..Ethan + Shelbe | A Treasured Day..

When I opened Echo by Design, I knew I wanted to blog.  I needed to create a place that was current for me to share all the imagery that I was capturing for each of my couples.  Eventually my blogging morphed into something more than I ever dreamed it would.  It became less about me and more about them {my clients.}  It has become a place where the pictures just amplify the true story of the day.  Which is how it is really meant to be.  But unless you were actually there to experience it, you would never know the reason behind some of the raw emotion that takes place.

I knew Ethan + Shelbe’s day was one I had been looking forward to.  For a multitude of reasons.  Such as the moment she emailed me gushing over their details, their story, and how Ethan shook her hand at the age of 12 and she thought it was weird.  Or maybe it was that her + Ethan wrote me a ‘book’ describing each of their perspectives on how they met, why they loved each other, and why they chose each other to be their forever.  But it very well could have been the sheer fact that I watched Ethan melt every time Shelbe came around him, during their engagement session.  Like butter.

But this day was like no wedding I’ve photographed…ever.  Really!  I’ve been capturing weddings for 10 years now, and this is the first time that I’ve come to my blog and {almost} felt…speechless.  And not because there isn’t plenty to share, it’s just plain not knowing where to start.

This day was filled with raw emotion.  I’ve never seen it so beautiful and so pure before.  Honestly.  {So be ready to read a book…because here it comes…}

The tears started early.  Tears of joy, mixed in with other emotions.  As Shelbe was about to get in her dress, she walked over to the window and took a minute for herself.  Not posed or staged.  She just needed a moment of reflection.  As the tears rolled down her cheeks, she used the fists of her hands to wipe them away.  And then again to brush them off of the homemade shirt she was dressed in.  She regained composure and asked everyone except her mom, sister, and grandma to leave the room.  There was a quiet peace in the room.  A quiet joy.  It was beautiful as we watched them help the bride-to-be slip into the gown she had chosen for her, and for Ethan.

Shortly after we met Ethan.  He was elated to see us.  And ready for the wedding.  The ceremony couldn’t quite come fast enough.  He joked with his groomsmen and helped them get ready.  They talked to him and helped in keeping his mind off some of the things that were happening that day.  We took some time for their portraits, but quickly had to put him out of sight so that Shelbe could arrive.

After spending some time with the girls portraits, she wanted to have a first look with her Dad.  {I did one with my Dad when I got married 6 years ago, and I’m so happy that they are becoming popular.}  Again, as her Dad walked towards her, the tears began to flow.  Happiness.  She was so excited to see him and the smile on his face and his hug was enough to keep them rolling.

As the ceremony neared, I’m not sure that the tears ever really stopped.  There was the moment when Ethan’s family arrived, and then again, when Shelbe’s family began to pray.  The guests were beginning to pour in, and as the sweet music of the strummed guitar played, a raspy voice of beauty set the tone for the ceremony that laid ahead.  Ethan’s Uncle led him to the boardwalk outcropping where him + Shelbe were about to become husband + wife.  He stood with his head down and his hands folded.  Ready.  Beyond ready.

The moment finally came.  Ethan was told to turn around as his beautiful bride being led by her father, Mark, came towards him.  If he could of, he would have jumped off the stage and carried her to the ‘alter’ himself.  But instead, he stood in awe.  Wiping the tears that came to his eyes.  They couldn’t wait to meet one another.  Shelbe’s Dad finally gave her away and they held on to one another’s hands.  So tightly.  The service began and a beautiful message of Agape love was challenged amongst the couple and their guests.  It was beautiful, and it was true.  It was needed in that moment and for all the moments that were to come.

But nothing was more beautiful than the vows that they recited to each other.  The words that they wrote to each other shall be cherished for years to come.  So much so that I asked them to share them with me, specifically so I could share them with all of you.  {Grab your tissues now.}  Ethan spoke into the microphone with confidence, My love, you are my treasure and today I take you  as my bride.  I accept the responsibility to love and protect you while you are in my care and to help you find your life’s purpose and talents.  You are a precious gift to God and I vow to return you to God, our Father, in better condition than that in which I found you.  I promise to invite Christ into our marriage, the decisions we make, and the love we share.  I will ask God to let me see His love for you, so that I can be moved to share in the delight He has for you, to forgive you as I have been forgiven, and to receive you with humility and gratitude.  I promise to be your refuge of love and strength.  You can depend on me to be faithful to God, to you, and to our family.  I will always protect you and care for you.  I will hold your hand, wipe your tears, and help you grow into the woman God made you to be.  I will seek to demonstrate the love of Christ to you by putting you before myself.  I promise to be open and honest with you.  I promise to be vulnerable to Christ in my life and to you.  You are God’s perfect answer to my prayer for a wife and best friend.  You are the one with whom I want to serve God, establish a home, and raise a family.  I promise to cherish you, pray for you and with you, and stay with you all the days of my life.  I give you my life with the purpose of becoming one with you.  Our will be a union only broken by death.  I will fight for you and our marriage above all else.  With profound gratitude, I take you, to be my cherished bride and beloved wife.

As if it couldn’t get any more beautiful, Shelbe’s vows complimented Ethan’s just the same.  Everyone already choking back tears, Shelbe spoke, Your character and integrity have stood out to me from the beginning.  In the time I have known you, you have demonstrated nothing but kindness, strength, and compassion towards me and all of those we have encountered.  I have never felt so treasured and safe with anyone.  I am proud of everything you do and the talents you have, but mostly I am proud of who you are.  With humility and joy I choose you to be my husband.  I am thankful that God designed you with me in mind.  I vow to return you to God, our Father, in better condition that that in which I found you.  I promise to respect your ideas, to support your dreams, and to back you up as the leader of our home and family.  I will forever provide inspiration, encouragement, and laughter to your heart.  I promise to be your safe place.  My heart will be your shelter and my arms will be your home.  I promise to guard my heart from the affections of others and to have you as my one and only from this day forward.  I promise to put you above all other earthly relationships, for I know this is God’s perfect plan.  You are the one I want to laugh with, cry with, parent with, and be with all the days of my life.  I want to experience all of life’s great adventures with you, my sweet sweet husband.  I love you more than I love myself and I vow to show you that great love daily.  Second to knowing Christ as my Savior, you are God’s most amazing gift to me.  I am honored and excited to build a home and a life with you, my husband, my teammate, and my best friend.

Cue beautiful silence.  The words that were just spoken were so fresh.  So holy.  And then the silence was broken by prayer over their marriage.  After pronouncing them husband and wife, Ethan’s Uncle joked that they should shake hands, since that’s how they first met.  Shelbe was about ready to jump into Ethan’s arms and could barely hold back from kissing him.  Finally he gave the word and Ethan and Shelbe shared the long awaited first kiss as husband + wife.  The crowd erupted in applause and shouts of joy.  After months of planning and crazy, they were finally united.  Finally!

No sooner than they were beaming and walking down the aisle, those smiles turned to tears.  Enclosed in the tightest hug at the end of the aisle, the flood of emotions just left them.  They held on tighter than any couple I’ve ever photographed before.  In complete shock of what just took place.  They were so overjoyed that each of them just held each other and cried.  How refreshing to witness such thankfulness, relief, and joy.  How wonderful to know that each of them truly cherished the vows that they just made to each other.  And how everyone stood by them to cheer them on.

Their indoor/outdoor reception was one filled with laughter and good times, encompassed by a million other memories.  Enjoy!

Ethan + Shelbe!  Whew…what a fabulous day!  It took my breath away one minute, had me in tears the next, and then had me smiling with the kind of joy that only God can bring.  I pray that you hold tight to this day, the emotion that you felt, and the vows that you wrote and committed yourself too.  Live by them and hold onto them forever.  In the days where the waters rush in and want to sweep you both off of your feet, remember to find that firm footing in each other.  In the days where the sun is shining bright and blessing upon blessing comes in, remember to not relax and take for granted everything you’ve been given.  And in the days where things get a little cloudy and you’re not sure you can hold on any longer, pray together for strength.  You know He will give it to you!

I stand with you today, praying for you both and for your new marriage.  I hope nothing but showers of blessings come your way and that your years together are filled with joy, happiness, and a maybe a house full of kids;) You both deserve it!  A million congratulations and love to you both!  Thank you for giving me the honor to capture it all.

..TREASURED..

love, echo

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..The Salazar’s | And The Newest Addition..

I’ve known Ricky since we were in diapers.  I’m not kidding.  We have all of those embarrassing VHS tapes {yes, I said VHS} to prove it.  We were next door neighbors growing up, and we used to play together until my Dad rang the bell for us to come home at night.  It was endless Nintendo games, popsicles out of the freezer, and falling in the creek between our houses trying to catch frogs.  Which may or may not have gotten us into trouble on multiple occasions.

Then we grew up.

During high school we both met the love of our life.  It’s not often you find your love that young, but somehow we both managed to do it.  Ricky + Tara have been married for almost 8 years now, and through the ups and downs of what marriage brings, they have built a life together.  One that includes each other, a home, and 4 beautiful children.  One boy and three girls.

Maverick was born 7 years ago, and was born with half a heart.  You would never know it because he is an awesome little boy with enough love to fill that ‘missing space’ a thousand times over, and then some.  He is insanely smart, and was reading by the age of two.  Not to mention logging onto the computer unassisted and typing out messages on Mommy’s Facebook account.  He surpasses all of his teacher’s expectations, and is already advanced in most of his classes.

Not far behind Mav came Sophia. She is 6 years old and has a more quiet personality, unlike the typical red head type.  She is extremely artistic and takes after her Mommy.  Tara says, She is learning to do cartwheels and wishes I would let her wear makeup already!  She is becoming a beautiful young girl and the freckles on her cheeks are enough to make you want to just eat her up.

Three year old Mira has taken over the red head personality for her sister, and is the spunky one of the group!  She has the fire to keep everyone on her toes, but also is the one that makes everyone laugh.  She actually bosses the older two around and they listen to whatever she tells them to do!  I don’t get how she gets away with it!?

And the newest addition is sweet little Emilia.  Ricky challenged Tara to wait till birth to find out if she was a boy or girl.  Tara didn’t want to wait.  They had found out with the other three, and I get it, it’s hard to wait.  Tara expressed, I figured it was the 4th one and he always let me find out ahead of time.  So I went along with waiting out of fairness. We did make a bet on her weight and height and both of mine were dead on!  She came in at exactly 8 lbs and 20 inches long.  We didn’t have a name for a girl picked out at all, and it was Ricky’s turn to name the baby, so she wasn’t even named until about an hour after she was born. Ricky started googling names and said that he liked Emilia.  We call her Emme most of the time.

Having two of my own littles, I am finding that transitioning from one child to two has been a bit more challenging than I expected.  So I am always interested at how the dynamic of a multiple children family works.  Tara explains, I think that adding a 4th wasn’t much of a transition at all. The two oldest are so helpful and can really do a lot.  While Mira is also a helper, she tends to be a little “too helpful” by trying to pick Emilia up, and I have to remind her that we have to be careful.  But she means well.  The first month was a bit difficult due to having to get Emilia on a sleep schedule and I was up all night with her feeding, changing, etc.  But when she was asleep I had to stay up because my other 3 were up for the day.  So getting a routine down was the toughest part.  So true.

Because giving Mommy + Daddy pictures of themselves is just as important as capturing those kiddos!  I love the connection between these two and how Ricky can make Tara laugh.  And PLEASE give this girl a hand for how awesome she looks after four kids!  I mean seriously.

Ricky, Tara, Mav, Soph, MeMe, + Emme!  Thank you so much for allowing me to capture your sweet family of now SIX!  I absolutely adore every minute of it and I can’t wait to see where this next year takes all of you!  Good luck in school to Tara, Mav, and Soph!  I pray blessings over all of you and the journey that you are going to take this next year in life.  So much is going to change and so much growth is going to take place in little Emme.  Soak in every minute, the happy times, the difficult times, and every time in between.

..FAMILY OF SIX..

love, echo

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..Kayla Marie | Naples Senior Portraits..

It’s hard to believe sometimes that I am almost to that big 3-0 mile marker.  I don’t feel like it.  I still feel young at heart, and I’m still head over heels in love with the boy that I fell in love with at 14.  He makes me laugh, even when I’m mad at him.  Sometimes I still feel young when it comes to making “big-kid” decisions, like buying a new car.  And I still love watching Disney movies and singing along to every word of every song.

Then there are the things that put a flag on your timeline.  For me, those days have been graduating high school, then college, getting engaged, married, and having my babies.  Two of them.  It’s still baffling to me that I have two kids.  But if I reach back further on my timeline, to the days of middle school, I find the birth of this special little girl.

I remember the day she arrived.  I was suppose to be helping my older sister, Denise ready her nursery.  We were going to wash clothes and have a bonding weekend together, while my parents were out of town.  And then I got the call that we wouldn’t be doing that.  Denise’s water had broke, and she was headed to the hospital.  On October 25th, 1996, Kayla Marie joined us in the world.  That day, I became an Aunt to my first niece.

I can’t help but get teary just thinking about the fact that she is graduating this next year.  I feel young at heart, but these days right here… These are the days that make me feel old.  Babysitting her was my first job.  Her and her sister, Paige were so small when they would come to watch me play volleyball.  {And now I’m bringing my kiddos to her games.}   And the hardest?… Watching her get her driver’s license and the keys to her new car.

I’ve watched this tiny little girl morph into a beautiful woman with long eyelashes, curly hair that any girl with straight hair envies, and most importantly a fun-filled unashamed personality.  A beautiful personality that magnifies above and beyond her outward beauty.  When I asked her 5 random facts about herself to share, she said, I am mildly obsessed with Finding Nemo, I’m 50% hispanic, I have stars on my ceiling {I love the illusion of the night sky}, I don’t have any intentions of living in Clyde, and my car’s name is Shakira {Because her bumper doesn’t lie.}  I laugh every time!

She has excelled in school, sports, and any art project she puts her hands on.  She is the Varsity C President, plays Varsity volleyball, on student council, and is in the art club.  Her senior year is going to be busy through her extracurriculars, and she plans on maintaining her 4.0 to the very last day.  I’ve visited three colleges and loved each and every one of them.  So I still have a lot of exploration to do and then start narrowing it down from there.  She is looking into Radiology Technology, although I wake up every morning wanting to be something different!

If you’ve been following my blog for awhile, you may remember her older cousin, ..Seth.. and our trip out to the Grand Tetons.  While we were out that way, we decided to give him senior portraits no one else would have!  Which then got us thinking about Kayla ‘in a few years.’  Well, that time had came, and around Christmas time last year we landed on Naples.  I’d have to say it worked out pretty nicely and fit her personality perfectly!  It was a great way to get away with family and give her unique portraits that no one else in her class would have.  Check out our time in sunny Naples!

My dearest, Kayla!  This next year is going to fly by, just like every one before it.  Soak up every volleyball game, every Friday night football game with your girlfriends, your Senior prom, and every single moment in-between.  The days seem long and you wish for that graduation day.  You count down the days until you are finally “free.”  But don’t count down the days too fast, because these are some of the best days in the world.  The days that even though you may not think so, you will miss.  After graduation, friends separate, some are lost and forgotten, while other’s you pick up right where you left off.  Before you know it you will be packing up everything you can and squeezing into a dorm room of a building with hundreds of strangers, and then you will start a new chapter of life.  One with much more responsibility, and you will be reminded that these are the days you will miss.

Now that I’m crying, all in all, I am so, so, very proud of you!!  I can’t wait to cheer you on this year in volleyball and support you afar on all of your other accomplishments!  I love you so much, and I wish you nothing but the best this year and that you truly enjoy each moment!

..THE DAYS YOU WILL MISS..

love, aunt echo

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echoes of love

Therese Farster - August 8, 2014 - 4:38 pm

Echo you did an amazing job with the photos,I also got a little teary eyed.

..Caleb + Emily | A Kingwood Center Wedding Part II..

Some were lucky enough for shade, while other’s were seated getting toasted by the June summer sun.  Emily and her father had just seen one another for the first time, and their sweet tears together were enough to keep me melting through this already toasty day!  He then escorted her to her happily ever after, they were about to make their grand entrance down the gorgeous brick steps.  Caleb waited on the Alee lawn.  Filled with pride and adoration.

The officiant greeted everyone and thanked them for coming to celebrate Caleb + Emily and the union that they were about to enter into.  The ceremony began just like any other, they recited their vows, exchanged their precious rings, and then began the sand ceremony.  The words that he spoke to them struck me.  As Caleb + Emily each took their turns pouring the sand into the hour glass, he mentioned the fact that their lives were being poured together.  They were uniting and taking pieces of Caleb, and pieces of Emily, and becoming one with the other.  As the hourglass ran it’s course the sand from each of them, mixed.  He challenged them to flip the hourglass on their anniversary each year as a constant reminder that their lives would continue to mix together.  That as time went on, the more their individual colors of sand would become a unified color.  It’s own color.  Creating something so beautiful.

As soon as the officiant had finished his final blessing, the couple, now wed, shared the kiss that Caleb was waiting for.  To Emily, the wait was worth it!  Their long walk down the aisle, now husband + wife, began a night to remember!  Serious storms brewed in the distance and we raced to finish family portraits and a few more creatives.  With a tented reception, a backup plan for escape to the mansion was announced.  The rain stayed clear through the announcements, toasts, and the blessing.  Everyone kept an eye on the radar as a slight patter hit the top of the tent.  Ironically as we were talking to some of Caleb + Emily’s guests, we realized that it was raining on one side of the tent, but not the other.  Only a few feet of distance!  Lucky for us, everything that was severe missed us and the night brought on many memories for the new couple.

Caleb + Emily!  I am soo overjoyed for the both of you!  I will never forget where our journey began together and how you entrusted your wedding day in my hands.  It’s only a true testament and a charge to continue to offer only the best for my couples!  You guys have been nothing short of amazing and I am overly blessed to know you and have celebrated right along side you on that beautiful day.  I wish you all the happiness in the world and pray that that hourglass of yours creates the most wonderful color in the world.

..HOURGLASS..

love, echo

Photographers | Echo + Nicole

Venue | ..Kingwood Center..

Event Planner | Lisa with Kingwood Center

Brides Dress | ..Wendy’s Bridal..

Bridesmaids Dresses | ..Wendy’s Bridal..

Mens Tuxes | ..American Commodore Tuxedo..

Decor | DIY by Emily

DJ | ..Hitman Entertainment..

Cake Artist | ..Cakes by Wen..

Florist | ..Forget Me Not..

Officiant | Pastor Ronald Daley

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echoes of love

..Caleb + Emily | A Kingwood Center Wedding..

It was one of those days that everything just felt like it stuck to you.  As I stepped out of my air conditioned ride I was pretty happy I wore all black for obvious reasons.  It was going to be a steamy one for sure!  Nicole and I met up at ..Kingwood Center.. for Caleb + Emily’s day.  It was a gorgeous venue and we couldn’t wait to get started.  We hitched a ride from a hostess with a golf cart up to the mansion, getting a ride with a breeze and a small tour of the estate.

We cruised right past the guys on our way up to meet Emily.  As we arrived, we learned that the girls hadn’t quite made it yet.  Nicole and I then took a few minutes to photograph some details and since the guys were already there, we optimized our time and got Caleb ready.  He was so sweet, asking Nicole and I a few times asking us if we needed anything.  I’m here for you guys!  I could tell he wasn’t nervous, just excited.  He was ready for that first look.

After he was ready, we went up and joined Emily and her girls.  I couldn’t get to her fast enough.  A bit frazzled and feeling behind, I reassured her that we were still on schedule and we had just flipped a few things around.  I watched her take a deep breath, and let herself be reassured that we were indeed perfect on time.  She couldn’t wait to get dressed, and as we captured the sweet moments that followed.  I watched momma go from that moment of elatation as she fixed her daughter’s veil and her grandmother’s pearl necklace, to that sentimental moment of My only daughter is getting married.  I love those moments.  I’m going to have one of those one day.

Once Emily + Caleb were both prepared, we made our way into the gardens for the first look.  I watched Caleb take a deep breath, his bride was headed his way and he was more than ready.  Emily, like Cinderella, descended the steps ever so carefully.  She looked beautiful.  Behind the camera I made this squeak, it gave Caleb a little chuckle as he knew she was almost to him.  The touch of her hand was enough for him to spin as fast as he could on his heel.  He looked his bride in the eyes, and I witnessed the most joyous smile spread across his face.  He didn’t hug her right away as he took her all in.  They marveled over each other and how amazing they both looked.  She showed him her dress and she fixed his tie.  A sweet moment for them.  Caleb then pulled Emily close and hugged her, and the blushed cheeks and boyish grin was enough to make my heart skip a beat.  Emily went to give Caleb a kiss, and to both of our surprise, he pulled away!  In exclamation, she said, Your going to make me wait?!?  And in the most ornery way, he said, Yup!

We then joined the bridal party for some portraiture before the wedding, and everyone was in high spirits for as uncomfortable as it was in the heat of the day.  I kept the pace, brisk and fast to give everyone  a chance to freshen up before the ceremony started!  As I sent everyone off into hiding, we all secretly hoped that the storms that were brewing would stay away!

Caleb + Emily!  We are only getting started, because the best of the ceremony and reception is yet to come!  I was so blessed to join you on your perfectly hot day, stay tuned for Part II!  It’s going to be just as good.  Thank you times a million for asking me to be apart of your celebration!

..ORNERY WAY..

love, echo

Photographers | Echo + Nicole

Venue | ..Kingwood Center..

Event Planner | Lisa with Kingwood Center

Brides Dress | ..Wendy’s Bridal..

Bridesmaids Dresses | ..Wendy’s Bridal..

Mens Tuxes | ..American Commodore Tuxedo..

Decor | DIY by Emily

DJ | ..Hitman Entertainment..

Cake Artist | ..Cakes by Wen..

Florist | ..Forget Me Not..

Officiant | Pastor Ronald Daley

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