These two love birds are just as delightful in person as they are through emails!

It’s always such a joy to open emails like this one:

“Hi there, Jamie and I are coming to Vegas from England, next February to get married. Jamie will also be celebrating his 40th birthday 3 days after we are married, so it is going to be a pretty special trip! We have visited a few websites to look at photography, as it is going to be so important to us, we doubt there will be many people with us unfortunately. We want to have some great photo’s to share with family and friends back home. Out of all the sites we have been to, yours is the only one that we were blown away with. The pictures of Marnie & John’s, and Chelsea & Jordan’s weddings are absolutely fantastic and exactly the sort of thing we are looking for. I won’t be wearing a ‘traditional’ dress (it will be the same 50’s style as Marnie’s), and we aren’t really your ‘stand there and say cheese’ couple, which is how we have perceived a lot of the photography on other sites. We are getting married in the Graceland Chapel, and while they have their in house photographer, we really want some other photo’s before, and after the ceremony. It looks as though you know some fantastic places which make amazing backdrops for photos, and we would like to capture the atmosphere of Vegas, as well as our joy in the wedding photos. We would be delighted if you were able to help capture our day, and make it even more special and memorable. We are very much looking forward to hearing from you. Sara & Jamie” {Sent on June 4, 2012}

And so began the emails back and forth. They didn’t waste any time in booking their date with me, and  eight months later these two eloped in Vegas at the Graceland Wedding Chapel. What a fabulous time we had with these two! We began our day with getting-ready shots of Sara. We were floored when we saw that she was wearing a vintage red dress as her wedding dress. Hair and makeup was done by the lovely ladies at Your Beauty Call. They did a fabulous job as usual!

The ceremony was performed by Jean Claude. I totally love this guy. His French accent is absolutely perfect, and the way he raises his eyebrows and gives a little elbow jab when he talks about intimate things is completely classic. Needless to say, the ceremony was perfect. Sara was escorted down the hall by Elvis himself. Of course, the in-house photographer took all of the photos as my assistant and I were the only two guests in the room.

We stopped in at the Candy Shop following the ceremony and had a ton of fun. We then hit up the Las Vegas sign, The Paris Hotel, and finished our night on Fremont Street!

Had a blast! Thanks for including me on this fun-filled ride!



  • Lyn Varrow - Wow!! I’ve never seen my daughter look so amazing. Thank you both for making Sara & Jamie’s special day even more special. You captured the love they share. LynReplyCancel

  • Shar - Stunning Bride! and handsome Groom of course 🙂 Total glamour – LOVE these photos – fabulous photography!ReplyCancel

  • Suzi Lighten - Lyn and Shar, thank you both so much for you lovely comments! I had great subjects to work with! xxReplyCancel

Senior portraits have changed quite a bit from when I was in high school. I recall having to wear an off-the-shoulder black shrug that every other female who was graduating also had to don. I think I took three poses in about 30 seconds and that was it.
There was no heart. No soul. Nothing that reflected who I was, or the hobbies I enjoyed. Pretty standard and boring if you ask me.
One of the things I love doing for senior sessions is really accentuating what these teens like, what’s meaningful to them.
Chelsea just so happens to love fashion and shopping. She’s a bit of a shoe-a-holic actually. Her words. Not mine.
I had such an amazing time hanging out with her! Check out some of the images from her Las Vegas senior portrait session!

Local wedding and children’s party planner, Juliet Douglas, of Little Posh Parties, put on such a fun and frilly event for little girls. The event was a children’s tea party with a light pink and gold color scheme.

Peridot Sweets made all of the super delicious desserts. Simple Elegance prepared the delightful scones and tea sandwhiches. Dirty Dishes provided the vintage china. Paper and Home made the adorable circular menu cards.

I brought my 4-year-old daughter, Arielle, my little baby Genesis, and my mother and sister. We sat at a table of our own, and enjoyed such yummy food. The little girls got to drink hot cocoa with marshmallows while the grown-ups had teas of their choosing.

I <3 events like these! Thanks Juliet for creating such a darling event!



  • Juliet Douglas - Sure PRECIOUS photos of Arielle! Thank you for joining us. I’m so glad you and your family were able to attend!!!ReplyCancel

    • Suzi Lighten - Thank you Angelica and Juliet! We had a blast! And Arielle felt like such a princess in her dress! 🙂ReplyCancel

  • Angelica - Arielle hands down had the best dress there!ReplyCancel

Part II of Valenine’s Day was even more enjoyable than part 1. Originally I had the notion to take the family to Desert Shores to picnic out on the grass by the water and feed the ducks, but we canceled that idea and just opted for a picnic in the backyard instead. After our little picnic, and Isaiah got home from school, we decided to go to Aliante Park to feed the ducks! The kiddos had sooooo much fun!

Following the fun with the ducks, we let the kids expend some extra energy at the Discovery Park, also at Aliante. We watched the sun set and headed back home to make dinner. The hubby helped me make filet Mignon, green beans, baked potatoes, and sauteed mushrooms. We ate by candlelight with our kiddos. The grownups had red wine and the kids had pomegranate juice, which looks pretty identical to wine.

For dessert, I made some carmelized bananas and fresh strawberries atop shortcake with three mini scoops of vanilla bean ice cream. Delicious!

These are some of my most favorite appetizers /snacks ever! Prosciutto-wrapped stuffed dates! Yum!Our second tapas on the menu was slices of artisan bread, drizzled with olive oil, sheep-milk brie, roasted red peper, and organic sliced turkey meat, sprinkled with salt and fresh cracked black pepper.Arielle LOVES stuffed dates!Here’s our little picnic set-up in the backyard.Daddy snapped a shot of Mommy and Arielle enjoying one another’s company.Daddy posing.This rose lemonade that I picked up from Whole Foods was such a treat! I loved the actual rose flavor!For dessert, Whole Foods has an amazing dessert counter, and I picked up a couple of treats! Oh, wow, super duper yummy!Arielle was beside herself with anticipation to try the treats!Had fun feeding the ducks at Aliante Park. (Didn’t see the ‘no feeding the birds’ sign until afterwards though.)Dinner was great! Our first attempt at filet Mignon prepared at home. Thanks for the recipe Ina Garten! It was delicious!Dessert: shortcake with caramelized bananas, fresh strawberries and mini scoops of ice cream. A sweet ending to a sweet day! 🙂

  • Kari Jett - Beautiful, pictures truly enjoyed.

    Much Love to the Lighten FamilyReplyCancel

Valentine’s Day has always been such a special day for me. I’m a romantic at heart – HELLO – I do photograph weddings for a living! LOL! How could I NOT love Valentine’s Day?? I absolutely adore days that I can dedicate to showing my loved ones how much I utterly and truly adore them! I hate that you need to have a holiday to remind you to do things like this, but I’m glad they are there, because life can just get sooooo incredibly busy, that holidays can sometimes force us to take days to just stop and smell the proverbial roses.

Food is so awesome. Who doesn’t love an amazingly delicious meal, right? I always considered food one of the most special gifts you can give some one. It takes a lot of time to a make a meal from scratch and work extra hard to make it delicious as well!

To kick off our Valentine’s Day, Arielle and I made Daddy a special Valentine’s Day breakfast! I guess all of these years of watching The Food Network have paid off, because I never really go off of any recipes when I cook, I just kind of throw things together the way I think it might taste good. For the most part, this has served quite well for me.

I decided to photograph Arielle while she was helping prepare breakfast. She is so stinkin’ cute! I love taking photos of my kids! If only I had more time in the day!!

Allowing my kids to help in the kitchen is actually a really special treat for them. I’m usually always kicking them OUT of the kitchen when I’m cooking! They can be like dogs at my heels 24/7 (which can get annoying at times, especially if you’re in a rush or don’t want to have to re-do things a hundred times from fixing little ones’ mistakes).

Here is a preview of the ingredients that I bought the day before to aid in our entire Valentine’s DAY menu.Genesis was looking so cute in her pink outfit that I had to snap a quick few pics of her! She is now 4 months old! Such a big girl!Spark is a totally raw, organic beverage, made by SUJA. Wow, I am like so totally in love with SUJA! Their juices are amazing! Spark is the perfect morning pick-me-up, especially on Valentine’s Day!I poured the juice in these vintage glasses that I had borrowed from my mom for my baby shower last August, that I never ended up using. I like to break out the pretty “serving-wear” for special occasions. It just makes everything feel more dressed up and special!Here’s my Muffin before he had to get on the bus for school!Next up, Arielle was eager to crack the eggs!Pouring in the milk like a “big girl!”Next up is some vanilla extract.And some orange zest!Some raisins and sliced almonds too!Genesis is enjoying being a part of the breakfast-making process!We can’t leave out the fresh blueberries either!Next, we need to pour our custard mixture over the brioche!Let it bake in the oven at 350 degrees for 40 minutes, and throw the bacon in there about the last 15-20 minutes or so!Mmm. Nice and golden brown and hot out of the oven!Daddy joins in to help Arielle make some stuffed dates for our backyard lunch picnic later in the day.A pretty yet simple table setting with nice lovely plates that I picked up at Home Goods for last Valenine’s Day.Some homemade whipped honey-date butter. Yum. I could eat this stuff by itself.Dried lavender is always gorgeous. Always.Enjoy!

xoxo and <3


  • Lisa - All your efforts paid off. The breakfast looks gorgeous, but the smiling faces on your family make it the best! Happy belated V-Day!ReplyCancel

  • connie - I just loved the little pictorial and so special you included the kids and had a whole day of fun scheduled. Hope it was a great day for all of you.:-) thanks for sharing …ReplyCancel

I took a couple of snapshots of our little sugarplum baby in front of the fireplace. She is such a little doll. I love her little smile – just melts mommy’s heart. <3

Here’s a little prelude to what is soon to be shown on the blog. Food is something that connects people in so many ways, and in my family, this statement is no exception. From left to right, I laid out the entire Valentine’s Day Menu, from breakfast all the way to the dessert at the end of the night. Can’t wait to show you all the beautiful images of my family’s Valentine’s Day!