Jess + Andrew

Who’s that girl??
Who’s that girl?

It’s Jess!
And Andrew!

I’ve been watching some New Girl lately. Can you tell?

Anyway, these two couldn’t be more perfect.

I finally met Jess Riviera after months of chatting online and through mutual friends. When I met her I felt like I already knew her. We chatted immediately like old friends. She’s a little spitfire and a real joy to be around. And really beautiful with that gorgeous red hair! She’s also a fellow photographer who does stunning work!  So, I definitely felt the pressure when she asked me to take the photos!

Her handsome hubs Andrew, was due back from a 9 month deployment and she asked me to capture it for them. Jess had the cutest gold balloons that said “Kiss Me” and wore the cutest outfit to reunite with her man. She wore and black and white polka dot flare skirt, a floppy suede hat and booties.

It was a pretty chilly February night at Fort Bliss. The families waited anxiously outside for their men and women in uniform. The army band was playing classic U.S. of A. tunes as we watched the plane land.

This part seemed like it took forever! But finally, Andrew and the rest of the soldiers filed out of the plane. They lined up and marched past their families outside in the waiting area. Jess proudly held up her “kiss me” balloons and guess what? It worked! (No real surprise there!) As Andrew marched past, he leaned in a gave her a quick kiss before heading inside!

Once back inside, we had to wait some more for the guys to get their luggage squared away before they could actually hug their families. This final wait was totally worth it. It always is.

The last obstacle before Jess and Andrew could reunite was a metal roll up door. The guys lined up outside, the smoke machine fired up, the music began to play. As the anticipation built to its peak, we hear a couple of bangs on the metal door that separated the soldiers from their loved ones. The door was raised and they marched through the smoke in formation to the large waiting area.

As soon as the soldiers were released to their families, Jess runs through the crowd of people and leaps into Andrew’s arms. He spins her around, they kiss and hug each other for a few minutes after 9 long months. They are so in love it just radiates from both of them.

After all the anticipation, it was a pretty quick reunion. Both eager to get back home, Jess and Andrew, make their way through the crowds to grab his stuff so they could return to their regularly scheduled lives.

Although, these homecomings happen frequently and after doing a couple of them you start to get the routine, but they’re always emotional. Even for me to watch. I get chills just thinking about the love between Jess and Andrew and seeing her jump into his arms.

The late hours and rescheduling were all worth it, in the end, to see they smiles and the love between families.

So, Andrew, a huge welcome home to you! Thank you for your service! And to Jess, I loved meeting you and getting to know you a little. You had me listening to gangster rap on the way home!

I’m so happy that you trusted me to photograph this monumental moment in your relationship. Wishing you guys a happy time reuniting and many more years of happiness in your marriage!

PS-Thank you to all the troops, especially my own, Ernie Manin, (who’s deployed at the moment) for sacrificing and fighting for our freedom at home. I know that not everything you do is always recognized, but it’s appreciated.

Enjoy this sweet reunion.






Happily Everafter.



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Boudoir photographer currently living in Columbus, Georgia.

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