Yesterday Jordan and I celebrated 4 years of being married and it's crazy to me its only been 4 years. To me it feels more like 8. So much has happened in that period of time and I am constantly overwhelmed with how much Jordan and I have grown both as individuals and as a couple and how much we have accomplished in that time. She really does make me feel like the luckiest girl in the world and as I was trying to sum up what I wanted to post yesterday, I felt drawn to our wedding photos and realized I have never shared them or our story here. And what better time then when I am already feeling all the love feels.
If you haven't heard the story already, Jordan and I got married in 74 days on a $1,000 budget. It was insanity and it meant that we didn't have a lot of the traditional elements of a wedding like a bridal shower or bachelorette party or a big guest list, but we didn't want to wait till money was right to be wife and wife. And I don't regret that one bit. Our wedding day was a gift of love by some truly incredible people who we couldn't have had anything like what we did without them. We lived in a little attached apartment to Shanna and Rob's house at the time and they were our saving grace for this wedding. From trouble shooting ideas, to letting us take over their lives with wedding plans, to my wedding dress, to letting us host our reception at their house to Shanna marrying us, we are forever in debt to them for the incredible gift they gave us. And I would remiss if I didn't start this post with thanking them for EVERYTHING they did for us.
It wasn't legal yet for Jordan and I to get married in PA so we had a ceremony that morning in a sweet little park in Delaware with just our bridal party and Jordan's family. We walked down the aisle to Jason Derulo's Marry Me and I let go balloons as I walked because I didn't have my parents support and I always envisioned them walking me down the aisle. To me, it symbolized letting go of all the hurt and anger and pain that I experienced leading up to that moment and it was hands down one of my top 2 favorite memories from that day. Despite the fact that we did a first look, seeing Jordan, this woman I loved more than anything, at the end of the aisle waiting for me and wanting to marry me....I hope I never forget that feeling.
You could say balloons are something that hold meaning for Jordan and I. We use them as a way to write messages and thoughts to those that aren't here with us and we chose to include this as part of our ceremony. We asked our guests to write their wishes for us on balloons and after the ceremony we let them go. I still get chills thinking about that moment because it just so perfectly summed up parts of our lives that words alone couldn’t.
Following our ceremony, we went and took pictures at our favorite park and then shot around Kensington before heading home to set up for the reception. Our bridal party took my DIY ideas and brought it to life, turning Shanna's front yard into the perfect garden party. We had tables set (borrowed from a local church), favors that were hand painted, chalkboard glasses, table names after our favorite lyrics and all the copper, black and grey you could handle. We set a table on the front porch for those who couldn't be there, had passed on or chose to not attend it was my favorite detail of the day. While my parents chose to not be apart, I wanted to include them where it felt right to me so that maybe one day they would see that it was me, not them, that chose love after all.
I made southern inspired food the day before (chicken and dumplings, baked beans, bacon green beans, Mac and cheese, fried chicken, sweet potatoes) and our friends and family brought booze and food to add to our buffet. It was this perfect potluck, misfit, joy filled evening and I loved every minute of it. Our sweet friend Trish provided speakers and music, our best friends gave toasts and everyone ate and drank and laughed.
Because so many of our guests weren't present at our ceremony, we opted to say our vows again at our reception so that everyone could feel as though they were apart. Walking out of a front door that had been apart of my life for years to a yard full of friends and family with my beautiful wife waiting was my second most favorite part of the day. We said our vows, Shanna pronounced us (again!) wife and wife and then we danced to John Legends "All of Me" as the sun faded. It was magical. I have never laughed like I did that day and never been so overwhelmed with gratitude for the small but mighty group of people who made that day possible.
Before I share some more favorites from the day, I wanted to take a moment and say how much this day changed me as a wedding photographer. Being a bride, feeling all those feels, not having my parents there, struggling to make a day special on such limited funds...it was all hard. But I am so grateful for it now. I learned that those little details are more than details but blood, sweat and tears of a couple to make a day feel more unique and special. I learned that photos don't just capture what you remember, but what you don't. I learned that money isn't what makes a wedding special and humble beginnings can be just as beautiful. I learned that it would have been ok for me to speak up more. And I learned that even when you feel alone, you aren't. These three woman below are the family I would choose and I am so grateful to have photos like these and I now constantly look for these moments at weddings I shoot.
To my beautiful wife, this has been an adventure I never dreamed would turn out this way. I think back to us then....so broken and sad and feeling alone and broke....and to us now and I am so incredibly proud of us. I have seen us grow in ways that hurt and watched you walk through challenges that could have broken us. But we have always managed to grow more as individuals and as a couple and I love that about us. You make me feel like I will never know again the kind of alone I felt before you and that I am truly the most beautiful woman you know. Thank you for standing behind every crazy idea, getting me through every shitty family situation, loving me despite my hamster wheel of a mind and giving me a life I only thought could be a dream. I love you my sweet Mrs. And I can't wait to marry you all over again one day.
Enjoy a few more of my favorites! All photos are by Tara Beth Photography.