May 03
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Tomi and John flew into Las Vegas from Texas to tie the knot last month.  They brought with them a handful of their favorite people, family and best friends.  Tomi wanted a simple wedding, something without a lot of fanfare.  She wanted her wedding day to be about showcasing their love for each other and to be shared with those they loved.  It could not have been more perfect for them.  We met them in their hotel room, where John was quickly kicked out so Tomi could get dressed with her best friend and soon-to-be sister-in-law.  Although we couldn’t photograph the actual wedding ceremony, due to Caesar’s Palace Hotel & Casino’s strict in-house photographer only policy, we met up with them right after!  The rest of our time together was filled with laughter and tons of fun!  Tomi + John are just perfect for each other and we are so happy we got to document all the love, smiles, and playful spirit on their wedding day.

 

T+J: Thank you for having us be a part of your day!  We loved hanging out with you guys.  We wish you a lifetime of love and laughter XO

April 29
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This week’s Family Friday is not about my personal family life and adventures, but it is about family nonetheless.  Today’s post is about a growing family who is very dear and close to me.  Last week, I had the utmost privilege of witnessing the birth of my friend Angie‘s baby girl.  I’d co-hosted her baby shower in March and if you haven’t seen it, I suggest you check it out. It’s very girly-glam! Anyhow, we’ve all been very excited to meet baby girl.

I also had the privilege of photographing their son’s birth just 18 months before, so I was thrilled they’d ask me to be there for the birth of their baby girl.  Both births were planned C-sections, so we had a set date and time of arrival.  I was prepared to wait in the room while the baby was being delivered, just like the time before.  However, to my surprise and delight, I was allowed to go in and photograph the C-section birth.  There’s one to mark off the bucket list, huh! I will admit, I was a bit nervous to go into an operating room, as I had never been in one before or seen a live C-section birth.  It was such a surreal experience to witness and document.  I’ve photographed natural births before and this was so completely different.  It was super bright in there, but relatively quiet and even a bit relaxed.  Yet, however different the atmospheres are, the outcome is still the same.  A baby is being brought into the world and there is no greater joy and amazement than when you see this new life!  That day, we welcomed baby girl June, born just a little bit smaller than her brother at 7 lbs. 9 oz. and 20 inches tall.  I just know she will be a true joy and a most welcomed addition to their family, giving her brothers a run for their money 😉

A + W: Thank you for  trusting me to document such a special moment of your lives.  I am truly grateful.  Much love to you and your family.  Oh and just know, that witnessing the birth of your babies, pretty much means we’re friends for life.  XO

April 14
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On the first Saturday of April, among friends and family, Chanell and Ronnie promised to love each other forever and became husband and wife.  We had the privilege of photographing their engagement session and had a great time getting to know them.  Ronnie flowers Chanell with so much love and attention, it’s adorable!  The way Chanell laughs at his jokes is the cutest!  The love between these two is clear to see and it was such a treat to witness their marriage and document such happy moments during their wedding day.

I love to be there when the bride is getting ready.  Chanell chose to get ready in their home with just her mom.  It was a nice time for them to bond and relax together before the day began.  Chanell arrived to the lakeside ceremony in style via a beautiful gondola.  She was accompanied by her son and he walked her down the aisle.  It was such definitely one of the most special parts of the day! Their reception took place inside the beautiful Lake Club venue where they mingled with friends and family the rest of the day!

Vendor Love

Venue: The Lake Club at Lake Las Vegas

Hair & Makeup Artist: Sheila Gardner from Kuttin in Short Salon

Florals: Tiger Lilly Flower Shop

Cake: Las Vegas Custom Cakes

Cupcakes: The Cupcakery

DJ: Joes Murillo

Videography: Izzo Pro

Chanell + Ronnie: Congratulations again!  We are so happy for you and cannot wait to hear all about your amazing honeymoon throughout Europe!  

April 06
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I’ve been thinking about writing this post for a few days already and I’ve been stumped on where to begin.  Do I begin to tell you they first met when she was a baby and he a toddler? Do I fast forward to when they met again, 20 or so years later? Do I begin on their wedding day, 25 years ago today? No. This is not just a story.  It is not just a list of chronological events that brought us to this day.  No. It is much more than that.  It is a story about love.  More than a story, it’s a life.  A life story that began when 2 people vowed to love each other and stand by each other no matter what.  And, it just so happens that these two people are 2 of the people I love most in this world.  They are my family.  My sister and brother-in-law.

Norma and Javier were married when I was 14 years old, I stood in their wedding.  Being the moody teen I was, I’m sure I must have thrown some attitude or created some drama that day.  I speculate because I honestly can’t remember, but it does seem like something I’d do. I was awkward and a horrible teen, but I remember feeling so happy and proud that day.  I can’t really say why, since the day had nothing to do with me. I just felt happy.  I was happy to be a part of my crazy family, happy to be the bride’s sister.  I hope I let her know that day. I probably didn’t.  Well, I am now.

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They celebrate their 25th year wedding anniversary today.  And again, I find myself feeling happy and proud.  Proud to call them my family.  They’ve been through a lot in their 25 years of marriage but it’s nothing they can’t handle together.  They stand by each other through good and bad.  While other marriages around them have crumbled through the years, theirs stands stronger than ever.  Their love and devotion to each other and to their family is evident in all they do.

In their 25 years of marriage they have lived in 3 different states, raised 2 sons, gone on cruises, and family vacations.  They’ve hosted countless dinners.  They’ve showered so many with their love and generosity.  From different hairstyles and hair loss (sorry I had to go there, Javier!) to the fashions that come and go, from Fast and the Furious to Pitch Perfect, these two know what it means to stick by the one you love.  They’ve laughed, argued, kissed, and danced together hundreds, thousands of times.

Tonight, I see them sitting in their backyard after dinner.  Javier turns on the fire pit, grabs a Heineken, makes Norma a vodka tonic.  They sit in silence, that good warm cozy silence that only comes from sitting next to someone you love and are completely comfortable and content with.  They sip their respective drinks, say happy anniversary to each other.  And I hope while they sit there that they talk about all the good that’s happened in their life.  That they reminisce about all the fun times they’ve had.  That they laugh at the funny stories.  But I hope they not only remember the good times but that they also dream together about the good times to come.  I hope they dream big about their future together and vow to keep on loving each other through the years ahead.

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Happy Anniversary, Norma & Javier!  I love you both to infinity and beyond XO Rivera18