July 31, 2019 /
Intimate OPPD Arboretum Wedding
You all remember Valerie and Craig from their sneak peek, right? Oh who are we kidding. You might also remember them from three of their kids’ previous weddings that we’ve gotten to photograph as well. Anyway, no matter how you know them, just get excited and do a little happy dance. Because they’re officially back for their full OPPD Arboretum wedding day blog post!
AND WE COULDN’T BE MORE EXCITED TO SHARE THESE WITH YOU!!!
You might have picked up from their last post that we’re lucky enough to hold Valerie and Craig and their amazing family pretty close to our hearts. Again, if you know us by now, we’re lucky enough to hold all of our couples close to our hearts, but these two especially.
One thing that we always tell our couples is that our goal on your wedding day is to show up as friends with cameras, and not just random people hired to take pictures on your wedding day. This helps ensure that we’ve got a great working relationship and that you’ll trust us to photograph your day, but it really, really helps us blend seamlessly into your moments and your group of friends. Which results in images that truly tell a story and feel like you’re right there in the middle of things instead of just on the outskirts.
Why is this important? Well, to be honest, for a lot of wedding photographers and couples it’s not important. But for Valerie and Craig? They wanted us right there in the middle of things to tell their story.
Intimate OPPD Arboretum Wedding
Getting Ready | Hilton Garden Inn Omaha West, Home
You know what the great thing about having a small wedding is? You’ve got some room to breathe and relax in your getting ready suite. Valerie and her girls spent her wedding morning getting pampered and relaxing at the hotel. Painting their nails, sharing jewelry, having lunch, and lots and lots of laughing together. Valerie got to go over her vows to make sure they were just right before reading them to Craig later. Her girls helped make sure that her nails were just the right light pink to coordinate with her gorgeous gown.
And Craig? Craig got to chill at home with their family members on the morning of his wedding. Taking his time to read the paper and get himself ready before his girls came over to hang out with him. Talk about a relaxing morning!
First Look & Bride and Groom Pictures | Omaha OPPD Arboretum
Have you been to the OPPD Arboretum in Omaha? If you haven’t, you need to check it out for sure. It’s the most beautiful green space. This is where Valerie and Craig decided to have their intimate wedding ceremony, and to do their first look on their wedding day. So while their kids and family were loading in everything they needed for their wedding ceremony, Valerie and Craig stole away to see each other.
We’ve seen all the first looks over the years, friends. But they never get old. And as I was standing there with Valerie, waiting for her groom to arrive, the excitement, love and adrenaline was just palpable in the air. I kid you not when I say that her excitement for the approaching moment was just radiating off of her and gave me the best kind of goose bumps all over the place.
And when Valerie finally saw her groom walking up the path?
A wave of sheer joy completely overcame her. And Craig, too. We’re not sure that we’ve ever seen a bigger smile on Craig’s face than we did in this sweet moment. It just never gets old. And when you get to witness two soul mates greet each other on the best day ever? Call us saps, if you will, but dang. It just doesn’t get any better than this. 🙂
Wedding Ceremony | OPPD Arboretum Classroom
Valerie and Craig picked out one of the neatest, most intimate parts of the Arboretum for their wedding ceremony, The Classroom. It’s this tiny little opening just off one of the main paths, but still in an alcove and completely surrounded by lush greenery. There are a few circular benches, and this is where they chose to say their vows.
Valerie’s dad walked her down the aisle. I kid you not when I say that I could barely hold myself together as they shared a few quiet moments together just before the ceremony started. And Craig? He proudly met his bride standing at the altar, covered in baby’s breath and the yellow roses that Valerie loves so much. Their two oldest daughters standing up with them as witnesses, Valerie and Craig got married.
Their handwritten vows just about brought all of their family to tears. And the one thing we’ll never forget, (we’re sure their kids won’t forget it either) was just the way Valerie looked at Craig. Like he was her whole, entire world. In fact, later, during her toast, Craig’s oldest daughter Tara brought this up. In her words, she “can only hope that one day she finds someone to look at her as lovingly as Val looks at Dad.”
You guys. All the love. ALL the feels.
And can we tell you something? Valerie and Craig wanted to celebrate right away, which we love. Their friend and musician played one of their favorite songs as the ceremony ended, and these two shared their first dance, right then and there in the arboretum. As Valerie and Craig danced and pulled their other family up to dance, Prosecco and fancy chocolates were passed around amidst all the laughter and smiles and hugs. We’re 100% sure Valerie and Craig wouldn’t trade these precious moments for the world. We wouldn’t trade them either, friends.
Dinner | The Grey Plume
Before we all knew it, the day had flown by, and it was time to head to The Grey Plume for dinner. This is Valerie’s FAVORITE restaurant and she and Craig couldn’t wait to treat all of their family to an AMAZING dinner. And you guys….we were lucky enough to be considered in this group. 🙂 Talk about honored and humbled.
After Party | The B-Side of the Benson Theater
After an absolutely amazing dinner, Valerie and Craig were ready to get down. These two rented out this really, really cool live music venue/bar in Omaha for their after party. They brought in their favorite band, Daddy Mac and the Flak, and absolutely lit up the dance floor all night long with their family and friends.
IT WAS SO MUCH FUN!!!
You see, this is the first Jensen family wedding that we’ve gotten to photograph any dancing at. It’s also the first Jensen family wedding that all but 1 of the couples whose weddings we’ve photographed were at. So, you know, we had to take a big Jensen-Nordbrock-Rivas family picture.
What an absolute blast. And honor to photograph this special, special day for Valerie, Craig, and their family. We could go on and on and on for days about our favorite moments from Valerie and Craig’s wedding day, but you would be reading for a really, really long time. 🙂
Thank you, thank you, thank you from the very bottom of our hearts Valerie and Craig, for letting us capture your super-wonderful-love-filled wedding day. 🙂