Laura and Isaac didn’t have much of a roadmap when they first reached out to me about their elopement, other than they knew they wanted a winter wedding in Kansas City. While lack of solid plans may make some photographers break out in a cold sweat, I brimmed with excitement knowing this meant a lot of opportunities for Laura and Isaac to really make the day what they wanted. And there’s no doubt that they did just that.

We started their day at the Kansas City Central Library, a gorgeous building with Art Deco touches and more than a healthy dose of grandeur. While the exterior of the library is stunning, we decided to have their private first look on the terrace, away from the general public. You forgot you were in the heart of the city, giving Isaac and Laura a moment truly alone to enjoy this special moment. 

After the first look jitters wore off, headed downstairs to Kirk Hall for couple portraits, which Laura and Isaac had reserved so we could enjoy the space without too many folks milling about. (Though let’s be honest: taking photos in a public place, especially in a bigger city, means you’ll have a person or two hanging around. But friends, half the fun of getting married in a city is strangers coming up to you telling you congratulations and gushing at how fabulous you look, so this professionals recommendation is eating that sh*t UP.) If you’re a book lover, the Kansas City Library is the place for you—it’s romantic and grand while being incredibly intimate and special. Something about being surrounded by old architecture and shelves and shelves of books creates the perfect setting.

After our portraits it was time for their private ceremony in the Durwood Film Vault, an old bank vault converted into a lush, intimate movie theater in the lower level of the Central Library. Laura and Isaac told me they booked the space sight unseen after Isaac’s sister had shared the idea with them—with a love of theater and film, they knew it would be the perfect place to host their private ceremony. With their small group of 8, the couple shared a thoughtful, quick ceremony accompanied by special readings…not to mention kicking things off with the “mawwiage is what bwings us together” quote from the Princess Bride.

With hugs and kisses to family and friends, we went back out for part two of portraits, starting at the Hotel Phillips in downtown Kansas City. Sticking to the Art Deco theme, the lobby of the Phillips is drop-dead gorgeous, with rich wood and luxurious details. (Any place with more than one chandelier is automatically fancy in my book.) Laura and Isaac snuggled, sipped coffee, and planned out the rest of our time together, deciding it was time to get a little less formal and a little more weird—which, as you know, I am always on board for.

We had had many talks about Laura and Isaac’s interest in games—video games, board games, role playing games, you name it. So it was a no-brainer that we would take the quick journey a few blocks down the road to the Kansas City Up-Down, fulfilling a life-long dream of mine to hang out in an arcade with newlyweds. Trust me when I say there’s nothing like a bride in full wedding dress fabulousness playing skee ball. Watching Laura and Isaac just be able to enjoy some quality time together doing what they love—being goofy and playing games—felt like the perfect way to end our time together. And having some more carefree, silly shots to compliment our drama and whimsy from earlier in the day really tied the whole day together.