Rachel+Joe :: Dubuque, IA Wedding

I first met Rachel when she was a bridesmaid in a wedding I was photographing. When I got the email that she wanted me to photograph HER wedding, I was ecstatic.

I love traveling to different parts of the country for weddings, so when she started describing her Mississippi Riverside Iowa wedding I was already sold.

Rachel + Joe are one of the most laid back, down to earth couples I have ever had the pleasure of working with. They were down for whatever; walking on the sandy beach in her wedding gown, traipsing through areas with horse poo just to get to the best spot, posing near active train tracks, climbing old train cars, the list goes on. It is always so refreshing to work with people like this. The focus of their day was their love and nothing could get in the way of them celebrating that. It was fantastic!

Congrats on your new life together! xo Stacy + Joe

Mmm mm mmmmmm, check out her Christian Louboutin shoes!

First look goodness!

I was obsessed with these Banana Republic bridesmaid dresses. LOVE!

Boys will be boys!

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Coffee Talk Monday #76- Traveler Edition

Since July I have been to Wisconsin, San Francisco/Sonoma, Oregon, California and Iowa with upcoming trips to Missouri, Colorado and finishing up in New York in October.

For the last two months I haven’t spent more than 10 days at home without heading back on the road again. I have loved getting to explore different parts of the country and am SO blessed by the experiences.

But after 9+ hours of traveling yesterday, I am happy to spend the next week and a half in good ole’ Arizona refueling for the next trip.

It’s going to be a good one!

Happy Monday :)

Here’s a little peek at our most recent trip to Iowa. It was beautiful there!

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Bianca + Michael :: Mexican/Filipino Desert Wedding

When Bianca first contacted me about her + Michael’s Mexican/Filipino Desert-themed California wedding, I thought ‘I have to shoot this wedding!’. Thankfully my dreams came true :).

They did such a fantastic time executing the theme. The details and colors had me swooning! The only thing that was easier to photograph were the bride and groom themselves.

There love for one another is so evident, it definitely made my job an easy one :). On top of that, they treated me and my second shooter for the day (Brian of Pixel That Photography) with such kindness and gratitude. It’s couples like them that make my job everything that it is.

Bianca+Micahel, congrats again on your new life together. It was an honor to share in your day with you. I hope these images allow you to relive the joy and beauty of it all.

xo, Stacy Kokes

This is why I LOVE first looks…

Thanks to Brian for these two shots below.

I could not get enough of this girl. She radiates joy!

One of my favorite bridal images…EVER! Bianca, you are contagious :)

Love Brian’s image of the church on the right below :)

I could not get over the cuteness of these kiddos!

I was so grateful that Brian was able to capture this series below.

Best bridesmaids dresses…EVER!

This ring shot? It makes me swoon. Thank you Brian and thank you 100 2.8 macro!

Romantic much??

Their peach and mint desert-themed details stole my heart…

Amazing live music!

Even the bride and groom joined in!

…and family as well!

Special thanks to Brian of Pixel That Photography for second shooting with me and for grabbing these behind the scenes shots as well :)

  • August 16, 2012 - 11:05 pm

    Jessie Fox Rustad - Wow! What a gorgeous wedding! I LOVE her bouquet! Love all of your shots, especially the ones inside the church <3.

  • August 17, 2012 - 2:27 am

    Brian Carter - I’m lovin’ it! So much fun working with you Stacy. BAM! We rocked this wedding :)

  • August 17, 2012 - 2:56 am

    Sarah 'Fritz' Martin - Wow! What a lovely couple and beautiful wedding. You and Brian did an amazing job. :)

  • August 17, 2012 - 1:33 pm

    Anonymous - Great work, I am so happy for my niece. She will have these amazing photos for ever.

  • August 18, 2012 - 6:28 am

    Rosalie Rodriguez - Ahhh! Bianca you look so BEAUTIFUL! and you too mikey :-) hehe.
    Thank you so much for sending me this link. I LOVE the pictures. Great capturing of such wonderful moments. Wish I could have been there in person. Congratulations again to the both of you.

  • September 6, 2012 - 4:56 am

    Darleene Powells - What a beautiful wedding. I love how the Mexican and Filipino details mix together so well, but I suppose it makes sense since both cultures are evolved forms of Spanish culture. I can’t wait to blog this.

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Bianca+Michael :: Santa Ana, CA Engagement Session

A beauty that radiates far beyond the exterior. A love that flows from the heart and is made evident in the way they treat one another and those around them. A faith that runs deep in their souls and is made manifest in their actions, speech and interactions.

This is Bianca + Michael. The kind of couple you are honored to be around!

xo, Stacy Kokes


sweet as can be

this girl is contagious in the best way possible!

what splendor!

i love their love!

Bianca! You are beyond beautiful.


Stay tuned for their wedding images….COMING SOON!!!


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Coffee Talk Monday #75- Bye Bye Beamer Edition

It was the car we had our first date in (In n’ Out Burger style!). The car that drove us to our San Diego honeymoon. The car that had to get towed 212 miles on our way home from Vegas after the clutch blew out. The car that has so many memories attached to it.

Joe’s dream car. A 2002 BMW M5. Gray with two-tone red and black leather interior. Sport Package.

I loved that it always had the same sweet leather smell that I can recall from my very first ride. And the way it knocked me back in my seat a little every time we pulled onto the freeway. And how I could hear Joe driving into our neighborhood long before he reached our driveway. I loved the way I felt as he opened my door and I stepped into the passenger seat. My seat.

As I read through The Total Money Makeover earlier this year, I became so inspired by each couple’s testimony but one stuck out to me the most. They were a young couple in their twenties with mountains of debt ($169,000 to be exact!). They attributed it to things like frivolous spending on house stuff and clothes (something I have been guilty of), vacations and the big one….the BMW purchase. I felt the knot well up in my throat as this was hitting a little too close to home. But I read on…

‘We got crazy and sold our rental property, and we paid off the BMW, department-store card, medical bills, and student loan. We were invited to do fun stuff, and to spend money doing it, but we held off. We decided to have a garage sale that ended up looking like an estate sale; we ate ‘creative’ meals, and then I committed what some people would consider the ultimate sin: I sold my wife’s BMW’

I inwardly laughed as I read that line as I, too, could understand how unthinkable this is to a BMW owner. Sell the BMW?! Yea right! But I read on again…

‘We knew that if our family could just make it through these six months, we could ultimately change our family tree. And we did it! We became debt-free except for the house and were named one of the Total Money Makeover finalists. The most important part of this whole process was learning to delay pleasure. It’s like Dave says, “Live like no one else, so later you can live like no one else!”

Wow! Talk about inspirational! $169,000 of debt…gone?! If they can handle that, surely we can tackle our hill. So for the past 6 months, we have been committed to becoming debt-free and are seeing the fruit little by little. And this weekend, we also ‘committed what some people would consider the ultimate sin’: we sold the BMW M5! We are now that much closer to being debt-free!

For as much as I will miss things about the BMW, I am excited to ‘live like no one else, so later we can live like no one else!’

Bye, Bye Beamer!! We shall meet again someday :) But next time we’re paying CASH!

It always seemed to put a smile on my face!

Except when I had to watch it being towed behind me :(. And even that makes for a good story!

Bye Bye Beamer, Hello soon-to-be debt-free life!

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