Tag Archives: Destination Wedding

Front and Center: Cali Sparing Photography

Cali, based in Bozeman, Mont., is an old friend. In fact, she’s Ashley‘s cousin and we used to play together and go camping. When I found out she is now a wedding photog, I begged her to let me do a spotlight on her. She was more than compliant. A perky little redhead, Cali manages to take ethereal and intriguing images that invoke the love her clients are feeling for one another. Cali writes …

My approach to photography is simple. It’s vibrant, genuine, and enjoyable. I capture the little moments that pass us by, and turn them into everlasting memories. I strive to have my photographs tell a story…your story. I want to capture you for you, and at the same time make it REALLY REALLY FUN!

Also? She travels and is uber keen on doing a destination wedding!


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APW Strikes Again.

Today’s APW saw the last one and raised it by quite a bit.

Valeria lost her father during her wedding planning. She planned a destination wedding that was “in the middle” of her and her groom’s families. She made her own freaking dress.

The post, one of the most level-headed and sad yet blissfully happy I’ve ever read, comes in two parts. Check it out here and here.


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Wedinated: Gabrielle and Aaron.

Squee!!! My first Australia post!!! Gab is wise. Very wise. Reading through her responses has almost a calming effect because she gets what’s important. While it’s fun to have the details, what matters most is the relationship, the reason why you’re coming together. Everything doesn’t have to be perfect as long as there is love. Real love.
Gab sent me so many photos … it was so hard to pick.  Beautiful.

Name: Gabrielle Newhill

Age: 28, both of us

Occupation: Aaron is a diesel mechanic working out on the mines in Karratha. I’m a mother of 2 so I’m EVERYTHING.

Wedding location: We got married in Dongara, Western Australia. Its about 400km (248.5 miles) north of Perth. It’s a little town Aaron and I have lived in a few times now and both our kids where born there, so it was somewhat a special location for us. Our first weekend away together was to Dongara. We went for the blessing of the fleet, as Dongara is a major fishing location. It was a weekend that changed our lives.

Wedding Date: We got married on the 2nd of April, 2011.

Length of engagement: Well depends how you look at that one!! Aaron, or we, decided to make it a real deal on the 2nd of December, 2010, on a drive back from a weekend in Dongara to be honest! But we were kind of on and off again dating since we were 17 yrs old. We have had the craziest relationship I have even known of, this is the first time we ever been together long enough to even think about getting hitched!

About your wedding: We got married in a little old church that has stood in that town for over 100 years. We had the sweetest minister. He made the whole thing feel so natural and fun. Very understanding man … couldn’t have asked for anyone else to marry us. I wrote our vows, short and sweet, just us. I kept our ceremony booklet so that we can use the same service to renew our vows later on. Our reception was at the local bowling club which made for a really relaxed environment. We didn’t decorate much at all. I wanted it to feel like it was at the bowling club. We hired a jukebox from Geraldton and it worked out great (ps if you do this hide the key so no one can change the music). We had the cake made in Geraldton at a cake shop. I grabbed all the decorations for it from Spotlight. We hired a catering company in Geraldton to do a tapas menu, and my GOD it was amazing. So glad I put the extra money into the food and not the booze! As you can probably tell we had to do the whole thing on a very small budget as we paid for it ourselves from our savings.

What was your favorite part of your wedding? Well that is complicated. I can’t say I had just one moment that was my favorite; as a mother my most moving moment was as I pulled up at the church and got to see my 2 babies standing there waiting for me. My children are my world so seeing them all dressed up and holding hands waiting for me made my eyes water.

Only moment of the day I was overwhelmed enough to want to cry with happiness; BUT as a bride as a women on her day, it was a real big deal to see my “to be husband” after all these years together fumble over his words at the altar as he looked me in the eyes and said his vows to me. My husband is a typical Aussie. That was the first time I have seen him so vulnerable in our whole life together. It was very strong moment that I will never forget.

What disasters did you avert … or not avert and how did you deal with it? Well some things you can’t avoid. Like family. There has always been bad blood between them all and putting them all together always ends with dramas, so it was UNavoidable to say the least. But the whole town lost power for the hours before the wedding which nearly gave us all heart attacks as we couldn’t get hairdryers, curlers, AIRCONS {eds note: The first time I read this phrase, many moons ago in an email, I was like WTF??? It’s air conditioners, for those of you not versed in Aussie speak.}, music, fridges … nothing running. We ran all our hair stuff from a generator that we borrowed, then had to move that genny to the boys place so they could get ready, THEN had to run it to the church so we could get power to  run the music to walk down the aisle too.

I have to admit it makes for a laugh now but it was so hot me and the girls were in our undies till our car pulled up. It was so hot we couldn’t put our dresses on and our makeup and hair was doing crazy things.

Was there anything you would have done differently, or do you have any regrets about how something went? You can’t regret anything in life, that’s my rule!! BUT if I had my time again, the girls and me and my man and his boys plus my kids of course would have just run away for a wild weekend and eloped!! For sure!!! It could have maybe been a bit more structured when it came to photos maybe, but then again it was my girlfriend that did it for me and she travelled all that way for me, so there is no way I would complain about it. I love all my photos. Classic and very true, they are.

What was your biggest challenge in planning? Doing the planning from Perth, where we live, I didn’t meet our caterers until the night! And being a very small town in WA, I was not able to do half the things I wanted as I couldn’t get it up there or locally, so that made me have to change a lot of things around and find other ways to do things!

What lessons did you learn from planning or from the wedding itself? Um… go with your gut, and never do something just to please anyone!! If there was ever a day to stand up for yourself it should be this day! And that at the end of it all, love what it WAS, not what it COULD HAVE BEEN.

What was your biggest “holyamazeballzI’mfreakininlove!” moment? The moment I took his hand at the altar. He was shaking so much. I new it was real at that moment. Its like for a small moment there I could feel both our hearts pounding away.

What were your top 5 favorite things about your wedding? Getting a make-up artist and a hairdresser to come do us up for the wedding. We were not going to do it at all because of how much we had already stretched ourselves for the wedding but like 2 days beforehand my partner said to me, go for it why not, you deserve it. So we did and it was well worth it.
I loved my dress, and the dresses for the bridesmaids, took a lot of running around and a lot of failed ideas but it all worked well.
My handmade flowers, I ordered them online from America because there was no way I could get flowers up there at all! I love them so much.

The wedding car that was also a last minute thing. Friends of ours knew someone who knew someone and a lovely man in town had an old favorite hanging out in his shed and he let us use it for the day … well to be honest, he let us borrow him as well. Perfect gentleman. He was well prepared for the event. Opened the door for me, helped me with my dress, was always checking on me at the photos. He was the kind of guy that, well, just doesn’t exist anymore! I couldn’t have thanked him enough, nor would the day have been the same without him.
The songs we had at the church. It was so us. I will never forget the sound of the guitar solo as I walked into the church, its was the most perfect musical interpretation of what I feel, if I had to turn it into music.

Top 5 least favorite? Oh wow, touchy subject with not-so easy answers.
I was disappointed with how others behaved throughout the evening. It’s very hard to feel special when there is so much disaster and conflict present. To put it simply, I wanted to hold up a big sign saying HELLO this is OUR wedding not a stage for “Days of Our Lives” drama. But hey, if there’s one thing I know its that you cannot control others actions, you can only control your own. It is very hard to see something so beautiful turn into something so ugly due to others actions.

What was the worst piece of wedding advice you received? None. I didn’t get any advice like that at all. Um depends though, I got a lot of input about how I should do the wedding or more WHAT I HAD to do at the wedding. There is no reason you have to do anything as far as I can see; it’s your day it’s your relationship so make it as unique as you are.

The best? Um that hey I can always get divorced if I change my mind hahahaha… No um best advice I got was when it all turned to the dark side at the reception and my beautiful wedding started to look like the start of a seen from”Fight Club,” a friend of mine said to me, don’t worry about it. Simple but true. I grabbed my husband’s hand and said this has nothing to do with us, lets go home. And that’s what we did. And to be honest, best thing we did together as husband and wife so far.

If you’ve been married for more than a few years, what have been some challenges? Well we have been together so long and I can promise you there has been some hard times, and we have had to endure a lot together already so here’s hoping it gets easier from here in, but the most drama we have had so far has been changing my name over, banks accounts, drivers license, school stuff for the kids, all our billing info …its been full on with all that so far. And I can’t get used to using my new name lol.
What from your wedding vows/ceremony still holds the truest? “With all that I am and all that I have I honor you.”
Being married for me, or the idea of being married, is not a fairytale ending to a love story. Its a promise that you will always be true and love that person for ALL they are to choose to stand beside them through life, and all that life will bring you.

Any other bits of wisdom? Well to be honest I am far from wise. I am completely learning as I go, so my only comments would be, trust yourself whole heartedly. You are the only person making the choices in your life. Trust THAT part of yourself; look within for all parts of your wedding, your marriage, and your life. As far fetched as it seems, no matter what happens before during or after the wedding, it will be an adventure worth experiencing. Even if it doesn’t turn out so perfect, and for me and my life and my relationship it wouldn’t be ours if it didn’t have a bunch of challenges in it. It kind of the way it goes for me. And I accept the challenge!!!
Oh and this: blood does not mean anything if it doesn’t pass through a heart. Don’t do any of it for anyone else. My partner and I come from very broken families and trying to FAKE it never works for anyone. Love is a word people have forgotten how to feel. For others or themselves.

All photos by Emmaline Yearsley. She can be reached at emmalineyearsley@gmail.com.
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