Save a Dance for Us! A gorgeous engagement session that celebrates true love, true courage, and the wedding vendors who love our military!!

We celebrate true courage and real heroes on May 1, Silver Star Banner Day the official day to honor wounded, ill, and injured Veterans by Congressional ruling. Thanks to Leah Marie for this gorgeous engagement session and heartwarming story of true courage, true love, and dancing through life no matter what! Chris is a war veteran who served his country proudly and gave more than most will ever have to.  In an accident involving an IED, Chris lost both of his legs and was left a paraplegic. Chris was awarded to be the receipt of an all expenses paid wedding through Los Willows Wedding Estate [thank you Los Willows!!]. Photographer Leah Marie along with quite a few other vendors will be donating their services to them on their special day. See Chris' full story on Jockey: http://www.jockey.com/showem-chris

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How we met by Samantha: "I was living in Illinois and Chris was living in San Diego. He always came back to Illinois because it's where his family lives. I was working at a local gym at a personal trainer at the time and Chris came in to work out while he was visiting. I remember seeing him from across the gym doing pull-ups, I couldn't see his prosthetics, but I knew there was something different about him. I asked my friend who was working the front desk who he was and after she told me I said "that's going to be my boyfriend one day." We both saw each other the next couple days but didn't say anything to each other. We then became friends on Facebook and the rest is history!"

How Chris Proposed: "At the beginning of June we decided to go back to Illinois to visit both our families. My birthday and Chris's "alive day" (the day he got injured) is June 13th and we were going to be in Hawaii with his family. So Chris and my mom threw me a birthday party to celebrate my birthday early. With both families and close friends there I started opening presents. My sister in law got me the same gift I got her when she got engaged, she got me a wooden hanger with my future last name on it. After I opened that present, Chris looked at me and said "I guess we would need to be engaged to have that work huh?" And that's when he got down on one knee and had a whole beautiful speech planned." <3!

Other Location:Old Town Temecula//Photographer: Leah Marie Photography//

Featured La Jolla Wedding: Ashley + Danny Mix and Match Their Way to True Love

La Jolla's own Darlington House was a great location for this featured couple because they are just that-- darling!! The love that these two share is so evident in these pictures, that we couldn't stand not sharing these with everyone! The theme had a mix and match rustic charm feel. It all came together beautifully and resulted in an authentic, unique day of celebration. We love the idea of mixing and matching bridesmaids dresses, but Ashley and Danny Jimenez took a step further and mix and matched the groomsmen attire. It. Looks. Awesome. We love this feature because you can instantly feel the love that these friends and family share for this couple through the importance of their faith and just pure joy on everyone's faces. Enjoy!

Photographer: Jessica Miriam Photography// DJ: Apollo Productions// Floral Designer: Forever Blooms// Event Planner: Lace and Likes//Veils and Headpieces: Twigs & Honey// Caterer: Abbey Catering and Event Design// Cake Designer: Extraordinary Desserts// Dress Designer: Sarah Seven//Event Venue: The Darlington House

This Magical Wedding Is One for the Fairytales (and apparently the Jurassic Period)

Ciara and Shane Miller certainly know how to think outside of the box. That's what we loved most about this couple's magical wedding! The two actually met when they were in high school and started dating a few years later. Three years later Shane proposed on New Year's Eve. The couple decided to get married on the beautiful Twin Oaks Golf Course in San Marcos. A very special addition to this couple's photo gallery is a rare sighting of a wedding crashing T-Rex! 

An Emotional Wedding Crush Wednesday

This week's Wedding Crush Wednesday features a most emotional wedding. Nicole and Chris Jackson were married recently at the Sky Ranch Lodge in Sedona, Arizona. The back drop of their stunning wedding is remarkable, but it's the people in these photos that make them breathtaking. From intimate prayer said together before the ceremony, to the father of the bride fighting back tears (numerous times), to the pure joy that this couple shares together. The passionate looks of love and transparent bliss that these families share express true, raw emotion. These Pinterest-worthy pictures captured by Anna Marisol are truly magnificent. 

Awe Inspiring Mother and Daughter Wedding Photos

This week we are featuring a mother and daughter duo that we can't get over. Their excitement and love is so pure that we just had to share it. Jessica married John Trabbic , and Jessica was the first of three sisters to get married. Jake and Maria Galati from Galati Photography had the honor of capturing this lovely pair and give us the perfect session to lead us into yet another beloved Mother's Day! Tell us what you think of this bond that these two obviously share!  We wish you all a very Happy Mother's Day!

Relationship Love Tip #5 Creating Rituals to Stay Connected in Your Marriage

Your wedding is a fabulous ritual of connected-ness, joy and love. But once you are married it is important to create regular rituals to stay connected and keep the love growing for the rest of your lives. Here are a few relationship tips on growing your connection with rituals....

A few ideas for love & marriage rituals for couples:

  1.  Always say "I love you" before you go to sleep or when you leave the house for the day. 
  2. Make a point of stopping whatever you are doing to give a real greeting when your partner comes home from work for the day.
  3. Make a monthly surprise evening where one partner creates a special ritual to surprise the other - take turns each month to keep it fair and even a little competitive. Make a prize at the end of the year for most original or surprising ritual.
  4. Date night - it works for a reason. Once in a while you can even pretend you've just met and are asking questions on a first date to get to know the person across from table better- it may surprise you!
  5. Make a love note board and add a good thought for your partner every Monday morning or slip a note in their purse or wallet to remind them you love them.
  6. Make a picnic and relax together on the first Friday of each month [and not talk about work].
  7. Learn something new together 3 or 4 times a year like swing dancing, bowling, archery, mah jong, sailing...anything that floats your boat. Take turns choosing the activity so you keep new ideas and activities balanced and flowing.
  8. Celebrate anniversaries, lots of them. The first time you met, your first date, your first kiss, and all the rest. Celebrating anniversaries communicates how much you value the love. (Extra credit if you celebrate the anniversaries of your parents of married friends that inspire you. Interview your inspiring couples to learn how they keep their love alive and share to your partner.)
  9. Be physically affectionate without sex sometimes. Intimacy is not always about sex. Loving touch like cuddles and hugs, that do not lead to sex, build your intimacy and trust. Everyone needs to be touched now and then without any other agenda beyond love, warmth and closeness.
  10. Repeat your wedding vows to your partner or offer a small gift on your wedding anniversary date each month - even little gifts or words of love show you care with all your heart and that your closeness is the most important thing in your life.