The Golden Silence

collage by @kellysauerloves

A little compilation of my Pinteresting mood today. Just to try out my feels-like-new computer, updated software, and somewhat quivery voice after a recent hard drive meltdown. I am loving these colors right now, the way the light and the dark play together with the gold. It reminds me of autumn.

I’ve been quiet here. There is a lot happening in the silence – it does feel golden, and a bit melty as I’m facing a lot of disappointments, reworking my dreams a little, and thinking hard about who I am and where I want to go from here. I’ll tell you about it soon, when my plans to revive this little journal are realized. I am grateful for you who still visit, who still comment when I post, who let me know that I have not really disappeared the way I feel I have. Please know how much you mean to me, making me real when I feel like I’m lost in a dream that isn’t quite a nightmare, but could be if I looked close enough…

I will be back with stories for you sometime soon. I promise.

Image Credits

1. V & A
2. Anthropologie
3. Alessandro Recchiuti

Hannah Lane Bridal

bridal photography by kelly sauer

Over the last couple of years, I think I’ve been uncovering my sweet spot in the bridal work I’ve gotten to do. While I totally love the wedding photography rush, there is just nothing that compares to the one-on-one feeling of a bridal or boudoir session. I really, really love the simple, sweet magic of these tender moments, sharing the butterflies with a bride before her wedding day.

My photographer friend, Hannah, got married last month, and I was so, so honored that she asked me to be part of her photography line-up for her wedding experience, in spite of the fact that Noley was only four weeks old at the time! We took an empty house and some afternoon light and made this pretty – I’m so thrilled with the way it came out with a little Tuscan feel, and simply, honestly elegant.

bridal photography by kelly sauer

bridal photography by kelly sauer
bridal photography by kelly sauer

bridal photography by kelly sauer

bridal photography by kelly sauer

bridal photography by kelly sauer
bridal photography by kelly sauer

bridal photography by kelly sauer

bridal photography by kelly sauer

bridal photography by kelly sauer

bridal photography by kelly sauer

bridal photography by kelly sauer


Photography: Exquisitrie by Kelly Sauer
Location: Private Cottage owned by Bostic Law Firm
Gown, Veil, and Headpiece: David’s Bridal
Styling: Kelly Sauer Ltd. Co.

My Flower Girl

flower girl | by Kelly Sauer | la joie, la vie

She lasted as long as she could, being Pip, eavesdropping on my shoot without getting involved. But involvement is her way, and so she picked out one of the dresses I had along, figured out how to get it clamped, and she started styling herself for involvement in front of my camera. She is one of the things that I love about being a creative – she channels more of me than I have energy to create, and if I will indulge her with a few minutes under the camera, she’ll give me photos I could only dream about getting, full of her childlike innocence and fun. As conflicted as we are with our individual priorities sometimes, we are magic together. It is the best thing ever.

flower girl | by kelly sauer | la joie, la vie

flower girl | by kelly sauer | la joie, la vie


Photographer: Exquisitrie by Kelly Sauer
Styling: Piper Sauer (with Alise Taggart)
Florals: Stephanie Gibbs, Sweetgrass Events
Hair and Makeup: Dannon K. Collard
Lace Dress: Choklate
White Gown: Collette-Naomi Dress by Rebecca Schoneveld
Schoneveld Gown Source: The Sentimentalist
Silk Pieces and Wardrobing Ribbon: Silk and Willow
Jewelry: Kristin Hayes Jewelry
Heirlooms and Set Pieces: Kelly Sauer Ltd. Co.

On Moving, and Dreams Come True

Dream Studio | by Kelly Sauer

Once upon a time, when Pete and I got married, we rented a house that was our dream house. It was a little renovated barn with two bedrooms, a clean, new kitchen, and a little living room/dining room area, nestled into a little nook of a Northern Virginia farm. We applied to rent the place, along with five or six other people, and we looked at it, trying hard not to like it too much, since we already had something lined up anyway, and one of the other people would probably be chosen before we were. When the tour ended, the owner smiled at us as she told us that the last person had dropped out of the running that day. The little cottage on Stonemeadow Lane would be ours for the next year and a half.

That moment has been replaying in my head over the last week or so, after closing on the first house we’ve ever owned. We had waited and waited and waited for another house that we loved here in Charleston, but months and months passed, and we still had got nowhere on it. The City was involved with the ownership and sale of the place, and the realtor was working for the bank that had foreclosed on it, and the contractor had done no work at all on the repairs the house needed to be habitable.

The day our contract ended on that house, we looked at another little house in our neighborhood that had just come on the market. The house had everything we’d had at the rental we’d been living in for the last four years, but it had huge windows and dark floors instead of orange, a laundry room that wasn’t in the garage, a screened-in porch and a whitewashed brick “sunroom” that all came out to something that felt every bit as right as that first little cottage we chose before we got married in 2005.

Less than four weeks and a major surgery later, we walked out of the closing and inaugurated my new studio with an incredible shoot, and then we were moving into a home that I loved more every minute I spent in it.

A lot of the dreams we’ve dreamed over the years are going into this house that is ours now, dreams about reading to our children at mealtimes, about having a kitchen with more counter space, about having light to fill the rooms and places to make photos without shooting around the things we hate. The kids have a playroom, I have a play room, and there is room here for the large farm table I want to have for us for school and work and making cookies and having friends for dinner. We are simplifying – it took us four days to move all the clutter we had stashed in the closets, and we were overwhelmed and embarrassed at the amount of stuff we had that we don’t use.

I didn’t want to move after having a baby again. We did it after Pip was born, and after Squiggy was born, and now we have done it after Noley was born (and I have blessed that little girl for being born two weeks early so many times in the last week, because she is not as little as she would have been if she had waited until she was full term to come to us). I was afraid I would have to shut down and run away and forget all the change and mourn all my own plans for this postpartum period gone awry, but I have stayed in the moment, and some have been hard, but a lot have been really, really good, and I haven’t missed my life this time.

I learned something in the middle of Noley’s labor. I had spent months preparing for her birth, and I wanted things to be just so after she was born, but in the middle of her labor, just before I moved out of early labor, I realized that this is life, the coming early, the things left undone, the fear and the unknown and the things that don’t go as you get right. You don’t get to choose the way it all plays out. You just get to live it or not live it, and you’ll never really be able to manage your way into the perfect experiences you imagine. That’s part of growing up, I suppose, realizing this, and it’s part of being alive, not shutting all the things out because they are outside of your control.

There are more dreams-come-true in the unexpected than in the five-year plan, I think. If you keep your eyes and your heart open, you’ll see.

Bridal Fashion Preview – A Lowcountry Sunset

lowcountry sunset preview | by kelly sauer

That time you broke in your new house with a photo shoot because empty houses are amazing shoot locations…

Here’s a teeny peek at the magic we made in my inaugural studio shoot at our new house on Wednesday! Today is moving day, but I couldn’t resist showing you just a little bit of the pretty we made.

Now. On to the rest of the day. This week is going to make *some* story sometime…


Styling: Alise Taggart
Hair and Makeup: Dannon K. Collard
Gown: Alexandra Grecco
Wrap: Silk and Willow
Glass: Anthropologie
Florals (coming soon!): Stephanie Gibbs of Sweetgrass Events
Photography: Exquisitrie by Kelly Sauer

Behind the Lens – “I Pick You”

la joie, la vie | photo by @christinabrosnan

“I wouldn’t have chosen any of this,” I told him, swallowing tears around the lump in my throat. Not the health issues, not the new baby coming early, not the house hunt and the impending move before my body settled down from the birth enough to really enjoy my baby, not the homeschooling, not any changes at all if I could have chosen anything. In my world, after spending my life on the move, having the solidity of a home to be in and dream in and make room for my family in is a dream come true, and saying goodbye to this house I’ve lived in and worked in and made work for us for four years was not on my to-do list.

But here we are, Pete and I, in one of the craziest, craziest weeks of our lives together (seriously – we are living to the Looney Toons theme right now). For months, I have been walking quietly beside him as he has pursued his dream of owning a home, as we’ve made decisions about staying in Charleston and moving our family into a more permanent home here, as we’ve ruled this house out and offered on that house. I have been honest with my opinions about things, but I have walked with him because I love him, and I want him to have something that he can love coming home to and feel that it is his to decide on and to putter with and to change around and to invest in if he wants.

Finally this morning, as we rose at 4:30 because of the baby, our uninterrupted conversation led to one of the bravest things I have ever done in our marriage, to his offering to stop the move before we close the contract and to my looking him in the eye and telling him that what I really wanted had nothing to do with stopping the move and everything to do with our hearts. Nothing we are living right now is what I want except us being in it together.

We’ve been through a lot in our almost-nine-year marriage. We went through a lot before we got married. I know we’ll get through this, and this time, I don’t want to do it by shutting down and hiding until it is all over. I want to be *here*, and even though every single one of the factors for the high stress levels that shut my body down are present in our world, I want to be willing to live this time instead of shutting out my life. I want to remember my baby’s smiles and Squiggy’s first few weeks of school. I want to rock out the shoot I’m doing on Wednesday like I have never rocked a shoot in my life. I want to be aware of Pip’s needs and to move as one with my husband and to laugh and to not feel guilty because I can’t even lift anything but the baby right now because of my surgery last week.

We are the weak and the fool, and somehow, glory, and our answer for everything this week is going to be what he said to me at the end of our talk today, “I pick you,” and we will be crazy and keep choosing each other, because surviving our own lives without one another is the thing we didn’t want to do anymore when we chose each other in the first place.


Bridal Session Outtake

by kelly sauer

I’ll be posting this bride’s lovely session soon, but I absolutely cannot resist sharing this little peek into my photographic life right now… Noley is most definitely the sweetest part of my team!

P.S. We are still looking for the right model for our amazing styled session with international stylist Alise Taggart on August 27, 2014! Please drop me an email if you’re interested!