Lauren and Stephen were married on the most perfect day,Saturday June 6th at Lauren’s parents house in Kingston, Tennessee. Lauren and her mom did an amazing job planning the most beautiful wedding, and with the help of their amazing team got everything looking drop dead gorgeous for the day! Surrounded by family and friends they read their own vows to one another, under a canopy of flowers in front of a glistening blue lake. Lauren looked simply stunning in beautiful lace dress and later changed into a fun gold and beautiful flowing dress for the reception.

Lauren and Steve, thank you so much for trusting me to capture your beautiful love story! I hope that these photos take you back to the love and happiness you had on your perfect day. It was truly an honor and one of my favorite weddings of all time.
Special thanks to Pink Lou Lou for the amazing job on hair + make up and to Christy with Christy Wilson Photography who drove up from Nashville to second shoot with me!

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  • June 10, 2015 - 10:11 pm

    Brenda Minton - Simply stunning in every way.ReplyCancel

  • June 11, 2015 - 11:31 am

    Apri - These pictures truly capture both of you in such a beautiful and memorable why. We were so sadden to miss this day as we prepared so long ago for; however, to unforeseen circumstances we had to miss this awesome time.
    David and I are so thrilled for the both of you. Lauren, you were the most beautiful bride I have ever seen….you should truly model for wedding dresses. Stephen, you clean up so well….so excited to see you in a suit and tie. LOL
    May God bless you both with the most wonderful marriage and friendship anyone could ever imagine to endure in a life time.
    You are the best people I know.
    Love you both, tremendously!!!!ReplyCancel

This Saturday marks the last Stay Forever Photography wedding ever. The last chapter of the book. The end of an era. The culmination of the past five years of our business and our friendship (which will of course still go on). I was asked just last night by a friend how five years ago we just woke up one day and said “hey let’s do this, let’s be photographers and own our own business”. Honestly the conversation didn’t go exactly like that and the first time we talked about going into business together it did include a few beers and some delicious wings that I miss very much. But yes it wasn’t a traditional here is our business plan and here is the way to succeed. We didn’t know everything that running a business takes and we didn’t know if it would take off. We were both at a point in our lives that we wanted something more and I think we saw a great partnership in the eyes of the other person. For any of you that are reading this and have known or worked with Jess and I together you’ll understand this post even more. But before I met Tyler, Jess was my other half and before Jess met Michael, I’d like to think I was hers. We both had a lot of common interests … a passion for photography, a creative eye, a drive to be the best we could be and a desire to work really hard. And on the other hand where I had weaknesses, Jess had strengths. Such as being a great accountant and being super duper organized … Jess 110%. Only starting my own company have I truly realized all of the crazy work she did while I got to blog and write my little heart out. From the very first shoots we did with our friends, it’s hard to describe but it just worked. It worked like when you meet your soulmate and everything clicks, it worked like we’d been doing it for years and when the right time came for us both to quit our jobs after 6 months, then we did. We set forth on this path that I truly believe God had planned all along. Who knew that meeting a someone and becoming friends in the first grade that 20 something years later you’d go into business together. During the five years of our business Jess and I also lived together for most of them. I had friends all the time that would ask how do you live together, work all day together, and then go hang out together at night. I never really had an answer, but looking back we just had so much fun. We were always brainstorming, even at 10pm watching Law & Order on the couch. Because being a business owner you never know when inspiration may strike. Of course like any partnership we had disagreements but we always worked them out because I think above all we were friends and we truly cared about the other person succeeding.

It’s hard to believe I’m writing this post because it really feels like just yesterday we were sharing the same office with our monitors back to back asking the other one what they were doing in Photoshop and if we’d checked out the latest post by one of our favorite photographers. We’ve traveled all over from Costa Rica to Hawaii to up and down the East coast. We’ve rocked our jean jackets, our colorful dresses, and signature boots for almost every wedding. We’ve met and photographed hundreds of couples, families, and babies who are probably now starting school. Together we’ve grown as photographers and I think we both have taught each other so much.

Over the past five years I’ve learned so much. Owning a business is so much more fun and rewarding when you have your best friend right beside you. Traveling is more fun when you can find a winery nearby. And finally, there will never be another Stay Forever Photography. What we had for these past five years was something truly amazing and taking this walk down memory lane has me in all sorts of tears but so much happy tears. I think about what my life would have been like if I had not just jumped, if I hadn’t met Jess and taken that chance. SFP and photography put back my heart, it made me whole again at a time when I was truly broken. It gave me something to be passionate about once again, it made me a stronger person, a smarter and more fearless business woman and it made me ooze with confidence. So if you’re reading this and there’s something holding you back from going after that dream … Just do it. You’ll only regret the chances you didn’t take and I’m so glad that this business, this amazing partnership was not one of them. It’s a tough thing when growing up changes your life (or your location) but all good things must come to an end.

Jess, thank you for being the best friend I could have ever asked for. For being the best partner I could have ever hoped for and in return for making me a better and stronger business minded person. Without you I would be even more lost in quickbooks than I already am, I would have never tried sushi, and I would have never had the confidence to try online dating (and in return meet my now husband). Without you and your friendship in my life I would have had the most boring 20’s of my life and again never tried half the food (and drink) things that I now eat and love. Thank you for always putting up with my crazy ideas and often bossy/moody personality. This is the end of one chapter in our friendship, but certainly not the end of the book.  I will always miss working with you every weekend, laughing at how many times we say “awesome”, the weird stances, and being delirious on the late night drives home. Thank you doesn’t seem like nearly enough.

 

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Thanks for the memories …

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  • April 8, 2015 - 10:00 pm

    Annie - beautifil post about an amazing journey! LoveReplyCancel

  • April 8, 2015 - 11:28 pm

    Jessica - Love you so much!!!!!!!! This is AMAZING!!!ReplyCancel

  • April 9, 2015 - 1:28 pm

    Mekina - I can totally relate to this and you know how much I love a behind the scenes post! This was super touching… it’s only the closing of one door and the opening of many windows!ReplyCancel

  • April 9, 2015 - 6:53 pm

    Stephanie Falcone - That was so beautiful Meliss! I just read your post and started tearing up because everything you said is so true and so special. I remember the day that you guys came up with the name SFP (Twlight for life). You guys rock and are such an inspiration for young independent women. Those years were the best times of my life :) I love and miss you both so much! <3ReplyCancel

Spring colors, the perfect March day, love and laughter filled the air as Maria got ready at Erik’s grandmother’s house for their wedding day. I’ve known Erik for quite a while as he is one of Mike (Jess’s husbands) closest friends. So from BBQs to Birthday parties you’d find Erik most of the time cooking up something delicious for everyone to enjoy! I was so happy for him and Maria when Erik got down on one knee at one of his high school football games (he’s the coach) to propose to her. After months of planning their wedding day had arrived. After a sweet first look and some bridal party pictures everyone headed over the bridge to the Fort Pierce Yacht Club for the ceremony and reception. With the perfect weather and sun shining down Maria walked down the aisle to meet Erik. He smiled from ear to ear and even let out a few tears during his sweet sentimental vows. Maria was all smiles as she was marrying the love of her life. After the ceremony we snuck down to a small cove for some beach pictures and then the real fun began! The bridal party really got the party started from their unique and fun entrances! And Eric and Maria surprised everyone when their sweet first dance turned into a dance party for everyone to enjoy! Sweet toasts filled the air as friends congratulated both Eric and Maria on making each other the happy ending that they both deserve.

I was also super excited and fortunate to have my friend and fellow photographer Mekina Saylor join me to shoot this wedding all the way from NYC. Lucky for me she needed a break from the cold and our schedules worked out perfectly. Thank you again for everything Mekina! Eric and Maria thank you again for entrusting me (and Mekina) to capture your beautiful wedding day, I’m so happy to see you both so happy! I hope you all enjoy a few of my favorites from your beautiful day:)

 

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  • April 2, 2015 - 5:45 pm

    Mekina - Love these Melissa! you did such a beautiful job! I feel the personality of Erik and Maria. So much happiness all in one place! Love this so much!!!ReplyCancel