courtney dellafiora blog :: international wedding photographer »

Masthead header

Deirdre + Duston :: Once Upon A Year

The story goes…

Chapter One:
She was a city girl, and he was a country boy, they shared one common belief: that one day they would find True Love. One day they both received an invitation to the Royal Ball. Since he had never been to a ball before, the boy was very excited. But the girl had been to the dances and parties for as long as she could remember, and the thought of going to the Royal Ball all alone made her very sad. She reluctantly went, however, and by the time the boy arrived she was already there, wearing her finest gown. When he walked through the door their eyes met, and at first sight they both knew it was True Love.

Chapter Two:
After the Royal Ball, the boy and girl had to to spend lots of time apart. So that she wouldn’t feel lonely while he was away racing balloons, the boy left his trusty companion, Cupcake the Dog, with her. Cupcake and the girl counted the days until they would be reunited with the boy. One day, the girl couldn’t find Cupcake anywhere. She searched and searched, until finally Cupcake came trotting up with something tied around her neck. It was a ring! The girl turned around, and there was the boy – on one knee – asking for her hand in marriage. The girl said yes so loudly that it was heard by the people in every town for fifty miles.

Chapter Three:
People came from all around to witness the union of the boy and the girl, and when they said “I do! their True Love was so strong that it began to spread! First, the people in the church began to feel it. It rekindled old flames and sparked new fires. Next, the wave of True Love engulfed the whole countryside. The people in the surrounding villages were so overcome that everyone dropped what they were doing to be with the ones they loved. As the boy and girl rode off into the sunset, they locked eyes like they had that first night, and the sky exploded into a kaleidoscope of colors! A year has passed since that blessed day, and now a new chapter begins!!

Story written by Joe & Lauren VanZandt of Everyday’s A Soirée.

While the above story was written in a fantasy storybook like way, it’s actually all true. It describes in a very short version the story of how Deirdre and Duston fell in love and were married. Even Cupcake the dog is real! I absolutely ADORE how Lauren put her magical touch to their story and brought it to life in the most dreamy of ways.


Today’s post is super special. As many of you know, almost a year ago I hired an assistant to work for me. There is no doubt my life has changed drastically for the better because of an amazing woman called Deirdre. (Pronounced Deer-Dra). I am SO blessed that God sent her into my life as she is truly a Godsend. We celebrated her recent anniversary with a photoshoot. I am going to let Deirdre take over with this one and share with you about this shoot while I will only be here to comment on the photos below. : ) Without further ado, please welcome my amazing assistant Deirdre Doré…

Since I began working with Courtney about a year ago, I have really been able to let my inner artist and creative brain go to work. The opportunity I have been given with Courtney for both the wedding and boudoir brands is one that I am SO thankful for that it  could be a blog post in itself ! However, one of the things that sticks out the most that I love about my job is being inspired on a daily basis in many aspects of my life. As many of you may know, Courtney was my wedding photographer and I was one of her first clients when she started her own business. Therefore, she has been capturing plenty of important moments in my life so far beginning with our engagement pictures in March of 2009 then our wedding in April of 2010. With our one year anniversary just passing (April 24) I thought it would be a PERFECT idea to have her capture this important milestone for us as well.:)

The inspiration from this shoot started with the concept of our first anniversary being another chapter in Duston and I’s love story. We met in college and have really gotten the opportunity to grow up with one another from college life, starting our first careers, getting engaged, making the commitment of a lifetime together, and now living out our life dreams with one another. I wanted the shoot to capture the chapter of our first anniversary by having a very soft, passionate setting. On your first anniversary, you are supposed to gift paper gifts to one another (a boudoir album was definitely the best paper gift ever to give him!) Therefore, I wanted to try and incorporate paper into the shoot as much as possible. Some of the paper items I created up for the shoot were : paper flowers for the bouquet, boutonniere and vases which were jars wrapped in paper doilies; tissue balls to hang from the ceiling of the barn; paper doilies found under the desserts and place settings; a paper umbrella used for a prop, and awesome paper invitations, menu cards, dessert cards, and banners were made Lauren VanZandt. The set included many items borrowed from my grandmother and mother which made it even more personal as each of the tea pots, plates, platters and some furniture had meaningful history behind it.

I do not think that our love story could be captured any more perfectly then by the one and only Courtney Dellafiora, and I hope that she captures the many chapters that lie ahead in our lives.

Hair/Makeup: Courtney Davis of Kiki’s Consulting
Photography: Courtney Dellafiora
Paper Goods: Lauren VanZandt of Everyday’s a Soirée
Cream Cocktail Dress: Bustle
Couch: The Estate Center
Bouquet, Bout, Decorations, Hairpieces: Deirdre Doré
Bowtie: XOELLE

I absolutely LOVE all of the photos and hope you enjoy them as well. I love you Deirdre and Duston!!!!! Never stop loving each other.

Deirdre had the great idea of doing the shoot in an empty barn she found. I loved the look and feel of this.

I’m sure you all remember my recent bride Lauren who had the amazing vintage wedding. Lauren is an incredibly talented graphic designer. (I will be doing a blog post about her new company soon!) Deirdre invited her to be a part of this shoot to contribute some of her genius. I asked Lauren to describe her concept and how she came up with all of this cuteness!
“When Deirdre asked me to to contribute paper details for her anniversary shoot (to tie into the tradition of giving a gift of paper for the first annivesary), she had two requests… she wanted paper details such as an invitation, menu, dessert cards and some kind of banner and wanted the paper details to somehow convey various chapters in she and Duston’s life. I have to say that, in my experience with invitation/event communication design, this was one of my most challenging feats. At first, I had such a hard time making a connection between the artistic expression of an inspired shoot in honor of an anniversary with paper goods that serve a function. After brainstorming with Joe (my husband and idea guy/copywriter), we found a way to make the connection. We decided that the scene of the shoot would be a romantic surprise anniversary dinner that Duston had thrown for Deirdre. After reading Deirdre’s descriptions of the chapters of she and Duston’s lives, we immediately thought fairy-tale. Joe turned Deirdre’s descriptions into a whimsy-filled fairy-tale, which included both facts and fictional details inspired by facts. I turned the fairy-tale into three invitations… the first two were teaser invites that each told a chapter of the story and ended with a hint that more was to come. The third was the reveal invite which included the event name and details, Once Upon A Year, A Fairy-Tale Feast in honor of Deirdre and Duston, April 24, 2011. Deirdre told us there would be 4 desserts, so I asked Joe to come up with a name for each dessert that tied into the fairy-tale theme. Each dessert name was inspired by Deirdre’s descriptions of the chapters… love at first lookie meringue cookie, cupcake the dog’s well-known lemon scone, wedding chapel apple danish, and honeymoon macaroon.”

Deirdre made the super cute boutonniere and bouquet out of paper! SO CUTE.

Of course this day could not be perfect without the pure talent of Courtney Davis who did Deirdre’s hair and makeup. She looked STUNNING.

Deirdre’s first outfit was this beautiful cream dress from Bustle – my FAVORITE local wedding gown shop. Brides, it’s a MUST to check out their selections before choosing your wedding gown. Tell Sarah I sent you!

Lauren made this adorable banner that said, “Once Upon A Year”.

I end this post with a photo that is a tad blurry from motion, but too cute not to post. It completely captures the relationship Duston and Deirdre share. Laughter, love and pure bliss. I look forward to watching their love continue to grow.

share on facebookfollow me on twitter