oh my stars | randy + allison

A gift, while designed to bring joy to a recipient, will often tell you a lot about the giver. In Allison and Randy’s case, the gifts they exchanged on their wedding day tell us about two best friends, a long journey of faith, and stars aligning on their behalf.

Before we get to the gifts, it's worth noting that there was certainly no shortage of details on Randy and Allison's big day. Straight razor shaves, coffee brewed in mad-scientist-esque beakers, tattoos, and vintage-inspired DIY decor peppering the artist loft where their ceremony and reception took place—it was a buffet of personal touches.

Despite all the details of the day, it was Randy and Allison's gift exchange that provided the heart beat for their film. Sure, their gifts to each other were great, but it was why they gave each other these gifts that told us everything we needed to know about their relationship. Randy and Allison both reached back into early memories of days gone by; they reached back into moments long before marriage was even on the table. It was this reaching, this thoughtfulness about each other that helped us understand where they've been and what they were looking forward to in the future.

Randy's gift to Allison was a custom designed, floral-inspired ring. While the explaination isn't covered in their film, Randy's inspiration for this gift stems all the way back to their first fight as a couple—or rather, all the way back to his first blunder as a boyfriend. Allison's gift to Randy was all about his love for music and was an homage to one of their first concerts together [where Allison got to witness Randy's fanboyism first hand]. And while each of their gifts had a reflective component, they also held promises for the future.

And with that, we leave you to their film. Enjoy the details, the gifts, the journey, and the special cameo too :]

corn dogs & lemon shakeups | shayla + kyle

There’s a certain charm to be found out in the country that can't be found in the hustle and bustle of city lights. This rustic, tranquil, handcrafted feel has no doubt been a trend sought after by many couples looking to bring a slice of a “down home” vibe to their wedding day. For Shayla and Kyle, hosting their wedding on a farm had far more significance than having a nice DIY look—the farm belonged to Shayla’s family, and it truly was home.

Before the big day, Shayla and her father (along with the help of some family friends) spent time getting Meece Farms in order. Chairs were set, the lawn manicured, the hand-made pergola was assembled, and the dogs did their job by trotting alongside the action. All of the preparation culminated with the arrival of an unassuming yellow truck with the words “Pronto Pup” written on its side.

As if having the wedding on her family farm didn’t carry enough significance, Shayla decided to go the extra mile and bring in the big guns—corn dogs and lemon shakeups—to surprise Kyle with a reminder of when their journey started many years ago. We’ll spare the details as it’s probably best that you experience the story yourself.

God In This | Gretchen + Ron

Creating a Same Day Edit is both challenging and incredibly rewarding. There is a finite amount of time we have to not only capture the day, but to finish the film to be shown at the reception. The continuous cycle of shooting and editing definitely adds a certain amount of pressure, especially on a day where every minute counts. The reward, however, far exceeds the labor we put into the day. While the bride and groom along with their friends and family watch the screen and see their story play out, our eyes are on them. Their smiles, tears, laughter and cheers are affirmation that we were able to capture their journey and communicate their story in a meaningful and powerful way.

For Gretchen and Ron, a "journey" is exactly what we wanted to communicate. From Guam to Chicago, to Las Vegas and back to the Windy City, their relationship has spanned many miles over the years. The support from their community, love from their families, and their faith in God are what carried them through and it all came to a head on their wedding day.

You'll have to take our word for it—the laughter and tears continued well past the viewing of their SDE. Experiencing their genuine joy and playing a part in communicating their journey made every minute of work well worth it.

aloha wau ia 'oe | brandon + jennifer

It’s no secret that we’re fans of destination weddings around here. We’ve traveled the world far and wide to film all kinds of stories, but there is something special that happens during a destination wedding.  Beyond the sights, sounds, and general beauty of the location we find ourselves in, there is a heightened sense of community as a smaller group of loved ones gather to support the bride and groom. Since guests typically arrive a few days in advance, there is also a growing feeling of anticipation and celebration leading up to the big day. Brandon and Jennifer's wedding in Hawaii was no exception. We first met Brandon back when we were filming Julie and Marcus's wedding in Chicago. If you remember Julie and Marcus from an earlier blog post, we mentioned that they were some of the most genuine and kind-hearted people we've ever had the pleasure of meeting.  They say good people keep good company, and that was certainly true of Brandon. In the short time we got to know him as a guest at that wedding, we had nothing but good vibes and crossed our fingers with the hopes that we would be able to tell a great story for him in the near future.

The fates aligned, and we were soon in Chicago-to-Korea Skype sessions with Brandon and his equally awesome counterpart, Jennifer. In a few months time, we would find ourselves sitting down with them over a pre-wedding udon lunch off the shores of Waikiki talking about their journey, faith, family, and what items they would put in magical bags (we never did finish that list, guys!).

We had an incredible time celebrating with Brandon and Jennifer. What was true from the destination weddings we've shot in the past was also true for them—the overwhelming feeling of anticipation, celebration, and sense of community abounded—and the sights, sounds, and beauty of Hawaii were simply an added bonus.

smart enough dumb enough | elizabeth + philippe

Salvage One is a 60,000 square foot antique store/warehouse with four floors worth of salvaged items. On the main floor you'll find display cases full of decorative knobs, a ceiling lined with all types of vintage chandleries, statues donning shutter shades, and a back room lined with rolls of film cascading from ceiling to wall. Things only get more eclectic as you make your way up the stairs. Pinball machines sit next to stained glass windows, and there's even a library full of romance novels organized by color spectrum, adding to the collective edgy-fun feel of the space. Stopping through Salvage One to pick up a decorative item is one thing, but using it as a wedding venue is something else entirely—and that should let you know exactly how Elizabeth and Philippe roll.

Simply put: Elizabeth and Philippe are fun people who like to surround themselves with fun people, and their wedding day was every bit a celebration. And while some may not be able to handle mismatched tables and chairs or sitting in church pews next to hanging door frames, these two, true to every bit of  who they are, wholeheartedly embraced the space and had an incredible time doing so.

lead you to ground | linda + ben

From custom-made Michael Jackson socks to a dazzling fireworks display over Chicago's skyline, there was certainly no shortage of visuals to capture on Linda and Ben's wedding day. And while there was a certain grand quality about things [the entire day taking place at the Trump International Hotel & Tower], there was also a very intimate quality as well.

Achieving a "big small" vibe is no easy feat. It would have been a simple task to rely on the aesthetics of the day to carry the story, but to us, the people are the pulse of the film. We find our story as Linda gives a meaningful bouquet to her bridesmaid or when Ben shares with his best man about his proposal along the streets of Paris. We find it in the hand-stitched sequins MJ socks gifted to Ben or during the exchange of their personal vows. And while the fireworks and the sky scraping towers may be impressive, they cannot hold a candle to the people.

the heart to follow | julie + marcus

Often times, because of distance and travel schedules, flesh-and-blood face time is replaced by its Apple approved counterpart and we must conduct our getting-to-know-you sessions over digital means. While we never had the chance to meet Julie and Marcus in person before their wedding day, we didn't let that prevent us from getting to know them beforehand. As we settled into our chairs and huddled over the phone, it wasn't long before we got a sense of the warmth and hospitality of our soon-to-be hosts. It certainly helped that Julie and Marcus appreciated a good conversation and considered themselves equally "words-y" people.


Our suspicions about Julie and Marcus were confirmed when, on their wedding day, upon exchanges of hugs and handshakes, the first thing they asked us was if we needed anything. I understand it's common courtesy to ask, but it was the way they asked, how they asked that was really, quite striking. As the day unfolded and we filmed along, it was remarkable to see how much they cared about everyone. It's no wonder these two are so well loved. And that's precisely what we hope to communicate through their wedding film—their giving, self-sacrificial, genuine hearts.

familiar differences | susan + dennis

A wedding day is an interesting thing. Unless you're used to having attention lavished upon you, or countless eyes watching you throughout the day, it can all be a bit surreal. Granted some of us don't shy away from sharing the details of our relationships with friends [and in some cases, absolute strangers], there are some of us who like to keep our cards close to the chest. Susan and Dennis tend to fall in the latter. When we met with them early on, they told us that theirs was a personal kind of love—not very outward, even with those closest to them. At the same time, they were ready to embrace the day, and present that very personal side of themselves in front of everyone.

We've been told that we do a great job being "everywhere but nowhere." That somehow, we manage to tell a wonderful, heartfelt story without being intrusive. And that's precisely what we do—we melt into the background and capture things as they unfold, allowing our couples to simply be themselves. And so, whether it's Susan creating a handmade card from scratch, the gift of a commissioned painting of the island where Dennis proposed, or a simple, knowing look exchanged by the two as their letters were being read by their officiant, everything remains as a genuine expression of their personal love.