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Military Couple Wins LIVE 'Wedding of a Lifetime'

Military Couple Wins LIVE 'Wedding of a Lifetime'

At first glance, J. LeVar & Nyoka Bryan appear to be your everyday working couple with two adorable kids, but when one digs a little deeper, a story of inspiration to defy all odds is discovered.  T. Rose International Bridal Shows heard their story while on the hunt for a couple to whom the company and generous vendors would give a live, "Wedding of a Lifetime." Nyoka and J. LeVar shot to the top of the list.

"I had a crush on Nyoka since our eighth grade science class," admitted J. LeVar, techie, business-savvy husband and dad of the Bryan home in Atlanta, GA.  Much to his dismay, Nyoka never let it go beyond the "friend zone."  Then, when she joined the US Army immediately after high school and was deployed to Iraq, J. LeVar thought for sure all hopes for his long-awaited romance were out the door.  Then, 2006 and a phone call came.

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From Drama to Dream: One Bride's Victory

This weekend, one of my "girls" got married. I say girls quoted because I never gave birth to her; in fact, she is only a few years my junior. Nonetheless, she is my girl - someone who was gifted to me from God to share life with, to shed tears with, to literally laugh out loud with. 

On Friday, she went from a "Miss" to a "Mrs.," and I am overcome with sentiment. Sure, call it girly - it's all good. It feels right to have someone for whom you can feel all warm inside because her journey (that you know so well) and her future (that you imagine and have great expectations for) bring you exceeding joy. 

Getting to marriage is not a walk in the park, and it wasn't easy for our girl. In fact, forces from all over were coming together like Armageddon! It can be downright ugly. Just because the path isn't easy doesn't mean it wasn't destined to be! Without going into a litany of occurrences, my dear friend endured some family battles, last-minute vendor and familial reneges, disagreements on the vision for the wedding, tears, and her fair share of mind games to overcome. She came to realize that marriage - or even getting to the wedding day itself - is not about some fairy tale, but it's about journeying through life with that someone who "for better or for worse" would devotedly write the tale alongside her with unconditional love. 

The rewarding part of the drama is that she didn't have to go it alone. Her faith and encouragement from her beau and loved ones kept the ship moving forward!  Now, she stands gracefully as a "Mrs." stronger than she was, more determined, and focused.

Today, I pray a blissful, spicy, lovingly epic romance for you and the love of your life, my Whit. 

 XOXO,

Lauren

 b2ap3_thumbnail_Whit-and-her-girls.jpg  b2ap3_thumbnail_whit-and-jer.jpg  b2ap3_thumbnail_blushing-bride.jpg

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Engagement Session 411

Engagement Sessions are a great way to document this amazing milestone in yours and your future hubby's life! And there are always a ton of questions that come along with planning an engagement shoot, which is why I decided to write this blog today :) I hope you enjoy!
 
Engagement Session 411:

Congratulations, you are officially betrothed!  This is such an exciting time for my pre-newlyweds, and most love to document their new milestone with photos.  For many couples, setting up an engagement shoot proves to be a fun and meaningful journey into their upcoming wedding planning.  Of course, some may worry they can’t handle the stress of arranging for the perfect engagement shoot, what with the larger task of ‘The Wedding’ looming in the future.  Undoubtedly, it can seem like a lot to take on, but with the right tools and a committed photographer (ahem!) to help you along, the planning and shoot can be both simple and fun!  To get you started, here are a few of my personal tips on how to ensure your engagement session is absolutely awesome:

engagement photo dc

1. Location, Location, Location
One of the very first questions I get asked when preparing for an engagement session is, “Where should we go?”  Quite honestly, the answer to that inquiry is unique to each and every couple.  Usually I probe a couple’s history by asking leading questions; i.e., “Where was your first date?,” “Where was your first kiss?,” “Where was the proposal?”  I typically advise my couples that it is important to consider places that are meaningful to them.  And not to worry - most photographers are more than willing to work with you regarding location choice… for instance, one couple I know had their photos taken in front of the Eiffel Tower at King’s Dominion!

2. Wardrobe Considerations
Ladies, here’s your chance to tell the men, “Yes, clothes are important!”  Of course, this depends on your own sense of style, but my suggestions always include the following:
·    Nothing too busy that will take attention away from you - here we’re talking crazy florals, bold prints, zigzags, etc.
·    If it looks like it belongs under a black light, it’s generally a bad idea - no neon pinks or highlighter yellows.  Sticking to neutral and subtle tones will bring out your natural skin tone and eye color.  
·    Playing Matchy-Matchy can be cute when done properly, BUT you probably don’t want to show up in perfectly matching plaid flannel shirts… unless you have a lumberjack theme, in which case we could make that work!  
·    Variety is the spice of life!  Always bring a few extra tops and/or bottoms.  In this aspect, you can easily change your outfit, which will provide us with a larger variety of photos.
·    For the love of Pete, be comfortable.  If you don’t typically wear it in ‘real life,’ it’s probably not something you’ll want to go with here.  Comfy couples make happy couples and happy couples have fun on their engagement shoots - I promise.
 
 
3. Accessories
With the use of props becoming more and more popular, I suggest that if you like and want to use props that you bring items that, again, have meaning to both of you.  Will you be using these photos for your Save-the-Dates?  A cute heart shaped chalk board or a hand-made sign with your wedding date on it would be a great idea.  Other cute ideas include picnic set-ups, balloons, kites, bicycles, pets (yes, it’s totally OK to bring your furry loved ones along!), etc.

 
4. Hair and Make-up
If you are like me (hair and make-up challenged), I highly recommend having a professional do your hair and make-up before your engagement shoot.  Not only is it a great way to test a salon for your Big Day, this will also take the stress off of you having to do it yourself!  If you have budget issues, perhaps a friend or family member that does great hair will help you out.  Take the opportunity to have fun and experiment with different styles; my only further advice would be to keep things relatively natural.  The focus should be on you and not your make-up; too much make-up can sometimes be distracting.

 
5. Have fun!
This is a ‘no-brainer’!  It may take a couple of minutes to get warmed up, but once you get comfortable, photo shoots can be a very enjoyable experience.  Be yourselves.  Kiss each other when the time feels right, hold hands, jump up and down, crack jokes!  If you’re silly, be silly. A good photographer will want to capture you in that pure state of being head-over-heels in love, so pretend like we’re not even there!  Ignoring the camera and being relaxed is the best way to handle these shoots, you’ll have a lot more fun if you’re not constantly worried about what we’re doing.  Just have a good time, we’ll make sure you look awesome :).
 
>>Photography Credit:  Brittany Marie Photography<<
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