Even though I only met Jordy and Alton the week of the wedding, as the wedding day unfolded I felt like I had a firm grasp of who they are as a couple. They incorporated some very special elements into their day that speak volumes about their spirit and love for each other. And these little details are what truly make for a spectacular and memorable wedding day.
Before the ceremony even began, I got a glimpse into Jordy and Alton's mutual generosity as well as their fun-loving natures. Alton sent a gift over to Jordy via his sister Dawn, as he was getting ready in one part of the church and Jordy was getting ready in another room in the back. Her face lit up as she opened the box, and she gave me the story behind the bracelet and charm that was inside.
Apparently when Alton asked Jordy's parents for her hand, Jordy's mom jokingly asked him if he was presenting a dowry. So, Alton purchased a goat from Heifer International to be donated in their names to a family in need. Hence the goat charm on Jordy's wedding-day bracelet. How incredibly adorable and sweet is that?!
Besides the fact that it is a gorgeous church, it was also special that Jordy and Alton said their vows at Hedding Church since that is where they both volunteered every Friday night during college in the soup kitchen. The reverend knows them both well, and the ceremony was incredibly special and touching. Before their vows, they repeated some lines from a verse called "These Are the Hands". Those are the moments when I am so glad I have a big old camera to hide behind, as I undoubtedly get teary during every wedding ceremony I attend.
It's hard for me to narrow down my absolute favorite part of a wedding day, but I do have to say that the vows are right up there on the top of my list. You can always see the love and beautiful promise of the years ahead of a couple during the vows. It is a blessing to be able to capture it, and I treasure these images among my most favorite of every wedding that I photograph.
Another part of the wedding day that I really love is when I get a little bit of time with the couple by themselves to do some formal/fun portraits. We had been keeping an eye on the the weather, as the forecast called for rain during the afternoon. Luckily the rain didn't fall, and cloudy skies were perfect lighting for the portraits. We got a few shots in the park across the street from the church, then headed to the lodge for the reception. We quickly got some portraits on the golf course before the couple had to head inside for introductions, and Jordy had brought along a giant checkerboard she was hoping to use for some photos. They didn't have time for a real game, but it was nice for them to be able to sit and relax together for a few minutes before they had to be back in the spotlight at their reception.
As the photographer, it is often the case that you take a quick twenty-minute break during dinner to eat a few bites quickly in a back room or corner. At that point, I am usually famished and lagging, and that little break makes a big difference in upping my energy for the reception. I was incredibly lucky at Jordy and Alton's reception to be invited and welcomed at the bride's family table during dinner, and I can't even begin to explain how much fun I had sitting and talking with her grandmother! The whole family was so warm and talkative and my assistant Kerri and I had a great time sitting with them. (By the way, having Kerri help me at this wedding was AMAZING!)
Jordy also surprised Alton by having a friend bring a whole bunch of sparklers to the reception for a neat little photo-op. The DJ called for everyone to follow the couple outside and we got some shots with everyone lined up with their sparklers and the newlyweds in the middle. Pure magic. I highly recommend doing this at your reception, it makes for some really special photos.
Oh, and one last detail to note: check out the bride's boots. She opted against heels and went with her super-fab, perfectly broken-in cowboy boots instead.
Congratulations to Jordy and Alton - I know the two of you are far apart from each other right now, and I really hope that these photos help bring back some of the special moments of your beautiful wedding day.