We are Jacob & Christin Willis, fine art wedding photographers. I thought he was sweet.
He thought I was funny. We fell in love and got married. Now we work together, play
together, and do life together. Our work has been featured in the world's top wedding
blogs and magazines. We love what we do because we heart photography.
You know when you’re in a moment and you feel very “in” that moment? Everything about that moment is intensified – your emotions and senses heightened. The colors are brighter and the smells stronger and the feelings bigger. For some reason the details are clearer and you’re just very “in the moment”. Well, I just had one of those moments.
I had just gotten Lilah out of the bath, wrapped her up in her pink bunny towel, and taken her upstairs to get her jammies on. Jacob had laid everything out perfectly for me – a diaper and her lotion on the left, a paci and a onesie on the right, and her swaddle and jammies in the middle. Bunny jammies! What a coincidence! Bunny towel and bunny jammies on the same night! I digress.
So I put on her diaper, lavender lotioned her little chunky legs, and laid her on top of her jammies. I grabbed each of her teeny feet in each of my hands, planning to sneak a kiss before I put them in their bunny feet. I leaned over and brought my mouth to her tiny toes and she smiled. The moment I smooched she giggled. I buried my face in her feet, covering my eyes- thus beginning a very strange, pretty adorable version of peekaboo. She giggled and smiled and looked at me like there was nowhere she’d rather be in the world than on this bed, half-naked, playing foot-peekaboo with her momma by the very last light of the day. And I didn’t want to be anywhere else in the world either. It was so sweet and special that I wanted it to last forever. I was tempted to grab my iPhone to capture it, so that this moment – this joy – wouldn’t disappear with the sun. But, I knew that I should give my iPhone a rest and just savor those sweet smiles and sniff those lavender-scented toes… this moment was just for my heart. I felt so joyful and so happy but somehow a little bit sad at the same time.
Has that happened to you before? You’re experiencing something so amazing and beautiful but you’re sad when you realize how fleeting it is.
How can you feel such joy in that moment with simultaneous sadness?
Perhaps that’s what makes those moments so special – the fact that we know they will end and that we need to savor them while they last.
Love Story: Love at second sight ;) This might be more than a sentence or two ;) Chase and I met back in 2007 at a mutual friend’s wedding. We were both 22 at the time and living on different coasts. I was actually in town visiting from San Diego and he had just moved back to CA from NYC. We chatted, shared a few dances and even exchanged phone numbers at the end of the night. The next day I flew back to San Diego and went on to finish college. We didn’t end up keeping in touch, I think mostly because we just were living two totally separate lives in two totally different places. Fast forward 5 years later. We were still living in completely opposite places, this time a little closer than East coast versus West coast. Chase was living and working in San Francisco and I was living and working in Monterey. We randomly ended up at a BBQ together on Fourth of July 2012. Crazy right!? We immediately recognized each other and spent the majority of the afternoon chatting. At the end of the day, we exchanged phone numbers and immediately connected. We went on our first date two weeks later and it was just as if we had known each other for years. We fell in love very quickly, and we both knew early on that we were soulmates. After about a year and 3 months of dating, Chase asked me to marry him. It was truly a storybook romance. I still pinch myself that I am so lucky to have found such an incredible and amazing husband who is also my best friend.
Our inspiration for our wedding day came from our venue and the time of year in which we got married. Union Hill Inn was so beautiful on its own that it made it really easy for us to take that natural beauty and transform it into our vision. We drew inspiration from the rustic barn and the insanely beautiful natural light that it casts. The beautiful twinkly white lights, the old barn wood pews. I knew that I wanted a neutral color palette and wanted everything to feel cozy, wintery and romantic. That was the word of the day for the entirety of our planning, “romantic” ;) I wanted a flood of candles and light airy floral.
One of my favorite DIY projects were the gold deer we used to hold our escort cards. My mom and I found them on Etsy and spray painted all 120 of them gold. We called them the “herd” it was so funny seeing all 120 of them standing out to dry! The bridesmaid’s furs were also so special; it was my gift to them for being in the wedding. I wanted them to have something warm and cozy to throw around their shoulders because it was FREEZING. It was so much fun handing them out at the rehearsal dinner the night before. Another special detail was a gold ring I wore that belonged to my great, great, great grandmother. My mom wore it on her wedding day too; it was so special to me to wear such a treasured piece of family history. My grandmother actually had me hand it right back after the ceremony was over for safe keeping, it’s that special! My “something borrowed” was actually a mink fur that my grandfather had purchased for my grandmother in France in the early 1950’s, it has her name embroidered into it, that was really special for me as my grandfather has since passed and it was so nice to have something that meant so much to the both of them on our special day.
My absolute favorite moment was our first look, when we saw each other for the first time before the ceremony. It was so emotional for both of us and so exciting! We both had such butterflies, it was so amazing. It was so special to have that alone time with just the two of us. You don’t realize how little time you actually get that day with just the two of you. The ceremony was also a favorite, we were so ecstatic to be married…it was truly a moment in time we will always cherish. As soon as we walked out of the chapel, we both looked at each other and said, “That was fun!” and it really was!
My advice is to listen to your heart and stick with your vision, no matter who tries to persuade you in other directions. Find vendors who are excited and enthusiastic about working with you and helping you make your vision come to life! It was so great for us to be able to work with vendors that were willing to work with our ideas and and make them that much more amazing! Take deep breaths and remember why you are doing all of this planning and hard work. Enjoy it, because it goes by so fast! I heard that time and time again in the early stages of planning and it really is true. Also, remember to do non-wedding related things with your fiancé. Plan a weekend trip, or a fun date night. You need to have something else that keeps you excited and entertained after wedding planning. In the end, it’s not about how the napkin is folded just so, it’s about marrying the love of your life and that is something that is worth an epic celebration.
Our processional was by Drew Barefoot, Song: Mud in our eyes (Instrumental), Recessional was by A Boy and His Kite, Song: Till the end of time. First dance song, Kip Moore, Song: Hey pretty girl
My favorite photo of the day is one that was taken just as the pastor said you may now kiss the bride. My husband has his hands on my cheeks as we were kissing for the first time as husband and wife. It was such a true and tender moment. It truly captured our love for one another and just how excited we were to finally be married :)
Venue: Union Hill Inn in Sonora, California | Coordinator: Terri Neher of Events Extraordinaire | Floral: Willow Floral Design | Catering: Mustard Seed Catering
Cake: Corner Space Cakes | Entertainment: Sounds in Motion | Make-up: Blush Makeup and Beauty Lounge (Christa) | Gown Designer: Claire Pettibone
Men’s Formalwear: Men’s Warehouse | Brides Jewelry: Haute Bride Design | Brides Shoes: Badgley Mischka | Calligraphy: Dear Darling Calligraphy
Escort Cards: Minted.com | Hair: Jessica Lewis from Jewelz and Co.
I’ve always been a bit of a thief. Just ask my sisters and my roommates and my friends and my mom. I hate all of my clothes all of the time so I like to borrow things, especially from my sister Rachel. (Can I call it “borrowing” if she specifically told me I was not allowed to take things from her on numerous occasions?) I still, to this day, “borrow” things from her when we go to Clovis to visit – clothes, makeup, deodorant, shampoo, her loofa (too far?) – you get the idea. She claims that I’m stealing her clothes (since I don’t have permission) and using her makeup and shampoo (since I will clearly not be returning what I have partaken in). I will continue to use the term borrow because it sounds nice and it makes me feel like we live in a sharing-is-caring kind of world.
This character flaw virtue has stayed with me even in marriage. No, Jacob does not wear makeup but I have switched to using men’s deodorant so that we can “share” and there are multiple items in his closet that sometimes live in mine. Like his flannels. (Mmm… Cozy.) He also has the coziest socks, the most accessible cell phone charger, and the softest loofa. (Yeah. I’m a repeat offender. What of it?)
You would totally understand if I said he hated it. You wouldn’t be surprised if I said that this part of my personality causes tension or arguments. You would probably even back him up if he put his deodorant in a safe. This is the amazing thing about my Jacob… He doesn’t hate it. He embraces it. Instead of allowing it to cause tension he has accepted it and adapted. He buys deodorant in two-packs and hangs HIS flannel in MY closet. He even bought a second loofa. (I should probably ask which one I should be using because it kind of defeats the purpose if I don’t know.) He now offers me his socks and knows exactly where to find his cell phone charger when it’s missing. This is the amazing thing about his love for me… it’s selfless. His love for me ignores, even embraces, this thing about me that would be annoying (and kind of gross) to 98% of people. Instead, he chooses to say, “Yeah. She may be a thief… but she’s my thief.”
***For more of our Little Love Stories, click here.***