I’ve known Whitney since I was 9 years old. I have fond memories of us exploring the forests of our backyards in northern California, playing with our American Girl dolls (Josefina was my favorite), and having sleepovers every weekend where I would tell her what boy from our church I was love with this week and would absolutely and definitely marry. (It never happened.) She was my first best friend.
The day Whitney’s family moved to Utah was an odd day for me. She came over, tears streaming down her face saying how much she would miss me. I on the other hand, refused to cry. Because crying meant that the rumor of her moving to another state were true and I simply wouldn’t believe it. If you must know, I cried a few weeks later when my mom told me I couldn’t walk to her house because “no, it’s not a joke she really did move.”
Over the years we grew apart, long distance does that to relationships. We reconnected over Facebook my senior year of highschool. She had taken up photography. And she was good. Like really good. I was impressed and surprised she had chosen that career. I mean, what ever happened to her wanting to be a veterinarian and having like 10 cats and 6 dogs and possibly one horse? I guess it is normal to choose a different career path than the one you wanted when you were 10 years old.
When I got engaged I asked to her to do my engagements, bridals, and wedding photos. I was one of her very first clients to book a full wedding package with her. To give you the short of the long of it, her photos of my sweet, tiny family decorate the walls of our home. We joke that Whitney is our “lifelong photographer” since she has taken family photos for us every year and that no one will ever take photos of us but her. I say it’s a joke, but secretly there is no truer statement out there.
When I started out my business she was the first creative I messaged. The thought of my work being photographed by her made me have a weird fan girl moment. I was up and awake the whole night before, nervous that whatever I created wouldn’t be good enough. (My bouquet was just okay.) I think it is so funny that we both ended up in this unforgiving but highly rewarding industry. Who would have thought that the little girls with unwashed hair and dirty faces playing in the woods would become wedding professionals 17 years later? In all honesty, it doesn’t really surprise me. We had such wild imaginations and although at the time we didn’t really understand what that would entail; I think having all of those crazy, jumbled thoughts were a sign of our creativity and wanting to make beautiful things.
Even though I now live in Utah (and she moved back to California!), California will always somewhat always feel like home to me. Since I go out to visit so often, it only made sense that we get together and make some magic.
“This time,” I told myself, “I will create something worthy for her to photograph.”
I know this all sounds like, incredibly dramatic but these kinds of thoughts really do happen in my head. I only seem cool from the outside 😉 Whitney invited another photographer, Nataly (who is also AMAZING at what she does), to tag along; because she is legitimately the coolest person ever and values community over competition you should seriously hire her for your next event….
Overall, I’m just ecstatic how the photos turned out. I’m not really a beach person, but give me fog and rocks and freezing cold winds and I’ll be there. I bought flowers that morning at the San Francisco flower market and cried the entire time I was there. Why, oh why, do I live in a state that doesn’t have a flower market? It was unbelieveable. I spent probably 2 hours wandering around before I actually decided to start purchasing things. For those of you who live near markets: I secretly hate you. Just kidding. But seriously you are all so blessed! When I finished the bouquet, I got butterflies. It was huge! And grand! And just full of fun, textural blooms. She is my kind of lady. I hope to be able to make a sister for her someday.
To Whitney, you are still one of my closest friends who I admire! Thank you for some of the best childhood memories that I have and for continuing to be such loving and understanding friend. Your work is one that I constantly marvel at and I hope we can to cross paths again soon!
Photography: Whitney Justesen Photography
Flowers: Roots Floral Design (that’s me!)
Dress: Adrianna Papell