December 2008 Archives

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Tuesday, December 23rd, 2008 -

After our first week of volunteering they give you the weekend off. So we decided to head to the island of Koh Lanta. We heard about it from some of our volunteer friends. It’s a great island that isn’t as crowded as some of the more touristy islands.
It was about a 3 hour journey. You have to take a couple ferries to get to the island. We are almost there.
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We finally made it to our bungalow. We stayed at The Narima Resort. It’s just 30 bungalows on a cliff right on the beach. No TV’s or telephones in the rooms. Which is perfect. They do have wifi though which I was very happy about.
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Matt went right for the hammock.
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They have there own small private beach. So we headed right for the beach just in time for sunset.
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Not a bad view for our first night on the island.
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You can get a Thai massage right on the beach for 300 Baht. Which is about $9. A 1 hour massage. I love Thailand.
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This was our beach. The bungalows are up in the trees.
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They have this great little bar right on the sand.
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Headed back to the room.
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A short walk around town.
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Anther great lunch for under $8 for all four of us.
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Matt getting his first Thai massage. He wants one every day now.
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They have xmas trees in Thailand.
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Our favorite restaurant on the island.
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We decide to do some scuba diving. So we jumped on the boat and headed to some other islands about 1 hour from Koh Lanta.
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This is Matt and Nadine’s 2nd time diving. They are really getting comfortable in the water.
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As you can see Stephanie is is a pro under the water now.
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Between dive the kids had some fun jumping off the boat. Check out Matts form.
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Not a bad place to spend the day.
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Stephanie grab a few pictures of some fish.
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She even got a shot of this leopard shark. Sharks are cruising by and she is still calm enough to get a shot. Go Wife!!!
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When we got back from diving we rented some scooters to cruise around town.
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We had to eat here one more time before we had to head back to Trang.
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Enough for now. Check back again soon.

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Tuesday, December 23rd, 2008 -

We have the most fun just roaming around. We see the greatest things.

Anybody for some bugs? I actually have a video of Matt eating a bug. I hope to post some short video’s real soon.
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They love the bugs here!
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Running down one of the local streets near the house we are staying at.
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It was funny Stephanie and I while running down the street were stopped b a local guy. He spoke a little english and invited us into his home. He was a retired police officer.
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I love the families on the scooters.
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Here we are in one of our classes. The kids get so excited that we are there. They crack me up all day. We are working on there english skills.The volunteer program teamed me and Nadine up. Stephanie and Matt are at a school for a disabled children.
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The kids love the camera.They are never to shy to take a picture.
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They really love when we hangout with them at lunch.
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The kids are always smiling. This was so important for the kids to see. These kids have very little but area always all smiles.
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I love these little food stands. This is right across the street from our school. She makes some amazing food. You can eat here real well for about $1 that includes a drink. Crazy!
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The school is out of the city in a very rural area.
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One day we got to go visit a Thai Kickboxing training camp.
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Nadine had some skills in the ring.
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A family of 5 on a scooter. Thats a record so far.
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Nadine teaching the class.
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Here are a few images from the kids at Stephanie’s school.
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Back to my school. More of Stephanie’s school will be coming soon. It’s a little tougher for her to take pictures at her school.
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This is a great game they play during lunch. You can’t let the ball hit the ground. I love playing with them during lunch.
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We had a Monk come visit us at our house. It was great. He talked about life as a monk. We could ask him any questions.
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Bedtime. This is our bedroom. We are all four sharing one room. Goodtimes!
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This girl loved the camera. I was giving her some photo tips.
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After school we went for a walk to check out the area by the school.
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That’s enough for now. Check back son. Next stop is our weekend in Koh Lanta.

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Sunday, December 21st, 2008 -

After Bangkok we headed to the Province of Trang. This is where we are going to be doing our volunteer work.

Back at the airport to Trang
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Trang is such a small airport. We were the only plane in the whole airport when we landed.
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We checked out the city of Trang a little when we first arrived.
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This is the best way to get around town.
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Familes get around on scooters. You will sometimes see 3 or 4 people on one scooter. It’s very common. The kid on the front of this bike is reading a book while cruising down the road.
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Here is our home in Trang for the next 2 weeks.
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Back into the city First stop a temple. It’s actually a Chinese temple. There is actually a large influence of Chinese in the Trang area.
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Anybody hungry
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We started to head out of town with our group of volunteers for the day. On the way we stopped by a local house to see how they made rubber. There are many rubber trees in the area. It’s actually a cool process to see.
The ladies hard at work making rubber.
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Rubber Trees
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Here is how they get the juice from the tree. A very slow process
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We finally made it out to the ocean for the day. We were headed to a private beach. It was beautiful. We had to take longtail boats to get there.
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Matt loved this beach. So much nature to play with.
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We had a mean game of soccer on the beach.
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Our volunteer team was all fired up
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After the beach we were headed to plant mangroves. Mangroves are very good for the island. They help protect the shore.
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You can tell by our faces we weren’t ready for what we just stepped in. It was like thick sludge sucking our feet up. Goodtimes!
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Everybody was cracking up.
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Saturday, December 20th, 2008 -

I’ve been taking lots of pictures. It’s just hard to blog. Many of the places I’ve been the internet is so slow. It takes forever to upload images.

The floating market. This is a very cool area outside of Bangkok. Everybody here is floating around on longtail boats selling their goods.
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This was the stop to get the best soup at the market.
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Nadine liked it
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After the floating market we stopped by this place were the locals make these beautiful wood carvings.
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The detail is amazing
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They also make all this crazy furniture. How is this for a rocking chair.
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Next stop Tiger Temple. Do you want to play with the tigers?
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Matt made a friend
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This tiger made Nadine a little nervous
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There were even some water buffalo hanging out.
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After the tigers we were headed to hangout with some elephants. Along the way we came across a bunch of monkey’s.
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This monkey looks a little fired up. It’s actually a mother with her baby clinging on to her stomach.
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Here is the mom a little more relaxed
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Time for an elephant ride
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We had a blast with the elephants. They were throwing us around in the water. I have some great video of this I’ll try to post at a letter date.
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They loved nailing me with water.
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I actually learned hot to mount an elephant
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I ended up facing the wrong direction.
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Nadine just relaxing with her elephant
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After the elephants we headed back to Bangkok. The next day we were headed to Trang. SO check back soon. Much more to come.

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Hanging In Thailand

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Wednesday, December 17th, 2008 -

Well I’m finally making my first Thailand post. Stephanie and I and the kids took off for Thailand on Dec.9th. We decided to spend Christmas and New Years in Thailand. We will be in Thailand until Jan. 4th. To all my brides and grooms out there. Don’t worry I have a team of Amazing people back home making sure the studio is running strong while I’m gone. Michelle and Tiana are there to make sure everything you need is taken care of.
As you might know from my past travels we like to stay off the beaten path as much as possible. So I had hear about volunteer vacations you can do in various countries. So I did some research and found Cross Cultural Solutions.
They are an amazing organization that sets up these volunteer opportunities that people like me can take part in. It’s also an organization that is open to families volunteering together. They welcome children which was very important to us on this trip. We really wanted Matt and Nadine to experience giving in a great way for Christmas. So no Christmas tree for us this year. We traded the traditional Christmas back home for an amazing experience in Thailand. We might just start making this a tradition every year.
I was actually going to come to Thailand 12 days ahead of Stephanie with my oldest daughter Korynn. But protests broke out in Bangkok at the airport a couple days before we were suppose to leave. It was a bummer because that first 12 days was the only time Korynn could go. So by the time the protests cleared up it had cut into Korynns trip to much. So we had to cancel. Don’t worry Korynn we will make up for it in 2009.
So I changed my flight to fly out with Stephanie and the kids on Dec.9th. So we geared up for our 18 hour flight and headed to Thailand.
It’s a long 18 hours. But we were able to sleep most of the flight.
When we first arrived we had 2 days to kill in Bangkok before heading to Trang were our volunteering would take place.

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we made it
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which way do we go
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she looked comfortable
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After making it through all the bangkok traffic we finally made it to our room.
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You will always run into a monk in Thailand
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Anybody for a Thai massage?
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So our first day we just wandered around the streets. It was fun.
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You have to watch out for these scooters. They might just be flying down the sidewalk.
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Time for our first Thailand meal. We got a great table. We alate a great meal for a total of 40 baht each. Which is about $1.20 each. Crazy!
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This guy must of had a long day.
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Just cruising up river. If possible take the water taxis. The traffic is so bad on the streets. Avoid the streets at all cost.
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On our first day in Bangkok our sleep was so off we ended up falling asleep around 3 in the afternoon. Then woke up around 2am. Our 2nd day in Bangkok we decided to head out of the city and explore. Our first stop was this train station we heard about where the people set up a market right on the tracks. Then when the train pulls in to town they pull there stalls back very quickly with just enough room for the train to make it by. Once it goes by shop opens up again. It’s crazy. You really have to see it to believe it.
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It’s a really tight area. They had so much for sale. All types of fruits & vegetables ,meats, seafood and of course frogs and insects.
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Anybody for a frog. This is the lady selling frogs on a stick. They were fresh frogs. SHe has a live one in her hands.
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This is how the end up. Don’t they look good.
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Anybody for some big bugs for lunch.
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Matt wanted to give somebody a ride in a tuktuk.
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The train is coming. Time to shut down shop.
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From a busy market to this in less than 5 minutes. There I am on the right hand side.I want to see how close the train will come to me.
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On the way back to the car we came across a baby elephant. I love Thailand.
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Our next stop is the Floating Market. I can’t stay awake any longer. So be sure to check back soon. I will be adding to this post as soon as possible.

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John Force Car Show

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Monday, December 8th, 2008 -

Well it’s not often that I have a Sunday off. But today was one of those days. So my studio manager Michelle told me about a car show going on in Yorba Linda. Since are new car is up and running we’ve been saying we want to start going to car shows. So we checked it out online to see what it was all about. John Force Holiday Car Show
It turns out that it’s one of the biggest shows of the year. It’s put on to benefit the Chip’s for Kids toy drive. Everybody who attends has to bring at least 1 $10 unwrapped toy. So we thought this would be perfect for our first car show. So we picked up a few toys on Saturday and headed to the show early Sunday morning. Since we just heard about the show we didn’t get to pre-register like the other 900 cars did.It did say on the site you could just show up and you might get lucky and get an open space and still get your car entered. So when we arrived we couldn’t believe how big this car show was. It was over 900 cars. So many amazing cars. We put our name on the waiting list and crossed our fingers. The show started at 10. Around 9:30 they gave us the thumbs up that we had a space. We were super excited to get our car into this show. It was for a great cause and there were so many amazing cars to check out. So we hung out all day,met some great people. Had some friends and family stop by. It was a great day. The best part of the day came at the very end of the show. It turns out that there was judging going on with all the entries. We didn’t know how things worked at this show. Since it was our first show ever. But all day judges are going around the show scoring cars. We found out later that they were picking cars for Best Of Show out of the 900+ entries. So we thought we should stay until the very end just to see who won. We figured the chances for us winning anything were very slim. We found out that you should never assume that. It was fun watching all the winners get called. They were down to 2 winners left to go. And who’s name do we here next? You guessed it Jim & Stephanie Kennedy’s 1955 Ford Sunliner. We couldn’t believe it. Over 900 cars and we were Best of Show. Our first car show ever and we brought home a Best of Show trophy.

Just getting settled into the show
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Look at all the toys
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Stephanie and her Trophy! She was so excited.
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It was such a cool trophy
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Carrie & Scot @ The Nixon Library

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Thursday, December 4th, 2008 -

This was my last wedding of the year. It was the perfect wedding to end the year on. Carrie & Scot are so great and their friends and family were a blast.
They had a great wedding planner Ashley Powell of Agape Planning running the show. It was great to see Jenny B doing the flowers. One of my favorite vendors at the wedding was the amazing band. I’ve seen many bands at weddings over the years. The band Carrie chose for her wedding was one of the best bands I’ve ever seen. They have some amazing voices. If you are considering a band you have to check out N-Demand. Talk to Shane Jordan,Jordan Music Entertainment,626.201.1687.
www.jme.la
Be sure to tell him you heard about them form my blog.

Along with me was one of my top photographers Eric Cotter 2nd shooting. It was great being able to shoot a wedding together to finish off the year. Eric and I don’t work together very often since he is so booked up at the studio.
Now for some photos!
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Carrie’s dad just walked in the room.
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Time to see each other
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Anybody for a Budlight :-)
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The amazing band N Demand
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This girl rocked the reception. She has an amazing voice.
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Drexelle & David @ The Grove

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Monday, December 1st, 2008 -

I thought I’ve shot a wedding in just about every location in Orange County. Well I was wrong. I’ve never shot at The Grove in Anaheim. Drexelle & David put together a great wedding.

They love movies. So they made up these great movie posters with themselves and their friends and family as the cast. I loved them. This one is one of my favorites. Drexelle kissing her dads check.
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There is some very cool furniture at The Grove.
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Time to see each other.
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David had to take over for a little while.
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I think David has some secret powers
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Dad getting ready to walk his daughter down the isle
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They made a grand entrance to the reception
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They did an amazing first dance
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