A Horse and A Hail storm {Destination Wedding Photographer, Oklahoma Wedding Photographer}…

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You just never know what you’re going to get with Oklahoma weather.  If you scroll back a few months on the blog, you’ll see a gorgeous snow wedding.  May in Oklahoma means the possibility of not just severe weather, but some of the meanest severe weather on the planet.  And so for May weddings, well that can be a gamble.  Amanda’s outdoor ceremony moved inside when the threat of tornadoes and impending severe weather altered plans.

7D9A0434 Plan B launched a few hours before the ceremony. With the change of plans to an indoor setup, she lost the hay bales, and riding the horse, Winston, in to walk down the aisle.  We squeezed in a few photos with Winston anyway.  Hey, horse! Or should I say, ‘hay horse?’  He did try to eat the wedding gown.  Winston, you ornery horse.

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We snagged some outdoor barn photos at McGranahan Barn and the historic home that belonged to the McGranahans.

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Just enough time to squeeze in the horse, the house, and some fun.

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Their ceremony carried on inside McGranahan Barn.  There was a downpour, hail, and damaging winds. Honestly, you would hardly know it was storming from inside, because the ambiance is so warm at McGranahan Barn.

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But, do you know what’s not warm?  Sparklers and torrential rain.  Barns and indoor sparklers are also not best friends. With the people most important to Amanda and Robert cheering them on you their way, they didn’t even miss them.

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Congratulations, Robert & Amanda! Photography- Sheradee Hurst Photography,  Venue-McGranahan Barn, Planning-D’Plazzo Wedding Planners, Flowers-Tony Foss Flowers, Cake-Mishelle Handy Cakes, Videography-Leslee Leaming Films, Hair & Make-Up-Glamor Artz Studio, Ring-Kay Jewelers, Wedding Gown- Bella Rose Bridal,

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Miracle Walking Down the Aisle…{Destination Wedding Photographer, Oklahoma Wedding Photographer}

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This is every bit the fairytale it looks.  Every bit.  Because if you’ve ever watched a Disney movie, or picked up a book of fairy tales, you know.  Yes, there is a beautiful happily ever after, but not before the princess has lived through a tale that could have wrecked her and threatened to take someone from her.  I don’t make light of Maree’s story, because it’s anything but that.  But what I witnessed at her wedding, and what I’ve learned from being near this family, is that fairy tales do exist.  And this one, just so happens to start in the garage.  Maree’ didn’t make a traditional entrance into this world.  Like every princess, she started out in an interesting situation.  She started out in her parents’ car.  Maree’s dad delivered her while her mother progressed in her birth much quicker than they anticipated. So, right there in the family car, with her toddler older sister present to witness this life changing moment, her mom and dad delivered Maree’ before they even got the car backed out of the garage to make it to the hospital. And that’s where Maree’s family story of overcoming unplanned life events began.7D9A3700

A few years ago Maree’s family started the adventure of building a barn, a replica of their ancestors family barn, on their land.  Her dad dreamed of opening the barn doors and inviting others to celebrate their most special moments of beginning their lives together right there on the family’s land.  Land that has been in the McGranahan family over a century.  So, construction began right next door to an old family home that had been standing as long as they had owned the land.  Daily her dad would meet contractors and draw plans.  Maree’ and her mom were thrilled for the family history to live on in a such a grand way for so many.  Maree’s dad loved the idea of preserving the history and using the land in such a joyful, giving way.  Things were going so well as construction plans were coming right along on McGranahan Barn.  Then one day, Maree’s dad had an accident.  He fell from the second story of the barn.  I’ll spare you the heart wrenching specifics of what happened, but here was the kind hearted leader of the family, now in a fight for his life.  Maree’ and her mom, Aimee, these ladies are as strong as they come.  They were vigilant in prayer, and they didn’t miss a beat continuing to build on Robert’s dream of the McGranahan Barn while Robert laid in a coma in a hospital bed.  With no experience to guide them, they leaned heavily on the contractors involved.  They rolled up their sleeves, and went to work themselves.  Meanwhile, shuffling back and forth to the hospital and praying, praying, praying that Maree’s dad would open his eyes again, would know who they were, or even walk again.  They just wanted him to live.7D9A4260

During that crucial time while Robert’s life was on the line, Maree’ and Steve were in the early stages of dating.  Steve was there for Maree’, her mom, and the entire family.  Driving them back and forth to split shifts at the hospital, offering to stay by Robert’s side when the family couldn’t be there, and being a shoulder to cry on.  He was ‘being there’ in every sense of the word, and Maree’ was falling in love with him.

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It all got to be too much for Maree ‘one day.  She was overcome with emotions, and she said something she was thinking without really thinking about what she was saying first.  She started talking to Steve about her fear that her dad wouldn’t be able to walk her down the aisle.  The two hadn’t been dating long enough to discuss marriage yet, but Steve knew how heart breaking that thought was to her.  She was devastated, and the unknown loomed.  Robert surprised many when we woke up.  Aimee and Maree’ were so very thankful that he was alive.  That good news was met with some bad news, the doctors told them there was a good chance he would never walk again. They told them he wouldn’t do a lot of things again, but Robert had survived, and he was out to beat the odds.  And, Steve who stood by Maree’ all along was ready to see this fairytale through to it’s happy ending.

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Maree’ and Aimee finished the barn, with Maree’ taking a lead role in seeing her father’s plans through to completion.  Robert spent every ounce of energy he had in rebuilding himself.  Learning to talk, swallow, walk, learning to do the physical things we consider simple. And those tears, those understandable tears, that Maree’ shed that night she worried her dad wouldn’t see this day or if he did, maybe not be able to fulfill his duty of walking her down the aisle.  They were in vain, because May 2, 2015, Robert defied the odds and walked her down the aisle.

7D9A4200Robert handed her off to the man who had been caring for her while he was recovering and learning to live again.

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So, while some who don’t know the story, see the gorgeous floral arrangements and lavish cake, and think “fairy tale wedding”…..

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I see that second story that her dad fell from, and know that her wedding guests will dine there and celebrate.

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And that floor that he fell on, is now the spot of her first dance with her husband.

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Yes it is a fairy tale, with all the gorgeous, enchanting details.

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But like any fairy tale, it didn’t come easy.  A plot twist waiting at every turn.  A moment that could have ruined the story at each chapter.  At the center of it all, a humble, hard working, big hearted princess who was born in a garage…and deserves every bit of her happily ever after.

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http://www.sheradeehurstphotography.com

Venue-McGranahan Barn, Florals-Tony Foss Flowers, Cake-Mishelle Handy Cakes, Day of Coordinating-Amy Ray Events, Partial Rentals-Mood Rentals, Food-Abbey Road Catering, Videography- Leslee Leaming, Make-up-Natasha Shipley, Couch Rentals-Ruby’s Vintage Rentals, Lighting & Sound-OKC Entertainment & Events

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Dancing in the Hairspray.. .{Destination Wedding Photographer, Oklahoma Wedding Photographer}

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“There’s power in looking silly and not caring that you do.” –Amy Poehler

If you’ve been around me for .5 seconds you know that well, I like a little silly in my life. Maybe I like a lot of silly in my life. Which is why I like hair stylist (rock star), Andrea Lemonds.

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The FIRST thing she said before I began photographing her was, “I don’t mind looking silly.”  I knew I was going to love this shoot.

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She was true to it, and I loved every bit of honesty that came from it.  Head shots are so different for different people. Not everyone needs the same setup to promote their art and/or their career.

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Andrea didn’t need stuffy head shots, she needed “I’m an awesome hair stylist” head shots.

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And listen, when she got her products out and started to touch up her own hair, well I wasn’t about to put the camera down then.

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I’ve seen Andrea nail gorgeous bridal hair more than once.  And now, I’ve seen Andrea dance in her hairspray, and I like her even better for it.

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I think of that Amy Poehler quote at the beginning of this blog, and I think that is so true.  How many successful, powerful people have got where they are by not being afraid of what others thought was a “silly” idea.  I’m sure people thought the iPad was silly at one time.  I’m certain people thought Jimmy Fallon was silly.  There’s power in not caring what others deem as silly.  And for that reason, I will dance in my hairspray and not care how silly it looks to others.

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Check out Andrea’s work at www.andrealemonds.com.

www.sheradeehurstphotography.com

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The 100th Blog… {Oklahoma Wedding Photographer, Destination Wedding Photographer}

At its inception, there was never a plan for this blog, never a well thought out direction of what I would create in this space.  Which is freeing really, because there was also no expectation.  What if I write, share, and invite others in to read it?  That hatched about four years ago…four years and one hundred blogs ago.  Since then our family of four grew to five.

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We moved once.  (Which is a dramatically low number for us.)

Not one but two of my babies that use to watch the bus from the driveway…

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started school themselves.

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And they wore the same pair of boots on their first day of Pre-K because I’m sentimental like that.

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My husband lived through a bicycle wreck that could have taken his life, but instead took his thumb and a lot of life’s reservations for me.  That experience lit a fire under me to live everything now, because this millisecond that we get here on Earth is so incredibly short.  I’ll never forget crying tears of joy as our plane descended in New York City to celebrate our 10th anniversary, because he was alive, and taking me to the place he promised he always would. I wanted only to praise God that he was here to live out that promise.

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There was a real sense of living the bucket list that gripped me after that.  Which is why we then would take a trip to Disney World. Remember when my girls lemonade stand raised $17, and they wanted to go to Disney World with it?

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Well a few years and one brother later, we spent that $17 (and some change) on our trip to Disney World.

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I’ve blogged our travels, and I’ve blogged our living room happenings. The every day moments…

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and the extra special moments that the holidays bring.

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The laughter, the tears, the life changing revelations that impacted the trajectory of what was ahead.  I didn’t know 100 blogs ago. I didn’t want to know.  Look how clueless I am in the photo from my first blog.  That girl didn’t know what was in store.

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That clueless girl 100 blogs ago, she’s learned, albeit sometimes the hard way, but she’s learned. She’s had failures, but she’s so darn grateful to what it’s brought her to now.

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I’m still clueless about some things, but I’ve learned to care less about those things and more about the things that matter.  The people, the love, and even the sadness, it shapes me.  There were tragic moments like when we said goodbye to our little guy, Chee Chee.

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And hopeful moments like when we welcomed Willie Nelson.

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We have changed through the ups and downs.

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We have done things we thought were only a dream.

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We have played together.

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We have learned to not take ourselves too seriously.

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Even with all that change, some things will always be the same for us.

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We will always have each other.  I’m so glad that God knew we needed one more for this family to be complete.  And I’m so glad that sometimes we have to go through a tough, trying time so that we can live the life we are suppose to be living on the other side of that. And I’m so glad I quit putting that awful white line through my images on the blog. Ugh.

Thank you.  Thank you for sharing it all with us, but more than that, thank you for letting your story shape mine 100 times over. As I scroll through the images from 100 blogs, I see these photos of my life intertwined with photos from your lives.  Images from when I photographed you giving birth to your baby in the delivery room move me.

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Moments from the day you shaved your head to raise money for your tiny cancer survivor, encourage me.

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Memories of the sandy beach where you married your best friend romance me.  Seeing your mother hold your newborn baby and knowing she passed away before he was a year old hurts me.  Your lives are so much a part of mine, that the lines are blurred.  Not one part of my life isn’t touched by yours. I watched you be brave.  I watched you love big. I watched you change.  I didn’t just watch you, I had the unbelievable pleasure of telling the story of it.  Then I took those imprints that you made on my heart, and brought them into my life, and into my family.  You changed me.  You changed us.  You helped create what began 100 blogs ago. In Charlotte’s Web Charlotte says to Wilbur “My webs are no miracle, Wilbur.  I was only describing what I saw.  The miracle is you.” Thank you, to my precious children and my ever supportive husband, and thank you to you, my loyal, loving clients for letting me describe the miracle that you all are…and the many more miracles to come. Happy 100th, baby!

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The Hurst Hipster Easter Egg Fight {Oklahoma Wedding Photographer, Destination Wedding Photograph}

This is our picture perfect holiday.  An Easter that by all appearances is indeed perfect.

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One perfect moment after another.

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Sure seems that way, doesn’t it?  Don’t get me wrong, I love the beautiful well dressed family Easter portraits. But, we aren’t perfect, and although I could post only the best photos from that day.  I’m choosing to share the other side too.  You know what side I’m talking about.

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Yes, that’s it.

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Wait, we got him back.  The little guy shaped up, he’s ready for more perfect pictures of our perfect life.

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Yes, that’s more like it, our perfect life, where nothing is out of order and no one is ever unhappy.

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Uh oh.  Wait a second….

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Okay someone take him out of here.  Let’s just photograph the kids who are willing to act like everything is perfect or at the very least recover from their meltdown for a photo or two.  The middle one has puffy red eyes because she too lost her mind for a bit.  Also, there’s ink on her knee.  Who knows what scribbling genius she created there.  And, she never met a lipstick she didn’t like…or a nail polish for that matter.

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Finally, the oldest, I’ve trained her well.  Sit and smile.  There, perfect. Also a big lipstick fan.

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One perfect group shot…except Dad isn’t happy because we’re really late for church.  Dad can’t hide his emotions when it comes to tardiness. Which is weird because he married me.  Look at him, his eyes are saying, “This better be the last picture.  We are so late. Smile, it’s Easter.”

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We did it.  We styled our hair perfectly, we ironed each unpleasant crease, we perfected our color palette.  We hunted, and we hunted, and we hunted eggs.  Most importantly, we worshiped a living God.  It was a glorious Easter. And then, Easter evening, when all the pomp and circumstance was over, we did what I would say probably not many families in America did.  On a whim, my kids painted their hair pink and then we threw the first ever Hurst Easter Egg Fight, and I handed my camera over to my husband.

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My husband so kindly volunteered to photograph it instead of participate in it.  (I did throw an egg at him.  My aim isn’t good.)  I’ve blogged almost every year at Easter about my Granddaddy’s notorious Easter egg fights he started.  They were a piece of my life with him that while he was living I never knew I would miss when he was gone.  He’s been gone seven years.  I haven’t had an Easter egg fight since then. Easter is also the last family holiday we shared with him.  His memory pulls at me stronger at Easter, always.  I’ve visited his grave many times on Easter and left eggs in his memory. And each year we always decorate eggs for him, even if we don’t deliver them to his grave.

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This Easter I was talking with my Granny on the phone and she said, “You should go throw eggs at each other.  Granddaddy would like that.”  When I hung up, I thought yeah, that’s exactly what we are going to do.  I’m not entirely sure how the kids ended up asking for pink hair, maybe they thought their mom truly was not of sound mind and now was the time to ask.  They were right.  We stripped down out of our Sunday’s best, and we put on the worst assortment of old clothes we could assemble.  We sprayed the kids hair pink, and we rocked Easter.  Fuzzy peace pajama pants, mismatched leggings with a tie dyed shirt, and neon pink locks, we were not fit to even go into that big discount store where people shop for groceries frequently in their pajamas.  You know the one. We went out and launched the eggs we had so carefully colored the night before Easter.

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It was therapeutic for the kids, because throwing eggs at your mom is pretty liberating.

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It was therapeutic for me, because I had missed that event for so many years.

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I had missed him for so many years, and I always will.  I don’t know why I waited so long to throw eggs at my kids.  It was like I couldn’t revisit those memories for a while. I finally did, and I shared them with my hipster kids.

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It was perfect, not the shiny new clothes or the perfectly posed photos.  The joy of spontaneity, the thrill of temporary pink hair, and the lack of perfection.  That was a perfect Easter.

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Own It {Destination Wedding Photographer, Oklahoma Wedding Photographer}…

Meet Mo.  This lovely lady entrepreneur came to me for professional head shots. Stuffy, boring head shots are no fun, and really don’t you want to do business with people that you feel like you connect with or relate to? If you want to draw more business through your web site, show off your personality a little.  I told Mo during our shoot, “Own it!”  She burst into laughter because ‘own it’ is part of her business slogan.  That set the tone for her session.  She’s a girl after my own heart with her love of classic black and white, too.  Relax, head shots can be fun….just own it!

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A Funny Thing Happened at The Park: Connor + Baleigh’s Engagement Session {Oklahoma Wedding Photographer, Destination Wedding Photography, Oklahoma Engagement}

Looking at Connor + Baleigh’s engagement session you would never know what happened that day.

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They were so cute and cozy, and the images turned out lovely.

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But if you’ve spent any time around me you know that well, somehow everything becomes a story that we’ll laugh at later.  Or so that’s what I’m told every time something like this happens. These two were laughing the entire session.

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There was a lot to laugh about…they are in love and getting married.

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The sun was providing some wicked ring shots, too.

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Everything was perfect.  The session was almost finished.  The park we were shooting at was closing, and out comes our friendly park ranger with a bullhorn announcing that the park is closing in five minutes.  Actually the park should have been closing in ten, but the park ranger decided it was five.  I directed Connor and Baleigh to head out to the middle of the bridge, because I wanted at least one image on the bridge.

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It was totally worth the bullhorn warnings we were receiving.  Everything was perfect, right?  Well, their session was most definitely.  Then, that’s when a funny thing happened at the park.  I realized I couldn’t find my keys in my bag.  I have three children, this isn’t my first rodeo with missing keys.  My husband put a Tile on the key ring a while ago.  If you haven’t heard of Tile, and your children misplace your things often, order one now.  Anyway, I called my knight in shining armor, and he said the Tile app is on his phone and he has to be within blue tooth.  He was fifteen to twenty minutes away, and my bullhorn warnings had long expired.  So I politely walk over to the park ranger with a giant smile as I now want to befriend him and his bullhorn.  I told him the situation and he so kindly said he’d wait until my husband got there instead of the alternative of locking my car in the gated parking lot.  I frantically combed over every area we shot.  I couldn’t find the keys anywhere.  I searched my bag numerous times taking everything out of it.  My darling husband showed up shaking his head and laughing at me.  (This isn’t his first rodeo either.)  We started searching.  The tile was making a noise much like the ring tones of an old Nokia flip phone, the GPS on the app was going crazy.  The old school ringing that we couldn’t track down and the out of control GPS saying we were a few feet away confirmed that the keys were here and not lifted by park aliens.  My bag got heavy.  I set it down.  My husband searched it too.  Now this bullhorn commandeering park ranger was staying way later than he was suppose to.  I believe he was motivated by kindness, but also maybe a touch out of curiosity about how well the Tile app worked.  A good half hour passed, and it was the same thing over and over again: GPS going crazy, us hearing a sound in the distance, and the three of us wandering in the woods.  Then, just before the sun was about to go down and sweep any chances of key recovery.  We went to check my bag again.  I have carried my trusty Kate Spade backpack for a few years.  For some reason, the GPS was telling us we were near the keys when we were near the bag.  My husband checked again in the bag.  No keys.  Then my McGyver found the hole.  The hole that allowed my keys to slip between that cute polka dot Kate Spade liner and the actual bag.  Yes, that’s right, my keys were in the bag and couldn’t be seen the entire time.  The entire time we marched we the “bullhorn turned kind park ranger” chasing down the Nokia ring in the distance.  Ugh.  I gave my business cards to the park rangers, as another ranger came to spectate as we were now the life of the parks and rec party.  I offered any type of free park photography they might need for their patience and understanding.  I had all but forgotten about that bullhorn and wanted to cover them in kindness to deflect from my witch hunt.   It was only the icing on the cake that when we got home I found a tick on me from crawling through the trees in the park.  A tick, I couldn’t make this stuff up people.  So a funny thing happened at the park, but also, a beautiful thing happened too. And the beautiful thing is worth way more than that thing we’ll laugh at later. Congratulations Connor + Baleigh!

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www.sheradeehurstphotography.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The Womb Haircut (Oklahoma Wedding Photographer, Destination Wedding Photographer)…

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Kids will make milestones.  They are celebrations of growth.  They are moments in time we want to freeze.  They are specks on the radar of life where I lose my ever lovin’ mind.  Yes, of course, I want my children to have these milestones.  I know it reflects that they are becoming their own person.  I do cherish each stage for what it is.  But, Heavens to Betsy, I’m insanely sentimental, and as I get older it has reached profusely obnoxious levels.  Two and half years my son’s hair grew.  As I stood in the salon, I thought, “Those are the exact hairs that were on his head when I gave birth to him.  Those very hairs were the ones he had in the womb.”  Oh, Sheradee, come down from the crazy place.  You are not going to keep those tiny baby hairs God formed on his head there until he’s 23.  Or can I?  Can I grab him and run right now?  What was intended to be his first haircut, was a glamorous trim.  I’ll admit it.  My husband insisted we take him to the sweet stylist, Karen, who use to cut my husband’s hair.  Karen is on the short list.  You know the incredibly short list of women allowed to kiss my boys.

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I love Karen, and I knew I could con her into leaving the curls.  I secretly knew she’d be on my side.  So, we loaded up and road tripped 45 minutes.  He fell asleep on the way there.

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Karen kissed all over his precious cheeks while she casually trimmed his blonde locks all the while he was nearly comatose from not having a nap.

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He slept while my last grip on his babyhood fell to the floor in chunks.  I kept every last hair…every last womb hair I kept until I had a hairball like you’ve never seen.  The trim was indeed casual, as there wasn’t much hair gone. I couldn’t stand to actually “cut” his hair as in a visible difference in length cut.  A few weeks passed, and I knew it was time.  Time to stop living in denial that I might be raising Samson.

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I was raising a boy genius yes (notice the t-shirt), so wisdom he already had, however, it was a haircut he needed.

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This time we went to Andrea, a stylist who is not a road trip away.  And this time, the boy was awake.  Wide awake.

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I’m certain I looked this side of ridiculous grabbing each blonde curl as it hit the floor and tucking it away into my womb hair envelope.

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The boy, however, rather enjoyed his haircut.

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So much so that he asked me to take him to “Disney World” after ward  (also known as Barnes & Noble to the reading world).

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He shook the stray pieces of hair from his cape onto the sparkling salon floor, and just like that, the womb hair was gone.  His boy hair curled up just enough to frame his face with the cutest little pieces over his tiny ears.

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That face I’ve been in love with since I saw it.  It was slightly different, slightly more grown up than before the cut.

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It was perfect.  He was still a boy genius, I have a ziploc bag full of womb hair to pull out and show his future girlfriends, and he still believes Barnes & Noble is Disney World. Everyone wins.

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www.sheradeehurstphotography.com

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Mark + Misti’s Snow Wedding (Oklahoma Wedding Photographer, Destination Wedding Photography)…

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Long before this wedding, I saw it in Mark’s eyes.  I saw the way he looked at Misti.  In fact, the first time I met him, I told him in my best Beyonce, “You better put a ring on it.”  I think I was even shaking my finger and dancing a little bit.  Fast forward to after the proposal, he told Misti, he didn’t even know that was a song when I said that to him.  So, he either thought I was slightly odd or very good at developing lyric.  (Both can be true at times.)   I giggled a little to myself while I photographed their rings thinking of that.  And I promise you that look I saw him give her when she couldn’t see him, I’ll never forget it.

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Snowstorms wreak havoc on meal planning, seating arrangements, and what not at winter weddings.

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It seems like a planning nightmare.  However, for one moment, if you step back from the near panic attack that well meaning guests inflict by their worry and last minute declines after RSVP, take a step back from it, and really take a good look around you.

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There is a gorgeous day waiting to be yours.

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Winter brides, embrace the snow, embrace the ice, embrace that people just can’t deal.  And, live it up…it’s your wedding day.

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And like Misti and Mark’s, it’s an incredibly beautiful day.

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Misti let go of the cancellations, the food orders, the particulars that can creep in and create worry.

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Sporting a brilliant smile, her bridal gown, and snow boots to match Kristoff from Frozen, she laughed in the snow.

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She soaked in the day.  She embraced the snow.  And it. was. beautiful.

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And you guys, he still looks at her that same way.

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Here’s to a life of ditching plans and finding peace in that look.

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www.sheradeehurstphotography.com

Location The Hall at Railway House, Rings Mitchell Jewelry

 

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Matt + Cassandra {Oklahoma Wedding Photographer, Destination Wedding Photographer}

Details of weddings do tell stories, but the emotions, for me, are the heart of the day.  A laughing bride, or a crying bride, or a little of both, it lets us into her inner most feelings on her wedding day.  Matt and Cassandra’s classic black and white day, needed only the color of their happiness to brighten it.  I think you’ll agree, their emotions were heart warming.  From her glow while she got ready to his reaction when he saw her during the first look under the tree.  The bridesmaids and the bride even had special Toms so that they could comfortably dance the night away.  It was a beautiful night.  The kind of night that when I go through the images, I can’t help but smile with them.

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http://www.sheradeehurstphotography.com

 

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