I don’t really know how I’m going to not write a novel about how incredible our week in Arizona was. This wedding and the time we spent there meant so much to me and my husband. So let me start from the beginning.
In October of last year, I received an email from the bride’s sister, Leslea. In the letter, she wrote that in 2009 she had seen Brandon’s and my proposal video in Ireland on YouTube and (in her words) had been stalking us ever since. She loved our music, my photography, our story, and she had been waiting for a reason to contact us. It was a beautiful email about how our lives had deeply impacted her. Brandon and my marriage and story had resonated with what was going on in her life a few years back. She told us later that she pretty much had seen every blog I’ve posted and kept up with us for over four years. Ok, so I would be creeped out normally, but this kind of stuff seems to happen throughout my life. And it always seems right.
So Leslea tells me that her amazing, beautiful sister is getting married in March 2013, and she wants to know if we are available to come shoot. She tells me about the location, where they live, etc. I freaked out. And if you knew me back in October, I’m sure you saw every tweet and every Facebook update about how crazy excited I was to get to shoot in Arizona. Photographing a bride in front of the Superstition Mountains in FREAKIN’ ARIZONA! I mean…. I almost had a heart attack!
We Skyped with them, I got to meet Stacey (Bride), Jim (Groom) and Leslea (the Sister/stalker). 😉 Brandon and I also decided that it would be amazing to celebrate our seventh wedding anniversary a week early somewhere in Arizona. Maybe the Grand Canyon? We didn’t know. Leslea told us… “Ohh! You have to go to Sedona, you have too!” So we booked a bed and breakfast in Sedona and planned to spend two to three days there. (I will share all of my Arizona trip photos in the next week or so.) Saying goodbye to my sweet Laef for a week wasn’t easy. My parents were amazing and we are thankful Laef got to spend quality time with them.
As far as the wedding goes, we spent the Thursday evening before the wedding having a dance party with Stacey and Jim in Leslea’s living room with all their bridal party and friends. It felt as if we had known them all forever.
Friday we spent time cruising the city, eating great Mexican food, sipping latte’s, taking a million photos, visiting a set where an Elvis movie was shot, and we then landed at the rehearsal where we got to meet the family and spend some time getting prepared for the big day.
Saturday was truly incredible. It’s one thing to be doing work, but it’s another thing to be doing work AND trying not to weep because you feel so moved by their wedding. The ceremony was full of so many tears, so many beautiful things spoken over the couple. They worshiped together, took communion, and wept together. Stacey’s dad really impacted my heart. And I don’t think I could even go into great detail about it all, but the way he spoke about his love for his daughter was so moving and so emotional. He said at her reception during a speech, “When Stacey turned fifteen, everyone warned me about the teen years and how horrible they can be.” He then looked at his daughter and said to her: “Stacey, when you turned fifteen, you became my friend.” ohhhh man…. yes. I broke. I totally broke.
This family’s love for one another ruined me throughout the night. Seeing the way they spoke of the love they had for their siblings and their parents messed me up.
I don’t think I really need to say much else. I was extremely honored to shoot this day for Jim and Stacey. And I am honored to call so many people out in Arizona friends. wow. We truly felt like we kept being hugged with kindness. I can’t wait to tell about how the rest of our trip went and of some of the incredible moments we had. This day was a dream.
Might I add that Jim is a Texas boy and Stacey is from Wisconsin (but raised in Argentina.) So there was a song played at their rehearsal: Momma’s don’t let your kids grow up to be cowboys. haha! It was pretty great. Jim pulled the cowboy hat out for his grand finale kiss at the end of the ceremony. 😉
Their venue was the large clubhouse/ballroom at a retirement community called “Dolce Vita.” The ceremony was outside in the lawn and the reception in the ballroom. We took the bridal party to a field around the corner to do photos. It was a dream.
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