TJ + ASHLEY
November 10, 2018
As I walked into the church there was a sense of peace in the air. Jesus ordained this day. There she was... getting the last curl put in her hair, the most beautiful bride. As Ashley began to get into her dress, her mom and sister helped her every step of the way. I kept asking her "Are you nervous?" and she would always reply, "It hasn't hit me yet". Ashley's mom, Lisa, helped with the nerves. She told funny jokes and never stopped singing. Once Ashley was in her dress and veil, her bridesmaids came in with their eyes closed. When they opened their eyes to see the stunning bride, Every. Single. One shed a tear.
I ran out of the room on the hunt for the Father-of-the-Bride, Mr. Doug. It was time for his first look with Ashley. I put him in place outside of the church, and he was already very emotional. When she came outside he couldn't help but try to peek over his shoulder. His anticipation to see his daughter was real. She tapped his shoulder and I melted into a puddle. He couldn't help but spin her around like a princess.
The parent love was strong. Ashley had a special painting made for her mom. It was a picture of the two of them dressed in their wedding day attire. Even though Ashley was getting married, they both knew that they would always be best friends. Lisa couldn't help but cry.
TJ was on the other side of the church getting ready with his groomsmen. He was the exact opposite of Ashley. He was nervous, excited, anxious, and jittery. He was SO ready to see his bride. TJ's mom, Angela, helped him get ready for the biggest day of his life. While she pinned his boutonniere she kept saying, "I'm so proud of you, son". This moment was priceless.
TJ and Ashley chose to go a more traditional route, and not see each other until the ceremony started. They decided that they still wanted to pray together, without seeing each other. They grabbed hands blindly and began to pray over their future covenant. As Ashley began to pray, TJ lost it. This is the moment where my eyes start to well up, and I can't see what I'm shooting anymore because it's all blurry through the tears. When they were done praying, they didn't want to let go of each other's hand.
The ceremony began and everyone was fidgeting with great anticipation. TJ and all of his groomsmen walked out and the bridesmaids came in one by one. The doors flung open to reveal Ashley. Her groom immediately covered his hands with his face, and could hardly stand. He literally balled his eyes out. I'm pretty sure there was not a dry eye in the room. The best man, Isaac, handed the groom a handkerchief to wipe his tears away. As Ashley's dad gave her away he hugged her, and hugged her, and hugged her. He didn't let her go. It was such a sweet moment that everyone got to witness. The ceremony continued and Ashley and TJ worshipped Jesus together, hand in hand. They shared vows, exchanged rings, had prayer with their families, took communion, and planted a plant as their unity of choice. TJ And Ashley asked Pastor Shawn Craig (thier lead pastor) to officiate their wedding. It was just beautiful.
The reception was a hit! TJ and Ashley entered the dance floor doing the worm! Dinner was provided by Dailey's Smokehouse, dessert was catered by Grandma's Cookies in St. Charles, and Angela (TJ's Mom) made their wedding cake. Once the music cranked up, no one wanted to leave the dance floor. Danielle, Maid of honor and sister to Ashley, sang at the reception. She is in a local band called "My Friend Mike" and they were AMAZING. We ended the night with sparklers as we sent them off into the moonlight!
Wishing the newlyweds a lifetime full of Jesus and each other. Thanks for letting me shoot your special day!
- Naomi Mann