for our “Wedding Series: Tips For Brides.” It’s going to highlight tips and tricks for the bride when working with a photographer.

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Week Three: It’s All  In The Details 

You’ve been planning this wedding for months — maybe even years. You’ve put a lot of thought into the details, so make sure your photographer captures them!

Each bride puts different details into her wedding. For this country farmhouse wedding, the groom surprised the bride by writing on the soles of her boots she was going to wear walking down the aisle. That was clearly an important detail to capture.

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And while it’s important to capture those unique details, there are some that tend to be the same at every wedding. Make sure your photographer gets these:

  • The Cake

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  • The Rings

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  • The Table Decor

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  • The Bouquet

  • The Boutonnières & Corsages

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  • The Dress (Before it’s on the bride)

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These are some good basics to make sure to capture. If you’re the bride, make sure you communicate with your photographer which details are really important to you. If you’re the photographer, make sure you schedule a meeting with the bride to go over these types of details.

Everyone is unique and different, and these details are often incorporated into the wedding. I am always on the hunt for special things to the bride and groom that they felt important enough to work into their wedding decor.

See the entire “Wedding Series: Tips For Brides” series!

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Wedding Series: Tips For Brides — The “First Look,” / Bridal Reveal

You’re getting married! There’s so much to do, and so many things to get done. Find a caterer, a florist, get the perfect dress, and then make sure you’ve hired the right photographer to capture all of your hard work!

Well, you’ve definitely taken the right step as far as a photographer goes [oh hey, we travel]! 😉

Every Thursday over the next six weeks, I will be doing a piece for our “Wedding Series: Tips For Brides.” It’s going to highlight tips and tricks for the bride when working with a photographer.

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Week Two: The “First Look” / Bridal Reveal 

One of the first questions I ask at my meetings with brides: “Did you want to do a “first look,” or will walking down the aisle be the first time he sees you?”

Here is a first look we did before the ceremony, below. I was able to get this close and intimate specifically because it wasn’t done during the ceremony. It was a special moment set aside for just the two of them (and me … the third wheel photographer). 🙂

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If the bride asks what I prefer — it’s always that we do a special “first look.” It’s where I set the groom up, his back facing away. I bring in the bride. She puts her back against his, or reaches her hand around the corner. There is always so much tension in these shots — the can’t wait to see each other.

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From there, I snap the shots and either take the bride back to her room, or … we let the groom turn around.

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I prefer this because I can catch the intimate one-on-one response of the groom the first time he sees his bride. It’s special. It isn’t a moment that has to be shared in a crowd. It’s just the two of them. 

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Now, sometimes I can’t convince the bride and groom otherwise, and that’s ok. It’s your day! I can only speak from a photographer’s standpoint, because after that reveal, we can take the bridal party / bride & groom shots, etc. — all before the ceremony! After the ceremony, we can snap the family photos, and then send the bride and groom off to the reception and not have to keep their friends and family waiting.

That’s not to say we can’t get great photos if the first time the groom sees his bride is when she walks down the aisle.

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We definitely can, but if I am ever asked my preference — it’s to have a special first look. So I can get shots like this:

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Check back next Thursday for the next post in our “Tips For Brides” series. To read them all, click here.

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Our New Website!

I tried to log onto the Kansas City Photography webpage last week. I was met with an error message. I may have panicked a little, but I figured it’d be an easy fix. I reached out to my web person — but it was crickets. My face was probably equivalent to Miss Luna’s:

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My bells and whistles started going off — and here’s why. This happened one other time, with the same web person. I reached out to him (the same one, I never switched) and he responded saying I needed to pay him to get it back online. I was confused as to why, and he said it was a maintenance fee, and he had to re-build it. I actually lost a potential wedding client over this — they had seen my site, loved my work, and then got concerned when my site suddenly went down.

You’d think I would have learned my lesson then … but, long story short, I stuck with him and he put the site back up (after I paid him again *grumble*), and it has been sunshine and roses since then.

Then, the error (again). And no response.

Instead of waiting around, this time I decided to go ahead and just build it myself. This way I can make changes and add photos any time I want, without having to pay every time I want an update. It was really a long time coming, I should have done it a lot sooner.

Go check it out and tell me what you think! –> http://kansas-city-photography.com

 

On a side note, I recently tried to get Kansas City Photography published on Wikipedia, but I need some press coverage for that to happen. They have really strict guidelines, and I meet all of them but that one. Stay tuned!

Wedding Series: Tips For Brides – Portraits

You’re getting married! There’s so much to do, and so many things to get done. Find a caterer, a florist, get the perfect dress, and then make sure you’ve hired the right photographer to capture all of your hard work!

Well, you’ve definitely taken the right step as far as a photographer goes [oh hey, we travel]! 😉

Every Thursday over the next six weeks, I will be doing a piece for our “Wedding Series: Tips For Brides.” It’s going to highlight tips and tricks for the bride when working with a photographer.

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Week One: The Bridal Portrait Session

This week, I’m giving tips for the bride during her portrait session! I always set aside time from the chaos to make sure I get shots of just the bride. You’ve gotten your hair done, your makeup perfected, and spent weeks (maybe even months!) picking out your perfect dress. It’s so important to get shots of you as you are in that moment — ready to marry the love of your life, about to walk down the aisle surrounded by your closest friends and family members. There’s so much excitement shining through your eyes — and a world of possibilities in your future.

There are a few shots I always love to get: 

The Eyelash Shot:

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It’s a classic shot, your head tilted slightly, gazing down, capturing your perfect lashes.

The Silhouette: 

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Definitely one of my favorites. I love playing with the light. I had one bride call me a “lighting wizard.” I’ll take it! These are so pretty and fun to do.

Just The Dress: 

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You spent so much time (annnd probably money, if we’re being real) to find the perfect gown for your big day. I like to get details like this!

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Lacing It Up: 

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Some of the most important people in your life help lace up the dress. It’s usually a mom or Maid of Honor. Although, I’ve had to step in to help countless times when they couldn’t figure it out! I’ll never leave ya hangin’!

Full-Length: 

You’re in the dress, it’s almost show time!

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My last little tidbit to mention is the bouquet.

Where To Hold Those Dang Flowers! 

As every bride will tell you whose wedding I’ve shot — the one thing I repeat over and over and over is: “Hold the bouquet at your belly button!”

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I say it to to the bride and bridesmaids at the beginning of the day. I repeat it before every shot. Sometimes I turn it into a question and ask them, “Now, where do you hold the bouquet?”

I get that chime of a teacher lecturing her class, “At the belllly buttttton,” they repeat back.

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I remind them right before they walk down the aisle when I stop them to take a shot before they continue the rest of the way down. This way you don’t get shots with the bouquets all over the place!

Let’s review! Here are some important shots to make sure your photographer gets!

  • The eyelash shot
  • The silhouette
  • Just the dress
  • Getting “into” the dress / lacing up
  • The bouquet / holding the bouquet at the belly button

Check back next Thursday for the next post in our “Tips For Brides” series. To read them all, click here.

 

Jeremy & Amanda’s Warm and Beautiful Country Club Wedding

Mid-70s, a cool breeze, and a wedding! There was nothing better this past Saturday. The weather was absolutely divine, it was like God said: “Today, Jeremy and Amanda are getting married, so let this day be perfect!”

Speaking of perfect – Amanda’s bouquet was stunning. Just stunning. Lilies, tulips, roses, and a tear-drop style. It was definitely one of the most breathtaking bouquets I’ve ever seen!

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Plus, those rings! *whistles*

I always love it when the bride’s ring fits inside the groom’s. I have only ever had it happen a handful of times — and this was one of them! I always personally find it to be a good omen, they’re so meant to be together … the rings fit together — just like them!

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Now, let’s talk about Amanda. The new Mrs. Maxwell. She was so grateful to everyone there. She thanked her bridesmaids repeatedly, the Executive Hills Polo Club owner, and me. She thanked everyone for being there to support her and make her day special. She was also a total knockout!!

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She had six bridesmaids in beautiful royal blue dresses – ready to cheer her on!

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I know I’ve already mentioned the flowers, but seriously … look at them! It reminded me of something out of a royal wedding!

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The ring bearer was decked out in a shirt that said: “Ring Security.” So clever!! His glasses totally matched his shirt and gave the perfect overall “anybody who wants that ring has to get through me first” vibe. And their little flower girl — decked in a white gown befitting a princess, complete with a blue ribbon to match the bridesmaids!

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Now it’s time to talk about Jeremy, and his groomsmen. This picture literally sums up what a fun crew they were! I suggested they pick him up, but definitely didn’t realize this is what they’d do!

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Ah, and then the moment everyone is waiting for! The vows, the”I do,” the forever! There was a set of white doors to hide Amanda from Jeremy, and when she walked through them he teared up. He may tell you didn’t, but he totally did. He was knocked out by this stunning woman he would soon get to call his forever! There were tears and laughter. A good mutual friend, Tim Kile, officiated. My favorite line of his: “I’ve only done this one other time, but it’s bound to be better than the first time.” Chuckles everywhere. Amanda couldn’t stop talking about what an amazing job he did, tying their love together into the sermon and reciting scripture to help them in their new lives together.

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And after that first kiss as husband and wife — many more followed!

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And their location was picture perfect. Bright grass, tall trees, a white picket fence surrounding the roadway, and a deck to stand on. The ceremony was outside, with a reception inside. One bar outside, one inside. The Executive Hills Polo Club was just stunning!

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The inside reception area had multiple chandeliers, a perfect backdrop for a first dance as husband and wife!

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Then came time for the speeches. While the Matron of Honor, Maid of Honor, and Best Man did a really great job, it was Amanda’s dad who knocked it out of the park. I heard one of the wedding guests say he should be on “Comedy Half Hour.” He had everyone in stitches, and Jeremy covering his face!

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Their wedding hashtag was so cute. #Maxout. I can’t wait to see what their many years of marriage bring!! Congratulations, Amanda & Jeremy!

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Are you getting married, or know someone who is? Give us a shout out on Facebook!