Friends, I can’t believe this post is even REAL right now! How am I blogging my OWN wedding? I am truly humbled, and honored, and just touched, that Derek and I were able to experience our day in the way that we did. I learned so much, which will come in another post!
Just before our wedding, Derek and I were getting so excited – this moment which we waited for for a year and a half was almost here! The moment that means that the rest of our lives were finally starting – not a pause, not on hold, and we would be free to live into all that means for us.
I was a little nervous, naturally. Would all the details turn out okay? And as a people pleaser, I was also worried, would everyone else be happy and okay? The week before our wedding, a friend of mine prayed with me about our wedding and all my worries were just gone – and my heart was covered with such a peace which was the backdrop for how I experienced our entire day.
Also before the wedding, we had checked the weather. We saw that it looked like it would rain – and the percentage wasn’t 60%, it was 100%. And the next day, 100%. Derek told me, “it’ll be okay honey.” And I knew it would. I think it was at in those moments that we both decided to just embrace it. I prepared like a photographer would, buying 7 clear rain umbrellas, taking my rain boots, and extra shoes. I emailed our photographer, Katelyn James, and she emailed me back, “Don’t you worry sweet friend! The Lord has made Sunday just how He wants it and we’re going to create beautiful portraits!” I felt again, such a peace in that moment and knew that she was the photographer God gave us to remind us of that – it’s not about how I want it, it’s about how God wants it. And knowing that God thought of everything for us, released me to not have to think and worry about those details.
The morning of our wedding, I woke up exhausted (from only 4 hours of sleep) but joyful and excited on the inside!!! The wedding weekend may have been exhausting while being fun, but that day – I knew, was going to be amazing. I had breakfast with my mamma and we exchanged our gifts, and tears – before all the girls arrived for hair and makeup. Then I did the same with my cousin and maid of honor Brittani – exchanged gifts and of course a little tear. Then the girls arrived, and I gave them their gifts! And I had a crazy thing happen – right after giving them their gifts I literally stepped on my toe and my nail started coming off! My friend who was a doctor started wrapping me in bandages and we were laughing hysterically, that WOULD happen to me on my wedding day! It was such a great atmosphere getting ready, my friends and I took polaroid pictures together, and I had other friends stop by with a Pumpkin Spice Latte and pumpkin donuts for me – it’s like they knew!!! My makeup and hair team was just the BEST – and I was seriously in awe for how beautiful they made me look and feel. What a gift they were!
When I opened Derek’s gift to me, I started crying when I saw his handwriting on the card. And it was the ugly cry!! I read in his note that he decided to give me a gift that I had told him I wanted – he changed his plan to listen to my heart. And that just touched me – what an amazing husband I was about to marry!!
Then, we got ready to head to the venue, I had scheduled some time before our photographer came to set up our details around the venue, our sign in book, pumpkins, canvases, etc. So I was in my bridal robe setting things up when Katelyn James and her husband Michael tapped me on the shoulder – it was at that moment that it started feeling so surreal! How was this woman who had mentored me for years, WITH ME to photograph my own wedding?! After Katelyn captured all my details, she found the most gorgeous spot for window lighting to capture my portraits! It was raining like crazy outside – but she found the light!! This is why she is so good at what she does – it was this hidden spot upstairs – but all you need is the right type and amount of light to make everything look magical! And she did! Then it was time for me to go see my honey!
We decided our first look would be inside, of course because it was raining! But they thought it would be nice to do it under the tent where we would be married, and have me walk down the aisle to tap Derek on the shoulder. The setting…couldn’t have been more romantic. I was choked up and started crying when I saw his back, when I knew that this was our moment. And then, we saw each other! I cried more, he teared up when he saw me, and we laughed when I told him I broke my toe nail. It was perfect there, under the beautiful tent with the rain falling down on us.
Then we went out for our portraits – and I knew Derek would be just as adventurous as I would! I knew he just wanted to make me happy – and he did in every way! We joyfully embraced the rain, riding in golf carts over to the big tree with a swing underneath. My sweet florist Bobbi went out there in the rain and wrapped that swing in flowers just for me and got soaked! So of course we had to go there, even if it meant putting a clear tarp under us to sit on. That clear tarp went with us everywhere, I even stood on it in the middle of the road holding our umbrella – you’d never know! Even though it was raining, the COLORS were so vibrant! Fall held on for us this year…and it showed in all our photos
After taking photos with our bridal party on the steps, we went in for the ceremony! I didn’t even know we were running late – the joys of not being the photographer! The entire day I just trusted those taking care of me, from my sweet maid of honor Brittani arranging all of my stuff and taking care of every detail, to our photographer who made us feel so calm in every moment.
Walking down the aisle with my dad was a moment I’ll never forget. Before he led me to my groom standing at the altar, he whispered to me a story he used to tell me as a child. And that made me so calm. When I walked in, seeing all our family and friends watch me – I connected with their faces and just felt the gravity of that moment, the holiness of that moment. That’s how Derek and I’s whole ceremony felt like – it felt covered in peace and holiness. The rain made it so romantic – and I even heard guests say that it was like God’s presence, because it rained harder during moments that were more significant. Our pastor Kelvin spoke over us in a way I’ll never forget, encouraging us to build our marriage on trust and listening to the heart. He encouraged us to submit to each other in reverence for Christ. And as we read our vows, we both felt the intensity of what that meant. And it was joyful – Derek even tried to kiss me after our vows, which wasn’t the right moment so we laughed!! And then, we were pronounced husband and wife!!!
We spent cocktail hour taking photos with family, which took awhile but I’m so glad because of our family who came in from far away, from Florida and Colorado and California and Kansas – and it’s wonderful to have memories with them We did mingle with some guests at cocktail hour and then I was whisked away to have my dress bustled, and Derek and I shared a private cocktail hour together while the guests were going into the tent. Then, our DJ Jimmy, a good friend of mine, announced us and we walked in to the most beautiful atmosphere I had ever seen. A romantic tent with trees, string lights, gorgeous table settings, and all of our family and friends standing up clapping for us. You know it’s an important moment in your life when people are standing up and clapping. We danced to our first dance song, “HOLY” by Florida Georgia Line, just like we had done so many times in Derek’s cabin after making ourselves dinner. Our steps weren’t perfect, but I actually loved that we didn’t rehearse – it was just US, beautiful messes of ourselves out there in perfect love for each other. At the end of the dance Derek picked me up and spun me around – ahh I loved that!!
My dad gave a beautiful welcome speech, and then our friends gave toasts. Derek’s best man’s was so thoughtful and made Derek a little teary, my cousin’s was so heartfelt and made me teary, his friend Todd’s was funny and made us laugh, and my friend Carrie Grace’s was funny and the perfect story about the two of us and such a great way to wrap it all up I hardly ate the food on my plate because I realized my photo was being taken, but Derek and I had leftovers in our mini moon and it was delicious!! Even the dessert – when we cut our cake I think I knew that was the only taste I would have all night, I started shoveling it in my mouth in the corner haha! We spent the night going around talking to friends and family! Of course we danced a little bit and opened the dance floor with “Shut up and Dance” – which I’ve been dying to dance with Derek to for years! But when I tell you the night felt like a blur, it felt like I was dreaming it all and I would wake up without any of it having happened. It was surreal seeing everyone from different walks of life all in the same room, coming up to you to say hi or take pictures.
It wasn’t a perfect day. It rained like cats and dogs, I hurt my toe, we didn’t eat much, there were people I didn’t say hi to, and Derek and I got really down to dancing at the last 10 seconds of our night. But it WAS a perfect day. It was perfect in all the ways that actually mattered. Our ceremony felt sacred and holy and romantic in a way I can never express in words. And the rain, it was a gift to us. It helped not only us, but everyone focus on what mattered. People listened to the vows we spoke and came up to us to tell us how impactful they were. People wrote in our guest book and noticed all the little details we put together from our adventurous life. People took our handmade favors which we put a lot of time and thought into. And us being there, in that romantic tent together, was what mattered. Multiple people have told me that our wedding was the most intimate wedding they had ever been to. So if the rain helped us to have that intimacy with our guests…if the rain helped Derek and I’s joy to shine brighter in our photographs and to illuminate the entire scene around us…if the rain helped people listen to our vows and feel the sacredness of our marriage…and if the rain helped us be less distraced and more connected, then let it rain! It was the most perfect day I could ever envision having, marrying my best friend and starting the rest of our lives together.
Thank you for reading this, and for sharing in Derek and I’s journey. We love marriage even more than we loved this day. It’s worth putting the time and the work into – we see now how much we have learned and grown together these last couple of years and how our love is flourishing now. So as I photograph weddings, I will never forget all of this – and my own journey as a bride will weave into those I haven’t yet met. Enjoy these amazing photographs form Katelyn James which tell OUR story!!!
My dress and shoes!! Ahh!
We loved our “Buck” and “Doe” ring holders Though we actually didn’t use them because they didn’t make it into the right hands haha!
That BOUQUET!! WOW I was stunned.
Love my girls!!
My sweet cousin had so much patience doing all my buttons!
Love this one of me and my mamma!!
Me and my mother in law!
Such teary moments with my dad! Oh gosh I didn’t know if we’d make it!
My mom got me a flower crown!! So sad we didn’t use it, the rain was so distracting! But I loved her heart behind it!
Awe so cute of them!
Looks like he loved my gift!! Ahh so glad! I loved how meaningful this was
That photo on the right, most AMAZING portrait of him ever! AHH!!
Okay, let the tears begin now…
I cry again every time I see these.
Yup, I told him about my toe – haha!
AHH I love love these! Especially this one below!
I can’t even BELIEVE we made this tree swing shot work! Our florist was amazing! And the fog looks so magical… This one is hanging in our house on a canvas!
Officially my favorite! I love our joy and our smiles! And I love his face looking at me. You can see when you zoom in just how wet we really are. And I love that.
Ahh love that one of the guys on the left!!
Oh my, and THIS! Magical!
My brother and sweet sister in law made us that sign in the middle!
Ahhh…cue more tears…
Such a special moment for me right here. So so special.
Love our readers!! And what they read…
So much laughter!
OMG we are married!!! We still can’t believe it sometimes!
Love our smiles to pieces!!!!!!!
So cute! Our venue was so nice to put up all that decor in the background…and we used our centerpieces as props. Why not?! We love this group!!!
And our parents! We love you!!
And HERE is what I spent my last month before the wedding doing. All this stuff. Loved those strung photos of us!
We made a guest book with our engagement photos with GraphiStudio! Came out so good! And that globe is my favorite…we had it hand lettered by @Handmade Darling to say “Life Brings us to Unexpected Places…Love Brings us Home.”
How romantic is this setting?! I still can’t believe all this was real!
Ahh! We loved these chair signs by Pretty Little Vintage Co!
My mom said it looks like we’re floating on air…I think she’s right
This photo just summarizes SO much. Look at my man picking me up. Look at all those people around us. Wow.
Ahhh the dances…
We loved the speeches!
Those are handmade cards we made with photos that we’ve taken in our travels together! Every household took home 4 cards (blank inside) with photos from our journey! So special to us.
These doughnuts came from a farm, my parents picked it up – and that pie came from upstate NY and my stepfather in law drove 2 hours to go get it! All so delish!
SO MUCH FUN.
We would never have these memories, or this experience without our dear and sweet photographer Katelyn James Alsop and her husband Michael Alsop. Thank you both from the BOTTOM of our hearts. To see Katelyn’s amazing and touching recap our day, go here!
BEST DAY EVER.
The hugest thank you ever goes to my parents, without you this weekend and this incredible atmosphere for our guests wouldn’t have been possible. The best gift we could ever ask for. We love you!
And to our vendors, another huge thank you to all of these amazing people who executed a CRAZY day for us flawlessly! We love you all too!