Saturday, July 9, 2011

{Rich + Heidi} Montana Wedding Photographer

It has been awhile since I photographed a traditional church wedding.  And while it made me a tiny bit nervous, I was also so excited!  And let's face it...I am a tiny bit nervous about every wedding I shoot.  If I didn't get nervous, that would mean I don't care.  And that couldn't be further from the truth when I shoot weddings.  I adore my couples by the time their wedding comes around, and I consider them "friends".

Rich & Heidi aren't just my quote unquote friends, though.  Rich is my cousin, and that makes them both my just happens to be official now! ;) There are so many words to describe, hard working, a fighter, hilarious, loving, sweet, Irish (if he had any hair, you could tell even more!! Tee hee!), wonderful dad....the list could go on.  I don't know Heidi as well as I know Rich, but I know enough about her to tell you that she is beautiful inside & out, laid back, goes with the flow, crazy fun, and a wonderful mom.  My deepest wish for these two, from the very bottom of my heart, is just a wonderfully happy life, full of love, family, and friends.  Two people couldn't ask for anything more. 

So, let's get down to the nitty gritty.  Rich and Heidi were married on July 2, 2011 at the historic St. Lawrence church in uptown Butte, almost to Walkerville.  It was one of our first hot days of the summer {in July?!!  I know, right?}, the sky was blue and the sun was shining brightly.  Rich & Heidi chose not to see each other before the ceremony, so I went straight to the church and started photographing the guys.  My amazing husband took all the detail shots of the church for me, while I was photographing Rich with his family, and his groomsmen.   And THIS is the benefit to hiring two photographers.
Isn't the inside just gorgeous?!!  I love all the amazing details and color...just amazing.  While Josh was getting that done, I was outside photographing the groomsmen.  Check it out! 
Heidi's aunt was already here while I photographed the guys, and so she helped me with Heidi's dress so I could get some shots of it hanging, along with other details.  
Then Heidi arrived, and it was time to get in the dress!!  This is really one of my favorite times with the bride.  While I have normally already seen the dress on its hanger, there is just something about seeing it on my bride.  My big black camera normally hides the fact that my eyes are welling up with tears.  I'm a sap, I tell you!
I typically don't share many alter shots, except for during the ceremony.  But, Heidi just looked SO beautiful posed on it...that I had to share this one.  
And then it was time to photograph the girls!!  I do what I can to get similar shots between the groups, so that if and when they want to print them for their walls....they will match a bit. 
As we were just finishing up on the steps, the guys came driving up the hill.  Well, we weren't about to let all this hard work of photographing everyone separately go to waste, and have Rich accidentally see her.  So, Heidi ducked as quickly as she could behind the wooden church sign.  I have never been so thankful for three blocks of painted, weathered wood.  The girls headed up to the balcony, and after just a was time for the ceremony!
So, I get a little chuckle every time I am looking through wedding shots.  I have this same image of EVERY single couple I have ever photographed.  They have been announced as man and wife, they have kissed, and now it is time to make their grand exit down the aisle.  They all look straight down at their feet for those first couple of steps...just to make sure.  It makes me grin every time I come upon the image in every single set of wedding photos I take. 
While we waited on the trolley to arrive, we finished up more group/formal portraits at the alter, and I also took Rich & Heidi to a couple of spots in the church to get some more artistic shots of the two of them.  I love how they turned out!
 Then the trolley arrived, and it was time to go on our merry way.  We didn't have as much time on the trolley as we thought we would...but we made the best of it and got in some fun shots! 
The trolley dropped us off at the reception location, and the bridal party went on inside.  But we hopped in my car, and headed out to finish up their couple shots.  We stopped at the historic Hotel Finlen in Butte, and I ran in to make sure that there wasn't a wedding going on.  If there had been, we would have just moved on.  But as luck would have it, there was no wedding, so we went up to the balcony area and took some shots with the gorgeous chandeliers in the background.  I love these shots!
After that we headed up the street a block or so, and finished up! 
Then it was time for Rich & Heidi to get on to their reception, and party with friends and family. 
This is our grandma Penny, and she made the sweetest toast to the two of them.  It was really wonderful! 
And then we come to the traditional cake cutting.  I have made it clear in past blog posts that I am not the biggest fan of cake smashing, but I will photograph it if you do it!  And then because we are family....I told Rich he was a meanie.  {Okay...I  might have actually said jerk, but it was all in jest and full of love. Tee hee!}
Then came the first dance, which was a whole lot sweeter.  The first image cracks me up though...Rich is still wiping cake off of Heidi's face! 
Then came time for the garter toss and throwing of the bouquet! 
And then last, but definitely not least, and one of the very special parts of the reception was the honor and remembrance of Rich's late father, Hugh O'Brien.  It has been 13 years since he passed, but he is still alive in the hearts of those who loved him.  And he was a loved man.  People came from the bar area that weren't even in attendance at the wedding & reception to toast to a good man.  
It was a great day.  Full of love, fun, laughter, and good old Butte traditions.  Because in Butte, just don't monkey with tradition.  

Well, Rich, Heidi & family....I hope that you enjoyed this look into your wedding day!  You will get your images soon, so we can start planning out your album! Enjoy! 

Until later,


  1. Lea, these are amazing! You did a great job!!!

  2. absolutely stunning photos, Lea! You are so talented!

  3. wonderful, as always! you are so talented, Lea

  4. Wonderful photos, they will treasure these forever!

  5. Here I am sitting in the middle of Illinois (having reached your site through Taylored Expressions) with tears in my eyes looking at these amazing photos. What a talent you have! And I wish that I had been at that wedding - looks like so much fun and such a great family.