I photographed McCall and Aaron’s wedding at the St. George LDS Temple in early March a few years ago. It was such a beautiful wedding! I’ve been updating my blog lately and realized that I hadn’t shared this one with you yet so here you go! I loved the classic and modern feel of their wedding day. I absolutely loved McCall’s sleek and modern two-piece wedding dress by Illume Gowns. She was such a gorgeous bride! The bride and groom were married in the LDS Temple and held their reception luncheon at the Cliffside Restaurant overlooking downtown St. George. It was a sweet and intimate wedding celebration. They chose just to have an intimate gathering with wedding toasts so they could just relax and visit with their family and friends. I was thrilled that we were able to get the last of the spring blooms at the temple for their portraits as well.
I’ve been photographing weddings and couples in Zion National Park for the past eight years, and before that, I grew up exploring the mountains and trails in Zion. I was born and raised in St. George, Utah, a lovely town in the southwest corner of the state that is within driving distance to some incredible national and state parks, including Zion. It wasn’t until I moved to Southern California for college that I realized how much I need the mountains and desert landscape in my life! The desert is my home, it’s in my heart and soul, and it’s a place that I’ll always return to.
Over the past few years, I’ve watched Zion grow in popularity for weddings, elopements, and engagements. Even family photos. It’s become one of the top destinations for weddings and elopement in the region, and I can certainly understand why! The beauty of Zion is unparalleled and there really is a magical energy to the place. I grew up surrounded by the backdrop of these red mountains and it’s not something I take for granted. I think the experience of being with couples and families as they explore Zion taking photos helps me fall a little more in love with it every time.
Here’s the different thing about me as a wedding photographer: My goal isn’t just to capture the beauty of the landscape in Zion, which of course I will do, but rather to capture you within that space. Your joy, your love, and the special thing about your relationship that makes you choose this place to be the place where you exchange vows and make that lasting commitment to one another. Think of me like the perfect combination of beautiful scenic photos of your day but also those images that capture how it felt.
In addition to basically being obsessed with this place, I have a lot of experience with the process of having your wedding in Zion National Park. I greatly respect the National Park Service and so I’m familiar with their regulations when it comes to having your wedding in the park. They actually make it pretty easy to apply and it’s only $100 for a permit. You can find out more about that process here: https://www.nps.gov/zion/planyourvisit/weddings-in-zion-national-park.htm
I often tell my couples that if it’s not feasible to have their ceremony in the park, I know a lot of beautiful spots outside that the park that still offer those beautiful views! And we can always go into the park for some gorgeous photos either before or after the wedding ceremony. I know some good spots for that too, especially with the crowds.
And speaking of the crowds… Zion National Park is the third busiest park in the nation and it continues to grow each season. Zion saw more than 4.5 million visitors in 2017, a 5 percent from the year before. The busiest season is June through August, although April through September can be pretty packed too. But don’t worry! I am quite used to the crowds and I know the best ways to avoid them when possible and work around them when it’s not! It’s totally worth it :)
If you want to learn more, I wrote a whole blog post in my ProTips series about planning your wedding in Zion National Park so you can check that out here!
You can also read this super helpful blog post from one of my lovely brides.
One of things I love most about living in Southern Utah is the beautiful location options we have here. Snow Canyon State Park is definitely one of my favorite places to shoot. I absolutely loved photographing Elissa for her bridal session over the summer. Elissa and Travis were planning their wedding in Pine Valley where they would be surrounded by mountains and greenery, so she chose the red rock desert landscape for her bridals. I love how the rocks in Snow Canyon contrast with her lace dress and cathedral veil. Elissa had so many lovely personal touches to her bridal attire: her dress was handmade by her grandmother, and her turquoise jewelry belonged to her grandmother on her other side. I loved it! If you’d like to check out the wedding day you can do so right here!
It doesn’t get much better than this lovely barn wedding in Southern Utah. Jordan and Evan held their ceremony in a beautiful straw field overlooking Kolob Canyon. The reception was held inside a gorgeous red barn that belonged to a family friend. Their wedding was focused on the things that were most important to them: family and each other! I love these two and their families. Joey and I were so happy to be part of their day. One thing that really stood out to us is the sweet and close relationship that Jordan has with both sets of her parents. As a stepmother myself, I was incredibly touched by the fact that Jordan wanted both of her moms with her while she got ready, and she did a first look and a dance with both dads. It really had an impact on us to witness such a special relationship. Also, I've never cried during the mother and son dance but this one had me in tears.
It was really important to Jordan that they have sunset portraits in this beautiful field so we made sure to set aside a good amount of time for that during the reception. It was definitely worth it!
Floral: Jocelyn’s Floral
Venue: Private Residence
For this editorial shoot in the 2017 issue of Southern Utah Bride magazine, I really wanted to do something fun and different. The idea was inspired by the Wes Anderson film Moonrise Kingdom and the vintage Scout camp sketches from the 1950s and 60s. I teamed up with my favorite gals Forvermore Events and Bloomers to make the vision come to like! I’m so happy with how it all turned out. It was the most relaxed and fun styled shoot to date, even with our little adventure with the canoe. Thank you to all of the talented people who contributed!
Design: Forevermore Events
Videography: A. Green Films
Hair and Makeup: Sarah Boling at Lunatic Fringe
Catering: Kitchen 435
Dress: Illume Gowns
Paper Goods: Hey Hay Designs
Cake: Mary Lou Timpson
Film Lab: The Find Lab
We started CJ and Sabrina’s bridal session at the St. George LDS Temple and then headed up to Pine Valley. It was the day before Pine Valley closed because of the wildfire, so we really lucked out that we were able to still shoot there! It also made for some gorgeous warm light. I loved working with these two! They are so much fun to be around. I will share the beautiful photos from their wedding in Pine Valley next!