RACHAEL HOUSER » photography for couples & families

There is nothing better than a picnic inspired wedding on an early summer day! Kanisha & A.J. had it all! Family, friends, beautiful weather, yard games, a photo booth, a lemonade stand, ICE CREAM, and each other!

So much was going on when I arrived… the girls were getting ready in the church, the boys had to yet to arrive but were on their way, and friends and family were gathered under the picnic pavilion, decorating up a storm!

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Kanisha’s bridal bouquet was made with fresh flowers…. boy did they smell amazing! But she made the bridesmaids bouquets AND the boutonnieres by hand! So creative!

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Kanisha, sister, you are stunning!

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I only had to tell A.J. once and for the rest of the day, we was giving me GQ smiles left and right!

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Kanisha & A.J. opted to do a First Look and I could not have been happier! It was important to them that they be able to spend most of the day together.

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The short moments right before a bride walks down the aisle toward her groom…

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A couple that prays together, stays together!

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A.J. is currently in the middle of  police academy training. He was granted leave for his wedding and honeymoon but the day after they return home, he leaves again until October! Not the perfect way to start off your marriage but if anyone can handle it, it’s these two! Love the groom’s cake!

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THIS. It was amazing and hilarious!

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Would you believe that during the ceremony, when A.J. and Kanisha gave each other their rings and exchanged vows, they didn’t just say “I Will” but follow it by “Challenge Accepted!” I was a great moment!

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Introducing Maggie Moo’s! They’re based out of Nashville but cater to all ice cream lovers! I had birthday cake and brownies. YES I did! And oh was it delicious!

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Another AWESOME couple – because their’s was an afternoon wedding, they were perfectly fine with shooting their portraits after the reception, when the sun is lower in the sky. Love them!

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Ceremony Venue | New Hope Baptist Church
Reception Venue | New Hope Baptist Church
Bridal Gown | David’s Bridal
Bridesmaids Dresses | David’s Bridal
Suits | Calvin Klein, Men’s Wearhouse
Stationary | David’s Bridal
Florist | West and Witherspoon Florist
Hair Stylist | Michelle, Attitude’s
Makeup Artist | friend of the bride
Ice Cream Caterer | Maggie Moo’s Ice Cream
Cake Artist | Sweet Designs by Marilyn
DJ | Epic Music Service <- definitely a FAVORITE to work with!

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Rebecca Ricks -

Totally loved this wedding but more than that love the couple. Such a fine young example of love as as God intended. These pictures are an amazing recollection of a happy and indeed fun wedding.

Kanisha Parrish -

Oh my goodness Rachael!! I love love love these pictures so much! You perfectly captured our wonderful day and I could not have asked for a more amazing photographer and friend! Thank you :)

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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