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Tulsa Wedding from PenWeddings

Here’s the thing. Every day I fall in love with weddings. It’s literally my job. But every so often a very special wedding comes along, and I fall so hard for it, I can’t stop thinking about it. They are usually emotional weddings. Beautiful weddings. With a very special couple at the center. And after spending time with these weddings, I am filled with a urgent need to kiss my husband. Because the love from these nuptials, which every single one of PenWeddings affairs are, is so strong that can’t help but reminisce about my own wedding day and the kind of love that filled that barn. This wedding is a very special wedding. It’s filled with emotion and beauty, and the couple at the center is absolutely amazing.


Country Club

From the beautiful bride… We were engaged on May 10, 2012 and it was the best day of our lives. This is when we knew for sure that we were starting a new chapter in our lives. We fell in love fast and haven’t stopped loving each other since then. There are still occasional ups and downs, but we do a great job of forgiving and forgetting. Those ups and downs make you stronger every day and that materialistic ring on our fingers is a constant reminder that we were going to get through each tiff whether it was big or little.

Our wedding was exactly what a girl dreams of her whole life. We had our family and friends from all over the country in one room to celebrate with us. That was the most important thing to both of us to have each and every person that we love in one room. That’s what makes the whole experience so special.

I believe that our favorite memory of the wedding weekend and all the planning up to the big day would be the love that we were able to show each other. It is obviously apparent from our wedding video that we are emotional people and we aren’t afraid to show it… well maybe a little, but those tears were truly tears of joy. We love that PenWeddings caught all of these moments for us to remember forever.

If we can give engaged couples any advice it would be to love each other every day and to remember that this is a new chapter for each party involved. Remember that the family traditions of one family will be different from your family and learn to love them for that. Always have patience with one another and help the other one through the tough times. Oh and the biggest thing is to enjoy every minute of this time and don’t let the details creep in and take away your joy. At the end of the day they are just details and loving your significant other and family is the biggest thing and why we are all here in the first place.

Thank you for letting us share our story with you.

From the cinematographer… Brooke and Alex had a beautiful wedding on the golf course at Southern Hills Country Club, followed by a crazy rockin’ reception back inside.  But more important than all of that was the emotion felt and expressed throughout the entire weekend. At their rehearsal dinner at the Tulsa Historical Society we learned that this bunch is not afraid to shed a tear or two… or fifty. And admittedly, I love that! When we’re shooting a wedding I can’t help but get excited when you can feel and see the love in a room. So Alex, I’m sorry we didn’t edit out all of the crying. But I just couldn’t help myself. I couldn’t help but show how fun and loving and emotional and crazy all of you are, because that’s what makes a wedding like this so special.

Cinematography: PenWeddings | Photography: Edmonson Weddings | Coordination & Design: Kirkendall Design | Venue, Catering & Cake: Southern Hills Country Club | Florals: The French Bouquet | Rentals & Décor: Party Pro Rents | DJ/MC: Professor D | Transportation: Old Urban Trolley | Stationery: The Inviting Place and Paper Girl | Hair: Berkshire Salon & Day Spa | Makeup: Shannon Schroeder Fashion & Beauty | Favors: Southern Hills Golf Shop & The Sweet Tooth | Bride’s Gown: Monique Lhuillier from Neiman Marcus | Bridesmaids’ Dresses: Stardust Celebrations | Menswear: Beshara’s Formal Wear

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Tulsa Wedding Film from PenWeddings

As I sit down to write an introduction to this wedding, I find myself speechless. It’s just too special. It’s the kind of day that brings tears to my eyes as I remember just exactly what a wedding is. It’s the beginning of a marriage. The blending of two lives, two families, into one. For better or worse, for sickness or health. PenWeddings captured a magical day for this special couple and we’re just lucky enough to get a little peek.

Photography courtesy of the lovely Andrea Murphy Photography.


From the beautiful bride … Sometimes, life doesn’t go quite the way you planned it.  Sometimes, that’s the best thing that could ever happen to you.

We’d planned an April wedding – in fact, had life gone according to “our plan”, we’d be getting married next Thursday, April 18th.  We’d planned for beautiful blooming trees and gardens.  Not too hot, not too cold.   The bigger details had been completed, the venue, the dresses, the tuxes, the photographer, and invitations were printed.

Ironically, the same month that Darren proposed is the same month I started showing increased signs that something was not quite right.  In October of 2012, we became offically engaged and for the first time I was struck down in pain, literally brought to my knees.  For the next four months, I’d be planning a wedding in between work, children and the pain I would experience and come to know as a daily part of life.

January 30th, I experienced what I called a flare up and decided it was time to try again to find out what the cause was.  Most days I suffered from facial and eye pressure.  A flare up would include that but more extreme, headache, nausea and extreme light and noise sensitivity.  I’d tried five times before to see if someone could figure it out with trips to a doctor, my dentist and my optomitrest.  I went to my doctor, who, after hearing my symptoms and everything I’d done to try and figure it out, told me – “It’s time to start looking for zebras”.  He explained that in medical school your taught when you hear hooves you look for horses.  If you don’t see the obvious horse, you start looking for zebras.  He sent me for a CT scan that same day.

On January 31st, at 12:55 p.m. I got the call from him to let me know, they found a zebra.  Over the next week, we went through a rush of scans and doctor’s appointments that resulted in the final diagnosis:  I had a brain tumor, one of the more common, non-cancerous kind (whew!).   A pituitary tumor and due to the size and location, it needed to come out quickly, within the next month.

February 7th, Darren asked me to marry him again, before the surgery so he could absolutely ensure I was taken care of.  (I’d gush about how amazing this man is, but if you watch the video, I think you’ll get it).   I gladly accepted and after contacting the venue we settled on a new date, February 18th.  We put the word out to friends and family via emailed copies of our wedding invitations we’d ordered… with some slight handwritten modifications.  In my mind, I’d given up on having meaningful details.  We expected that we’d maybe have half the people we’d invite be able to attend.   I wondered how in the world I was going to do this because at this point, I was on pain medication and sleeping through most days.

Something amazing happened though.  It was the beginning of the most beautiful and difficult journey we’ll probably ever go through in our life together.  When people heard about my diagnosis and the change in date, our friends and family began to surround us and lift us up with love, prayer, and their time.    We began to learn how to be receivers, a topic that we studied about in church the months before and had struck both of us as something we needed to learn.  We are givers by nature and we are not good receivers. We needed to learn how to allow people to feel the blessing of being a giver, by accepting offers of help.

In ten days, because of the people surrounding us, every meaningful detail I’d envsionsed, they made happen.   The phrase “What can I do to help”? was heard over and overa again. There were only a small handful that couldn’t make the wedding that day.  We had numerous friends who flew or drove across the country or state to be with us.

The morning of the wedding was my first appointment with the ENT who explained how the surgery would be done.  Not what a bride wants to hear on her wedding day, how your face is about to be rearranged and where incisions would be made.  Darren and I took a moment in his office and he held me while I cried.  Once we walked out, I put the surgery out of my mind and for the rest of the day, I walked on air and my cheeks hurt from smiling so much.

That morning, we were incredibly blessed to get the message from our photographer, Andrea, that Sarah from PenWeddings wanted to take part in our day.  For months I had watched her work and swooned.  It was an answer to my hearts desire and what both these women created that day has become a pivotol part of the Testimony this has become regarding love, faith and the power of prayer.   They both have an incredible gift.  The video was far reaching and not only provided us with more prayer than we could have ever imagined – prayer that literally saved my life in the weeks to come.

My surgery went wonderfully.  I had surgery on a Wednesday and to everyone’s amazement, was well enough to go home on Friday.  Unfortunately, the following Tuesday I was readmitted with some complications and on Friday, was taken to the ICU in anticipation of what was expected to happen.  My sodium level dropped to what we’d later be told was an unheard of low of 99.  “Incompatible with life” was used to describe it.  My heart rate dropped to 52 beats per minutes and my blood pressure to 60 over something.  They were waiting for what typically happens when you hit 120-115… Coma, seizures, heart attack, brain swelling… death.

I’m proud to say that – to the doctors astonishment and amazement – none of those things happened.  When my neuorsurgeon said to us last week “I can’t explain why none of those things happened” it felt pretty awesome to look at him and say “I do… we were covered in prayer.”  I’m home and recovering more every day.

This journey has included our love, the love of our friends and family and the love of strangers.  Through the photos, the videos and sharing my thoughts of this journey on Facebook we’ve come to find it has been life changing in the best way not just for us but we are receiving numerous stories and seeing where it has been life changing and impacting to others as well.  Hearts are healing, marriages are mending, people are finding God… finding hope and my relationships with the people around me have strengthened.

If someone told me six months ago what would happen – all of it – and give me the option of going through it again or not.  I’d say yes…. sign me up.  I’ll go through it all again, in a heartbeat.

My name is Annalisa Neal and the best thing that ever happened to me was that life didn’t go the way I planned.

Cinematography: PenWeddings | Photography: Andrea Murphy Photography | Venue: Harwelden Mansion | Florals: Mary Murray’s Flowers | Cake: Merritt’s Bakery

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Tulsa, Oklahoma Ranch Wedding from Imago Vita Photography

Not all signage is created equal. Some signs have that extra sparkle that add a big dose of personality to an affair. The kind of signs that announce “we’re awesome, we’re married and we want to sing it from the mountaintops.” And when a Bride owns the most adorable invitation company we ever did see,  and infuses every ounce of her big day with country charm and sparkling declarations on wood and paper alike, it looks a little something like this beauty captured by Imago Vita Photography. A backyard affair as pretty as they come and a gallery that proves that statement right here.

From the Bride… I married my best friend on a family friend’s beautiful private ranch in Broken Arrow, Oklahoma right outside of Tulsa. I knew from the first time I visited the ranch with Anthony, before we were even engaged, that it was the perfect place for our wedding. After the proposal we were over ecstatic that they agreed to let us celebrate our big day there! Immediately I started crafting, and crafting, and crafting. With the help of my mom, sister, stepmom, aunts, cousins, and many friends, we created about 900 feet of bunting made from fabric that belonged to my grandmother and great grandmother. The favors were kitchen towels from IKEA that were hand stamped, ironed, and tied by my sister and stepmom and used as napkins as well as custom designed koozies requested by the groom. We did our first look in front of a large 8′ folding wall that my Dad built out of old picket fences. Many hands helped paint our names and sweet love verses across the wall and it turned out even better than I had hoped! I bought all the flowers for the centerpieces to DIY, which turned out much harder than I had originally thought. Thankfully, Anthony’s aunt showed up and saved the day, creating jars and jars of beautiful arrangements!

I own a custom stationery business, so paper details were important and abundant. Our invitations reflected our personalities perfectly. Simple, clean lines, and a little gold foil for me with Kraft paper and western fonts for Anthony. For the back of the invitations I designed a pattern using all the things that reflect us, both individually and together… antlers (for my deer hunter), arrows, softball, fishing, banners, our J/A wedding logo, an envelope, paper airplanes, etc. I created paper flags to go in the centerpieces that incorporated the same graphics. During the ceremony, guests wore custom designed buttons in memory of Anthony’s father and they folded their programs into paper airplanes that were tossed in the air as we walked down the aisle as husband and wife. Menus and a thank you to the guests were placed in white IKEA frames at each table and paper tags were tied around each and every napkin. One of my bridesmaids lives in New York and wanted to help with the crafting, so I gave her the task of cutting and gluing paper hearts to little sticks that were used all throughout the wedding. The morning of the ceremony, all of the bridesmaids created a path with the paper hearts to lead the guests through the pasture to the ceremony. It truly was the perfect touch to our fairytale setting!

Aside from all the DIYing, Anthony and I wanted a wedding that was comfortable, fun, and completely full of every person that we love! My wonderful brother-in-law married us and it was absolutely perfect. Instead of choosing between all of the kids in our lives, we had them all in a “kid parade” down the aisle holding flags and signs. They were so adorable and did such a great job! My bridesmaids each got to pick their own navy blue dress. The groomsmen each picked their own shirt and wore gray vests, jeans, and boots. If you ask anyone who knows me, they will tell you I’ve been dreaming of and planning my wedding day since the day I learned to walk. Anthony, however, was less about the little details and more about everyone having a good time and just being themselves. Overall the day was filled with everything that was important to the both of us and it all blended together better than I could have ever imagined!

Wedding Photography: Imago Vita Photography / Venue: Private Residence at Rockin Horse Ranch in Broken Arrow, Oklahoma / Floral Design: The Floral Touch (918-760-3324) / Catering: Fat Jack’s BBQ / Wedding Cakes: Ann’s Bakery  / Music: DJ Connection / Rentals: Party Pro Rents and Events / Stationery: SwellMail Designs (the Bride) / Wedding Dress: Custom Design via Abelina’s Boutique / Bride’s Veil: Bridal By Teri / Bride’s Shoes: Dillard’s / Bride’s Boots: Corral Boots via Cavender’s / Bridesmaids’ Dresses: J.Crew + JC Penney + Maurices / Groom’s Vest + Jacket: JC Penney / Hair: Ashley Franke of AnnaLivia Styles / Makeup: Ashlee Bivins