These two are the definition of real. We ran around the beautiful hill they live on in Ojai and swung on some swings under some big trees. Then, we drove down to Emma Wood Beach, rode bikes on the sand, and played in the sunset waves - which you will see in part 2, coming soon! Cannot WAIT to go surfing with these two sometime ... & for their wedding this weekend in Ojai - it's going to be so beautiful. Love you Chris & Lucia! xx
This Vow Renewal with Michelle & Spencer Lillywhite was one for the books. Driving up the mountains to the castle, we had no idea we were in for the thickest blanket of fog I'd ever seen... but God totally had a plan. Spencer's hair became soaked within seconds of preparing, and Michelle tried not to shake in the cold, but God, showing up in His glorious wonder like he always does, had the sun peak out RIGHT after they renewed their vows. The clouds thinned, and overlooking the valley were the gorgeous California mountains and sunshine. It was so fun - it was such an adventure - and the best part - it completely challenged me to shoot in dense, cold, wet, fog. I think these two did a pretty darn good job looking hot as ever while battling the elements -- which reminds us, yet again, no matter what the weather, amazing moments can be experienced AND captured. Love you Michelle & Spence! xx
Ps- check out the vows written on glass pieces! Thought this up and had a friend help me create them! If you or anyone you know is interested in something like this, contact me :) Thankful for all the wonderful vendors, whom you can find at the end of the share! /////
Event design: Cake & Punch /// Photography: Natalie Schutt Photography /// Florals: Alt Florals /// Cake: Sugar Lab Bake Shop /// Rentals: Sundrop Vintage /// Jewelry: UNCVRD Jewelry /// Dress: The Dress Theory /// Makeup: Studio Artist Collective /// Invites & Paper Goods: Pirouette Paper Company /// Ribbon: Silk and Willow /// Suit: H&M ///
Hey guys! Thanks for taking a peak at this non-wedding post. It may not have pretty pictures, but I think it has some cool info :).
Along Matt & my's journey to purchasing a home in Southern California not far from the ocean, we learned a lot of valuable lessons and tips that we wanted to share with you —especially if it’s your goal to be a first-time home buyer in Southern California!
Now, you might read these points and think they are “no-brainer” tips – and if you do think that, you are completely right! Our first lesson we learned on our journey was even when we knew what the answers were, in order to create a PLAN OF ACTION, we had to visually SEE them. This helped us realize we COULD make them happen. These things are doable! The challenge is, do you want to commit to doing them? We are all capable of taking on any challenge!
Saving Money: THIS is key to purchasing a home – because you have a down payment to make.
So What Big Things Hinder Us Californians From Saving in This Day and Age?
1. RENTING is a big one. Renting, as awesome as it is for us in our teens, twenties, and thirties, is a secret killer to saving money in SoCal. Some jobs/situations make it difficult to avoid renting, I get that. However, if you can sacrifice by living at your parents/family member's house or finding another source of more affordable housing (don't be afraid to think outside the box), you can save thousands of dollars a year – which gets you that much closer to your home-owning goals! Here are some great money-saving books that helped Matt & me:
- The Richest Man in Babylon
- Think & Grow Rich
2. DEBT. This is also a secret killer to saving money. Student debt, car debt, consumer debt such as credit cards, all that debt goes against your freedom for future purchasing and qualifying for any sort of loan (not only for a house!). Debt is overwhelming, and most of the time, we are too scared to check in and see what we have ball & chained to us. Just remember – you are not alone and it is NOT impossible! You can conquer that debt and not let it have control over your life! A motivational book that helped us take care of any debt is called Dear Debt. It is written by a woman who conquered $81,000 of student loans and shares her inspiring story alongside of the tools she used!
- Dear Debt
(You CAN have debt when purchasing a house, but if your debt/income ratio isn’t favorable, qualifying for a loan is difficult.)
What Habits Help Us Californians Save in this Day and Age?
1. Cutting Down Consumer Spending: Think about what you purchase every day. Do you really need everything you buy to actually get by?
2. Budgeting: A great budgeting app for your smartphone is called “Every Dollar,” created by Dave Ramsey. Matt & I use it every day – and it definitely helps us stick to our budgeting goals! Try it out!
A few Basic Reminders About Qualifying for a Home Loan!
1. CONSISTENT INCOME. In order to qualify for a loan, the lender has to prove that you can afford the mortgage payment every month. They ask for your income salary and, if you own your own business, they take your average income of the past few years.
2. STRONG CREDIT. You also want to have the best credit score you possibly can – so pay off those credit cards and loans!
3. Can’t afford the loan by yourself? It’s great to have a partner! Having a partner bumps up your total qualifying income, because they combine your incomes together. What if you don’t have a go-to partner? That’s okay – it is still possible! Other partners, like a family member, could co-sign on the loan in order to help you qualify for the house you want!
4. First time home buyers: if you are a Veteran, you can qualify with 0% down. If it is a FHA loan you take out, you can qualify with 3% down. There are other types of loans (Freddie Mac, Fannie Mae, etc.) that you can educate yourself on – but there is one rule that will never change: the more money you can put down, the more competitive your offer is!
A Few More Books that Helped Us with a Goal-Oriented Mindset and Positive Spirit:
- Miracle Morning
- The Leader Who Had No Title
- The Power of Now
- The 15 Invaluable Laws of Growth
There is so much more to learn on your home-buying journey, but I hope that this info brings to the surface some basic ideas to chew over! Hearing of & being reminded of these things throughout Matt & I’s process helped us BIG TIME. Set goals, challenge yourself, and know that you CAN do whatever you set your mind to! Shoutout to our parents, Jim & Sue Birmingham, our friends, and Jesus. Happy Sunday friends!
(And if you are looking for beyond-exceptional real estate agents that care about YOU and your dreams, get in touch with Dennis & Jennifer Schutt at firstname.lastname@example.org & email@example.com! Hey, what do you know, it's my parents! )
A little backstory that blows my mind.
Rod + Lorin met when Lorin was 15, when she stood in line in front of a surf store to get some professional surfer’s autographs. Rod was her last autograph, & not knowing his name but thinking he was pretty cute, she remembers telling her friend, “he’s such dream. I would marry him in a heartbeat.” Fast forward a few years, and that same professional surfer moved in below her parents house— total fate. Lorin kept it cool but loved seeing him drive off to the beach in his car loaded up with surfboards. In 2006, they decided to give dating a shot, and this year on their 10 year anniversary, Rod + Lorin exchanged vows! Rod, professionally surfing for 5 years and traveling to places like Fiji, France, & South America for competitions established his undeniable love for the ocean since high school. Lorin, growing up a southern california beach babe, had the same love— and so there was no question: Malibu beach was where it had to happen. Check out how the beautiful rainy day unfolded perfectly. Fun facts: Peyton, their beautiful little girl was their flower girl (who better?!), and lorin wore her mother's jimmy choos for "something borrowed," always wanting to walk in her mom's footsteps. Love you rod and lorin! xx
Pat & Casey got married in Avila Beach, CA, nestled back in the hills at See Canyon Fruit Ranch, and it was one of the best summer celebrations I got to witness. The entire bridal party was having so much fun all day - from the getting ready to the mini dance party they had surrounding the bride and groom right after they became husband and wife. One of my favorite parts of the evening was during the reception. Pat, a very talented musician, took his bride by the hand to stand up in front of their guests to sing a "thank you" song for attending their day instead of giving a speech. It was the first time Casey sang in front of an audience - and they sang it together. It was so raw and in the moment, i had tears in my eyes. Such a cool way to make their wedding their own. I even tried to film a piece of it (and learned my hands shake like crazy) to try to preserve that special memory. I love these types of weddings -- the ones with genuine celebration, genuine moments, and genuine people. Congratulations Pat & Casey, love you both a TON! xx
Photography: natalie schutt photography // bridesmaid dress: BHLDN // Bridesmaid dresses: Show me your Mumu // Venue: See canyon fruit ranch //