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Posts tagged ‘Leah Aubrey Photography’

One year later…

One year ago, I put on the most gorgeous dress I’ve ever worn, gathered with 250 of my favorite people in the world, walked down the aisle with my Dad in the garden I grew up in, and married the love of my life.

Photo Credit: Leah Aubrey Photography

Whew! It’s funny how fast the time goes during that first year. Whenever we would tell people we got married a few months before, they would smile a knowing smile and say, “Oh! Newlyweds!” Yes… we were newlyweds. And sometimes their knowing smile was right—I won’t say these past 12 months have been easy. We’re just like any other couple figuring out how everything works, with the highs and the lows and the everywhere in-betweens. And yet, the one thing about being married is that you’ve given your entire self to your spouse in a way you’ve never given before. There were contracts signed, our families and friends were watching, and it was a choice we made together with all of our hearts. I couldn’t be more proud of the husband I chose, and who chose me to be his wife one year ago. Although I won’t say it was easy, I will say I have been completely, one-hundred percent in love with the partner I’ve been given. He has made me the happiest version of myself, and I am so grateful to have him as a permanent fixture in my life.

And being married to Sean does have its funny moments… The Mollie Shambeau Show veterans might remember the Man Code I was working on breaking early on in our relationship. When it comes to toothpaste rolling, some things never change. Is it obvious which is mine?

I swear to God, he squeezes it like his only mission in life to extract paste from that tube with a much force as possible—[thumps chest twice] MAN NEED TOOTH PASTE. TOOTH PASTE NOW.

Or there are mornings like today, and I wake up to find a homemmade stink bug trap in our kitchen:

I appreciate the fact that it says, “CAUTION,” and if I miss the Sharpie text, there are paperclips over the top to alert me that something is amis inside this Goldfish container.

I always knew Sean was “the one” because the first time I took him to hear The Lucas Cates Band play in Madison, he danced with me like no one was watching. He wasn’t (and still isn’t) embarrassed to be out on the dance floor at my side, dancing his heart out. I’m proud to say this first year, we mobbed the dance floor at every wedding we attended, and at every bar with a live band.

Photo Credit Beyond Imagination Photography

As some of you might know, starting a business with your spouse—a nonprofit, no less—is no easy feat. Our friends, Russ and Britt built a strawbale house together soon after they were married, and they did not (emphasis on NOT) recommend building a house together as a “positive post-wedding bonding exercise.” For us, that’s sort of like starting a business together. We wouldn’t necessarily recommend it as the best “post-wedding bonding,” but if you must—make sure your spouse is supportive and willing to listen and actively pursue a “work relationship” that is functional and efficient. Twelve months later, we’ve found that working relationship and couldn’t be more excited about the future of our organization. (Did you hear about our grant? SO PUMPED!)

And speaking of Riding On Insulin, I want to take a moment today to thank someone who has been behind our journey from the very start. He was cheering us on when we got engaged, he was propelling us forward in our first Ride to Cure in Death Valley, and he answers every time we ask for help, or hear “Don’t Stop Believing” on the radio. Jesse Alswager (along with his mom, Michelle) has been our guiding force throughout everything—especially with Riding On Insulin, and today would have been his 16th birthday. If you’re new here, you might not know the full story of how Sean and I met. In that case, I would encourage you to check out my lasted post on my blog on A Sweet Life, “Married to Diabetes.” The post is called “Don’t Stop Believing,” and it covers the full love story, from lone style editor in Madison Wisconsin to dynamic duo traveling the world and running a nonprofit.

So as we round out our first year with an anniversary celebration tonight, I thank all of you—the readers—for reading my blog and making our story a part of your day. I thank family and friends for their unending support. I thank my husband, Sean—for always accepting me for who I am, and for continually pushing me to be the best I can be. And lastly, I tip my hat to Jesse; the boy who died too young because of a disease without a cure. The boy who always lived his life knowing diabetes—or anything—didn’t have to hold him back. The boy who brought us together to fulfil an important purpose on this earth… and the boy who is watching over us, snowboarding those powdery clouds, always keeping us on our toes with new adventures. GODSPEED JESSE.

Sean, I love you with all of my heart—I’m so proud to have you at my side. [raises coffee cup] To the next chapter in our crazy, adventure-filled lives!

Wedding Planning 101: Choosing colors

I decided it has been too long since I posted pictures from our wedding. AND, since I recently received all the photos on a disc compliments of Leah Aubrey Photography (LOVE), I couldn’t resist. Today’s topic: Picking the colors.

When I chose—er, we (excuse me!) chose the colors orange, green and khaki for our wedding, it was a pretty quick process. Green was a color by default, because we knew the greenery around the garden would be just that: Green. The other two colors came as inspiration while perusing through The Knot Ultimate Wedding Lookbook—one of the best books for gathering ideas. If you ask me, it’s better than magazines because it consistently gives you inspiration for details and colors.

At the end of the day, it came down to instinct. I asked myself, “What should our colors be?” and the first color that popped into my head was orange. Not too girly (Sean vetoed pink… sadface), and not too manly (blue isn’t cheery enough for my taste). Orange was perfect.

Orange ties and pocket squares (…

Orange accent flowers in my bouquet…

A whole butt-load of orange on the tables and on the centerpieces… do you understand how long it takes to find the perfectly hued orange table cloth for 25+ tables? Ask my mom…

Lovely orange programs made by yours truly…

Orange cakepops from Amanda Cupcake:

And, coincidentally the venue of our wedding—The Indian Crossing Casino (which isn’t really a casino, but rather a glorified barn/concert hall)—has an orange logo. FATE.


Wedding Recap: The Ceremony Details

OK, OK! The moment you’ve all been waiting for! The photos from Leah Aubrey Photography have finally arrived, and I’ve compiled a set that capture the details of the ceremony. I’ll post more from other parts of the weekend, but I, personally, aim to drag out the infamy of this wedding as long as I possibly can. To look at photos is to relive the day, and I never want to stop reliving the best day of my life.

Allow me to set the scene…

The day began bright and early, and it was cloudy, to say the least. All day long, I prayed and I just knew our wedding would still be outside. No one was allowed to speak “weather” in my presence! It was forbidden. And if you know anything about Sean’s family, they speak “weather” fluently. I can only imagine all the research, weather charts, and radar maps Sean had going on with his entourage. I, on the other hand, remained in a weather-free zone, because I knew we would be OK.

Meanwhile, while I was safely out of the rain at the hair salon, my dad—bless his heart—had an army of neighbors out in the garden wiping off chairs and making sure nothing valuable got wet… the florist (Barb) was out there doing her thing in the mist as well… it’s amazing how things and people come together on the wedding day. This is another reason why surrounding yourself with wonderful, generous people is a MUST.

The good news is, the rain did hold off until shortly after our ceremony! Unfortunately, it was a bit chilly, so if you see photos of gussied up guests wearing rain ponchos over their dresses, that’s why.

To start, guests arrived at my parents’ garden—aptly dubbed, “The Shambeau Garden”—on motor coaches. We shuttled them from our reception venue to the ceremony because the parking situation at the garden was less than ideal. Upon arrival, they saw this whimsically rustic chalkboard that read, “The Wedding,” in case they were confused about exactly what they were going to see.

My dad worked on this garden all summer with another army of helpers. Because of his due diligence, the plants were not eaten by deer and everything was absolutely lush and gorgeous.

You may recognize these letters from the shower my mom’s girlfriends threw for me in June. (Right at the front of Caroyl’s house on either side of the mannequin with the wedding dress were these letters.) I was so thankful we had them for this event as well. They weren’t obtrusive at all, but rather played nicely in the background.

Caroyl Hart, one of my mom’s closest friends (who hosted the shower in June) also decorate the inside of the little garden house that was the backdrop for our ceremony. I will post pictures of that soon as well.

Here is my bouquet, in all its glory… hydrangeas, curly willow, white roses, those orange flowers (not sure of the name, help me out here), and little green berries. My mom surprised me and had the florist wrap the bouquet in a vintage hanky with an “M” on it. It’s details like that that made the wedding what it was: Breathtaking. Every single minute brought more tiny details that give me warm fuzzies just thinking about it.

One of my own “details” was charms on my bouquet. Three of my bridesmaids had matching charms on their bouquets as well. I saw them on sale at Hobby Lobby and knew it would be a sweet touch. Alice’s bouquet had an anchor to symbolize Delta Gamma, Jenn had a bee to symbolize the Busby family, and Lisa had an infinity sign to symbolize friends forever (it was my substitution for one of those cheesy half-heart charms!). The florist stitched them on the hanky.

Remember the whole debacle about shoes and how I settled for a Kate Spade knock off from Nordstrom? Well, on a whim, I stopped into a Nordstrom Rack near San Diego this summer after a dress fitting, and saw these KATE SPADE SANDALS, in an even BETTER color than I’d wanted, IN MY SIZE, and OVER HALF OFF THE ORIGINAL PRICE. Omg. The excitement was unbearable. They were mine, and I hereby recommend wearing sandals to any bride. Heels would be fun for a little while, but definitely have a pair of cute sandals to throw on later for dancing. I wore these babies all day long and didn’t have ONE complaint.

And, here is the dress, in all its glory; a selection from Brides by Demetrios in San Diego. Huge shout out to my wedding consultant there, Issa, who helped me with my dress and all the bridesmaids dresses from the very start. She was the best! I’ll post more pictures soon of me actually wearing it, but I love how this photo plays with the light from outside.

And of course, the rings by Tom Dailing. We didn’t do a wedding band, and didn’t get matching rings. These were two things Tom told us that brides and grooms are now doing. We aren’t the same person, so why should we have matching rings? Sean’s is incredible, with different etchings from mountain culture all around the ring. From this view, you can see the prayer flag writing and a mountain range. My ring was made to resemble my grandmother’s and my mom’s ring. It is the perfect combination of the two.

And the programs! My baby! I ended up crafting all 200 of these myself and loved every minute of it. Not sure if all brides feel this way, but it was such a break from the other parts of wedding planning. I loved making the programs.

Also, the ring you see there was a gift I got from Sean at the rehearsal. While we were practicing, he asked me to give him my wedding ring to practice with. He took it, pocketed it, and when our officiant asked us to practice, he turned to his best man (his dad) for the new ring, and slipped this surprise on my finger! A ring by Saint by Sarah Jane. Sean’s mom and sister both have this ring because it has a little bumblebee on top of it (the official Busby crest). I was completely surprised and congratulated Sean on coming up with the best surprise ever. I love how he found this creative way to exchange his gift.

I presented Sean with my wedding gift after the rehearsal dinner. I compiled letters from all his close friends who couldn’t make it to the wedding for Sean to read. The perfect two weddings gifts for the couple that, many months ago, decided they weren’t going to buy each other wedding gifts. Ha!

More to come soon. Happy Tuesday!

Wedding Planning 101: How do I love our photographer? Let me count the ways…

I’ve spent the past five months raving about the people involved in our “little wedding” we’re having next weekend. [OMG. Breathe.] Today I want to discuss what has been the most stressful “hiring” decision yet: choosing the photographer. As a somewhat professional blogger, I know the photos will be posted publicly (namely, here) and the bottom line: They must be EXQUISITE.

When I discussed a potential photo budget with my parents, my dad was all, “HOW much do you want to spend?! You know you won’t ever look at those pictures again…”

The tension was palpable; thankfully, that conversation happened over the phone. My mom urged my dad to just stop talking.


It was clear; this was one “discussion” my dad wouldn’t win. Although if you ask me, everyone wins at the end of the day because we’re going to have amazing pictures! Right Dad?

Pictures and words are in my blood. I’ve worked for magazines, newspapers, and I pour my heart out on this blog approximately two to five days a week. The idea of choosing the perfect photographer was daunting… especially considering I haven’t lived in my hometown since 2004. Sure I know people here and there, but the wedding photographer scene was not one I was familiar with. I wanted to make sure I selected the perfect person for the job.

I did some research and whittled down my list. Some didn’t have the talent. Some didn’t take the type of photos I wanted. Some were insanely priced. But then, during a serendipitous Facebook stalking session, I came across Leah Stinson.

Lisa, my best friend (and maid of honor) and I occasionally stalk Leah’s photography ventures whenever she posts them on Facebook. Leah has done weddings, boudoir sessions, family portraits and everything in between, and despite her current residence in Ohio, I thought, Why not see what she has to offer.

I took one glance at Leah’s “wedding investment packages” and her incredible portfolio, and I knew she was the perfect choice for Sean and I. Her photos have a relaxed, but yet extremely classy feel to them. Her poses and angles are innovative, and her final outcomes run the gamut from dramatic to adorable. And for those magazine/photo geeks out there, Leah has a way with cropping photos in just the right way. Even choosing my favorite selections from her portfolio for this post was a challenge—THERE ARE SO MANY GOOD ONES.

What I love about these first two sets is the scale from one photo to the next—Leah has a great mix of people photos, and detail photos (pocket watch, feathers, etc.). And, Leah captures the bride and groom’s expressions just perfectly, as well as the whimsical feeling of their wedding. The colors are vibrant and the black and white images are dramatic and appropriate.

Side note, these dresses are like, Marie Antoinette crossed with a Midsummer’s Night Dream. LOVE that.

Just look at how she captures the details!

What I love about these next few are the focus on the bride… they look like they’re straight out of a magazine. The colors are so warm and the detail is lovely. Plus, those shoes are SO fun, right? We know this now: Anything with sparkles get a Mollie-approved thumbs up/high five.

I’m freaking out over the detail and cropping of these destination wedding photos. Again, straight from a magazine.

And finally, I want to share a bunch of pictures from this farm wedding Leah did. I think something about the type of wedding resonates with me and our own “rustic” vision. Such fun ways to capture our special day.

Leah: I have all the confidence in the world that the photos from our wedding will be equally, if not more amazing!

If you are interested in reading more about Leah, you should visit her blog, HERE. Or, if you want to hire her for an event or photo session, CLICK HERE.