We just had the best. weekend. ever.
Our cheeks are still sore from all the laughter, and our hearts are still so full they might burst. We had one of those moments this weekend where we just had to pinch ourselves. Being surrounded by our brides and grooms, from the ones who have been married for years, to the ones who haven’t even done their engagement sessions yet and everyone in between, we couldn’t help but feel an overwhelming sense of gratitude.
For us, this business has never been about photography. We know that might seem like a pretty strange sentence coming from two photographers, but for us, this business has been about so much more than beautiful photographs. This business is about loving and serving. It’s about our couples and their marriages. It’s about being welcomed in as honorary members of a new family every weekend. We’re here to cheer on our couples in their marriages, support them along their journeys and to help them start a legacy of love that will trickle down their family tree for generations to come. That’s what keeps us going. That’s why we do what we do, and when we look at these faces, we are so incredibly humbled and feel so incredibly blessed to get to do what we do.
We’ve always contended that our brides and grooms are the best in the world, and getting them together in one place was all the confirmation we needed! We loved every minute of this party. We played games, inhaled delicious food, posed for the most epic self-timer group shot we’ve ever attempted and laughed more than our cheeks could handle. Seeing all of these faces we love in one place, talking and connecting and laughing with each other was one of the highlights of our year. And you wanna know something cool? The greatest thing about this party is it all started because of Instagram. And Britney Spears. Let us explain…
It’s no secret that we’re huge Instagram fans. We love connecting with our brides on social media and getting to see all their fun photos from their shopping trips with their bridesmaids, their bridal showers, rehearsal dinners and all the little moments in between. One night, we saw one of our brides with a group of her girlfriends on Instagram, and they were making a road trip to Las Vegas to see the Britney Spears concert. As we continued to scroll, we saw another one of our brides doing the exact. same. thing. on. the. exact. same. night. She was also with her girlfriends on the way to very same show, and in that moment, we thought, If only these two brides knew each other! They would be such great friends! We knew we wanted to do something to connect all of our couples, and after hearing our sweet friend Katelyn James talk about community at this year’s WPPI, we felt so encouraged to do exactly that. One thing led to another, and soon enough, one of our brides suggested a party, and another one offered to host! Before we knew it, our first ever AJ Brides (& AJ Guys) party was born! All thanks to the power of Instagram and, of course, Ms. Britney Spears.
We never could have imagined how cool it would actually be to have so many faces we love in one place! It felt like OUR wedding! Everywhere we looked, we were seeing the faces of people we adore! Even though all of our couples were technically strangers as the party began, it truly felt like one big family from the moment each couple arrived. We missed all of our couples who couldn’t make it, and all of our out-of-state couples, too, but we all had so much fun that we are already planning the next one! We’re thinking a pool party and barbecue that we can do right in the middle of the summer, because next winter is just too far away!
Our favorite part about this group? It’s constantly growing! We have brides who have become mamas! And some who are expecting! We have brand new brides who haven’t even picked out their wedding dresses yet, and we have ones who are newlyweds. They have connected in more ways than we can count and are already supporting each other, loving each other and encouraging each other. Each one is so unique, but there is so much they all have in common. Our brides are joyful. They are kind, thoughtful and smart. They are generous, amazing women who love to laugh and who couldn’t imagine life without their best friend. Our brides are even more beautiful on the inside than they are on the outside. And that is saying a lot! We feel so thankful for this growing community.
Yep. This? This is a family.
Our beautiful brides!
And of course, if we were all going to get together, we had to snap a few quick pictures of our sweet couples!
Our brides did some planning and plotting of their own, and oh, how well they know us! We have a not-so-secret addiction to ice cream, specifically Blue Bell ice cream, and we almost fell out of our chairs when Emily opened her freezer and revealed enough Blue Bell ice cream to feed an entire army! This is just a FRACTION of the ice cream that is now sitting in OUR freezer… but not for long!
The most touching moment of the night was the other surprise our brides had in store for us. They got together and came up with the sweetest housewarming gift we’ll probably ever receive, and one that means more to us than they’ll ever know. The message on the card read, “Since you have relentlessly shown that you are here to serve others and God, we wanted to get you something to represent that, and show you just how many people you’ve touched. We hope this platter continues to fill with new couples and new dates! Congrats on your next chapter!” Bahhh!! We were doomed to cry!! We felt so emotional as they presented this to us at the party that we could barely keep it together. The meaning behind this gift is something we will treasure for the rest of our lives. We’ve already gotten messages from brides who couldn’t make it our out-of-state brides who want to add their names to the plate, and when we think about all the names that will fill these empty holes, we feel overwhelmed in the best kind of way.
Another maybe-not-so-secret thing about The Demoses is that we are a pretty competitive bunch, and that spirit runs deep in our group of couples, too! We played a loud, hilarious game of Fishbowl, which is kind of like a combination of Catchphrase, charades and Taboo, and our two teams (The Nuzzlers and Team Salmon Hands) were in it to win it!
Gah!! How lucky are we?! We have so much to be thankful for.
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