Gretchen + Fred | Kansas City Wedding photojournalism photographer


I have been thinking a lot about family lately.

Sadly my extended family lost both an Aunt and a cousin within one week of each other due to cancer.  While attending the funeral for the first I sat in the pew starring at the enlarged photo of my Aunt mesmerized by her smile and her eyes seemingly looking right at me.  Out in the lobby of the church was a table full of photos of  her grand kids, siblings, and friends enjoying her and life.  It was amazing how those photos brought smiles to faces, how they helped to dry tears and gave all of us something to grab onto in such a time of loss.  About 3 years ago I was fortunate enough to finally realize the true meaning in why I am a photographer.  Telling stories of people so generations of new people can see for themselves the story of family members that came before them is a resolve I take into each wedding I shoot.   It is not about making images of people looking perfect, or of things, but more about images of who people are in their true form.  Being able to see my Aunt in photos showing her true form brought me some comfort thus strengthening my resolve even more.  So in thinking about what to blog today I felt it appropriate to blog a wedding I shot last year that was very dear to me.

The chance to document family does not come along to often and when it does it is always meaningful.  So when my cousin Gretchen asked me to be the photographer for her wedding to Fred I was happy for the opportunity.  Being able to photograph moments involving my family makes me feel like I am doing a little something to help and maybe just maybe one of my photos will bring some comfort to someone in a time of loss one day.

This wedding was so great.  New families are formed at every wedding, but some are formed faster than normal as in the case of Gretchen, Fred and Tate.  It was so awesome to witness this family becoming official that day.  Gretchen and her son Tate have been waiting for just the right person to come along and Fred was perfect.  It was wonderful to watch all of them that day, especially how happy Fred makes Gretchen.  I cannot remember a time seeing her so happy.  Their day was surrounded by such love and friendship that happiness spread like wildfire.

The details:

Ceremony- Church of the Resurrection Downtown

Reception- Rivermarket Event Place

The photos:

I started the day out photographing Fred at the hotel as he got ready.  He decided to do so by himself which I found great.  Just some time by himself before the ceremony.  Here he is laying out his tie and custom cufflinks Gretchen got for him as a gift that had the definition of Forever on them.


I love this image.  It has special meaning to me as I made a very similar image during my other cousin Erika’s wedding.  At Erika’s wedding I made a photograph of Gretchen carrying her sisters dress as she made her way across this very staricase before her ceremony.  This is the house they grew up in so it was important to me to look and wait for a moment that was similar.  I got my chance when Gretchen was giving Tate a piggy back across the same landing.  027_kansascity-wedding-photographer-kansascity-wedding-photography-documentarywedding-photography-wedding-photojournalism-kansas-city-river-market-event-place-reception

Gretchen’s dress hanging in the office.  028_kansascity-wedding-photographer-kansascity-wedding-photography-documentarywedding-photography-wedding-photojournalism-kansas-city-river-market-event-place-reception

Tate is a cool kid.  I love this image of him eating lunch.  His fingers were covered in bbq sauce from the ribs he was eating.  029_kansascity-wedding-photographer-kansascity-wedding-photography-documentarywedding-photography-wedding-photojournalism-kansas-city-river-market-event-place-reception


This was my favorite moment of the day to witness.  Gretchen and her son Tate was such a big part of the story that day so I made sure to pay attention to their relationship.  Gretchen was in the chair getting her hair and makeup done when Tate came downstairs dressed up in his suit.  Gretchen upon her first look at him lost it.  031_kansascity-wedding-photographer-kansascity-wedding-photography-documentarywedding-photography-wedding-photojournalism-kansas-city-river-market-event-place-reception


Gretchen’s sister Erika helps her into her dress.  033_kansascity-wedding-photographer-kansascity-wedding-photography-documentarywedding-photography-wedding-photojournalism-kansas-city-river-market-event-place-reception

Fred waiting for Gretchen to come down the aisle.  034_kansascity-wedding-photographer-kansascity-wedding-photography-documentarywedding-photography-wedding-photojournalism-kansas-city-river-market-event-place-reception

Gretchen her dad ready for the walk.  035_kansascity-wedding-photographer-kansascity-wedding-photography-documentarywedding-photography-wedding-photojournalism-kansas-city-river-market-event-place-reception



A photo of Fred’s mom at the ceremony.  038_kansascity-wedding-photographer-kansascity-wedding-photography-documentarywedding-photography-wedding-photojournalism-kansas-city-river-market-event-place-reception


Fist bumps all around.  040_kansascity-wedding-photographer-kansascity-wedding-photography-documentarywedding-photography-wedding-photojournalism-kansas-city-river-market-event-place-reception

Some fast portraits before heading to the reception.    042_kansascity-wedding-photographer-kansascity-wedding-photography-documentarywedding-photography-wedding-photojournalism-kansas-city-river-market-event-place-reception

Fred is ridiculously funny keeping Gretchen laughing constantly.  043_kansascity-wedding-photographer-kansascity-wedding-photography-documentarywedding-photography-wedding-photojournalism-kansas-city-river-market-event-place-reception

Waiting for the call to be announced into the reception.  044_kansascity-wedding-photographer-kansascity-wedding-photography-documentarywedding-photography-wedding-photojournalism-kansas-city-river-market-event-place-reception


Sometimes Fred’s jokes however can get him in trouble.  046_kansascity-wedding-photographer-kansascity-wedding-photography-documentarywedding-photography-wedding-photojournalism-kansas-city-river-market-event-place-reception

The toast.047_kansascity-wedding-photographer-kansascity-wedding-photography-documentarywedding-photography-wedding-photojournalism-kansas-city-river-market-event-place-reception 048_kansascity-wedding-photographer-kansascity-wedding-photography-documentarywedding-photography-wedding-photojournalism-kansas-city-river-market-event-place-reception

Tate and his grandmother.  049_kansascity-wedding-photographer-kansascity-wedding-photography-documentarywedding-photography-wedding-photojournalism-kansas-city-river-market-event-place-reception

This was awesome.  Tate is a huge soccer fan so Gretchen and Fred had an official Barcelona team jersey made up with their new last name printed on it.  The team was complete.  050_kansascity-wedding-photographer-kansascity-wedding-photography-documentarywedding-photography-wedding-photojournalism-kansas-city-river-market-event-place-reception

First dance.  051_kansascity-wedding-photographer-kansascity-wedding-photography-documentarywedding-photography-wedding-photojournalism-kansas-city-river-market-event-place-reception

Gretchen and her parents toasting.  052_kansascity-wedding-photographer-kansascity-wedding-photography-documentarywedding-photography-wedding-photojournalism-kansas-city-river-market-event-place-reception

Gangnam style.  053_kansascity-wedding-photographer-kansascity-wedding-photography-documentarywedding-photography-wedding-photojournalism-kansas-city-river-market-event-place-reception

Having fun in the boothBOOTH.054_kansascity-wedding-photographer-kansascity-wedding-photography-documentarywedding-photography-wedding-photojournalism-kansas-city-river-market-event-place-reception



My sister and my wife Pam getting down on the dance floor.  I never miss an opportunity to embarrass those closest to me.  057_kansascity-wedding-photographer-kansascity-wedding-photography-documentarywedding-photography-wedding-photojournalism-kansas-city-river-market-event-place-reception

I love this image of my parents on the dance floor.  My mom is helping my dad raise his arms as both of his shoulders don’t work like they used to.  Whatever it takes to have a good time.  058_kansascity-wedding-photographer-kansascity-wedding-photography-documentarywedding-photography-wedding-photojournalism-kansas-city-river-market-event-place-reception

Grandmother duties never end.  059_kansascity-wedding-photographer-kansascity-wedding-photography-documentarywedding-photography-wedding-photojournalism-kansas-city-river-market-event-place-reception

The final dance.  060_kansascity-wedding-photographer-kansascity-wedding-photography-documentarywedding-photography-wedding-photojournalism-kansas-city-river-market-event-place-reception

Thanks for letting me be a part of your day Gretchen Fred and Tate!


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Love the photos! Awesome wedding!


Tyler, thank you for choosing such a life giving event to recall at this time. Life is short, and precious–as we all know too well this week. Thank you for sharing your gift and recording our familly story. A beautifully written piece. Thank you.

Marisa Ferrara Elliott

Wow….what gifts you have to share Tyler. I am always in awe of your aesthetic and now your words. Beautiful.

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