I grew up going to a small school.
I mean really small.
One where everyone knew everyone. They knew everyone and their families.
I realize you’ve probably already had a reaction to reading that sentence.
The thought of growing up in a place where everyone-knowing-everything-about-you seems to be either appealing or appalling to most people.
I can only tell you how it affected me.
Looking around the crowd at this wedding I saw something that made me stop in my tracks.
Everything else was about the same. When I started my day, the photo list running in my head… and I was literally standing where I always am before a ceremony starts. Near the front of the aisle, in the best position to see the bride walking down the aisle and also see the groom react.
But I stopped.
In that moment, I could feel my entire childhood wash over me and it was as if I never realized how many years had separated me from that childhood until that moment.
I looked around and saw people from each stage of my life. People who have had a hand in raising me from day one at the nursery to high school graduation.
Thankfully I am always a multitasker.
I was sneaking actual hugs and conversations as much as possible until the bride hit her mark to walk the pathway along the water to get to the aisle. (Go peek at that walk… seriously.)
If you’ve been following my blogs at all, you know I won’t push my couples either way to do a first look before the ceremony. When this bride mentioned that her soon-to-be-hubby thought it might be nice to see her before everyone else? That’s when I leaned into them doing a first look.
And guess what? They got the best reactions from each other in both scenarios.
You just don’t see that at weddings.
I was so proud that these two had perfectly realistic expectations of each other for the wedding day. I won’t group all brides together by saying “every single one”… but a high percentage of brides are looking for that huge reaction from their guy when they seem them for the first time.
Sometimes it comes from a healthy place of pure anticipation… but a lot of times it’s simply because girls have seen wedding photos or videos that show some magical romantic moment during a first look of the bride… and they start telling themselves that anything less than that emotion must mean their partner doesn’t love them as much.
Nothing could be further from the truth, y’all.
That being said.
These two are probably the sweetest and least attention seeking humans you’ll meet in real life. I’ve known both of them and their siblings for what seems like my whole life and I’m just so proud of how their wedding day went that I feel the need to gush.
Just scroll to their first look. They read letters from each other. They hugged. They teared up. I teared up. Goosebumps happened. It was as adorable as it looks.
Mind you this was after I saw that her mom had saved her own wedding veil for Kari to where on her wedding day and written a note in the shape of a heart to go with it. I wasn’t about to read even one word of that to make sure I didn’t start the waterworks early. I have to be able to focus my camera people, I can only allow myself so many tears in a work day.
Now tell me something- can those little kids in the wedding party be any cuter?
Okay let’s get back to that ceremony. The bride and groom actually did something I haven’t seen. They called their parents and grandparents up to pray with them out by the lake. They made sure to do their wedding day in a way that showed their family just how important they are in starting their lives together.
Their ceremony ended in perfect time to grab portraits during golden hour and blue hour out on the water. (Dream timing for me!) Granted, I almost let my Magmod gear float off on a dragon peddle boat towards the end there, which is a sentence I never thought I’d type. But somehow we managed to survive without anything floating away and with an added bonus: no one fell in.
We got them back to the reception, and time flew. We saw sweet dances, good food and great speeches, and they kept things going the way they wanted. A photo booth set up with props so guests could take photos, games out by the twinkle lights and instead of a bouquet toss, they gave it to the couple who had celebrated the most anniversaries together. :: cue the awwwww ::
They ran out for their exit to their guests twirling glow sticks and cheering and I was honestly sad it was over. I stayed and talked with guests and families while I packed up and have to say:
This wedding filled me up.
I hope it was everything they dreamed of! Kari and Calvin I wish you nothing but the best. Keep those beautiful realistic expectations of each other. Keep forgiveness on hand. And of course, keep your wedding photos within sight as a good reminder of a great day. 😉
I love you and your families and can’t wait to see what’s next!
Venue: Tree Tops Park