Celebrating A 19-Year Wedding Anniversary With A Surprise Photoshoot!

Debbie & Jeff drove to St. Louis from the Lake of the Ozarks to celebrate their 19-year wedding anniversary and be treated by family. And boy, were they ever treated! Mimosas, a hotel, and a surprise photoshoot!

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I met Debbie at her daughter Brittany’s place. I walked in and went back into the bathroom where Debbie was getting her hair curled.

She gave me a big hug and that’s when Brit told her that the last part of her anniversary surprise was professional photos from yours truly!

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We went to Tower Grove Park, which is a spot listed on our Top 8 Photoshoot Locations in St. Louis blog post!

It has some gorgeous trees, which are lit up in bright oranges and vibrant yellows right now. It also has some willows, as you saw above, and a pond! I thought about photoshopping out the goose in the photo below, but I’ll let him have his moment of glory! Plus, we were all tickled the geese didn’t feel like being mean! Do you see him?

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I asked Debbie and Jeff what their secret was to a long and successful marriage. Debbie said they are constantly making each other laugh. And that showed in the photos — they were having a blast and making each other giggle throughout the entire thing!

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I asked Debbie who was funnier, and she answered “I am!” That’s when Jeff shook his head in disagreement. He thought he was funnier.

After he said that, they both laughed. If humor is what keeps marriage alive — these two are going to last forever!

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We drove together to the park since it was only a few miles from Brittany’s place. On the way, we were listening to classic 80s. “Why Can’t This Be Love?” by Van Halen came on the radio. Jeff reached over and turned it up. The lyrics blared:

“Oh here it comes
That funny feeling again winding me up inside
Every time we touch
Hey I don’t know
Oh, tell me where to begin cause I never ever
Felt so much

And I can’t recall any love at all
Baby this blows ’em all away”

These lyrics are so fitting for these two lovebirds! Although, it is love with them 100%!

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At Tower Grove Park, there are these fun rock formations. Debbie immediately started climbing up them, without me even instructing her to. She climbed up, put her hands on her hips, and laughed down at Jeff: “I’m the boss!!” she laughed.

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Not gonna lie — he didn’t really seem to disagree that much! 🙂

The weather was a perfect mid-70s and felt great when the wind blew. It was really muggy, though, so we were still sweating by the end, despite Mother Nature being oddly nice to us. That’s when my phone started buzzing — there was a tornado watch!

Leave it to true Missourians to not panic. Debbie and I just both went “ooooh!” because the fact it was so muggy and humid now made perfect sense! Then, we continued on with the shoot!

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The park has around 7,000 trees!! Most of them are now turning delightful shades of all things Fall, so we made sure to take advantage!

Jeff didn’t want to sit on the ground, but that didn’t mean we couldn’t throw some leaves up in the air and play!

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This was my first time meeting Jeff, but I have known Debbie forever. And I went to school with her kiddos! I know she’s a big goofball, but just in case you weren’t, here’s proof!

After this shot, I asked her if she has ever seen “Superstar.” It’s one of my favorite movies, and if you’ve seen it, you’ll know why!!

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Debbie calls me one of her own, so I was tickled when Brittany messaged me so I could squeeze these two lovebirds in on Sunday before they drove back home!

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Happy 19-year anniversary!! You’re both an inspiration to me — I can’t wait to make it to 19 years with my hubs!


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It was also Debbie’s idea to put their hands together like a heart on the tree!! How cute is that?! Just like them!!!

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Top 9 Photoshoot Locations In St. Louis

Hooray, you’ve booked the photoshoot! The next question: “Where do we go?”

We get asked this by photography clients a lot. So, here’s a list of our top 9 in the St. Louis area — all with photos we personally took at these locations!

Also check out our list for the Kansas City area!

9. Augusta Wineries / Klondike Park

It would be higher on the list if it weren’t such a drive! But, it’s definitely worth it. The wineries in Augusta have the beautiful, rolling hills — which make for a perfect backdrop.


And since you’ll already be in the area, may as well hit up Klondike Park, too! It’s only a few miles away from the winery. It touts sandy, white beaches — probably due to the fact it used to be an old silica sand quarry. Plus, it has a beautiful lake! What’s not to love?


And, I mean, you drove all that way — why not just make a day of it and stick around after the photoshoot to enjoy the wineries? You’ll already be dressed for the part! <3

8. Tower Grove Park

Since I lived in Kansas City for so long, I am a sucker for fountains. And St. Louis has some amazing fountains to tout, too! Like this one in the middle of the water at Tower Grove Park!


Plus, there are some fun rock formations surrounding the water. Perfect for stacking a wedding party onto, right?


The park is also historic — it was founded in 1868 and opened to the public in 1872. It has around 7,000 trees! Whoa!

7. Faust Park

This is one of my favorites to whip out. With so many great parks in St. Louis, this one oftentimes gets overlooked, or in some cases, never heard of!

Faust Park has the perfect architecture for those rustic shoots — just look at this amazing barn!


If cowboy boots are going to be involved in the shoot — this is where I suggest. It has that look and feel, and flows seamlessly.

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Faust Park also has a “Historic Village” section with buildings from 1840 to 1910! It is also home to The Butterfly House, so there is something to do after your session! It also has a park right next to it for any kiddos to run and play during or after the session.

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No one expects to find historic barns in Chesterfield. It’s 200 acres of hidden glory in the heart of Chesterfield — just waiting to be discovered!

6. Castlewood State Park

Nestled in Ballwin, this park boasts wooded trails, and a backdrop of the Meramec River!

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Although, this section of the Meramec is very turbulent, so there are a ton of signs warning you of “DEADLY RIVER!” Most access points are blocked off, but it’s possible to walk onto the beach and get photos still.

Right near the overflow parking area is this huge, open field. I can’t wait to see it in the fall — it’s going to be just as stunning!

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Along the trails are several ancient trees. I can tell because they are literally bigger than several humans standing side-by-side. This one below was Redwood big!!

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The only downfall of this park is that if you go on a weekend — it can be hard to find one another.

5. Downtown Eureka

If you’re wanting that cute, hometown feel — downtown Eureka is the place to go! It has cute, colorful buildings (I found this one in a little alley when Tatiana was taking our family photos) —

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It also has brick walls, decorated buildings, and the best little hometown feel to it! Make sure to check out Sarah’s Cake Shop when you’re there!! My youngest is obsessed!! (I swear I didn’t get paid to promo that, I just freakin’ love their cupcakes!!!).

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They also have this adorable pagoda! It is kinda out in the middle of a parking lot — but hey, it works!


4. Myron & Sonya Glassberg Conservation Area

This beautiful park is also hidden in Eureka, down Highway FF. It’s 634-acres of woods, trails, and even includes a 3-acre fishing lake.

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Along the trail, you’ll find a stream that runs along it. Your entire walk you can hear the trickle of water and the chirping of crickets.

After walking a short while on the trail, you’ll see this gorgeous miniature waterfall.

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It’s a perfect picture opportunity. Plus, the trail is flat, so it’s not a hard walk. Perfect for nature lovers. It’s very easy to get a shot here without a ton of people in the way.

And, you’re surrounded by forest on all sides, so it’s just beautiful!

3. Lafayette Park

This park is a hidden gem. Until a client recommended it for their shoot, I had no idea it even existed! I ran the location by one of my lifetime St. Louisan friends, and they also had never been there!

Historians have called it the oldest urban park west of the Mississippi.

It has this stunning bridge, that’s surrounded by ornate flowers, and even a willow —

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If you walk just slightly past the beautiful water / bridge area — there’s this standalone building with ornate oval windows, bricks, and wood.

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There’s also a pond with a fountain, and a walking trail that goes around it. If we venture in the spring, you will also see all sort of baby geese, swans sitting on their eggs, and tons of little squirrels running around!

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And if you have kiddos — there’s also a park located right there as well! It’s a hidden gem, and never extremely crowded, which is another bonus!

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2. Forest Park 

Of course, the iconic Forest Park had to make our list. It really is a jewel of St. Louis. It’s 1,371 acres of awesome. What’s not to love?

It has the Muny, and its amazing architecture, which includes columns and a huge chandelier —

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And right beside the Muny is this gorgeous garden area! It doesn’t even feel like you’re in St. Louis anymore when you see all of the tropical buds!

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It also has lakes, yes, multiple! (And if you know where to look, some super docile ducks, too) —

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And while there are the typical locations that everyone wants to hit up (and for good reason, they’re stunning!) —  there are also some hidden beauties — and willow trees!

You can’t go wrong with willow trees. Seriously. And a little breeze!

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1. Shaw Nature Reserve

Our number one spot is a place a photography client pointed out to Christine. She has been in love ever since! Shaw Nature Reserve, owned by the Missouri Botanical Garden, has a little bit of everything!

It has water in several locations, and some of those water locations have bridges or cute little awnings to duck underneath:

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There is also the Joseph Bascom house, which has gorgeous pillars to pose between. It can give a completely different photo session look! The home was built in 1879, and the columns make for great photos.

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Of course, there are also trails galore! Just a quick walk on one and you are surrounded by nature. It’s easy to forget you aren’t actually out in the country, you’re in a park!

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There is also the Whitmire Wildflower Garden where more than 800 native Missouri plants are on display.

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The park itself does have a $5 entry fee for adults. Children are free! It is definitely worth the small price to see this beautiful scenery. It really makes the photo session special, especially with so many amazing backdrop options!

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And, depending on the timing, depends on what you’ll see! These gorgeous daffodils were only in bloom for one week. This next photo was taken by a good photographer friend of mine, Dee Keim Photography. She took our family photos at this gorgeous park, too, so I wanted to share:


The history of Shaw Nature Reserve is also interesting! They phrased it well themselves: “The Missouri Botanical Garden’s land purchase in 1925 began the legacy of Shaw Nature Reserve. Originally set up as a safe refuge for the plant collection from the smoke pollution of the 1920’s, its role in the community has evolved through the years. Shaw Nature Reserve has many roles—as a nature reserve, a place to walk and hike, and a good spot for relaxing and for studying nature.”

Which one is your favorite?

And if you’re in the Kansas City area — we have our Top 10 list for there as well!!

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


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