I had never met Danielle before her wedding day, but I liked her almost instantly. She was sweet, kind, warm, and exuberant. I appreciate people who can laugh loud and welcome others into their lives, and that is exactly what she did. Danielle welcomed Cori and me into the inner sanctum where she was preparing for her wedding with a smile and heart felt hug. She was obviously excited to be getting married and everyone around her could feel it.
Stephen was one of the proudest, happiest grooms I have seen. He exuded happiness and joy from the moment he entered the church. Cori and I took him and his parents into a vestibule before Mass for a few photos (we love those pre-wedding nervously excited photos!), and this is when he won me over, without ever knowing it. Cori asked Stephen and his parents to come together, maybe to say a prayer, and that’s exactly what they did. They embraced and their prayers were visibly united in one last prayer before “leaving” his parents to take a wife. As Genesis says, “therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and cleave to his wife, and they shall be one flesh.” Stephen and his parents were the embodiment of this scripture.
Is there anything better than a man in love with God? Ok, a man in love with God and with his wife. That’s the stuff of dreams for a Catholic woman. It is truly incredible to see a man so in love that his fervor is visible as he prays. Indeed, Steven’s faith was visible, as was his love for his wife, but his example became even more poignant after receiving Holy Communion. After receiving Jesus, Steven and Danielle put their heads together and prayed.
It was breathtaking. Amidst the bustle of people coming up to receive Communion, with the movement of people swirling around them, it was truly lovely to see them together in prayer. Steven put his arm around Danielle, held her close, and with their heads together, they prayed. Obviously, I can’t know what they prayed or whether they prayed together verbally or whether they were together but praying individually, but it doesn’t matter one bit. Their visible example of a prayerful couple whose first act as husband and wife was to show their union with God, literally and prayerfully, speaks volumes.
I tell you what. There was NO ONE as excited as I was when Danielle told me the news about her engagement. You see, she used to babysit my “Varsity Squad” and she was also the first babysitter our daughter Ruby ever met. She was part of our family before she moved on to bigger and more amazing things in her life! I didn’t know Stephen. But I totally knew that if Danielle said YES to him when he asked her to marry him… then he HAD to be an absolute amazing man. And you know what? He absolutely is. As soon as we met I instantly liked him. Well, almost… he does like Star Wars so that can be debated. 😉
Showing up to photograph Danielle while she was getting ready was super exciting. To see the hustle and bustle of all the girls getting ready and the fun they were having, was such a treat. I love this part of the day. I love seeing all the girls working together to support one of their amazing friends, but as a mom? I love seeing the Mother of the Bride helping her daughter get dressed one last time. I also love to photograph the details that the Brides will be wearing. Danielle had a beautiful Rosary that had been passed down through generations. These things stick out to me and I truly love to document them.
There were two other moments throughout the day that stood out to me. The first was right after communion, Danielle and Steven prayed together. To them, there was no one else around. They were in their own prayerful world… and I just loved it. This kind of thing happens to photographers. We are like kinda creepy (but super cool) stalkers. We watch. We photograph. We watch more. But when things like this happen? I stop. It is just so beautiful that I forget for a moment to click the shutter. Then I jolt back into action and make sure I get it. The image of them forever will be etched into my mind. And the coolest thing?? Kiera saw the same thing, through the mass of people in line to receive Him. And we photographed this small event like two sides of a coin. That is why working with Kiera is hands down the best.
The other moment that stood out to me will also be etched into my memory, but in a different way. You guys! I have NEVER been to such a fun reception as theirs. EVERYONE knew how to dance. Even Grandma! Like literally dance. Not just shaking your booty, actual dancing. It was joyous! It was another part of our day that made me stop and appreciate, then document. THEN video, because watching the family do a choreographed dance (Grandma too!) was something to behold. Pinterest has nothing on a wedding that is so much an extension of the couple, that you felt like the entire day you were just given one huge hug from the couple. Splendid day you guys. Absolutely splendid.