To read part 1 of our secret Bali elopement all about our vows – Click HERE
I’ve never been one to stress about the details and this time was no different. I didn’t have any shoes to wear because I forgot to pack them, I couldn’t find a headband I loved so I wore an old one, and I forgot to order flowers in time so I didn’t have any. Not to mention my hair and makeup artist cancelled 10 minutes after she was supposed to show up and we didn’t have a spot for our ceremony picked out until the night before. Everything felt chaotic but I was calm knowing that it always works out the way it’s supposed to, sometimes too many plans can get in the way of the magic. I stood there in the bathroom mirror braiding my hair behind my back as one of my best friends foraged the hotel grounds to create a bouquet of freshly picked flowers. My mind was still blown that Kat was even there, as a few days before she had no idea we were going to Bali let alone getting married there, and she just so happened to be vacationing there in the same place same time. We drank champagne and laughed about how I had no idea how to do my hair or makeup, and I took one last dip in the pool to try and cool off from the hottest day I’ve maybe ever experienced in my life. I was jittery, nervous and could not stop smiling as I imagine most brides feel the morning of their wedding. An hour late, just like most brides the morning of their wedding, we began our hike down to the beach for the first look.
I could feel my heart beating on my chest as I slowly began to walk towards him. ‘Holocene’ was softly playing through the speaker, and I stood behind him with my hand on his shoulder for what felt like minutes to catch my fleeting breath. He slowly turned and our eyes both welled with tears. His smile was so sweet and he told me I looked beautiful. Our lips went in and out of what felt like 100 kisses as we both smiled and giggled through all of them. A tear fell down his cheek and he laughed “do I get to keep you now?” He said. I wiped his cheek “yes” I somehow mustered out through my cracked voice and ear to ear smile. He hugged me so tight and when he let go I twirled around to show him my dress. If I ever was to see pure love and happiness through someone’s eyes it was in that moment with him.
We made our way out to the cliffs and exchanged our vows as the sun fell and the air began to cool – to read more about that you can click HERE
The sky fell darker and darker as we walked out to the other side of the cliff and set our lights on the ground by the edge. I grabbed my phone and we decided to use the shuffle to pick our first dance since we couldn’t land on a specific song, and of course the one I loved started to play from the speaker. We stepped into the ring of twinkle lights and began to slowly sway with the music. The sunset had turned into a glowing night sky and there were stars above us, and when the song ended we just kept dancing as if we didn’t want it to end. I would have danced with him in that moment until my feet couldn’t hold me anymore.
The next morning we woke up as if on a cloud of daydreams. We relived the moments from the day before and I wrote out every possible detail I could think of in the notes in my phone so we would always remember. We started our journey inland and checked into our tree-top suite at the Hanging Gardens Resort, in the jungle outside of Ubud. The infinity pool on the tops of the jungle and candles everywhere made it feel as if it was something out of a dream. The next morning, we woke up for sunrise both totally forgetting that it was Peter’s 31st birthday! (AHH!! Epic wife fail in the first 2 days, haha!!), halfway through the morning Peter said “hey, I think it’s my birthday!!” – haha oh man we laughed, but I’ve never felt so bad! There was just so much going on and with the full-day time change, for some reason I thought it was the next day. Either way, we spent the day exploring rice fields, chasing waterfalls and dancing in light-ray’s after what seemed like it was going to be a bust with rain clouds everywhere, but of course, we decided to go anyways, and that is always when the magic happens.
And then we ended the evening like this. Turns out I wasn’t such a bad wife after all and weeks before had made these plans with the hotel to set up this candlelit dinner in the middle of the pool for Peter’s birthday:). I’m so grateful for these intentional moments we got to spend together without distraction and I really believe it is such a beautiful way to start a marriage. What an experience getting to be on the other side of what we share with couples every week!
**A huge thanks to Doza and James for being the absolute DREAM media team, and for keeping all this epic content a secret until we got to surprise our friends and family at our hawaii wedding (which you can read about by clicking HERE). Doza’s photographs are just out of this world, and actually one of them just won 10th place in the Shoot and Share contest with over 36,000 photographs in the category, and if you haven’t seen James’ film of us, be sure to grab some Kleenex and check it out by clicking HERE, these two are wizards of their craft and we were so lucky to get to have them both there all the way from Australia (James) and Santa Barbara (Doza)!**
As much as it may not appear on the outside, behind the scenes of running a business (at least for me) consists of frequent breakdowns, late nights, tears and a roller coaster of pride and self-doubt. There are so many amazing things about being your own boss, but it also comes with an extremely heavy responsibility to wear 20 different hats, and while one day you’re the photographer, the next you’re the editor, and then the accountant and then the administrative secretary (and the list continues), the reality of it is that it’s hard. It’s also insanely rewarding, but there are so many moving parts to making sure things run smoothly and even though it may seem like endless beach days and “free time” on Instagram or from the outside, an entrepreneurs mind rarely ever gets a break. On paper this last year was my most successful year to date, and at the end of it, I wanted to quit. It was my best year of my life in many ways, but I was tired in my business, I felt my passion for photography slowly slipping through my fingertips and I couldn’t remember what it felt like to go hang out with my family and not be drowning in guilt that I should be in the office doing something else. I wanted a break, and so 2 months ago I quietly stopped taking photography jobs and only booked new clients for Peter and Micah in hopes of escaping what seemed like inevitable burn-out.
On one of our recent flights, Peter and I sat down next to each other and decided we were going to spend our time brainstorming how we can continue to generate income for our family and live the life we want, without sacrificing my mind and heart for what I love. We wrote a comprehensive list of both of our responsibilitiesand then we began to highlight tasks that we needed help with and that we could outsource. Over the last 2 years I have slowly begun to let go of my pride and realize that outsourcing is okkkayy. It’s okay that I can’t do everything on my own anymore, it doesn’t mean I’m failing, it means that I am growing. And as I slowly learn to let go and trust in my team I am reminded again and again that there is so much strength and reward in working together, and that together, we can accomplish so much more than I ever could on my own. There is no way I could have survived 90 weddings this passed year without Peter, without Micah, or without my wonderful editing assistant Alyssa. It took me 7 years to realize the power in outsourcing within my business and as much as part of me wishes I had figured it out sooner, I’m also grateful for the opportunity to learn the hustle. And after much thought, contemplation, resistance, nervousness and excitement, today I am literally on cloud 9 after FINALLY signing on the dotted line and hiring my first Virtual Assistant!! Our team is growing and we officially have 4 lead photographers, a part time editor, and now a VA who is going to free up the time and space for me to get back to focusing on what I love and giving my clients the experience that I believe they deserve. I haven’t written a personal blog post in OVER A YEAR, because my inbox has taken over my life and I don’t have time or space left in my mind to even think of the words, I haven’t submitted a single wedding out of the 90 we photographed this year, I’ve barely posted a quarter of them and I’m working passed midnight on most days just to give clients the attention and service that this business requires. I’m so ready to get my mind back to a healthy place in my business and to love my work again (and to sleep!). I’m so proud of the dream team we are building, success to me is happiness and a stress free life and as we continue to grow and learn we’re getting closer every day. I couldn’t be more excited to welcome my new VA to our team and I can’t wait to get to work!!
as we started driving up towards the canyon we could see the rain clouds hovering. i always do my best to not get nervous about weather because whatever the island gives us it’s usually amazing in it’s own way, so we kept driving. the sky was getting darker and darker and i naturally began racking my brain with all of the Plan B’s i could propose in the case of torrential downpour. i looked out the window towards the canyon and almost jumped right out of my seat when i saw the most epic rainbow over the canyon… and then the day of rainbows begun.
we chased rainbow after rainbow for the majority of the afternoon and we completely dodged the rain and even got an epic sunset. things could not have worked out any better for these two and they were all smiles and laughs the entire day. one of my favorite things about kelli and luke was that they didn’t blink an eye at the thought of spontaneously driving around and finding new locations, they weren’t upset we didn’t stick to the original plan and they allowed time and space for the unexpected, this is almost ALWAYS when the magic happens. i’ve never had a wedding where more of their photographs had rainbows (and different rainbows!) in them then not, ha!! 11 rainbows that day and they danced under all of them. absolutely incredible kauai, once again.
…enjoy these magical photographs, these two + kauai made it so easy!!
**if you enjoyed these photographs or if you know kelli and luke, be sure to click “like” below and feel free to leave them some love in the comments section! thank you so much for being here and have a beautiful day!** xox – meg.
they ran out into the field, hand in hand. the sun dipped below the clouds and the security guard who we surely thought was there to kick us out laughed and chatted with peter as he showed him the drone view on his phone. we never thought we’d be allowed to sneak over to this old aqueduct for their photos so the whole thing was just a dream with the blue Caribbean sea in the background and the most incredible sunset we saw the entire time we were in jamaica. i don’t think christine’s smile could have gotten any bigger:)
when christine and kyle first contacted me about their jamaica destination wedding i was so excited because we were already planning to travel somewhere that week for a little honeymoon getaway. we decided to make it a working honeymoon and to check out jamaica (and disney world on the way there!) and it all worked out perfectly. we were a little concerned with all the recent advisories about traveling to jamaica but once we got there we found the people to be so kind and welcoming and we felt safe the entire time. we even decided to venture away from the resort a few different days and see more of the beautiful country and i’m so glad we did! thank you to christine and kyle for a beautiful day and for giving us the opportunity to see this amazing part of the world! these two are so sweet and full of life. kyle is always sparking christine’s contagious laugh and anyone can see how infatuated they are with eachother. enjoy the photographs and already can’t wait for our next destination wedding!!
**if you enjoyed these photographs or if you know christine and kyle be sure to click “like” below and feel free to leave them some love in the comments section! thank you so much for being here and have a beautiful day!
we walked up to the perfectly placed wildflowers placed in a circle on the sand. this must be their spot we thought to ourselves. cara and erik walked up to us and looked at me “did you guys do this!??” they asked. we had nothing to do with the flowers and we assumed someone in their party had surprised them with the set up but no one knew a thing. the officiant looked confused as she explained we had the only beach permit for the day so there was no other weddings, there was not a soul in sight and there were no footprints in the middle of the circle so it had never been used. it looked like it had been placed and left, just for them. i guess sometimes the island blesses you in mysterious ways, this sure seemed like one of them. they reached for eachother’s hand and entered into the mysterious ring of flowers, and when they were to step out, they would be starting their forever together right then and there.
the rain washed over us and it felt fresh and peaceful. as it passed, the sky began to light up with the setting sun in the most vibrant colors of orange and purple and the water was so blue it was as if it was glowing. i’ve never had so much color in a RAW photograph. she played in the water with her blue tulle dress and he spun her around. it almost didn’t look real with such an incredible backdrop. we are so lucky to do what we do, but even more so, we are so lucky to be inspired by these incredible moments. congratulations cara and erik, your day was an epic finish to 2017!
a huge thank you to micah for coming along on this shoot to help me out as i was still on crutches from my sprained ankle – over half of the below shots are from his camera and i just have to say, the team has really stepped up these last 7 weeks in helping me shoot and carry gear (and carry me when necessary haha), it’s amazing to watch us all grow more and more into our craft and i think we just have the best team ever! on that note, check out peters INSANEEEEE highlight film from this day at the bottom of the page, his last film of his first year in business and it is just stupid how AMAZING IT IS! team work makes the team work! enjoy!!
…and lastly one of my favorite films created by my sweet husband Peter Bradyhouse – Enjoy!!
Cara and Erik - Vimeo
*if you enjoyed this post or if you know cara and erik be sure to click “like” below and leave them some love in the comments section! thank you so much for being here and i hope you have a beautiful day!
“you ready”? he said as he squeezed my hand. i had been ready for months, i was shaking with excitement and nerves of breaking the news to our friends and family that we had secretly gotten married 3 months prior in bali. i took a few clumsy steps on my taped ankle in the air cast and gripped peters hand to steady myself. this walk down the beach was going to be a bit harder with a severely sprained ankle but i was determined to do it without crutches. we got to the sand and doza snuck in a few photographs of us as everyone gathered around the alter.
i had been dreaming of a casual happy-hour greeting followed by a twilight ceremony, twinkle lights and flowers surrounded by our friends and family in the very spot peter first told he loved me and it all turned out more than i could have even imagined. after a few slow steps on the sand peter swooped me up in his arms and carried me so i didn’t have to walk down the beach on my sore ankle, and everyone cheered as we got close. he set me back down under the most incredible hand-made bamboo flower arch i could have ever dreamed of while everyone was still clapping and cheering and i just started to cry.
i didn’t know where to look, at the arch that i was just seeing for the first time, at the sunshine after what had been rainclouds for days, or our friends and family gathered around infront of us. there was so much energy in the air it felt electric. i looked back at our friends who had made the arch and we all had tears pouring down our cheeks. i was speechless.
we stood under the canopy of flowers foraged and placed by the hands of our closest friends and an alter built of drift bamboo by my dad. the sun slowly fell behind the mountains and the ocean was glowing blue just as i remembered it did in bali when we exchanged vows. “look petey, it’s the same blue” i told him as we stared out to the ocean.
Our officiant Kelvin spoke of blessings and the island and our love, he told us to take a moment to look into everyone’s eyes around us and tears fell down my cheek. I saw Micah and the boys all wiping their eyes not even half way around the circle and I couldn’t stop crying. There was Mandy and Jackie and Danica all wiping their eyes, I got to my sister and my mom who was wiping a tear as she laughed at me and my dad who had more tears than I even did. There was so much love surrounding us. So many of these people had been there for me when I had gone through so much, they held my hand when I didn’t believe I would ever find love or happiness like this in my lifetime. I looked back at Peter and even his eyes were welled with tears and we both laughed, there wasn’t a dry eye in the crowd and Kelvin continued…
…he asked our parents to come up to the alter one by one for a ring blessing and Peter’s parents came first. They told us they loved us and to remember to keep having fun and living to the fullest like we already do. My Mom told us to be nice to each other, even when it’s hard and my Dad somehow mustered out a “yeah” through the sobbing (haha), my grandparents who have been married 57 years came up and gave us both the biggest hug, blessed our rings and told us they were proud of us.
Kelvin then explained to everyone that as media artists, we had something we wanted to share with them before we continued the ceremony. Everyone turned around to see a TV set up in the trees and the music began to play. Peter hugged me tight and kissed me on the forehead as we watched the reactions of everyone watching our Bali film for the first time (made by the insanely talented Zephyr Productions). I’ve never seen so many people in tears with smiles on their faces. For 6 straight minutes our closest friends and family cried and laughed and never took their eyes off the screen as they watched the film of us secretly exchanging vows on September 8th in Bali, Indonesia. (If you haven’t seen it, click here)
After everyone had had a moment to soak in the surprise of our previous secret wedding, Kelvin continued the ceremony. The sun had set and the twinkle lights on the arch started to glow and I never in my life could have imagined being filled with more joy than I was in that moment. Our good friend David Parsons began to gently strum on his guitar and we closed our eyes and rested our heads together listening to Kelvin’s voice as he performed a Hawaiian blessing. He spoke words of love and respect and as the ceremony was coming to a close, I looked over peter’s shoulder to see the full moon rising directly behind us. There was so much magic in these moments, my eyes welled with tears for the 100th time and so did everyone elses when they realized what I was pointing at. It was absolutely magical and all of the emotion was so real it was if you could touch it. The ceremony ended with so many teared filled hugs and love and my heart was so full it could have just burst right then and there.
As everyone headed back to the house Peter stayed back at the alter to take in the moon and the beautiful twilight colors and to process the insane energy that charged the ceremony. I had never felt anything like that before or did I expect it. He held me close and we swayed to the music playing back at the party. “That was so much more than I could have ever anticipated” I told him and he agreed. I had thought that since we already had our secret wedding in Bali that it wouldn’t have been as charged the second time, but I was wrong. We couldn’t have had one without the other. Bali was an incredible, stress-free romantic experience where we could focus on each other and our vows without distraction, and when we got to share that commitment with our friends and family it was even more powerful and emotional.
We danced the night away under the stars and the twinkle lights my dad had strung from all the trees. I managed to stay off of my crutches until about 1am, we ate Mexican food and drank margaritas and my little sister and johnny made a toast that had everyone in hysterics. There was a caesar bar to honor Canadian tradition (fully sourced by our amazing friends Sean and Jacqueline who brought a 50lb suitcase of Canadian clamato juice all the way from Alberta) and my bestie Danica and I even rapped a Kendrick Lemur song on the microphone. It was casual and perfect, and even had my Grandpa never wanting to leave the dance party ;). We ended the night (or the early morning) as 2 of my best friends layed in the grass looking up at the stars, Peter fast asleep on a beach chair and me sitting on a step, grinning from ear to ear trying to absorb as much as I could before the day was officially over.
FINALLY, enjoy the rest of the photographs! all taken by David Mendoza iii and Jaclyn M (when she wasn’t busy being the planner, bridesmaid, decorator and errand runner)
He held my hand and looked me in the eye “you ready baby?”. My eyes were already welling with tears and he hadn’t even started reading yet. We played Rock Paper Scissors to see who went first and he lost. He pulled me in close and we looked out towards the cliffs. “Look where we are baby. Think of all the places we’ve been and all the places we’ll go from here.” I rested my head on his chest and did my best to take everything from that moment in from the pounding in my chest, the gentle wind blowing my hair across my face and his thumb rubbing the back of my hand back and forth. He turned to me and opened the book to his vows and began to read. “Meg, you are the reason for all of my happiest moments”. Tears fell down my cheek.
He spoke and I was lost in his words, the world froze around us and time stopped. I gripped his hand tight and our eyes locked on each other. He made his promises to me as tears slowly ran down my cheek. I couldn’t believe all I had gone through to make it here to this moment with this man. He saw me and understood me. He loved me with all his heart and I was overwhelmed with thankfulness. This was my husband for the rest of time standing in front of me and I couldn’t think of anything more perfect.
I am completely overwhelmed with how to share all that has happened in the last few months. Our secret Bali elopement on September 8th was such a dream and it was so special to get to share this news and this epic film with our closest friends and family on Kauai this passed weekend. Our Kauai ceremony and reception was so much more magical than I ever imagined and that will be an entirely new post, I have so many thoughts and a million photographs, so I’m going to post it small bits at a time starting here.
This amazing film below was made by James at Zephyr Productions and I may be bias but I think it’s the most epic film ever ;). All of our incredible wedding photographs were done by the insanely talented David Mendoza III (AKA “Doza”) this guy is a wizard and we are so grateful for him and excited to share the rest soon!
Peter and I are still on cloud 9 and we’re going enjoy a few more days with our friends and family who flew out to Kauai to celebrate with us this week, and then we’ll tell you more about this fairytale experience of being on the other side of the camera! Thank you all for your well wishes and sweet words, ENJOY!
Meg and Peter // Adventure Elopement in Bali - Vimeo
**if you enjoyed this post be sure to click “like” below and give Doza and James some love on their insane skills below! thanks for being here!**
hiiiii guys!! dang it’s been a while since i was logged in here, the last few months have been absolutely INSANE between shooting elopements almost every day (so crazy!) and also trying to plan for our own wedding that is in just 11 days (ah! i need to blog about that too!)! i’ve been the worst at keeping up with facebook and the blog, and on the good days i remember to post on instagram so if you’re wondering what we’re up to you can usually find out over at @megcourtney1! ANYWAYS! instead of procrastinating the blog yet another day, i decided to randomly select one of the 30 elopements we’ve photographed in the last 2 months and just get it up here, so here it is!
after kelli and scott’s beautiful south side ceremony, we drove all the way up the mountain on the west side and it was straight rain and fog. we had an epic ridge trail picked out to do that day and it just wasn’t going to be possible, so we quickly adjusted the plan, drove back allll the way to the east side and we decided to a hike we had never photographed before. peter and i have done the sleeping giant trail a ton of times, just never with a client so i was pumped to get to do something different and i knew it was the perfect day for it with the moody clouds.
he stood on the top of the rock and held out her hand to help her up. the space was tight up there and there was no room for error. they held each other close as kelli’s dress blew around in the wind and the sky started to show off from yet another epic sunset. a perfect spontaneous plan that worked out even better than our original idea. i always say, most of the time when things don’t work out, it’s to make way for better things, and that definitely was the case for these two.
we got every kind of location and weather with these guys and even found ourselves at the bottom of some east side waterfalls for some extra adventuring. so excited to get to share these (and hopefully many other elopements soon too!) – enjoy!!!
thanks for carrying all our gear up that climb petey and for killing all those epic drone shots! i would never be able to photograph locations like this without all his help and especially without him flying the drone to get these perspectives, so grateful for our little team! xox
thanks so much for being here and if you enjoyed this post, be sure to click like below and to leave a comment to motivate me to start posting more again, haha!! i hope you all have a beautiful day!
he looked down the trail and said “please tell me that’s not where we’re going”, we jokingly laughed and told him yes, but it wasn’t as scary as it looked. He smiled, “of course this is where she would pick” he said through a smile and his laugh and we got going. You could just tell he would do anything for her, and once we got to the bottom of the falls and he saw her, everything was worth it.
She walked up to him on the rock and they stood together for a second. They had each written their own personalized vows to one another even though they were to have a ceremony with friends and family later on that evening, but this, this was for them.
The said their promises to each other infront of the raging falls and we adventured around the rocks taking photos. The whole scene was like something out of a fairytale and it’s so cool to see couples incorporate the Enchanted Elopement mentality into their destination weddings and save a little piece of their day just for them. What a beautiful afternoon, I had flown into Kauai that morning after photographing another wedding in Canada the day before and they were definitely worth the flight. A huge thank you to Micah Camara and Peter for helping out this day too, it’s always such a blast when our full team gets to work together! Thank you for having us there Courtney and Cameron!! Congrats again! xoxo
“Come on! Let’s just see where it goes!” these aren’t unusual words to hear from Peter, even though on the day of an Enchanted Elopement I do my best to have a little bit of an idea of where we’re going and where it’s going to lead us (most of the time, haha). Leaving it to chance does usually results in the most epic days though, that is for sure. Kristine and Matt were up for an unplanned adventure so we followed Peter into the random spot in the forest, trusting him to A) to not get us lost in the forest and B) to hopefully lead us out to somewhere cool.
After only having to walk for about 8 minutes we came to a clearing in the trees and I could see the raging Wiapo’o falls in the background and an incredible view of the canyon. “See?” he said as he looked at me. “This is why it’s always good to check” – He had a point, I guess. Sometimes I get so stuck in the plan of a day that I miss the spontaneous and the magic of the unexpected. So grateful to have Pete to always lead me around every unexplored corner.
Matt walked out to the edge of the canyon and Kristine giggled behind him. Much like Pete leading me off into the forest, Matt plays that role for them in their relationship. “Whats over here? What can you see from here” while she constantly laughed and told him not to step any closer (so familiar in my life haha.). He leaned over and she grabbed his hand, and soon she felt comfortable enough to look for herself. She was safe with him and he was going to make sure of that. What a beautiful thing.
In a location I have photographed couples in hundreds of times, it was so fun to have the freedom to find some new spots this afternoon exploring with Kristine and Matt. They were in it as much as for the adventure as they ere for the photographs and because of that, we found some beautiful new spots in old familiar places. I’m pretty sure my cheeks were sore from smiling and laughing so much with these two at the end of the evening and after these guys being my 17th wedding in 3 weeks I left feeling rejuvenated and inspired. What a gift! Enjoy the photographs, I hope they bring you as much joy looking through them as we experienced while taking them! xoxo
**if you enjoyed these photographs be sure to click the ‘like’ button below and feel free to leave matt and kristine some love in the comments section! thanks so much for being here and i hope you have a beautiful day! xox meg.
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