I met Jessica at Panera what feels like a hundred years ago.
She was southern, and pretty.
She knew my sister in law.
And wanted me to shoot her wedding.
She didn’t have a venue yet, but she knew we were inching closer on renovating the farm. . .
and she had an open mind,
towards hosting her BIG day there.
I was devastated when I found out her ceremony would be in a church.
I don’t have anything against churches.
I really don’t.
It’s just, I loved an outdoors wedding, for the sake of light,
and photos, and nature,
and. . .all those feels.
But her dad had one request.
And it was that.
For her to get married, in that church.
When he got sick, unexpectedly and needed a major surgery.
I was so thankful, she’d done what he had wanted her to all along.
When we walked into that church,
it looked like it had been there for a hundred years,
but was as lovely, as if, it had been built yesterday. . .
it felt familiar, but wasn’t.
that, kind of church. . .
Her dad grew up there, married her mom there, and raised her there.
Which happened to work out splendidly for me.
The light in that church, was perfect.
I’d grown up in a “forever” kind of church too.
With her groom, Daniel.
And most of his family.
I came to find out, that one of my grandmother’s closest friends,
who I know well too. . .
Was his grandma
(on his mom’s side)
And his other grandma.
I knew her too>>>>
So it almost felt like a family reunion of sorts.
Churches are like that though.
If you’re blessed enough to have them.
To have been raised in them.
They have their own group of people.
Who feel more like family, than, say. . . co-workers.
or even friends.
It’s a church “family”
I suppose that’s why we call them “brothers and sisters” after all. . .
and. . .
Today felt like family.
I smiled at Jessica’s dad, who was just chipper to be sitting in the back row of that old church.
Watching this day, that had been planned, for, what felt like a million years. . .slowly unfold.
I could appreciate that kind of a guy.
Meanwhile,the girls hung upstairs, waiting for the cue to make the walk around, and then.
Down the aisle.
Jessica “warned” that neither she, nor Daniel were happy criers.
But I have to say, she was wrong about one of them.
First glance shoots are easy, and with many benefits.
But seeing, Daniel, see her for the first time, when everyone else could see too, was pretty special.
She was a sight, for sure.
The ceremony felt warm, and authentic.
Their vows, traditional, yet heartfelt.
We made our way towards their venue.
The same venue, that just a few short months ago, looked a good bit different, than it did now.
I remember, the day she came strolling along.
She knew exactly what she wanted, but thankfully.
We have similar tastes.
Jason has cursed her a million times, (privately)
as I’ve used this day, for over a year, as a scape goat,
for any DIY project, that needed to be wrapped up.
“It’s for Jessica’s wedding” I’d say, when I needed something hung, washed, built, strung . . .
“I am over, this Jessica” he’d gripe. . .
But truly, I knew, what she wanted,
is what I wanted.
for this place.
and for all burch brides. . . to follow. . .
She booked me for photography, regardless of venue.
But when she settled on our venue, so long ago. . .
before it was what it was now. . .and what it will continue to grow into.
I was grateful.
Tonight wasn’t perfect.
As things always seem too, something can find a way, to slow things, make things uneasy, make them not, go according to plan. . no matter how hard we try.
But tonight, was also perfect.
At the same time.
I’ve yet to meet a bride, shoot a bride, eat lunch with, talk to a married person. . .
Whose day, went EXACTLY to a “t”
Each, with their own stories of “what went wrong”
But for Jessica, and for me. . .
I’d have to say, I’m not sure there was much more,
that we could have asked for.
A beautiful day.
A great and (and mighty)
group of family, and friends.
A dad who not only made it down the aisle, but also a few rounds on the dance floor.
Pretty things everywhere.
Sparkly things everywhere.
a beautiful day,
with loved ones.
even better, that we weren’t all soaked.
I was so anxious to get here, and exhaustingly grateful, that it’s gone.
But only because, I’ll be able to re-live it, through moments.
forever. and ever.
Moments that I hope. . .some. .
she’ll (re-live) for the first time.
my very first (booked) burch house bride
and my basically, family, burch house beau
congrats Jessica + Daniel
thanks so much, for sharing this day with us
now, I have no idea what excuse I’ll give, for getting these window boxes hung tomorrow. . .
and I am pretty sad about it!
but happy for you guys.
+the burch ho