Okayyyyy, soooo come in close. I am about to tell you a story & pour out a little of my heart! I met up with these two in Joshua Tree National Park to document something truly beautiful, something different than an adventurous couples session (though I loveeee those and they are so meaningful)!, or an elopement in Joshua Tree!

So…what was it? Okayyy so here’s the story:

At the beginning of the year, the Lord laid on my heart the words in Isaiah 61:3,

To all who mourn in Israel, he will give a crown of beauty for ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of Yahweh for the display of his splendor/glory.

As I started dwelling on those words, I started dreaming with the Lord about pressing into a passion project where I would document people in such a way that would express the essence of these words and the heart of God. I started asking the questions, “where are the people documenting the seasons of grief? The seasons of sadness where you cling to the hope that there is still joy to be had because of Jesus? The days where it truly does feel like you are still dressed in ashes, but Jesus is saying that he will give us a crown of beauty instead? The long winters that you feel distant from your loved one? The weeks of loneliness that seem to encompass us, yet our God who calls us Beloved cups our faces and whispers, “I am here. I notice you.”

Who is documenting the truth that Jesus is rewriting our stories, giving us new names, and declaring us as oaks of righteousness because of his unrelenting love shown on the cross? The times that you may feel lost and unable to be found. The moments where darkness feels like the closest friend, yet there is a Light that steps into the darkness! Who is documenting the heart of God towards his Beloved(us), and the messy yet beautiful story that it is? A story of hope, redemption, joy. ”

I want to tell that story. I want to try to document that story. So here is the first session of a project that is just beginning…

Unique Joshua Tree Elopement photographed by Liz Rudman Photography

beautiful flowers by the incredible Elizabeth Mckenzie!

FORAGING X STYLING : DEEP WARMTH : Wedding planning ideas 01

  This is the beginning of an ongoing series that I hope that is both encouraging and inspiring. I am writing this because this is something that is heavy on my heart as a wedding photographer. I feel like wedding planning has become a process filled with striving, stress, and discontentment versus a process of abounding peace, joy, and sincere thankfulness. I mean, I don't blame all the brides out there feeling stressed and overwhelmed because they feel like can't keep up with the planing, they feel like they can't make their wedding day look like everything they dreamed it to be, all the costs are adding up super quick, and there are too many decisions, etc, etc, etc,. Every bride probably at one point or another, finds herself scrolling through Pinterest, pinning to her "wedding board", and reading all of the "Don't Forget at Your Wedding" and "Must-Have's" lists. We live in a culture that has taken a sacred day and turned it into a production, and you better not forget to feed your guests appetizers and a fancy, wedding-like meal. Don't get me wrong, I love appetizers and wedding food and beautiful weddings days. What I don't like is the expectations placed upon brides and grooms in the planning process. Let me explain further -- 

 My sister got married two months ago (woohoo!!) and during her planning process she came to me and asked about if the dinner they planned for the guests was fancy enough. She was struggling because there were so many things that she didn't like from a day to day basis -- burlap, sparkles, fancy meals -- but all of a sudden, these were the "expected" norms for a wedding day. Your wedding day is just that, another day of your life(yes sacred and set apart, but still a day weaved into your story.), so why do we make it a day that feels so different than who we truly our? Bride and Groom, your wedding day should feel like H O M E. 

Do you like wood cutting boards, pretty lamps, and tacos? Then you should have cutting boards, pretty lamps, and tacos are your wedding. Is breakfast your favorite meal of the day? Then you should have breakfast for dinner at your wedding, or maybe even a morning wedding? Do you like succulents? Then have succulents at your wedding. Do you hate fancy things? Then don't have a fancy wedding.

I want to use this on-going series to help you and your fiancee see new ideas and ways of doing things at your wedding in order to help you find ideas that feel like home to you, but are also attainable! With that said, I will give one major tip on each series of a creative, beautiful idea that also is budget-friendly! This first inspirational set I am calling Deep Warmth. I spent a little piece of my afternoon wandering and foraging in the woods in the backyard. I put together a little bouquet of dried/dead flowers and leaves, and created the most old-soul, romantic bouquet. If you know me well, then you will know that these warm colors of mustard yellow, burnt orange, brown, deep rusty red/burgundy, tan, and creamy white makes my heart stop. All of these colors being together create a deep, rich mood. 

I think one of the best ways to save money when planning your wedding, in spring, summer, fall, or winter, is plan a little foraging adventure. Find flowers, plants, leaves, and grasses as decorations for your place settings, tables, bouquets, or ceremony. This late autumn/early winter plate bouquet above took me literally 30 seconds to put together, and honestly for larger scale weddings, I would make it way smaller -- maybe just a bundle of three little plants( still mixing up flowers + leaves + grasses). This could also be something enjoyable and fun for you and your bridal party to do together a few days before your wedding, and you will find yourself saving money on store-bought flowers, fake flowers, and/or other wedding decorations. Because honestly, the best wedding decorations are always flowers + plants. Bonus tip/idea: think of something fun to do with your silverware, if you have some. Maybe that's crossing the silverware on the plate (like above) , maybe it's placing them horizontal above the plate, just play around and see what you like and what feels, again, most like home to you. 

Let me know if you have any thoughts, questions, and join me as I help people plan their day to feel like home.