Van Vuren Family // Smokey Mountain Forever Session

Forever Sessions

Jul 26, 2018

Smokey Mountain Family Session // Gatlinburg Tennessee // Huntsville Photographers

It’s been a little quieter over here because we’ve been packing in time with family during these few hot summer weeks between weddings! After our sweet Christina & Dylan’s wedding at the Ledges, we headed out to spend a few days in Gatlinburg with my entire family.

We’re spread out across North Carolina, Tennessee, Alabama, and Iowa. And with two nurses, two photographers, two farmers, a couple engineers that travel, and a collection of little kids, it’s actually the first time we’ve all been able to be in the same place at the same time. What a treasure!!

So of course, we brought our camera and snapped a few pictures along the way. It was an unofficial Forever Session, but I wanted to give you a little glimpse into the family that I love so much!

This was actually the very first picture we took. The fact that all the kids were looking at the camera – and were still looking when the self-timer actually snapped the picture – still makes me really happy. The kids might not have been smiling without our goofy antics behind the camera, buuuut they were all looking! For a self-timer, I’ll take it!  Nanner and Jelly Bellies worked some magic for me. I’ll introduce you to Nanner later.

This is my oldest brother, Luke. He’s 2 years older than me, and I adored him growing up. I still do, but there’s nothing like a hero of a big brother when you’re little. We played together on the farm, and I followed him on explorations to all kinds of nooks and crannies, tree forts, and barn attics.

This is technically an outtake, but it’s just so characteristic that it’s my favorite.

I’m second in the line up (we’re all 2 years apart), and I took my role as oldest sister seriously. Bossy? Depends on who you ask. But I’m sweet as sugar now (haha!) and still fall back into the role of organizing and planning.

Kalissa is 2 years younger than me, and we fought like cats, stuck like glue, and I can’t imagine life without her. We were so competitive in Slap Jack that Mom banned us from playing for a couple years. We shared a room, played sports together, and navigated that difficult journey of growing up.

The outtakes are always my favorite. She’s like, “Hey mom! I’m over here!” So cute!!

And then there’s the baby of the family, Austin. I say that to tease him because he’s never really been much of a baby. (We photographed their wedding way back in 2013, so you can see some vintage Joel & Amber work on the blog here.) Their baby is due just 2 months before Baby Palmer arrives, so it’s been special having that extra “we’re in this together” bond this summer.

This kid is a little model. And those eyes!

My parents. Hard working, faithful, loving, encouraging, and everything I could ask for. We are so blessed by them in our lives. They love the Lord and still give so much of their time to the church and to others. They’re not really big fans of getting in front of the camera, so having this picture is extra special!

This is Nanner! I found a bright yellow stuffed dog and let all the little kids play with him before we headed out for some pictures. Nanner posed on top of the camera (I’m still a little proud of that balancing act since I totally forgot to bring tape), and gave the kids something to look at.

Nanner was a hit the rest of the week, too. Sweet yellow puppy dog. :)

Formal pictures aside, I thought I’d share just a few from our excursion into Gatlinburg.

This is what my family outings look like… :)


“Yo, mom. I think I can handle this on my own.”





If you love the Smokey Mountains, be sure to check out Kayla & Brandon’s Smokey Mountain engagement session! Austin & Jillian are also a J&A Couple, and you can also browse through their Iowa Forever Session (and how much little James has grown since then!) on the blog!


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