The Bad Christians

“Bad Christian” sounds like a vague (and potentially loaded) phrase but it’s the name of one of my favorite podcasts. If you grew up knowing anything about Tooth & Nail records you may remember the band Emery. They were signed to T&N circa 2003 - 2011 and released several albums during that time. Matt, Toby, and Joey, Matt and Toby are still in the band, started the Bad Christian podcast. The BC podcast describes themselves as this:

“BadChristian is a thriving community focused on interacting with culture from a post-Christian point of view through transparency, entertainment, honesty, and creativity. Our community is growing rapidly because of partnerships with independent musicians, podcasters, and writers, who by fueling the BadChristian movement, are able to build and sustain their careers and vocations.”

On a weekly basis, Matt, Toby, Joey, and Reva, get together to talk about life, God, religion, politics, social issues, the church, etc. Nothing is taboo. They challenge each others beliefs and assumptions. They ask questions, even questions that tend to “rock the boat” in most churches. They don’t shy away from questions that we all know is on others’ minds but asking it may get you ostracized from your church or community. It’s apparent that the BC community has become a home without walls for many disenfranchised Christians.

I reached out to them a while ago to inquire about advertising but what ended up happening was coordinating a photoshoot with their podcast/tour manager, Reva. The BC team does a lot of traveling as they’re spread out across the country and it turned out that Toby lives in Nashville. So, plans were made that the next time they meet up in Nashville to record the podcast, they’d let me know the location and we could do a photoshoot while they record!

When the team was back in Nashville, Reva got in touch with me and told me that they’d be in the tour bus, parked in a Walmart parking lot. Mentally, I made a joke to myself wondering “What did I get myself into? This won’t look sketchy at all!”

 

Meeting the guys after listening to them for some time was so weird. When you've heard someone talk once a week and then meet them it's a bit surreal. But they were exactly as they are on the podcast which was unexpected at first. You think, as with most podcast, that they are putting on a show. They are and aren't. This is just three friends hanging out talking about everything like friends do. There are topics for each episode that Reva write on a white board with touch points for the episode. Reva hits record and the guys start talking away with Matt usually leading the conversation till Toby gets fired up and runs with it. Joey chimes in with his very calm comments and round and round it goes. The guys get off topic and Reva steps in with a tap on the white board to bring them back on topic. All the while I’m snapping photos of their interactions. I felt like I more so captured their friendship in this setting than anything. 

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Their deep friendship shines through in their conversation and discussions on the podcast. They are down to earth wonderful guys that really have a passion for building a community where people and freely ask questions about their faith.

When I shot the guys at Exit/In they were doing a show with Vocal Few, He is Legend, and Emery. Before the show was a Panel, Meet and Greet, and quick acoustic show. 

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Currently Bad Christian has a music label, books, a store with Bad Christian merch and a new documentary coming out called “What Would Jesus Sell?” showing the underbelly of the christian music community in the early 2000’s. Continuing to push the boundaries of what being a freelancer looks like

These three are forging their own path and having fun with it. They have found a way to make a career out of just recording conversations with friends over and over. This doesn’t work with just anyone but they have made it work with them and their unique dynamic.

Melissa PassonsBad Christian
Falling in Love With the Duckworths

I can’t get over how adorable this couple is, I’m sure I’ve told them about a million times on their wedding day and the days after. Alisha and Will continually beamed joy from start to finish of their wedding day. I’ve never seen a couple so elated as they were to get married. Their nerves were over shadowed by their excitement to marry one another and it shows through in these photos.

After the ceremony we went to the edge of the property that border a cow farm. Alisha LOVES cow. As we approached the fence to do their couple portraits Alisha squealed as baby calfs jumped in the field near us. It was the perfect location for them to do their couple portraits before the reception.

Here are some of the lovely highlights from their wedding. It was definitely hard to narrow it down to just these and only one photo for the cute cows through the fence, haha. I hope you enjoy these photos as much as I have.

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A Night at the Sinema
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Gary & Veronica wanted to get married at their favorite place in Nashville, The Sinema. With a 1940’s Old Hollywood look and feel this venue has become my favorite place for weddings in Nashville the moment I walked in the door.

Sinema is in the original location of the historic Melrose Theater which opened in 1942. It has a “storied history of delighting movie-goers and creating long lasting memories. Today, housed in the same space, Sinema aims to keep that tradition alive. The guest experience is inspired by the history of the theater: the architectural design, the patrons, and the stars who graced it's big screen.” - Sinema

This couple stole the show with Gary’s Blue suit and gold tie and Veronica’s Gorgeous dress and glamours glittering details, and smiles on both of them from ear to ear. Every eye was on them the whole day as they danced the night away.

Here are some of the photos from their amazing wedding at the Sinema.


Take Me Back to Zion

Last year, my husband and I visited Zion National Park. I’ve had this park on my bucket list for what feels like forever and was trying to keep my expectations of how beautiful Zion would be in check. I didn’t want my experience to be a let down because I’d only seen heavily photoshopped images.

We booked a flight into Las Vegas and drove to the park in a black Dodge Challenger that made my husband feel like he was in the real life version of Grand Theft Auto. We drove through the desert past people in their dune buggies, goggles and helmet clad, flying with a cloud of sand trailing behind them.

We continued heading towards the mountains where the road disappeared into the crevasse of rock.

Ominous and looming over the highway we cut through them til they opened to overlooks of the valley with spotted red rock. The two lane highway hugged the edge of the mountain as we sped towards Utah.

 
 
Mountain overlook Nevada

We arrived at our destination well after dark. We had booked a tent at Under Canvas which is a “glamping” company. As we approached the site, the tents were scattered across the mountain side and lit by little solar lights to help identify the paths around the site. Truly, it looked like we came upon a little Ewok village straight out of Star Wars. The tents were amazing! It combined the some of the best aspects of camping with the comforts of a hotel. Some tents even had their own private bathroom and shower attached. But all tents had Casper mattresses and pillows, batteries to charge your phone, wood burning stoves (for food or to heat up your tent if the temperature drops), and more. Trust me, the Casper mattresses were amazing to come home to after hiking the entire day.

We checked in at the main tent where they had nice fire lit with a kitchen, and tables for visitors to hang out or get dinner. We had someone show us where out tent and the bath house was. Once settled in our tent we sat out on the porch and looked at the stars. I’ve never seen so many stars in my life. Every inch of the sky was dotted with a tiny glittering speck. I could have sat out there all night but knew we needed to go to bed for adventures we had planned for the next day.

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On our first day we went on an all day horse back ride through the canyons. We started out the day with meeting the horses and working with them, brushing them and getting all the gear set up. We set out on an intense ride with one other family that had three kids.

This was a serious all day ride. We ran the horses up and down hill and across the desert at full speed and these horses loved it. I, on the other hand, have never been on a horse going full speed and it was both terrifying and fun. When we stopped for lunch, I could barely get off my horse from my legs being so tense while the horse was galloping. Travis still tells me to this day that his knees haven’t been the same since! Haha!

Getting back on the horse for 4 more hours of riding was difficult but completely worth it once we got to the outskirts of the park and watched as beautiful storm clouds rolled in over the mountain. We hurried to get back but ended up being caught in a soft rain. It was so welcome after such a long ride.

The next day we entered Zion National Park and I’m pretty sure my mouth was open in awe of how incredible it was. At that moment, I understood why that place was called Zion. It was sublime.

Our first venture was the River Walk where you can hike on the paved path or on the sand next to the river. We decided to take the path less traveled by the water as it offered an amazing view of the giant red mountains above.

We stopped several times for photos and to check out the surrounding plants and animals. There were HUGE squirrels around us, they were even listed in the park brochure that we picked up. As a warning, the brochure showed a photograph of someones hand all stitched up with a caption saying, “Do not feed the animals!” Once we saw the squirrels in person, we got it. We also saw a Mule Deer and long leg Tarantulas that look insanely big compared to the ones I’ve seen at pet stores.

We walked on, following the trail all the way up to the mouth of the Narrows. We stopped for a break where we took off our shoes and waded in the water as other hikers make their descent into the Narrows in waist-high water. I could feel the current pulling around my ankles, like the river was pulling me to go with them.

We put our shoes back on, hiked back to the pickup area, and caught a bus to the Emerald Pools trail. Red rock stairs led us higher and higher to each pool. We ended up checking out all three. Each one had a gorgeous overlook.

Emerald Pools Hike Overlooks
Emerald Pools Hike Overlooks
Read Rock Stairs On Emerald Pools Hike

We hiked back down and hung out at the Zion Lodge for a while. We watched a couple Mule Deer eat the grass in this round landscaped area that may have been the only grass in the park. We rode the shuttle back to the entrance of the park and hopped over to the Springdale shuttle to go into the small town just outside the park entrance. We grabbed dinner at an awesome little Mexican restaurant up the road. It was the best food to have after a whole day of hiking. Before heading back to our car, we face-timed our parents to show them the mountains and shops in the Springdale area. The view looked incredible as the sun started to set by the time we got back to the car. We drove through the dark back to Under Canvas.

On our Last day in Zion, we got up before the sun rose. We had to use our head lamps to light our walk up to the showers and the main tent to get some coffee before heading out to our last hike. We loaded up the car and checked out. The sun started to rise while we drove down the Zion-Mount Carmel highway. Once we entered the park, we followed the signs to the Canyon Overlook Trail. We passed through a dark tunnel that had large “windows” cut out where one could catch quick glimpses of the red cliffs outside. Once we were out of the tunnel, we found a parking spot as soon as we could. Apparently, arriving as early as possible is a popular idea and sometimes it can be hard to find a parking spot. We geared up and headed out on our last trail.

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Melissa at Canyon Overlook

I’ve never traveled anywhere where I’ve been so in love with the landscape that I didn’t want to leave. The view was overwhelming.

This place was so beautiful, peaceful, and humbling. This is a place that we could call home.

The top of the trail opened up to an incredible view. We walked around the area to take pictures and attempt to take it all in. Eventually, Travis put his arm around me and said we had to go. Unfortunately, we had to return the rental car and check in to a hotel for our last night in Vegas. Hand in hand, we walked back down the narrow trail while holding hands, trying to take mental pictures of our last minutes in Zion.

Reflecting back on this trip makes me excited for the adventures we have planned for the future. They’re always better when you can share them with someone. Here’s to my favorite adventure buddy, Travis. I don’t want to explore with anyone but you. Thanks for joining me on these adventures!

My Adventure Buddy
Party at Houston Station

 

This couple sure knows how to party! Adam & Kirby did their wedding at Huston Station in Nashville, TN. With every detail carefully picked out to match to her gorgeous lace dress at the centerpiece of the day. Their family and friends were there to celebrate and shower them with love and tear up the dance floor every second of the day. Here's a few photos for the festivities from their lovely day.

 

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Fairytale Wedding in Washington

 

Anthony & Andriana were married in a French inspired garden on the grounds of Thornewood Castle in Tacoma, Washington. Longtime lovers of Disney, this couple’s venue was the perfect backdrop for their fairytale inspired wedding. Their throne like chairs for the reception, Happily Ever After cake topper, and the brides tiara were the accents that tied it all together. Andriana going down the stairs before the ceremony is one of my favorite photos from the day. She was double checking her veil and making sure everything looked right before she went out to meet her groom.

The Ceremony was held in this gated garden on the grounds. This garden reminded me of the movie Much Ado About Nothing with it’s sculptures and fountain. For their bridal portraits we strolled around the garden then took the last ones in front of the great wooden doors with lion head knockers pictured below. Every detail and Thornewood was so perfectly curated to match the elegant gardens outside.

When I stepped away later to get pictures of the guest and reception, I returned outside to the groomsmen taking funny pictures on the lawn with Anthony. Later they did a fun sparkler send off with all their sweet guest. These are just some of my favorite photos from their magical wedding day.

 

Intimate Wedding in Colorado

 

Anna & Jonathan had a double wedding with one in South Africa, where Jonathan is from, and the second in Brighton, Colorado in the backyard of Anna’s parents house. This was not your average backyard wedding mind you. It was the most beautiful house set on top of a hill, overlooking rolling hills in one direction and the Colorado Rockies in the other. It was absolutely magical.

From our first conversation, I was on board for this wedding. I instantly loved this couple and their family. Each detail was carefully picked out and planned to match their perfect day. From Jonathan’s lion cuff links and peacock bowtie to the cowboy hat adorned groomsmen. From Anna’s sister, Julie, wearing the same dress that Anna wore as Julie’s maid of honor to having the wedding in Anna’s parents backyard.

Their loved ones came to celebrate each beautiful moment with them. Capturing every second of their wedding day was a joy. I even felt as if I was reliving the experience when I put together this entry, all while smiling as much as they did on that day. It’s hard to pick a single, favorite photo but the one with one of Anna, looking across a beautiful landscape, where a farm cat snuck into the shot is probably it! Here are some of the highlights from their gorgeous wedding day.

 

Elopement in the City

 

Jenn & Frank wanted to do all their favorites in the city of Nashville for their wedding day. We started our day with family photos at their beautiful home with all their babies in East Nashville then went to the courthouse for them to be wed. Afterwards we went to the Pedestrian Bridge for photos at I Dream of Weenie for dogs, Jeni's Ice Cream for "wedding cake", and Portland Brew, where they had their first date, to end the day. We did photo around East Nashville at some of the colorful fun murals as well. Elopements are so much fun and you have so much time to do your favorite things with the one you love! Here are just some of the beautiful photos from their day.