This Glorious Mess

In January Patrick and I traveled to San Fransisco for The Good Food Awards...

Patrick owns Roots Kitchen Cannery, where he turns local Montana produce into delicious small batch hand-canned jam, pickles, and syrups and his bomb diggity Curried Carrot Pickles were a finalist this year (HUGE props to my hunky dude) which guaranteed him a spot in their annual Mercantile!

But before we gathered ourselves for a road trip to the coast I reached out to a few of my fav Bay Area wedding babes to (hopefully) schedule some podcasting, and top of the list was Kindred Wedding Co.

Elle Wildhagen and Zachary Domes photographs were filling my feed with inexplicably tender moments and ambient wedding day vibes. I had loved them from afar and now it was time to see if they were as fabulous in person as they were on Instagram. 


Long story short: they were. Actually, they were far more interesting and wonderful than I could have imagined. 

But first...long story longer.


Because although I did hear back from Elle and Zach I was saddened to find that not only were they out of town but, further more, they had just been in Bozeman!

You can imagine my disappointment.

But here's the thing: what I discovered in this exchange, that I might otherwise not have known, was that Elle and Zach were traveling across the country on a mission to capture the heart and souls of extraordinary everyday people through intimate photographs and revealing conversation. 

This ongoing project, titled The New Americans, made me want to speak with them all the more, and I resolved to reach out again when their travels concluded. Lucky for me, they were able to find time to speak with me and the resulting conversation is certainly one for the books.

In knowing, We are freed.

I’m not even sure where to begin. This conversation hit so many emotional chords for me, it’s actually left me reeling. 

If I had to pinpoint a through thread for this episode it would be that a relationship is much like a human in terms of it’s evolution. The dark, dirty, messy moments of unrest and disconnection do more for the depth of our devotion than sparkling promises of unblemished commitment ever will. To ignore the vitality of misunderstanding is to sell short a concept so complex it will surely take a lifetime to understand. 

Love is such a magical tangled compound. It is everything glorious and sublime about our experience here on earth, and yet it never ceases to conjure up our darkest truths, harmful habitual beliefs, and deepest rooted fears. 

But, as Elle says:  in this, we are healed. 

Allowing another to see us fully for who we are, warts and all, is what makes this connection so powerful.

Because life is a tempestuous sea of frothing waves. The crashing elemental serf rolls over us with wild abandon, sometimes calm and manageable, often harsh and unforgiving.

And in the center are “We.”

We are a ship built board by tenuous board, sturdy and forgiving; steered by an evolving alliance with our unknowable partners. We are a barge constructed from trust; an assurance that when the rejected caverns of our soul are exposed, our ship will inconceivably strengthen. 

engagement photographs by sara k byrne

Elle mentioned Allain de Botton's article Why You Will Marry the Wrong Person



"These days it feels impossible to find much good in the news at all. Sensationalism distracts us from the truth, that the world isn’t really that bad. We’re glad that we don’t actually live in a world as horrible as news programs make it out to be. However, we do think that there should be more media outlets for people to see the world as it is. Good news should be made public just as much as the bad.

Our goal was to do what media often doesn’t do: To share stories that are simple, yet inspiring. And to tell them in an honest way."

They are currently editing an entirely new batch of videos from their 2017 road trip which means you have some time to sift through their 2016 videos, all of which are superb. The gallery is there to stay so take your time and enjoy this unique glimpse into the penetrating stories of our community's unsung heroes. 



I'm no photographer, but I know depth and texture when I see it.

I think Elle and Zach have a really intuitive way of capturing the unobserved gestures of affection that add a profound sense of individuality to a wedding. To ensure that this tangled web of moving pieces moves forward in a smooth fashion there is most certainly a necessary formula for weddings, however I don't believe that wedding photographs need reflect the formula.

Often times wedding photographs run together in my memory. For, although the moments were surely distinct, their representation follows that pervasive wedding photo checklist so closely that the glorious mess of life is all but erase from the occasion. 

The Kindred devotion to capturing that mess truly consumes me.

I actually found my eyes welling with joyous tears as I sifted through their website, so moved was I by the photos found therein.

I implore you to do some sifting of your own.


As I write this I am listening to “From Hank to Hendrix” by Neil Young, a song about divorce that was crafted so magnificently as to make the prospect of separation alluring.  Although I have every faith that Elle and Zach are going to go the distance, I find this song somehow appropriate… Their ability to embrace struggle alongside success leads me to believe that, should the road prove too difficult at any point, they will persist in growing and find kindness in their ever ripening sense of empathy for one another.



Jasmine Snyder