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Bryan & Emily Got Hitched at the Racetrack (or: Dirt Bikes, Lightning, and Macaroni & Cheese)

On April 5, 2014, I photographed the wedding of Emily and Bryan, two lovebirds from a countrified area located south of Dallas. It was a happy occasion and a family reunion in one, with loved ones traveling in from all over the country—New York, Wisconsin, and California, to name a few—to witness the blessed gooeyness.

I attended the rehearsal the night before to scope things out and was thoroughly pleased by Emily and Bryan’s location choice for the ceremony. There were puppies to cuddle, wildflowers in bloom, and some truly lovely pecan trees, not to mention the gorgeous sunlight streaming in from behind them!

Needless to say, everyone was buzzing with excitement about the big day. Emily’s nephew, Christian, seemed to be especially pleased by the chance to show off his adorableness.

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But as dusk fell, the clouds began rolling in…

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We woke to overcast skies and what must have been 100% humidity, but that didn’t stop the men from heading out to Emily’s grandfather’s land for several hours of fishing. The boys talked big, but to my knowledge, they only caught two little catfish while I was out there taking pictures :)

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While Bryan and his crew continued reeling ’em in, I made my way to his and Emily’s new apartment in time for coffee and breakfast with Emily’s gal pals. The atmosphere was heroically chill, even as the ladies began curling hair, applying makeup, and otherwise fancying up.

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While Emily was getting her hair did, I dropped by the house where the men were getting ready to grab a few shots of their short, albeit suave, prep process before they drove out to the racetrack to tie up loose ends.

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Back at the ladies’ getting ready party, Emily and her bridesmaids were nearly ready. As they finished up, I stole outside for several minutes to photograph the rings and Emily’s dress.

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The wind picked up drastically around the time that Emily was putting on her dress, so the balloons marking the route to the venue were somewhat stressed when I arrived, but they were still effective! As guests began arriving and making their way down to the ceremony site, I headed up to the rehearsal site to photograph Emily & Bryan’s burlap and blue and white-themed decor.

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After that, it was out to the pasture with Emily and her bridesmaids for group and individual portraits. These ladies really knew how to turn on the charm… and the silliness!

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With bridesmaids portraits out of the way, we headed down to the ceremony site, a beautiful oak grove that the Racetrack landscaped especially for this occasion.

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More photos of the family and reception coming soon!

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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 gave me the privilege of photographing their wedding day, along with their engagement portraits, their wedding shower, and Emily’s bridal portraitsbachelorette party and bridal shower.

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Laura & Scott’s Enchanted Forest Engagement

On November 23, 2011, I was honored to take engagement photos for my sister, Laura, and her boyfriend, Scott—only Laura didn’t know that it was an engagement shoot until Scott knelt and pulled out a ring.

“Hey, we haven’t taken pictures in a while,” Scott had casually said to her while I was visiting my family in September. Laura was instantly excited by the implication, like she’s excited about nearly everything. “Okay, let’s!” she squealed. Scott turned to me with a twinkle in his eye. “Becca, would you be available to take pictures of us soon? Maybe when you come to visit for Thanksgiving?”

I said yes, of course, because Scott had secretly asked me months ago. The plan was to take them out for a “normal” couple photoshoot, during which time Scott would propose and I would conveniently be there to capture the moment.

On the day of the shoot, the 4-year lovebirds dressed to match and we headed outside to catch the beautiful evening sunlight, which made the forest come alive and later informed the couple’s wedding decorating. How Scott managed to act normal with a ring in his pocket is beyond me!

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We headed down a familiar trail that skirts the boundary fence between my grandfather’s and parents’ land, into the sun. Laura and Scott were happy to indulge my photographic nerdiness (shadows and sunflare—eee!) because it meant that they could hold hands. After that, we trekked into an overgrown clearing and the romance began.

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The light was absolutely perfect, not only because it made for gorgeous photographs, but because radiance is one of the most striking aspects of Laura and Scott’s relationship. It’s love, of course, but a heck of a lot of it—soft and fiery and ornery and steadfast all at once. Stronger than death.

Laura and Scott were high school sweethearts. They met when Scott accidentally hit Laura in the face with a basketball during a sanctioned girls vs. boys basketball scrimmage. Scott felt terrible and found her the next day in the hallway to apologize. Then, he found her the next day, and the next, and the next.

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For the most part, our dog, Gracie, was easy to wrangle in as I photographed the pair because she’s so adorably sweet and eager to please, but occasionally, in her immense excitement about people she loves and running free and warm weather and people she loves and running free, she forgot herself and wandered into one of my shots.

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I could have photographed them in that glowing archway for the rest of the evening, but then it happened. Scott turned and said, “Hey, Becca! I have an idea for another place we can take pictures! Could we go there next?” That was the cue. He would lead us to a special place that he had prepared in advance, the place where he planned to get down on one knee.

Laura and I walked side by side as Scott jogged ahead. “While we were taking pictures back there, I kept seeing myself in a wedding dress and God was talking to me about being a beautiful bride,” Laura told me. I glanced at her sideways, devastatingly certain that she had figured it all out, but she just giggled. “Maybe someday.” Someday, indeed!

Scott lead us to the backside of a huge canvas wall and disappeared behind it. As we rounded the corner to the other side, we found Scott standing in a clearing adorned with Laura’s favorite flowers—yellow daisies and red carnations. Behind him was a table peppered with both flowers and photos taken throughout their relationship.

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After the proposal and subsequent cuteness, Laura’s best friend Emily emerged from within the branches of a nearby cedar tree (she’d been filming) and our cousin Emily moved in for a hug. Scott spoke of how he’d had an entire speech prepared, but instead his knees had given out and that had been okay because he’d forgotten the speech anyway, on top of opening the ring case upside down. Laura couldn’t stop giggling.

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Giddy and excited, the lovebirds lost interest in pictures after that, but they humored me anyway for several more shots as we hiked over to our Grandparents’ house, where both families waited expectantly. As the celebration commenced, I stole away to photograph the ring.

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Laura and Scott, thank you for inviting me along on your adventure this day! I feel incredibly honored to have witnessed such a poignant milestone in your relationship and I’m looking forward to many more in the future. You inspire me!

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On May 25, 2013, with thunderstorms all around and in the presence of many loved ones, Laura and 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’s bridal portraits. See them here!