Happy Thanksgiving! This past year has been unbelievable, so many things to be thankful for. To all of our clients, brides and grooms, seniors, new mamas and mama’s to-be, families, friends, and creatives who inspire us every day, we are so thankful for the opportunity to serve you this past year. We’ve genuinely enjoyed working with you and getting to know you and your families. Thank you for being so wonderful and for all you do to support our business. We value our relationship and look forward to the opportunity to continue serving you in the years to come. We especially want to thank you for allowing us into your lives and trusting us with your most precious memories.
*Warning- this may be my longest blog post ever- but sorry, there was no way to shorten it, so if you don’t make it to the end, at least be sure to check out all the photos at the end of the post 🙂
“Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it.” ― William Arthur Ward
When I think about the things we appreciate, I still can’t be more thankful for the opportunity to have been able to help a young military couple have the wedding of their dreams. Along with several amazing wedding vendors and volunteers, last year just 2 days after Christmas, on one of the coldest days of the year we were able to surprise Leah and Austin with the most romantic and intimate wedding I have ever seen. You may have seen their wedding story as it was published by Modern Weddings and Big Love Small Weddings previously, but for those who don’t know the story of Leah and Austin- you can read it below.
Leah & Austin’s intimate wedding at the Allen Farmhaus – December 27, 2017
November 2017: I was contacted in by a sweet kindergarten teacher in Alaska to photograph an elopement at a park. She informed me that she had recently became engaged a few days prior. Her fiance, who was in San Antonio for military training had planned to propose to her when she came to visit San Antonio in December but he had just received information that he would be getting orders to an unknown location in March. He told her that he was sorry to ruin the surprise; he had planned to propose to her when she came to visit him in December. He had planned to hire a photographer to capture the proposal, but what if he hired a photographer to capture them getting married instead?? And so they decided to get married when she came to visit him in December. With December only a month away, she didn’t have anything planned but they did want a photographer to capture the memory since none their friends or family could be there on such short notice. Being a military family ourselves, we love helping our fellow military families- I thought of the idea of gifting them the photography. I wanted to make it special for them and I had no idea on how to plan a wedding so I called my friend and event planner Kelsea from Touch of Whimsy and asked her for help and to see if this was possible just 2 days after Christmas. Together we reached out to all our “friendors” in the wedding community. Within one week we had an entire wedding for this sweet couple donated. Everything was donated, from a dress to a venue, food truck full service catering to a mobile horse trailer bar, calligraphy, custom jewelry and everything else for an entire wedding. I even had complete strangers in a photography group on Facebook offer to help, one of which owns a wedding accessory store, Black Label Decor and within seconds offered one of everything from her store, from a customized bridal robe and hanger to a laser engraved wooden ring box. Two days before the wedding I realized that we were still missing a guestbook and I wanted them to have something from Texas. I found a wood cutout of Texas for sale online and when I inquired about it with Wonderstruck Boutique, she offered to donate it as well. All the vendors signed it and it was given as a gift so that when the military moves them around the world, they can always remember their special day in Texas! We didn’t really plan on having a full-blown wedding, we were originally just trying to give this military couple a beautiful ceremony. We couldn’t believe the incredible and overwhelming response from all the vendors who wanted to help this military couple. The Box Street Social owner, Edward Garcia III, a former Marine, volunteered his amazing talents and cooked up a mouthwatering dinner for not only the guests but he offered to feed all the vendors who worked so hard that day. Can you believe he cooked up an elegant gourmet dinner from his decked out food truck parked outside (did I mention it was freezing outside)? It even caused a ripple effect; because everything was donated, Leah’s parents were able to come to Texas. I even found out that her parents actually met here in San Antonio, TX. while in the Airforce. So it was like a trip down memory lane for her parents. Leah’s best friend, Jessica, was also able to make it from D.C. because she received a plane ticket as a Christmas gift from her own husband. And one of Leah’s co-workers in Alaska donated a honeymoon suite to the couple on the Riverwalk.
The wedding day came and it just so happened that it was one of the coldest days of the year –and it was raining off and on. This was not so good for the outdoor barn wedding we had planned. In a few minutes, EVERYONE worked hard to move everything indoors into the gorgeous Allen Farmhaus barn. It turned out to be a blessing in disguise- Leah and Austin had an intimate candlelit ceremony and reception with over 500 candles lit in a gorgeous rustic barn. It was so romantic, almost out of a fairytale.
Words can never describe the joy that was felt that day. Thank you so much Austin and Leah for putting all your trust and confidence in us to help make your wedding day special. All the vendors and volunteers kept thanking me for allowing them to be a part of this, but I was the most grateful for them. I have never met more selfless, caring business owners. The coming together to help give this military couple a dream wedding will be a memory I will never forget and an experience that I will always treasure.
Thank you to all these amazing and truly talented vendors:
No Thanksgiving would be complete without thanking the people who make our job so special. So, on behalf of all of us at Olvera Photography, thank you, and have a very Happy Thanksgiving!!