RACHAEL HOUSER » photography for couples & families

Ecclesiastes 3:1 ESV / For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven

Proverbs 3:5-6 ESV / Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.

Psalm 46:10 ESV / “Be still, and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!”

Ephesians 2:10 ESV / For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.

Acts 1:7 ESV / He said to them, “It is not for you to know times or seasons that the Father has fixed by his own authority.

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God’s timing is a funny thing. It’s taken me YEARS to come to grips with the fact that God’s hand is in all things, big and small, and when we try to push ourselves onto a path, things can often go wrong. My and Neil’s story is not about things going wrong, thankfully, but things going right…. just not when we thought they would.

There are not many moments from my past that I can relive in perfect history like the moments I had with Neil before we started dating. Looking back, I know that it was God working in our lives.

I was in eighth grade choir; Neil was in seventh grade choir. The two choirs only practiced together when it was time for concerts, therefore I had only seen him a few times from across the room. I had heard about him, however, many times from my best friend Emily, who was also in seventh grade. She had a middle school crush on him and I couldn’t blame her – he was adorable! Neil and I formally met on the school bus, on our way to a middle school choir competition. Emily wanted to sit behind him in the bus during the trip and so, we did. He asked me to tickle his neck. And so I did – only for a minute before I felt funny, and then stopped. He smiled. I smiled. Some time later, Emily mentioned liking another boy and I felt slightly relieved – but of course, eighth grade girls don’t like younger boys.

My sophomore year, Neil’s freshmen year in high school. At a choir competition again, during a rehearsal break, two boys were flirting with me by stealing my slip on shoes (flip flops, flats, I can’t remember) and tossing them back and forth to each other. One of those boys was Neil – a short time later, the other boy became my first boyfriend.

Neil and I were in choir together all throughout high school and both “dated” other people. Every relationship, for one earthly reason or another, fell short.

My senior year, Neil’s junior year in high school. Early December, we started talking again in choir. That’s the only class we had together so it was completely casual. Finally, the last day before Christmas break he asked me for my number. Did I have a cell phone back in 2003? I don’t really remember which number I gave him but I do remember thinking that he probably wouldn’t call me – he was popular, starter for our winning basketball team, and I was a total nerd, band geek and all.

December 22nd, 2003. I was wrapping presents when he called. He was finishing up a basketball tournament in Lexington but wanted to know if I’d like to see a movie when we got back. I said sure, again thinking he probably wouldn’t follow through. Still completely giddy all over!

December 24th, 2003. I had spent most of the day celebrating Christmas with my family and right before I left for the Christmas Eve Service at my church, he called!! After the service, my parents dropped me off at the movie theatre where I met Neil and a couple mutual friends to see the movie Elf. Our first date! After the movie, we went to a friend’s house to watch a televised concert our choir performed earlier that month. Neil drove me home and walked me to my door. It was only a few hours and it might seem like a bore, but to us it was perfect.

Four years pasted between meeting each other and our first date. Had we started talking back in middle school, our relationship either wouldn’t have developed at all or it would have died before it really started. We were both far too immature to start anything lasting in early high school. God knew neither one of us were ready for the other. He used every relationship leading up to ours to prepare our hearts. We had to see what didn’t work before we could recognize what would work. Neil and I are both trial and error kind of people like that. God knew all of these things.

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I am one lucky lady! I have a beautiful family and even though they don’t say it, I know they love my camera being stuck in their face most of the time! :)

But really, I do love photographing my nephew and little niece and I know Clint & Kelly appreciate that. You may remember I not only photographed Kelly’s maternity portraits when she was pregnant with Khloe, but Khloe’s birth, her newborn portraits, and her dedication! Before any of us knew it, her 3 months snuck up on us, and then her 4 months! We settled for 5 month portraits instead because I probably won’t be able to take her portraits again until 9 months…. which seems too long to wait!

I absolutely love this little family and feel so blessed to call them mine! Check out Kolt’s new “faux hawk”! I knew he was getting one but I didn’t know that it would be THAT cute! Who am I kidding? Everything is cuter on my nephew! He was so proud of it too!

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I love grabbing a few shots of the whole family but Khloe’s portraits are definitely my favorite from the session!

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Believe it or not, her eyes really are that perfect!

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Because she’s clearly old enough, I thought some tummy time pictures would be cute….

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And they totally were, but Khloe didn’t care for it and after a couple shots, she let us know. Even her upset face is adorable!!

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Her barefoot baby sandals are simply the cutest! I am totally stealing them from Kelly when/if we have a little girl!

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Her last outfit was my favorite and these last few portraits are by far the cutest from the whole evening! Such a happy girl!

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It took everything I had to not munch on those cute cheeks of hers the whole time!

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Here’s a better view of the barefoot baby sandals.

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Linda Heflin -

The Houser family are our neighbors…Terrie n Jimmy with Amy and her husband just up the road. We miss Clint and Kelly.

Your photos of Khloe are precious!

I don’t do a ton of sessions outside engagements and weddings, and I definitely don’t advertise myself as anything but a wedding photographer… But when Kanisha, one of my 2014 brides, and her sisters wanted to gift their parents a session with me for their 25th wedding anniversary, I can’t say no! I met the whole family in Downtown Cadiz Monday evening for Merilee & Marcus’ session, which was followed by Kanisha & A.J.s pre-wedding consultation because they’re getting married in just two days! Two birds, one stone!

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I don’t know what other people might call it but I have been calling it the Pre-Wedding Consultation since I started this little business of mine. If you’ve already had a Pre-Wedding Consultation with me then this information will not be new to you but if you haven’t and were maybe wondering what the heck is going to happen at yours, here we go!

WHAT IS THE PRE-WEDDING CONSULTATION?

The Pre-Wedding Consultation is a meeting I hold between the bride and groom (or just the bride) for us to get on the same page right before the wedding.

WHO ATTENDS THE CONSULTATION?

Me, of course! Haha! And whoever you want really! At least the bride will attend and hopefully the groom. And sometimes the mother-of-the-bride and or mother-of-the-groom, or the maid-of-honor or sisters or grandmother! If you have a wedding planner, they should attend as well. As long as they have you and the wedding’s best interest at heart, I’m all for it!

WHEN WILL THE CONSULTATION TAKE PLACE?

About 6 weeks before your wedding, I’ll email you, reminding you to complete the wedding questionnaire on your bridal dashboard and ask for a list of dates that you’ll be available, preferably 4 weeks prior to the wedding day but no later than 2 weeks. That way you haven’t entered into the rush of last minute wedding tasks and I’ll have plenty of time to create your timeline for you.

WHERE WILL THE CONSULTATION TAKE PLACE?

If it doesn’t require us to travel too awful much, I’d love to meet you at your ceremony and or reception venue! That way we can kind of do a walk through of portrait locations, etc. Also, when I arrive on the wedding day, I’ll know exactly which room to find you in. BUT if we can’t make it to the wedding day locations that’s fine! Instead, we can meet at a restaurant for a meal, a coffee house for a cup of coffee, or a local park! Pretty much anywhere where we can sit down and talk and take notes, I’m game!

WHAT WILL GO ON AT THE CONSULTATION?

The main thing everyone wants to know as the wedding draws near is when is ___ going to happen. During the consultation, the bride and I get down to the nitty gritty of the wedding day goings-on. I don’t assume you know how much time I need for certain parts of the day so together, we will work on your wedding day timeline (next week’s Wedding Wednesday’s post!). If we’re able to meet at the wedding locations then we’ll do a tour. I like to see where the brides intends on getting into her dress and where the guys will be getting ready. Are their specific locations you’d like to use for portraits? If the ceremony is held outside, let’s make sure it’s in an area with plenty of shade so it’s comfortable for everyone.

WHAT HAPPENS AFTER THE CONSULTATION?

No later than a couple days after your consultation, I’ll email you a tentative timeline. You’ll critic it with your needs and your vision in mind and we’ll go back and forth until it is 100% perfect for the both of us. Sometimes the timeline I come up with is spot on. Other times just a couple things need to be switched around. Either way, in the end, you will be completely comfortable with the flow of the day and confident in when you’re doing what.

My goal is that by the end of the Pre-Wedding Consultation experience, your timeline and your photography will be two things less that you’ll have to worry about!

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One of three of Neil’s cousins who are getting married this year got married this past Saturday! Hannah & James’ wedding is going on my favorites list for sure! The whole thing went down at James’ parents’ home in Lebanon TN – ceremony in the front yard, reception in the back and everyone got ready inside! It wasn’t hot out and there was a breeze in the air. The clouds allowed us just the right amount of sun and family was all around. Oh, and Hanna married her best friend! It could not have been a better day!

Neil and I actually arrived a tad early so while I grabbed some details shots, Neil lent a helping hand to his cousin, Hannah’s mom. I tell everyone I bring him for the heavy lifting but he does much more than that! For example, he lit all the candles right before the ceremony and reception started! So proud of my man! ;)

Hannah’s dress might be the prettiest dress I’ve had the honor to photograph, to date. And it fit her like a glove!

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Her veil also wins the prettiest I’ve ever photographed prize. It was the loveliest shade of vintage! On her right hand, Hannah wore her late grandmother’s wedding set!

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I would love to tell you that the little flower girl hung out up stairs with me for so long because she liked my company. But really it was because the old family dog, Maggie Moo, was guarding/sleeping on the stairs. It took an act of bravery on Neil’s part to get her over the vicious animal  and down the stairs to safety. Please note the HUGE amount of sarcasm in my tone here. That dog was practically dead to the world, even with everything going on around her! She did greet me with a kiss on the nose tho!

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While dressing Hannah, her sister Kayla (who’s next in the family to get married!!) just couldn’t hold back her tears. There was no shortage of tearing up throughout the day… and I was one of the sappier ones!

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This image. My favorite of these two ever.

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Hannah, you’re radiant! Girl, I could have photographed you all day long!

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First look time! We snuck the two love birds down to the lake away from the bustle of preparations going on around the house.

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You won’t find a more genuine smile on this groom!

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Family time/family portraits back at the house. Both families were so much fun to work with!

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James is a big Marvel fan so it wouldn’t be his wedding if there weren’t hints of Marvel every where you turn… even the boutonnières were made from comic book pages!

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Of course they wrote their own vows! This wedding wouldn’t be complete without them!

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Married!

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What an awesome idea! Because their guest list was on the shorter side, why not have a big group picture!

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True to his form, Hannah’s Pawpaw, Neil’s Great Uncle Tom, cut into the father daughter dance to dance with his grand daughter. Even at 90 years old he’s still a great dancer!

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Best night ever, you guys!

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Ceremony Venue | Groom’s parents’ house
Reception Venue | Groom’s parents’ house
Bridal Gown | Casablanca, The White Room
Bridesmaids Dresses | Dressfan
Stationary | Invitations by David’s Bridal
Florist | Fresh by CarryAnn
Hair Stylist | Leesha at Stylemasters
Makeup Artist | Jenny Burnley, Bride’s cousin
Caterer | Michael’s Cafe
Cake Artist | Sweet n Sassy
Rentals | Liberty Party Rentals
DJ | CJ the DJ

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Mary Lou Siegfried -

I think the pictures are absolutely beautiful, and the star: Hannah, is even more beautiful! What a special day! Much love to both for a wonderful life together…