GSS Featured Wedding Professional :: Tara Swain Photography :: Themed Day After Session with Bonny Jo and Joshua

There is something we are drawn to about these day after sessions. They are certainly growing in popularity and we love that this couple has incorporated a sweet theme to their shoot. Tara Swain is a Texas wedding photographer and when we spotted this session with Bonny Jo and Joshua on our radar on her blog, we were smitten with delight. The romanticism of the cinema and the sweet game of cards…its so fun!

As always, we like to share with you readers….we asked Bonny Jo a few questions…

How did you and Joshua meet?

Joshua and I met when I was sixteen. He was my manager at Schlotzsky’s Deli (even though he is younger than me by two months). I knew he had a crush on me but I honestly only had feelings for him as a friend. One night we hung out all night and had loads of fun. We ended up making out. Later he asked me out. I told him I only liked him as a friend and he needed to move on because I will never be into him like that. HAHA it is funny now.

How long have you been together?

We were best friends for two years before we started dating. We dated for four years before he proposed. Our engagement lasted a year and a half. We’ve been married for almost six months. So, as of now, we’ve been in a relationship for six years but been best friends for eight.

How did he propose?

Joshua does everything big, especially when it comes to me. This is a long, complicated story. I will try to keep it somewhere between brief and long. First, you have to know that when we were eighteen, (before we ever started dating), I went on vacation with him and his family. One night I couldn’t sleep, so I told him to tell me a story. He made up a fairy tale about me being a princess who is kidnapped by a dragon. In the story, he was a knight who rescued me and slayed the dragon. Almost five years later, he turned that story into how he would propose.

I always told him that I would “know” when he was about to propose. For that reason, he was determined to make sure I wouldn’t know. In the months leading to the day he would ask me to marry him, he told me lots of false information (LIES) to throw me off track. Eventually, he led me to believe that he was out of town in California. While he was “out of town,” I went with my best friend to a nice hotel and spa in Dallas for a girl’s night. Supposedly, this girl’s night was a birthday gift for my best friend from her boyfriend. It was arranged a month in advance, and I thought it was something special her boyfriend was giving us. (Secretly, it was from Joshua.) We got manicures, pedicures, and massages. We ate at a nice restaurant and had a fun girl’s night.

The next day is when things got weird. My best friend told me that some weird things were going to happen to me, and to just “go with it,” because she had approved of everything. She explained not to be scared and that I would always be safe. On this day, it was five days after my birthday. I assumed that this was some kind of surprise party or something. Later in the day we went to her sister’s house where they made me put on a princess dress. Suddenly, someone dressed as a dragon came running up. He blindfolded me, handcuffed me, put me into a car and drove off. I was kidnapped. He eventually let me out of the car and led me through a forest. He handcuffed me to a chair in the middle of the woods and left me there, alone and blindfolded.

Eventually, I heard someone come up. They un-handcuffed me and un-blindfolded me. It was a knight in shining armor. I didn’t know who it was because he was wearing a helmet. He took my hand and led me through the woods. We came to a little bridge that crossed a creek. The dragon suddenly popped out and threatened the knight. The two started fighting and I recognized the knight’s voice as Joshua’s. Joshua pulled out a sword and slayed the dragon, then approached me on the bridge. He got down on one knee and asked me to marry him. The “woods” we were at was land behind my best friend’s house. All my friends and family were on a patio and watched when he proposed. Joshua succeeded in making sure that I did NOT see it coming.

Joshua spent months (actually, years) planning how to pull this off. He documented all the details in a journal he kept and gave to me after the fact. He also filmed every element of the proposal. He kept a secret YouTube video journal where he documented the many challenges he faced in the thirty or so days leading up to the proposal. You can see it all here: He filmed fake phone calls from “California” to me, how he got my measurements so his Grandmother could sew the princess dress for me, when he secretly flew to Denver to ask my father’s permission, meetings with mine and his best friend’s figuring out the logistics of how to kidnap me, my best friend warning me not to be scared, the actual kidnapping, etc. It is all documented. He was going to edit one short video of the proposal but his computer crashed. The only videos he has up now are unedited. If you click on Playlists (, he has arranged all the videos into Playlists sorted by date. (Although for some reason YouTube doesn’t sort them by date, they appear to be randomly sorted now).

themed photography shoots for weddings

Where and when did you get married?

We got married at Heritage Gardens in Bonham, TX on April 17, 2010.

themed photography shoots for weddings

What sold you on your wedding venue?

A little bit of everything. We wanted an outdoor wedding and outdoor reception at one location. Also, the venue had many perks included in the price. We were allowed to use the venue ALL DAY of the wedding and we used it for a rehearsal the day before. Debbie, the owner, is the sweetest and just wants your wedding day to be the best it can be. The price also included all the food, the cakes, and all the decorations, which Debbie took care of herself. All this for the price was a great deal and stress free.

What made you decide to do a day after session?

Tara has such a gift of taking the most amazing pictures and capturing emotions. The more pictures the better. It rained on our wedding day, which prevented us from taking a variety of pictures of just the two of us. We had some ideas planned but we didn’t get to do them because of the rain. We decided to schedule a separate session to do some fun pictures instead of just the same old traditional ones.

themed photography shoots for weddings

themed photography shoots for weddings

Your dress is gorgeous, where did you get it and how did you know it was “the one”?

Thank you.  My maid of honor and I had been searching here in Dallas for quite some time but nothing felt right. I went back home to Denver, Colorado to visit my parents. My childhood best friend/ bridesmaid wanted to take me to d’Anellia bridal boutique. We went just for fun. When I put the dress on it just felt right. I looked over at Elisa and she was tearing up. I felt great in it and it was what I imagined. It was elegant without being too fancy for an outdoor wedding.

themed photography shoots for weddings

themed photography shoots for weddings

themed photography shoots for weddings

We love the theme….tell us more about it?

Joshua and I are very into movies. Joshua made faux movie posters to build hype for our wedding, which you can see on Tara’s blog post of our wedding: Joshua went to film school and wants to be a director. We discussed a couple early ideas with Tara, trying to figure out what we should do for the session. Tara had a really cool, original idea that we liked. It led us to coming up with the idea of re-creating certain iconic images from famous movies that we love. The cards element is based on something I used to always say to Joshua. I used to always tell him that he would only end up with me if he’d “keep playing his cards right,” and he did. The puzzle piece element is because we have always called each other our Perfect Match. The yellow puzzle pieces are what we had the guests at our wedding sign instead of a guest book. We are going to frame them as a border around one of our wedding pictures.

themed photography shoots for weddings

themed photography shoots for weddings

What song did you dance to for your first dance as husband and wife?

We danced to “Don’t Stop Me Now” by Queen. We are both huge Queen fans. I walked down the aisle to “We Will Rock You” to get the crowd ready. After we were pronounced man and wife, we exited the ceremony to “We are the Champions.”

What was your “something old, something new, something borrowed something blue”?

Something old was an Opal gold ring my mother gave me. Something new was the dress and the jewelry. Something borrowed was the petty coat from one of my bridesmaids that was married in it. Something blue was our name and wedding date embroidered on the inside of my dress.

Do you have any advice for brides that are in the planning process?

I would say make it about the two of you. The things we did just for us were the things people liked the most. I can definitely say our wedding was a celebration of our love.

themed photography shoots for weddings

themed photography shoots for weddings

What was your favorite part of your big day?

My favorite part of our wedding day was reading our vows. From the moment we booked the venue I imagined it being a beautiful sunny day when we said “I do”. Leading up to the ceremony we knew there was a good chance of rain but right before the ceremony it appeared the rain was going to wait. The ceremony started and it began to sprinkle during Joshua’s vows and then pour during mine right when I said “I promise to have fun with you run in the rain any chance we get.” It just made me think even though life and love isn’t always what you imagined the real thing is better then you could ever expect.

themed photography shoots for weddings

Thank you for sharing such a fun day after bride and groom session with us! Be sure to check out Tara’s site and her blog. Bonny Jo and Joshua we wish you a lifetime full of love, laughter, and happiness!!!  May every day be better than the last!

Pin It


  1. Bonny Jo and Joshua were an AH-MAZING couple to work with. I feel so blessed to have been chose as their photographer and they will forever be some of my favorite clients. LOVE YOU GUYS! :)

    Ps.. honored to have been asked to be a feature on GSS!! :)

  2. yay Tara!!! you rock girl!!!

  3. I love love love all of your pictures from my good friend Bonny Jo! I wish I could have you do mine!!!! You are amazing no doubt

Speak Your Mind