Our Favorite Custom Groomsmen Gift | By: Patrick Crossley

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Patrick here….I'm not normally the one to provide the content for the Alisha Crossley Photography blog posts.  Primarily because my better half is a much more talented writer and communicator than I.  If, however, I am an expert in anything, it's bourbon.  Given this, I'll be providing feedback on the "Flask in Cask" gift from Groovy Guy Gifts (groovyguygifts.com). We were asked to review one item from this site and give our report. Clearly. I chose the flask.

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As a photographer, bourbon is not only a past time, but a necessary tool in my bag on a wedding day.  There has rarely been a wedding where I wasn't prepared. Alisha travels with bobby pins and safety clips for the girls. For the boys, however, I pack the best "just in case" item.   In the hours leading up to a wedding, nervousness can reach a fever pitch.  Even though our couples are historically madly in love, nervous energy is an automatic response.  Often, a small pop of a Kentucky-distilled beverage is just the right medicine.

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Secondly, barrel-aged refreshments often go hand-in-hand with the male bonding process.  While Alisha spends the majority of her wedding day time with the ladies, I am typically with the gents capturing the details of the pre-nuptial activities.  Depending on the crowd, these activities often involve storytelling and libations.  To capture comfortable, casual, honest photos, I must earn the trust of these fine gentlemen, which often requires sharing a drink with them.  It's a burden I must bear and I don't take the responsibility lightly.  The sharing of my own supply of fine bourbons facilitates the relationship-building process.

Just as a photographer should have a flask at his disposal at all times, so should any gentleman.  I have test-driven a number of flasks over the years.  In my opinion, the single most important factor is finding the perfect combination of capacity and ease of carry.  While carrying a generous portion is desirable a flask must be sized appropriately to comfortably carry in the jacket or trouser pocket without hindering one from cutting a rug on the dance floor.  Enter the Flask in Cask from groovyguygifts.com.  Upon my first carry of this flask, I essentially forgot that it was in my pocket due to its ideal dimensions.  Happily, there was no trade off in volumetric capacity as this flask holds a full 7 ounces.  The flask carries a beautiful inscription that can be customized with up to five lines of your specified text.  This text could be a name or a phrase of your choice.  It comes packaged in a rugged wooden "Cask," also engraved with a shield and initials, making for an attractive gift.  You can easily order larger quantities of the flask with customized personalization on each one. Guys ... your groomsmen will love this. Legit.

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Additionally, it's not the only personalized product available from groovyguygifts.com.  There are a variety of combinations of flasks, knives, shot glasses, barware, wallets, etc. Check outgroovyguygifts.com and find something that your guys will carry with them in the future.  

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3 Tips for Including Your Dog in Photos

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Our couples often ask about bringing along dogs for engagement sessions and even the wedding day. It is the second most exciting question we get - just after "will you shoot our wedding" :) Patrick and I like controlled chaos, so believe me when I say that we LOVE photographing our couples with their dogs. We have a Golden Retriever and sweet Spaniel rescue at our home ... our girls ARE family. We are well versed in working with little ones of the human and non-human type (hello - three HUMAN kids also ;), so know that we are willing and ready to include your dog!

 We won't stop short of dancing like a fool to make your fur friend look at the camera or shouting his favorite code words. Aside from that, though, there are a few things that can help the session go splendidly well.

Here are three short tips to help make your dog filled photography experience perfect!

1) Dogs Come First: Plan on having your dog come at the beginning of the engagement session or just after the first look. We can get your pal in and out before he becomes a party pooper (totally bad joke ;) But seriously! 

2) Have a Handler:  Invite a helper along to take over your fur friend once his debut is over. You get the darling pictures without wrangling your pup all day ;)

3) Dress The Dog: Consider leash and collar choices when planning your session. We know you've spent countless hours preparing yourself for these pictures, but don't forget to make your four legged friend look his best, too! Floral collars are also a DARLING touch .... see the one above from HotHouse Design Studio.

We encourage our couples to choose locations and elements truly special to them. This is one of the main reasons we adore adding in your pets. They help get you laughing and interacting naturally ... authenticity is beautiful. Be sure to give us a heads up if you plan on bringing your pup, so we can verify venue rules and guidelines. We can't wait to help you plan your session! Check out a few pup filled images below that have our heart! 

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Our Last Baby

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This is it. November 14th. Your first birthday, love. My last first birthday to celebrate as a momma. Today is the beginning of so many of your firsts … and simultaneously, so many of my lasts.

 

I had similar sentiments with both your brother and sister. I wept when Bryant took his last bottle because just like you, that little friend loved meal time. He would get so excited at the site of his “ba-ba” … snuggling so tightly until he drifted into a sweet slumber. There was the hope of another baby, so these lasts felt less … final. As years inched on, though, your Daddy and I began to think that maybe Bryant was meant to be an “only.” We tried to find peace in that. There were seasons of hurt, tears, and then forgiveness and acceptance. When it was least expected – literally the day after an intense Crosffit competition – that little stick said PREGNANT.

 

We were more than prepared to soak in this last baby experience. Your sister was easy to love. My first girl … our only girl. I savored each little outfit, her full head of dark hair, and oh, that baby smell.  I cried deeply the last time she nursed. See Thad, she was supposed to be the last baby. I readied myself for being done with this season and then – oh then – God had a beautiful miracle. He blessed us with you … our precious bonus baby.

 

Another baby wasn’t planned, but it also wasn’t completely off limits. Decisions are hard for your momma, pal. I always feel empowered in the middle ground of “maybes” where options live. Another baby wasn’t a hard no … but it was also a “most likely not”. I haphazardly boxed up our chapter of sleepless nights and nursing. Two littles. One boy and one girl. And a very small maybe lingered. Then suddenly that little maybe became a very CLEAR - yet unexpected -yes. There was initial panic on my part then your daddy put it all into perspective (like he always does as you’ll learn ;). Dad said you would be “a great adventure.” Oh, how right he was.

 

These last couple of weeks I have found myself full of big feelings.  This is it, sweet love. We are really done this time. My once maybe is a certain no now. I feel relief in taping up that box. But in the midst of the relief is undeniable grief. I will never grow another life in my womb. The tiny first kicks and flutters have come and gone. They will never be mine to feel and delight in again. I will never place a brand new baby to my chest… and sustain a sweet life with my own. The finality of it all feels big today, pal. The end of something so beautiful Is bound to be a little sad, right?

 

I am so content with our dynamic and how you’ve completed our family, Thad. You are the perfect caboose to this crazy train. Saying goodbye to this season, though, is harder than I expected. I know there will be so much joy in the chapters to come, and my heart is SO thankful that we have an extra little one with which to experience each last. Today we celebrate our sweet chunker. Our Tad-pole. Our little Boo-Boo Chick Chick. You have the sweetest temperament, love. My momma heart may be complex and confusing at times, but one thing will always be a hard yes. You ARE loved to the moon and back for all time. Happy Birthday, Thad!!!!

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Photos by: Mallory Mellichar

Emily & Evan | The Proposal

I find little more intense than impregnable moments like a proposal. The moment is full of hopes, declarations, anticipation and abundant, authentic emotion. Being asked to capture all of that goodness? Completely and amazingly epic. 

Sweet Emily made good on her "yes" to Evan and became his wife this weekend. Their day was one for the books. I think after looking at these images you can imagine what our post on their big day will be like ;) 

 

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Michelle & Theron | Engagement Session Highlights | The Botanical Gardens, Birmingham, AL

Michelle shares my love for Boston and sweet pups :) We emailed in the wee hours of the morning getting to know one another as we planned her and Theron's engagement session. Michelle is a talented travel nurse who at the time had the joyous night shift. Like many of our brides, she is juggling a career, planning a move and managing a long distance relationship - all while planning a wedding. 

It is also for this reason Michelle knew to hire a capable wedding planner ... someone who could implement plans here in Birmingham while she focused on her other roles in Boston and beyond.  The M. Elizabeth Weddings and Events team has a wonderful day mapped out for these two on Saturday. We cannot wait to see all the details! You know what I hear most from brides post wedding?? We should have hired a planner ;) 

I hope you enjoy this little recap of Michelle and Theron's engagement session at the lovely Botanical Gardens and Grand Bohemian Hotel in Mountain Brook, AL :)

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Anna Claire & Mike | The Club, Birmingham, AL | Wedding Day Highlights

We were in Rosemary Beach celebrating our thirteenth wedding anniversary when Anna Claire's momma called. Anna Claire had been a bridesmaid in one of our recent weddings, and we were so honored to receive the recommendation. I knew immediately that this sweet family would be the perfect for for us! 

Anna Claire and Mike proved to be a dream to work with and much more. Their outer beauty is equally matched by their sincere love and care for those around them. The Club is a personal favorite in Birmingham ... I love the iconic presence of this venue! Patrick and I recently joined in hopes that our very own Evie Beth will say "I do" here MANY years from now (she's three ;) 

As I take time to nurture the blog and catch up on a multitude of weddings and sessions, Anna Claire and Mike's big day was a clear obvious start. Meet the Merks!

Vendors: 

Planner: Jayne Bubis Events

Venue: The Club

Getting Ready Venue: The Grand Bohemian

Floral Design: Hothouse Designs

Bridal Dress: The White Room

Dress Designer: Anne Barge

Cake: Sweet Magnolia

Paper: You're Invited

Rentals: Please Be Seated

 

 

Callen & Rusty | Wedding Day Highlights Birmingham, AL

With a heart for family and each other, Callen and Rusty established their ever after in a beautiful ceremony on August 5, 2017. I am simply in love with the colors and gorgeous details that these two chose!

Wedding Day Fav: Callen honored her late mother with a celebratory balloon release including all of the bridal party. There were sweet tears shed but the moment is one I will never forget. (See image below)

Congratulations Callen and Rusty! Patrick and I so enjoyed capturing your day! 

Vendors: 

Planner - M. Elizabeth Weddings and Events

Videographer - Holloway Productions

Floral Design - Hothouse Design Studio

Linens - Hothouse Design Studio

Catering - Birmingham Country Club

Cake Baker - Edgar's Bakery

Transportation - Rare Transportation

Bride + Groom Transportation - Coats Classic Cars

Lighting Design - AG Lighting

Reception Entertainment - Rhythm Nation

Hair Stylist & Make Up Artist - Brittany Massey 

 

 

Welcome Boxes

Welcome Boxes

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Fall Mini Sessions 2017

Fall Family Sessions are currently live! These sessions are perfect for Christmas cards and gifts. As a fellow momma, I think it is SO important to document your little ones WITH you at least once a year. We would love to provide you with a memorable session and polished images for years to come. Book here: https://my.bigcartel.com/products/43370192/edit

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Alex & Catherine | Wedding Day

Patrick and I had the privilege of leading this sweet couple through their Church of the Highland's premarital small group. We had already booked Alex and Catherine when we discovered that they were assigned to our group! We simply share with our couples how we've failed and fallen in hopes of giving them a better foundation for success ;) We are constantly  learning and growing in our own marriage ... sharing our experiences with these groups is an incredible opportunity. 

Alex and Catherine have such a tender heart for God. We loved getting to know them both and capturing their memories, too. We invite you to share in the highlights below!

 

 

Presenting | Alisha Crossley Photography

We have spent almost a decade with a brand that felt perfect many many years ago. My first logo was created by a talented designer but a clueless photographer. I really had no grasp on who we were or where we truly wanted to go as a brand. Needless to say, we have learned so much over these nine years. We have outgrown our original logo, color scheme and website … or perhaps we have finally grown INTO the brand you see here.  

 

I am incredibly proud to stand behind this design. Our new color scheme and overall look feels like home to me. Our tender approach and desire to incorporate the polished and candid is all embodied here. Many thanks to our designer Sofia of Magnolia Creative Studio. We are so thankful for all of your hard work! 

 

My Very Own

This has been a incredibly busy season for us. We are so thankful for our precious clients who stood by and trusted us to serve them even through the last few weeks of pregnancy! We are thrilled to welcome this little caboose - Thaddeus Warren Crossley. Thad is named after  Patrick's late grandfather. Our hearts are full and our life IS crazy at times with all three littles, but it it the best kind of crazy ;) 

Born November 14, 2016. weighing 7lbs. 9oz.  

Chase & Katie | Park Crest, Hoover, AL

Chase panicked while picking out a gift for Katie. It was their first Christmas “together” but the togetherness had not been firmly rooted just yet. Unsure of what they were but certain of what he wanted them to be, sweet Chase frantically picked out beautiful mercury glass vases for Katie. As a last minute addition, he grabbed one single candle for the vase duo. Yes. Just one candle ;) The incident became a sweet story over their courtship. Cool and calm Chase had met the girl that made his heart melt and his palms sweaty.

 

Katie unwrapped the second candle with laughter and tears on their wedding day. Chase had remembered to complete the set on the same day that he and Katie became one.

 

Patrick and I were so honored to capture these two. You can see more from their full preview over the next week on our Facebook page! Many thanks to Becky Baker of Becky’s Brides for a flawless wedding day!