I recently returned from Minneapolis, Minnesota where I shot the wedding of Mattie Crawford and Vince DiDona. When I have the chance to head out to the midwest it’s usually an opportunity to see a lot of old friends. In this particular case the brides family and I go back a number of years – I met Mattie eight years ago in Florida when we were both lifeguards. But I met her family years later while attending school in Michigan. I photographed the second half of her gymnastics career for our college newspaper. Vince was a college wrestler, and while I don’t recall shooting him at his meets, I do remember photographing a number of his groomsmen that were on the team.

So, there were of course a lot of the gymnasts from college attending, as well as other friends that I knew from school but hadn’t seen in many years. It was awesome to catch up and see so many people. And I joked with Mattie that it would probably be a lot easier to shoot her walking down an aisle instead of flying and flipping through the air, hahaha.

I flew out to Minneapolis one day after returning to Socal from the SF Bay Area where I was the week before shooting the Balatoni wedding. So the quick turnaround was somewhat tricky – especially knowing that I had to return to the Bay after flying home to Socal from Minnesota. Yep. Lots of traveling right now.

But it was awesome to see Mattie’s family again. Honestly, I can’t believe had been five years since seeing all of them. It makes you realize how fast the time really does go by. It had only been two years since I last saw Mattie and Vince at the Knudson wedding in Michigan during the summer in 2009. Everyone looked the same, so it was like no time had really passed as I caught up with the family after arriving. The Crawfords are wonderful people and truly made me feel like family during all the sports events I would see them at during college – which was awesome since I was 3,000 miles from my own family.
I met a lot of the extended family, friends, and Vince’s family as we passed the time before heading to the rehearsal.

The wedding was going to be at St. Boniface – a huge old catholic church. The pastor who would be marrying Mattie & Vince turned out to be a very cool guy. He told me I was more than welcome to use flash as long as I wasn’t obnoxious about it. AWESOME. You have to love any catholic church that allows flash – I would say that 9/10 do not. The rehearsal was a breeze, and everyone shared in laughs as they figured out order of events and people for the ceremony.
Dinner was after at a nearby park where the families had decorated the picnic area with lanterns and candles.

Mattie and Vince’s wedding day was incredibly smooth. I spent the morning hanging out with the bridesmaids and bride, as usual. The problem, if you call it that, is that I hadn’t seen most of these girls in five years… so catching up a little bit was inevitable and I had to keep some conversations short so I could bounce between the rooms the girls were getting ready in.
After heading to the church we did a first-look that way we could shoot all the family photos before the ceremony. It helped shuffle everyone out the door after the wedding, and allowed us time to go out and get a few images with the downtown skyline in the background. The image above we tried twice. And there was just no way we were going to get everyone’s faces showing with 21 people on a high-traffic bridge on Friday afternoon… ha!

The reception was a blast and I even had time to sit and catch up with the Favazza family who attended the wedding! They are Lisa’s family from the Knudson wedding two years ago; and I would definitely consider them one of my many extended families out in Michigan now, haha. I also had time to catch up with the gymnast girls more, and even Mr. Langley, one of the gymnast dads I used to see and talk to at all the meets. Really it was just awesome to catch up with everyone. Makes me realize I need to take a trip to MI and the Great Lakes areas soon. Or maybe after winter…

Saturday after the wedding was pretty chill. I actually didn’t end up taking any photos and instead socialized and relaxed with everyone. We all had a picnic out in the park and spent the evening hanging out at the hotel.

Minneapolis was great. I had an awesome time and it’s a really cool area in the parts that I got to see. Who knows, maybe I’ll eventually be heading that way. For those of you who remember, earlier this year I was one of the nationally selected applicants for the Viking’s team photographer position. They postponed interviews unfortunately so I don’t know if it will open up again to continue the interview process.

Mattie and Vince, I had an awesome time. Vince, your family is wonderful and I’m so glad I got to spend some time getting to know them in between all the running around. Mattie, you know I love your family, they’re amazing. To everyone else that are old friends or new, it was great catching up, and awesome to meet the rest of you between all my running around.

After the break are over 150 images from the wedding. As usual I’ll throw in various captions here and there. Otherwise simply enjoy them, I liked a lot.

Mr. Crawford has some snazzy shoes picked out for tomorrow…

Watching John’s reaction to the whole thing was pretty cool. He was just sitting there smiling the whole time.

Good work ladies!

Dinner that evening was outside at the park. A bit chilly, but pretty.

After dinner everyone went to decorate the venue for the party tomorrow.

The men, workin hard to stay out of the way of the women, who were all pretty focused.

Getting ready the next morning

Sarah and Lisa


Kara, doing Mrs. Crawford’s hair

Mr. Crawford bought both Mattie and her sister Sarah matching bracelets – from what the salesgirl knew they’re pretty much two of a kind.

Father-in-law delivering a note to his new son-in-law

Mattie’s custom hanger. Pretty cool, huh?

A few small touches and hair is all done!

Mother and daughter

Father and son… and me in the background, ha! Jake is the oldest of his siblings.

Doesn’t matter the dress, this is always a little tricky to make sure you’re doing correctly.

Mattie getting some jewelry help from mom.

Ms. Crawford, shortly to be Mrs. DiDona

Mattie and Mrs. Favazza! I met the Favazza family two years ago when I photographed Lisa’s wedding.

All you ladies have AWESOME faces…

We did a first look before everyone arrived.

It’s really cute to watch the Crawfords interact.

Assembly line for boutonnieres.

Now THAT is a big wedding party. Second largest I’ve shot.

(Soon to be) Mr. and Mrs. DiDona

The girls had some scrapes from their shoes. Cartoon band-aids make everything better though.

Me and Mattie just before the ceremony begins!

First look or not, ALWAYS watch the groom’s reaction. It’s always touching.

I’m glad I caught Mr. Crawford’s expression after handing off his youngest to Vince.

Ella wasn’t having too much fun up there… hahaha!

Exchanging of vows

Exchanging of rings

I’m 95% positive I’m actually not allowed to shoot during this part… whoops

Not afraid to cheese it up for the camera when she saw me though!

Man and Wife!

I really like this picture. Little girls in little dresses and shoes shoe be required at all weddings.

Making things official

I joked that Mattie would definitely come up with a challenge like 21 people on a high traffic bridge in the middle of Friday afternoon AND shooting into the sun. Haha.

So while we were on the bridge a guy named Jacob pulled up on his bike to do a few photos with another photographer. He was kind enough to let us take some shots on it!

Everyone pile in!

This background seriously looks like we’re at Disneyworld with all the fake backgrounds you can take photos with…

The most important photo on the bridge was this one..

Mattie and Vince used these custom concert tickets for their table assignments

Everyone had to wait in the stairway for introductions

The rings, and favors.

The napkins that Mattie made for the reception

I don’t know what was funnier… Nick’s story about Vince’s love letters as a kid to TV stars… or Nick pointing out that Vince found himself a red-headed version of Kelly Kapowski, the TV character he loved as a kid; and one that was as flexible as Mattie is, too. HAHAHAHA

Mr. Crawford was showing photos from childhood… clearly Mattie was immediately embarrassed.

Some of former CMU gymnasts I used to photograph in college! Yay!

Mattie and Vince had two cakes because of food allergies! How sweet!

I thought this was a pretty cute photo. But I’m not sure if the girl standing there is distracting…

This look better? haha

Amber, teaching Ella a few photography tips.

First dance as husband and wife.

I love the Daddy-Daughter dance.

And Mattie is Mr. Crawford’s youngest of five children.

Vince was watching, too. It was really sweet.

The mother-son dance was really emotional. Everyone was getting a bit misty because it was such a touching moment.

The Crawfords were the only ones left during the anniversary/years-married dance.

Both their shoes for the wedding said “I Do”

Me and DiDona’s!

“I Do”

Craig and Bubba in a dance off… and Craig is FOCUSED

…which quickly turned to laughter

Whitney BARELY missed the bouquet. Jules RAN out of the way, haha!

A little more breaking it down

Me with Mr. and Mrs. Favazza!
Haven’t seen them since Lisa’s wedding two years ago. And apparently Lisa is really short cuz this photo was shot super low.

Pulled Lisa into the photo, too!

Me with Lindsay and Lisa! Haven’t seen them since last summer when I was in Michigan to shoot the D’Orazio wedding.

Me and the Knudsons! Lisa and Craig.

Anthony and Vince!

Of course there has to be SOME Irish dance at the wedding. Actually the Irish and Italian parts were probably the most fun

Slideshow toward the end of the evening

Mattie and Vince escaped to the corner of the room for a bit to have some privacy. But, they called me over to get one quick photo of them.

Check it out! There’s a party upstairs! Haha, caught this at the end of the night


Everyone’s gettin low… Steph poses for the camera. Haha! Heart her!

Last dance of the night. Vince was holding Mattie pretty tight. Very, very sweet.

Me, Steph and Whitney.

And just because Steph and I have a shot like this from the last wedding.

“Hey. HEY! Got a table here!!” -Craig

And remember, when you party hard.. you crash pretty hard eventually.

Whew! Finally wrapping up this blog after 4 hours of work on it. I’m sure there were a couple typos that I missed. Sorry.

But again, I had a wonderful time seeing everyone. I can’t say it enough, but I loved catching up and spending time out there. While at CMU I met so many wonderful athletes and their families. Many of them have become a bigger part of my life as I’ve been able to travel and shoot moments likes these for them in the years since those meets and competition in the gym, on the field, or on the courts.

Mattie and Vince, again, thank you. I hope you enjoy the photos so far. Love you both!

For everyone else that read this far, stay tuned for some upcoming fashion shots in upcoming blogs.

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