Friday, July 24, 2015

Beautiful Memories 10th Anniversary Project: Marissa + Justin

There is simply no denying that these two are completely in love and in it for the long haul, not to mention utterly adorable and super photogenic! They're celebrating their 6 year anniversary today, but they've been together for 15 years. As you can clearly see, they are still as happy as they were when they first met and just as adorable!

Some of you may recognize Marissa and Justin, but might not know why they look so familiar. They have been prominent in our logo and advertising for years. We were looking to change up our look the year they got married and these two were happy to be in front of the cameras, willing to try something a little bit different and had a sense of adventure, so they were the perfect candidates for some fun and creative shoots we'd had in mind. The infectious joy they emanate made them prime candidates for our logo and the urban shots we got on their wedding day spoke to the modern shift in which we were taking our business. It was a perfect match, much like Marissa and Justin!

I always like to explore new, artistic and fun ideas when it comes to wedding video and I take inspiration from lots of different sources; from art and documentaries to movies and music videos.  Through the years of filming weddings, I'd always loved filming candid photo sessions, but even with great planning, it always seems rushed on the wedding day.  You do what you can in the time frame allotted and then have to move onto the next event.  Our couples were coming up with really great locations for their shoots, but I always left thinking of all the cool things we could have shot, if we only had some more time.  To be able to explore these ideas I had, I began asking couples to consider getting back into their wedding attire to go out to do post wedding day shoots with us.  We saw it as a way to get some really cool, artistic footage and to give the couple another day to wear the clothes that would probably be stored away in a closet for the rest of their lives. These would be for the artistic shots we didn't have time for the day of the wedding, the locations that were considered, but were too far away given the tight timeline of the wedding day or the types of shots that most couples love, but would never consider doing on their wedding day for fear of getting too dirty before the reception. My ideas were always to either create a strong juxtaposition between the beautiful white gown and the unexpected location or visit the dream locations that weren't logistically possible the day of the wedding.

This was before Trash the Dress sessions became really popular. We had asked couples for about a year and many of our brides told us that they were worried about getting their dress dirty or didn't have an interest in going out in the clothes again.  Then we met Marissa and Justin.  They seemed open to creative, artistic and outside the box ideas and we could tell that they were a fun couple.  When I asked Marissa if she would be willing to get in her dress again after the wedding, she was very excited about the idea, wasn't concerned about ruining her dress at all and was willing to do just about anything in it, including get wet or muddy. The spring following their wedding, we did two days of shooting with her and Justin. The first shoot was a post wedding/anniversary session, where we didn't get the dress dirty, but revisited the City of Poughkeepsie to find locations we didn't have time for the day of their wedding day and to check out other nearby, fun locations, including the newly opened Walkway Over the Hudson.

We had to wait a few months and let the weather get warmer before we attempted the second shoot. For this one, we asked photographer Cheryl Bolton-Reuter to come along. She not only happened to have been their wedding photographer, and ours coincidentally, but she is also a great collaborator, shares a like minded sense of adventure and loves the outside the box, artistic nature of these shoots. This was going to be the shoot where we could really get creative and not be overly concerned about the condition of the dress at the end.  We started the day with artsy, fairly clean setups and as the day progressed, we got more bold and adventurous and, in the process, got Marissa and Justin wetter.

In the final moments of the shoot, we asked Marissa to get into the water and ultimately into a waterfall. We were surprised and delighted when Justin decided to jump in too at the end.  The entire shoot was a creative collaboration that was not only fun, but quite challenging.  We had to climb over and around objects, us with our equipment and Marissa and Justin having to wrangling her dress.  No matter what we asked, they were game and we were willing to do whatever we needed to to get the shots. At the end of the day, we all agreed that it was much more fun than we had ever expected it to be and the photographs and video from the day are still among our favorites. Marissa and Justin were the first to agree to a post shoot and we have since done several shoots based on how much people love watching theirs. 


Since our adventure 5 years ago, Marissa and Justin have gone on to start a family. The first additions were their fur babies, Lily, their dog, and their miniature horses, which got to take part in their first maternity photo session.

Next came their three adorable sons; Caiden, Lincoln and Weston, who was just born this year.  When we were preparing to film their wedding, we learned a lot about Marissa and Justin.  One of those things was that Marissa comes from a large family and that she also wanted a large family. With three boys, they are well on their way to reaching that goal and there is no shortage of love in the family.

Marissa announced she was pregnant with Weston by posting these cute photos of Caiden and Lincoln. Though very funny, it's clear that the boys love their new baby brother just as much as mommy and daddy do.

We can't forget the original baby.  Part big sister, part babysitter, part plaything and all awesome, Lily has grown up the the boys and is great with them.  She may be up for the best dog ever award. She is a gentle and sweet and Caiden loves her so much that he insisted on getting in the kennel with her one day.

Marissa's mother died of breast cancer and, in her honor, Marissa's wedding color was pink. There were pink flowers, pink ties, pink shoes, and breast cancer ribbon shaped necklaces for her bridesmaids, but the one thing that stood out was the pink ribbon the sash on her dress created, wrapped around her waist, loosely bowed and draped. 

Marissa continues to be a breast cancer research supporter and has done charity events to honor her mother. And, if you couldn't love her enough for that, she also grows out her hair in order to donate it  for wigs, something I do as well.  Her latest donation went to Wigs for Kids.

Congratulations on 6 married years and 15 happy years together, Marissa and Justin! We know that you, along with your family, will be happy for many, many more years to come!

For more from Marisa + Justin, you can view the following:

All of these are on the old video player, prior to our upgrade, and may be difficult to play, 
but they are still cute, so I included them:

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