Mr. & Mrs. Swick…

A quick blog post today to celebrate the wedding, but more importantly, the marriage, of Mr. & Mrs. Aaron (& Ashley) Swick. The wedding was absolutely beautiful, not that Amy or I expected anything less than perfection! From the gorgeous rose petals that lined the aisle runner to the amazing decorations at the reception, this wedding was one of the most beautiful events that Amy & I have ever had the chance to photograph. (Yes, I’m speaking for Amy too, I  know she agrees 🙂 )

The lovely bride and the handsome groom were full of excitement, anticipation, and A LOT of heart-felt emotion. I’m going to take this opportunity to give props to both A&A for the thoughtful gifts that were exchanged… Aaron seemed pleased with his and I know that Ashley was overjoyed with hers. The best part for me about Ashley opening her gift was that it really didn’t matter what was in the box, he already melted her heart with a love letter. I am pleased to say that this clearly is a couple who is not only in love for today, but for tomorrow, and forever. All the best to you both, it has been my joy to get to know you and share this time with you!



I love the "thumbs up" 🙂


Contents of the Heart…

The first time I ever remember watching a pageant on TV was when I was about seven years old. I was watching Miss America, and a local girl, our very own Miss Monroe County, had gone on to Miss Michigan, and was now competing for the national crown at Miss America. This girl, you ask, was one Kaye Lani Rae Rafko-Wilson, who DID end up winning the title of Miss America 1988! (See the crowing video here I was so intrigued by her beautiful dress and her fluffy hair; I just KNEW that I needed to be Miss America someday too.  My Mom was really hesitant though, as we all know what some people tend to think about the whole arena of pageantry. As the story goes, after some research, she found a pageant system that didn’t focus on outer beauty, but placed more value on the contents of a young ladies heart over the contents of her costumes and facial beauty. I went on through the years, learning self-discipline, confidence, and the true meaning of good sportsmanship. The truth is this, you win some and you lose some and that’s just life, and I really think that keeping that thought in the back of my mind even now, has helped me to face adversity in life as well as business with a positive attitude.

 I didn’t go on to win Miss America, but I did end my pageant “career” on a high note winning the local title of Miss Monroe County. This brings us to today’s blog post… I was contacted by the director of the Miss Monroe County Outstanding Teen program. I have so very much respect for not only this program, but the Miss Monroe County Scholarship program as a whole. They encourage good sportsmanship, community service, and expect their queens to set a good example for their peers around them. The program also awards THOUSANDS of dollars in scholarships each year to our local community pageant competitors. It’s an excellent asset to our community.

Anyway, I digress… Like I said, I was contact by the MMCOT director, Delle, to do pictures for the current MMCOT, Miss Cassidy. I anticipated the session would be fun, just like any other session we’re lucky enough to be hired for, but we had no idea what to expect of Cassidy herself. SO there we were, a typical, cold, Tuesday night in February and Cassidy and her mom walked through our door. Right away, I recognized in her a maturity and grace that was not “typical” of most fourteen year old young ladies. I really think that pageantry helps to develop a well rounded young woman, but I also know that those seeds must be planted at home.

 She came in, just as beautiful as they come, with a gianormous smile on her face, she literally light up the foyer! She approached with a hug, forgoing the handshake all together, right off the bat, we l.o.v.e.d her! Cassidy was sweet, friendly, humble, sincere, and overall an absolute joy to work with. She has a natural ability to pose like a seasoned model without trying too hard, and let me tell you, THAT made our jobs much easier! As we photographed Cassidy, we got to know her a little and see into her world. She spoke about school sports and her family, giggled about her friends, and gushed about her love of dancing. She took me back to being fourteen myself, remembering all about the things that made me giggle and gush. In all truth, I think I was blessed more that night to meet her than she was to meet me.

A million memories flooded my heart not only while I was shooting, but for days after. Cassidy provided me a path to take a trip down memory lane, and it was wonderful! I think there is something to be said about the Mother of a fourteen year old girl who carries herself with class, dignity, and grace in every step. Traci, you should be so very proud of the seeds you’ve planted at home, Cassidy is an amazing, talented, beautiful souled young woman, and that has nothing to do with pageantry but with what you’ve done by example.

Cassidy, if you’re reading this, I wish you all the luck in the world as you not only continue on to Miss Michigan Outstanding Teen, but to the “big girl” pageant as well. You are absolutely, without a doubt, Miss America material. Keep your head high, your smile BIG, and never let anything along the way change the contents of your heart, because they have truly blessed my life. ❤