Because when I shoot weddings, I wear all black… Get it? Like the song? …. No? Whatever. I thought it was funny… but I digress…
I am officially back to work after having my tiny little baby 12 weeks ago. I can’t believe it’s already been 12 weeks… and at the same time it feels like I’ve had her forever. I had a grueling 41 hour labor before we finally got to meet our little 7lb 0oz 19″ long bundle of perfection on April Fools Day. That WOULD happen to me right? I thought I was going to have a March baby when labor started at 2am on the 31st. But Brynlee had other plans… plans that would have me in labor for a very VERY long time. And yes – she is worth every painful moment of that process. It was hell – but she is pure heaven.
Saturday was my first wedding back and boy did it come at me full swing with obstacles, curve balls, and some moments of sheer panic. I felt like I woke up to a nice swift kick in the balls, and a slap across the face that day… (or what I would imagine a kick in the balls would feel like since I don’t actually have any)… and a real obnoxiously evil voice going “WELCOME BACK TO BUSINESS OWNERSHIP SUCKER!” However… as usual, my tribe stepped up, and everything got handled perfectly and peacefully.
Back home, Brynlee spent the day with her Daddy and he was a pro. Since she was born, we have done everything for her together whenever Randy was home – which set him up perfectly for his first full day alone with her. They didn’t have any trouble, and he kept me updated with photos all day long. It felt SO great to be shooting a wedding again. My creative juices were flowing all day long, I didn’t miss a beat after nearly 4 months since shooting my last wedding. I love what I do, so being back felt incredible – and having photos of my little girl throughout the day kept me from feeling like I was missing out on her. It was perfect!
Below are some photos I’ve taken over the last few months. One of my favorite moments, one I looked forward to from the time I found I was pregnant, was introducing my baby to my other babies – my niece and nephew… and the moment was everything I imagined and more! They are in love with their little cousin and she is already in love with them too.
Take a look:
I am loving Mom life, and I love shooting weddings again too 🙂
Is it weird that a wedding can bring me back to MY childhood? If it is… I’m ok with it… because this wedding gave me all the feels for a million reasons. I’ll just share a few of them though, so I don’t bore you to death.
For starters – Shannon & Lee could not be a more wonderful couple in every way possible. Their personalities, their smiles, Shannon’s infectious laugh, Lee’s dedication to making her happy, their completely obvious devotion to each other, their appreciation for expertise, and their kindness are just a few of the things that make them so unforgettable when you experience them in all their glory. As their photographer, I got to experience this several times – but honestly fell in love with Shannon based on her very first email to me. She found me on Instagram, which led her to my blog where she said she felt my personality came through and she wanted to reach out. I could not ask for a better chain of events to lead a client to me! Shannon’s personality came through in her emails, and I knew we were a wedding photographer & client match made in heaven.
Their engagement session was a dream! If you follow my blog, you may recall the couple I posted with the kick ass classic VW truck and their adorable Labrador. We had a BLAST at their session, laughing, playing with the dog, and getting awesome photos of the truck that has been in Lee’s family for many years that he keeps in absolute mint condition. At their engagement preview session we had some more fun chatting and reliving their engagement session, I met Lee’s very sweet parents, and we talked about their wedding plans.
Finally their big day was here. February 24th at Rancho Las Lomas. It was my last wedding before starting maternity leave – and I couldn’t have asked for a better wedding, a better couple, or a better team to work with for my last event. Blissfully Styled Events coordinated this wedding to perfection and the floral by Leelina Martin was truly unforgettable. She used kumquats in the arrangements!!! I haven’t seen, or tasted a kumquat in years but it instantly transported me back to being 10 years old and moving into a new house where I very first experienced this funny little fruit. For those of you who don’t know, they look like tiny little oval shaped oranges and you can eat the entire thing, peel and all. The fruit itself is very tart, but the peel is very sweet, and they are oh so juicy. I LOVED them as a kid, and got super giddy when I saw them all over this event.
Karen at Blissfully Styled also told me that they would be incorporating 1,000 paper cranes all folded by Lee to honor Shannon’s Japanese heritage. This had me head over heels too! The first novel I ever read as a kid that actually made me cry was called Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes. It was the first time I ever heard of such a thing and paper cranes have warmed my heart ever since. In Japanese culture if you fold 1,000 of them it will bring you luck. So as you will see, there are beautifully crafted and color coordinated cranes all over the ceremony, with one more in Shannon’s bouquet making 1,001 in total.
If I wasn’t already a total nerd for weddings and love… you can see that this one just put me over the top with warmth, joy and immense happiness for the union I not only got to witness, but to capture and the story I was fortunate enough to tell with my images. Take a look:
As this was my last wedding before maternity leave, this will also be my last blog before maternity leave! Although I’m not shooting again until the end of June, I have still been working at home and will probably be back to the office before my next wedding… but I’m not holding myself to anything until the end of June other than bonding with my baby and enjoying my family time. See you all soon my friends!
* * I am still taking 2019 bookings, so if you or anyone you know is interested in booking wedding photography please visit http://www.briannacaster.com and send me a message! My emails will be answered by my staff while I am on maternity leave. If you’re not already following me on Instagram – please do so @briannacaster. * *
Vendors from this beautiful event included:
Venu: Rancho Las Lomas
Planning: Blissfully Styled Events
Videography: Perfect Union Films
Floral: Leelina Martin
Rentals: Archive Rentals & Signature Party Rentals
Catering: 24 Carrots
Deserts: Great Dane Baking Co.
Signage: Letters From Home Art
Beauty: Beauty Crave by Jenn Mau
Entertainment: Elevated Pulse
Photo booth: Pixster Photo Booth
My blogging has been slooooowwwiiiinnnnngggg dooooowwwwnnnn. That’s because as I get closer to my due date, I have been shooting less and less… so I don’t have a ton of new stuff to share. Whomp whomp.
But today I want to share my little cuties. My adorable niece and nephew turned 4 and 2 last month and their birthday session turned out so dang cute. How could it not, with these faces? You could say I’m biased… and I am… but also – it’s real life. They are really this cute… Since their birthdays are just 3 days apart, we get to do their session together – double the trouble, double the fun 🙂
I adore these two!! Take a look:
I. Love. These. Children. Too. Much. My sister and brother in law make some DAMN cute babies don’t they? Ugh. They’re as sweet as they are cute.
Although I am primarily a wedding photographer – I love love LOVE photographing kids too. If you or anyone you know is in need of photos of their children – please send them my way!
Is “Raniest” a word? WordPress says no. But that’s ok.
I heard we were having a “mini” El Nino this year, but so far it has proven to be anything BUT “mini”. This is full blown adult status El Nino. I love the rain, so I’m not complaining too much (especially after we had such a long and horrible drought) BUT… I am complaining a little when it messes with my clients and causes all kinds of rescheduling on top of rescheduling. Also… I really want to wash my new car but feel it’s pointless…. #firstworldproblems am I right?
I have always been a lover of the rain though… so I am enjoying it for the most part.
We got LUCKY with the weather for our weekend up in Arrowhead. It rained here, and dumped snow up there the weekend before. So traffic up and down the mountain, thanks to all the snow bunnies wanting to hit the slopes, I heard was a nightmare. By the next weekend, we headed up the mountain with no traffic at all… not much snow left on the ground in Arrowhead, and beautiful clear skies. Then that following week the rain and snow came back and dumped some more. So we snuck in our weekend of shoots in the absolute perfect timing… because there would be no way to reschedule all 5 sessions we had booked. I am super thankful for that!
Side note – happy Valentine’s Day my friends. I’d say that I’m posting this session in the spirit of Valentine’s Day and love and all that crap… but all I post are photos of people in love so… that would be dumb. Instead I’ll be honest… I’m posting simply because I haven’t posted in a couple of weeks and this session is freaking stunning. But I’m also wishing EVERYONE a Happy Valentine’s day. Taken, or single… you are loved! I used to DREAD this time of year… the second all the lovey dovey crap was littering the walls, floors and air of every store I walked into, reminding me that I was feeling heartache and loneliness, instead of the love and adoration that I longed for. I remember that feeling every year, even though I am happily married and very much loved and in love now…. and I think of others who are feeling that way and I wish I could hug them and tell them it’s temporary… and to call their mom or dad, or their best friend, and share the love of this day that way! Or you know… close up your windows, lock your door, and put on an action thriller and crawl into bed with a glass of wine and remind yourself that tomorrow all the decor goes away and you can pretend it never happened 😉 Whatever makes you feel best!
On that note… here is just another beautiful engagement session having absolutely nothing to do with Valentines Day!
Enjoy the rain, enjoy the day!
For more information on Orange County Wedding Photography, Destination wedding photography, Destination engagements – or whatever else you have in mind… visit http://www.briannacaster.com and send me a message!
Is it seriously already the end of January? What happened?
This is one of those months where I feel like I’ve been pretty busy, but I also feel like I have not accomplished a thing. I hate that feeling. What I HAVE accomplished is the launch of our new team website at http://www.ShyHeartStudios.com – it still needs some tweaks and refining touches, but I’m really happy that it’s live. I hosted our website and purchased templates through bludomain for YEARS and I do not recommend it. I went with it because it was cheap and easy and I thought their sites looked good… and they do. But if you want to get SERIOUS, they’re the worst. I had nothing but trouble with them. They over billed me, refused to refund me, and their customer services is absolutely awful. So I FINALLY got out of that with both briannacaster.com and shyheartstudios.com and I could not be happier. I have ONE person who actually works on my websites and does anything I ask her to, and has made both of my websites look beautiful. Because of the many issues with bludomain, our site was down for way longer than I would have liked. We navigated the domain to our facebook page for a while to avoid the embarrassment of the busted up old site that was no longer functioning properly… and although the new site isn’t TOTALLY done – it looks 1,000 times better than it did before and it is LIVE! Go check it out 🙂
Or… stay here and look at these pretty photos of Kailey and Kristopher… we took these on a cloudy drizzly day but they still turned out beautiful. You can’t go wrong at The Mission in San Juan Capistrano.
Aren’t they cute!? I loved photographing their engagement session at Mission San Juan Capistrano this month… the rain held off just long enough for us to finish our session. Thanks mother nature!
For more information on wedding photography in Orange County and beyond – check out my website at briannacaster.com or check out my team at shyheartstudios.com
Happy New Year everyone!!
I am not a big New Year celebrator… I keep it mellow. But I do like to reflect on the previous year and the goals of the new year and I do enjoy this time. For me 2018 had a lot of ups, and not many downs… for which I am very grateful. Business was wonderful; my marriage was wonderful; we traveled to Costa Rica and to Ecuador, and we found out that we are expecting a baby girl. There was a lot to be thankful for in 2018 and I hope that 2019 offers us, and all of you, just as many blessings.
The first few days of 2019 have already started me off on a high! I woke up on New Years Day 2019 much like I did on New Years Day 2017… In 2017 it was the realization that we were getting married in just a few months and it felt like TOMORROW. In 2019 it was the realization that WE ARE HAVING A BABY, and it feels like she’ll be here tomorrow. SO MUCH TO DO! So exciting.
On January 1st I captured my youngest brothers proposal to one of my photographers, and his long time girlfriend Alexandra. So on day one of this year the excitement of knowing our baby is coming, AND I’m getting my very first brand spankin’ new sister-in-law had me feeling that there is so much excitement and love to plan and enjoy this year. Then on day TWO of this year I reconnected with one of my oldest friends who I have very dearly missed. We are only 4 days into this year and I am just on cloud 9 with all the goodness and love.
Take a look at my very first session of 2019… Three Caster’s down, One to go!
Wishing you all a very blessed 2019 full of love and happiness.
ARE YOU READY!? YES!? NO!? Well get your shit together friends because like it or not (if you don’t like it that’s sad) – Christmas is almost here.
Which also means that 2018 is almost over you guys! Christmas is in t-minus 5 days…. and I just want these last 5 days to go super slowly because I love Christmas with my whole heart… and it all goes by too quickly. Every year goes by faster as we get older and it freaks me the hell out. I try so hard to savor moments, but they quickly become distant memories… and when I think too much about that I get depressed – so moving on!
Usually by this time of year business has slowed down for me quite a bit by now and I’m usually on top of the holiday cards but scrambling to finish my shopping. However, this year my husband started working either Saturday or Sunday every weekend – which, coupled with my weddings, meant we didn’t have a full day off together in 3 months!!! So we literally just scrambled to get our holiday photo done on Sunday, and I rush ordered the cards and sent them out yesterday…. BUT my Christmas shopping has been done for a while… AAAAAND I finished wrapping gifts too! So, Go me… sort of 🙂 Now I get to sit back and enjoy my Mom’s most delicious pumpkin bread (I’ve literally never had better pumpkin bread than hers – ever, hello sweatpants!), and get ready for all of the holiday gatherings coming up over the next week. Life is good.
And you know what else? *Insert clever transition here *
How CUTE are these two? So damn cute.
Happy Holidays my friends! For more information on engagement sessions in Orange County or anywhere in So Cal, or on wedding photography in Orange County and beyond – check out my website, and say hello 🙂 http://www.briannacaster.com
I am such a nerd for Christmas.
My husband likes Christmas too but he likes to try to stifle me until December 1st usually. We have a light-hearted argument as Thanksgiving draws near every year about decorating for Christmas because he knows I like to decorate the moment Thanksgiving is over. I’m not SUPER crazy – I don’t ever want to decorate for Christmas before Thanksgiving because I love the fall decor too and I like to let Thanksgiving have it’s time 😛 As a kid I always felt bad for Thanksgiving because all the stores just skipped right over it… and I thought the holiday probably had some legit feelings and was probably pretty depressed about it.
But anyway – back to not being “allowed” to bust out the Christmas decor until December 1st… last year I played a little game with myself. Each day after Thanksgiving I snuck out one small piece of Christmas decor and put it around the house to see if my husband would notice. The first couple of days he didn’t notice, so I put bigger items out and he finally did. I thought I was pretty funny… so did he. But because we bought a real tree – I still couldn’t get my tree as early as I would have liked since I wanted it to last until Christmas.
This year we decided to get a fake tree. Last year we went to three or four different lots before we found a decent tree. Everything seemed half dead already due to the drought and it was a wake up call for us… We decided that being in California with this drought, it was probably not a very good idea to buy into the real Christmas tree market that takes up water resources. So just before Thanksgiving we bought our fake tree. And since it wasn’t up in the rafters where I couldn’t reach it, I had this great plan to put it up by myself the Monday after Thanksgiving while Randy was at work… BEFORE December 1st. Which I found to be a hilarious idea… But he threw me a curve ball you guys!!! We were out at dinner on Black Friday and he spoke the magic words; words I never thought I’d hear from my husbands mouth; words that nearly made me fall out of my chair and certainly made me question the authenticity of this being who looked like my husband but certainly wasn’t talking like him… uttering a question he had never uttered before… “Do you want to put the Christmas tree up tonight?” I stared at him dumbfounded trying to make sure that the words he spoke were the same words I heard… wondering if maybe I imagined it, I said, “excuse me?” AND HE SAID IT AGAIN!!!! He’s probably never seen a smile on my face so bright as he did in that moment. So although I couldn’t play my funny game again this year… I was happier than a pig in shit when we got home and started decorating. By Friday night my home was now my little Christmas haven and every time I come in the house or come down the stairs and see it, I feel all warm and fuzzy inside!
The next day I dragged my cousin Stacey out to Joshua Tree with me for the weekend to photograph some couples in the desert. I didn’t so much drag her as I asked her to come with me and she was like “hell yes.” We both equally have an obsession with Joshua tree. So while it was hard to pull myself away from my sweet magical house full of Christmas… I was amped to be back in a place that I feel is every bit as magical as Christmas. I photographed three engagement sessions in Joshua Tree and loved them all equally!
First up was Jade & Casey – avid campers and adventurers who moved to California from Connecticut a couple of years ago, and were absolutely the perfect couple to go on this adventure with! Take a look:
See why I’m so obsessed!? All the heart eyes!
For more information on engagement sessions locally or an adventure shoot like this one, check out my website and drop me a line at http://www.briannacaster.com
This is my absolute favorite time of year. There is just a different spirit in the air… I love to see peoples gratitude posts around this time, and see all of the families coming together to share a meal. With this season comes a lot of busy work to do, cooking, cleaning, hosting, driving, traveling, shopping, etc. and it can become overwhelming. I often hear people talking about how many places they have to go, and how many Thanksgiving dinners they have to attend, and I find myself smiling knowing that people have somewhere to go, and people who want them there. Because we often forget that not everyone has somewhere to go for the holidays. So when we find ourselves stressing out over all of the people we have to make sure we see, I am very quickly reminded of what a blessing that is each year and the stress melts away. To be loved, to be wanted, and to have loved ones to share this season with is the greatest blessing anyone could hope for. Whether your tribe is large or small… whether you have one house to visit, or four houses to visit… aren’t you lucky?
I am never able to turn down a food drive or donation opportunity this time of year because I am also reminded of how many people need this comfort food in their bellies. I am grateful to the kitchens who serve those without a place to call home, and grateful to the grocery stores and all of the organizations who accept donations on their behalves as well. Knowing there are so many people who remember the less fortunate, and make sure that they are not alone this time of year, is another blessing to count.
This month has been full of chaos and tragedy around the state California… and I cannot thank God enough for the safety of my loved ones and the opportunity to spend another Thanksgiving around a table seeing their smiling faces. I have found myself disappointed that certain family members wont be at our table this year as they have other tables to sit at… but then I remember, at least they are here, they are healthy, and they are happy… and I will see them another day. There are many reasons to feel Thankful this year – but none greater than the health and wellness of our family and friends.
Tomorrow our day will be filled with laughter, conversation, new friends, old friends, family, and delicious food… it will be loud, it will be chaotic, and it will be amazing. Thanksgiving is one of my favorite days of the year because everyone comes together.
Of course I am also thankful for all of my incredible clients that I had the honor of photographing this year. I have two weddings left, and several other smaller shoots to come before I call it a year in the photography world – and I am grateful for it all. Take a look at Jake & Julianne’s wedding at Mission Viejo Country Club:
May you all have a very blessed Thanksgiving Holiday. Stay safe, stay warm, and spread all of the love and gratitude you can to everyone you come in contact with.
Some weeks I straight up SLACK on blogging. Some weeks, I am SO freaking busy I just can’t find the time. And some weeks I get hit with hard decisions in business, tragedy around the world brings me down, or something eats me up in my personal life, and I just don’t know what the hell to blog about… and I feel like “it’s not a good day.”
I don’t want to say that this was “the week from hell” because things could ALWAYS be worse…but I kept putting off blogging this week because I felt like the timing wasn’t right, and I didn’t have anything fun or silly to talk about. It was a hard week in business, it was a hard week in my heart with yet another mass shooting way too close to home, and hearing of the passing of someone I loved dearly. This morning I decided to blog anyway. My heart is heavy this week and as much as I’d like to blame it on the crazy hormones running through my body, I think the tears roll today for completely legitimate reasons.
I am a person who’s emotions run very deep. I don’t cry over everything, but I feel people’s pain very deeply and events that most will find sad and tilt their head at … I can sometimes obsess over for way too long. I find it to be a both a blessing and a curse. So on days like today, or weeks like this week – to prevent myself from going too far down the rabbit hole… I have learned to give myself some grace. I allow myself to step away from work if I feel I need to… maybe spend time with my niece and nephew who ALWAYS make me smile… and focus on things that make me happy.
I know it’s been a while now, but one thing that makes me incredibly happy is the legalization of same sex marriage. As a wedding photographer, capturing same-sex weddings still makes me feel like my heart could burst. I remember what a fight it has been and how proud I am to be in the presence of such love and joy. I love photographing weddings in general, but every time I get to photograph a same-sex wedding it still feels like a victory.
So in an effort to keep today’s blog short and sweet because I just don’t have much else to say… I will jump right into this beautiful wedding I photographed for Arica & Christian. I hope that everyone can find some peace today, and when you’re feeling low… remember to give yourself some grace, let yourself feel sad, and count the reasons you still have to smile.
For more information about same sex wedding photography, or wedding photography in general, please visit http://www.briannacaster.com and send me a message.
Wishing you all peacefulness and love.