Please Pass The Mayo!



You know, I used to shoot a lot of weddings, but I never aspired to become a full time wedding photographer. Somehow during the early years of my photography journey, I kept getting referrals to shoot nuptials. I adore documenting fresh young love, but I purposely studied professional photography to shoot dance, movement arts, and maybe a little commercial fashion. Fast forward about 12 years, and my portfolio was screaming WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHER!

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t have any regrets, but I had to take a hard look at my goals last year, and refocus. It’s easy to say YES to all types of work when you love all types of people. I had to learn to say NO in an effort to honor my real passion. So I learned to say no…until last month, when Tara Allen got engaged to Erik Mayo…with a ring pop…in San Francisco. Don’t worry, she got her beautiful diamond engagement ring a few weeks later!

Tara is like a daughter to me, and one of my daughter’s best friends. She is part of their “sisterhood-tribe” which began in the 6th grade. I could tell you some hilarious stories about their teen years, but the throw back trivia my daughter gave me today was priceless, so I’ll quote her instead:

“We met at Lynnhaven Middle School, and she used to crawl in my bedroom window, kick me out of bed for school in the mornin, and drag my ass to the bus stop with my giant cello!”

Me: “Wow, I was totally unaware of the window thing, LOL! But I’m grateful for her window shenanigans, because GEEEEZ you were hard to get up in the mornings!

Brit: “YUP! AND SHE WOULD PICK OUT MY OUTFIT TOO! Just the other day we were face timing each other NAKED. She called me and was naked, and when I answered I was naked. There was cry-laughing for 10 minutes before real conversation started. We also used to spend a fair amount of time making sure Nana didn’t burn down the house while boiling hot dogs, at 102 years old. I can’t make this shit up.”

Needless to say, Tara became part of our family very quickly, and she’s still very special to us…for all the right reasons, and also because she knows the craziest shit about our family,  yet she still loves us! I’m pretty sure she is my spirit child, because she has always laughed at my silliness, and has called me mom since 1997-ish.

Tara is the last of the tribe to find her soul mate. Ali was first, Blaire second, Jessica third, and now Tara and my daughter Brit are engaged at the same time! If you new these two girls, you’d feel like the stars were perfectly aligned in their favor. I feel like the proud mom of five beautiful daughters, and now the last one is about to leave the nest. (Ok, so technically they have all been living on their own or with their friends or guys for years, but engagement makes it official right?) Obviously, my retirement from wedding photography has been “suspended” temporarily, and I’m jolly well thrilled about it!

A little about Tara and Erik:

She’s a dental assistant, he’s got a tree cutting company. They live in the Little Neck area of Va. Beach, where they take care of Erik’s Dad, a.k.a. Papa Mayo. They love three wheeling, entertaining friends on their massive back deck overlooking the swamp, paddle boarding, spending time with fambly, and being amazing parents to their fur baby, Keeva. Keeva loves the beach, and as you’ll see, she’s a fantastic water rescue dog. Apparently, Keeva thinks her human mom cant swim, so she “saves” Tara every time she gets in the water! Erik doesn’t understand why he’s not worthy of Keeva’s rescue skills, but he’s glad she will always protect Tara from drowning. Seriously y’all, I couldn’t stop laughing as Keeva pulled Tara to shore…by her hair, and her dress! Good dog Keeva girl!

Tara’s engagement ring:

She told Erik, “I don’t care how or when, I just want to be totally surprised when you propose.” Knowing that Tara’s grandpa Buddy (her paternal grandfather) had given her great grandmother’s diamonds to her a few years ago,  Erik chose to “pop” the question during their recent vacation in the Pacific Northwest. He definitely surprised her, and appropriately placed a ring pop on her hand during their stop in San Francisco. The ring pop was temporary of course, until they could have her diamonds re-set into a custom ring., which is exactly what they did! I’ve seen plenty of vintage rings, but this one is beautiful in it’s simplicity, and the focus is on the stunning solitaire. The band is a gorgeous rose gold, and very similar to a current Tiffany’s design. Just gorgeous! Tara will have her wedding band designed to match, using the remaining stones from her great grandmother’s set. Did I mention how much Tara loves her grandparents? By the way, her maternal great grandma, a.k.a. Nana…really did live past 102 years old!

Congrats Tara and Erik! I look forward to photographing your wedding day!

P.S.- I love your last name Erik…it’s my favorite condiment!