Category Archives: Brides

emily burnett wisdom bridal bride portrait

Trooper Bride: Emily’s Drizzly-But-Dazzling Bridal Shoot

This March, I traveled back to my hometown of Blooming Grove to photograph  my cousin Emily and her fiance, Bryan. It was to be a two-day weekend extravaganza, complete with a bridal shoot on Saturday morning, followed by an adventuresome engagement shoot with the Mr-and-Mrs-to-be on Sunday evening.

We had grand plans for the bridal shoot—horses and dirt bikes and lots of other high-action and outdoorsy shots—but most of our plans fell through when the weather turned sour. It rained nearly all day Saturday with the temperature hovering just below 60 degrees, so we spent a lot of the day waiting (and warming up, in the case of our lovely bride) in the car for the rain to slow or stop so that we could snap a few portraits before the heavens opened up again.

Despite the overcast skies and the difficulty of keeping Emily’s dress and my gear dry, the storm did provide a wonderful soft and misty backdrop for the photos that we took in this starkly-green field of crops. I’m not sure what was growing, but the wild onion growing near the roadside smelled so nice!

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After capturing those stunning images in the field, we drove out to Freestone County Raceway, where the rain continued, the wind picked up, and the temperature dropped. We were able to get several lovely shots in the very grove of oak trees where Emily and Bryan would one day say their vows before the conditions became a little too ridiculous for photographing a beautiful woman in her wedding dress! At that point, we resolved to change clothes, play with the racetrack’s resident puppies (naturally), and finish the rest of our shoot the next afternoon.

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The next afternoon, weather conditions were even worse, but Emily, Amazonian warrior princess and Tough Mudder extraordinaire, decided that we would proceed undaunted—as long as she could wear a thick coat as we moved between locations! We found a sheltered valley in the woods and finished Emily’s bridal session in style, to say the least.

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Nailed it. Ems, you trooper bride, you.


Emily & Bryan said their vows and sealed their love on April 5, 2014 in the middle of a beautiful grove of pecan trees at Freestone County Raceway, a motocross racetrack in Wortham, Texas where Bryan has so often proved his mettle on a dirt bike. The Burnetts also gave me the privilege of photographing their wedding day, along with their engagement portraits, their wedding shower, and Emily’s bachelorette party and bridal shower.


Ducks and Dodgeball: Emily’s Bachelorette Adventure

Let’s Celebrate Emily Weekend 2014 began with an intimate gathering of friends and family members for Emily’s bridal shower and continued throughout the weekend as the bridesmaids journeyed into Dallas for an overnight bachelorette party featuring dinner at Blue Mesa Grill, rock climbing at Summit Gym, trampolines and dodgeball at Jumpstreet, and unexpectedly, baby ducks!

Despite experiencing several unplanned misadventures throughout the weekend, I’m sure that all of the bridesmaids in attendance would agree that Emily’s adventurous bachelorette bash was still a grand success—after all, everyone held their own on the mechanical bull!

First, came the baby ducks, which we cuddled at Emily’s aunt’s house in Blooming Grove.


The Bennetts’ dog, Gracie, is a good duck guardian.


Eventually, we were able to tear ourselves away from the ducks’ immense cuteness and made our way to Blue Mesa Grill in Dallas to eat our weight in scrumptious Mexican food and sweet potato chips. I, for one, ordered the avocado enchiladas and never looked back!

The remainder of the evening was spent exploring our hotel and spending quality time with Emily, which definitely included some time spent driving (or rather, sitting) in traffic, a lingerie fashion show, and much giggling about the fact that Emily would be marrying her best friend in less than a week.

In the morning, we dressed in athletic attire and drove (with zero traffic, remarkably) to Jumpstreet, an indoor trampoline park with a trampoline court, a dodgeball court, a foam pit, and one fiesty mechanical bull. We spent one glorious hour jumping and cartwheeling, pelting each other with dodgeballs, attempting to stay astride that cranky bull, and trying to crawl out of the quicksand-esque foam pit before heading to the rock gym.


Emily was a beast on the mechanical bull, as you can see.


Such style! Such grace! Emily, you are a tough act to follow.


The staff members at Jumpstreet were kind enough to clear the dodgeball court of other guests so that we could take some epic photos, and one of them even took a group picture for us!


Once we were all jumped out, we loaded back into our vehicles and drove to Summit Rock Gym, which was a few minutes down the street. Since most of the bridesmaids had never climbed before, we signed waivers, got fitted for rental equipment, and completed a brief training course about safety procedures, rules, and proper climbing etiquette before we took to the walls. Summit’s staff was fun and knowledgeable, so we were able to start climbing in no time at all.


By the time we finished climbing, all of us were thoroughly exhausted from the weekend’s festivities, so we parted ways, all the while looking forward to seeing each other again at Emily & Bryan’s wedding, which would take place in less than a week. Thank you, Emily, for allowing us to celebrate you and your beautiful adventurous heart!

“Here’s to having an excellent adventure and may the stopping never start.” — Jason Mraz


Emily & Bryan said their vows and sealed their love on April 5, 2014 in the middle of a beautiful grove of pecan trees at Freestone County Raceway, a motocross racetrack in Wortham, Texas where Bryan has so often proved his mettle on a dirt bike. The Burnetts also gave me the privilege of photographing their wedding day, along with their engagement portraits, their wedding shower, and Emily’s bridal portraits and bridal shower.


Breakfast and a Show: Emily’s Bright-and-Early Bridal Shower

It was March 29, 2014. Many of Emily’s beloved friends and family members live out of state, but those who were able to attend her bridal shower arrived at the Ackley residence bright and early and enjoyed a hearty feast of coffee, blueberry muffins, yogurt parfaits, and breakfast casserole.

The bridesmaids would soon embark upon a journey into Dallas for a bachelorette weekend of rock climbing, trampolining, laughter, and a few tears, but just then, they had all settled in to decorate granny panties, gush and giggle about Emily & Bryan’s relationship, and watch Emily swim in her freshly-acquired sea of lingerie.

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Over breakfast, Emily regaled us with tales of some of her more glorious(ly awkward) moments throughout her and Bryan’s relationship and had us all rolling by the time that our plates were empty.

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Next, it was time to bust out the granny panties. Our lovely host, Laura, explained the rules of the game: each guest was to decorate a pair of underwear and Emily would choose the pair she liked best. The competition was fierce to be sure!

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Emily even made Bryan his very own pair of granny panties, adorned with his racing number.


In the end, each guest modeled their unique creation for Emily (you won’t be seeing those photos), but it was Laura’s design that took the prize, and so, after a few hilarious group photos, we moved on to the gifts!

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After Emily had opened all of her presents and was feeling thoroughly gooey and loved, an efficient clean-up party ensued and then the bridesmaids departed for Dallas to continue celebrating Emily with an overnight bachelorette party—and you can find those delightful photos here!


Emily & Bryan said their vows and sealed their love on April 5, 2014 in the middle of a beautiful grove of pecan trees at Freestone County Raceway, a motocross racetrack in Wortham, Texas where Bryan has so often proved his mettle on a dirt bike. The Burnetts also gave me the privilege of photographing their wedding day, along with their engagement portraits, their wedding shower, and Emily’s bridal portraits and bachelorette party.


Dancing with Jesus: Laura’s Daylong Bridal Session

My sister Laura wanted three things in her bridal portraits: Jesus, forest and flowers. We woke with the sun on April 13, 2013 and went in search of flowers first. Any kind would do as long as there were lots of them, she said, but bluebonnets were preferable if we could find them—and find them we did.






We had never seen so many bluebonnets at once, even having lived in rural Texas for our entire lives! And exploring farther down that same road brought other happy surprises, as exploring often does.





At around noon, we headed back to home base and took a few shots in our parents’ beautiful yard, nervously eyeing the darkening horizon.







We broke for a late lunch and Laura’s best friend, Emily, helped Laura with her makeup and hair while I lined the bed of our Gator (the six-wheeled John Deere vehicle, not its crocodilian namesake) with linens to protect Laura’s dress and located a step ladder that she could use to clamor into and out of the back as we chauffeured her around our family’s land to the locations we had pre-selected for the shoot.









With Emily’s stellar attentiveness and Laura’s endearing plaid-patterned rain boots, no amount of tromping through the forest or along the lakeshore could muddy Laura’s dress that day.











As we made our way down the lakeshore, we finally got some beautiful backlighting!








Since most of Laura’s bridals were taken without her veil (which our grandmother sewed for her), we decided to feature the veil in some of the silhouette photographs. Laura wanted to dance with Jesus for the third time that day because he’s her favorite (closely followed by her fiancé, Scott, of course) and so she did.





Laura, I feel honored to have had the opportunity to take your bridal portraits and I feel even more honored to know you. Your love for Jesus and for Scott is inspiring, and you were/are a stunning bride!


On May 25, 2013, with thunderstorms all around and in the presence of many loved ones, Laura and her fiancé, Scott, pledged to adore and choose each other for the rest of their lives. The wedding was beautifully photographed by my dear friend Shelley Elena. Additionally, I took Laura and Scott’s engagement photos. See them here!