"I cried the day I realized I was in love with him. We hadn’t been together that long, but I was sure of it. It was vulnerable, slightly terrifying and completely exhilarating all at the same time."
- Megan Stirewalt
It really started as a bit of a dream come true for Delyn. I’m not talking about his wedding day, I’m not there yet. I’m talking about the day I asked him to help me host a workshop geared towards teaching photographers how we look at light. The lightHEARTED workshop is an annual training seminar that is an enormous amount of work to pull together. It had only been a few years since I asked the kid standing behind the counter at Starbucks if he’d like to start shooting for me from time to time and there he was, without a college education and without any high end training preparing to teach a whole room full of photographers how he does what he does. The truth of the matter is I saw something in this kid right off the bat that was completely intangible but was so valuable. Delyn’s talent as a photographer comes completely out of a discipline in his life that is all too rare. So the prepping really started to come together for this workshop that took over about 6 weeks of our life. We prepped concepts, slides, talking notes, and pulled together a few of our favorite local vendors to help partner with us on this event and as we walked into the 21C hotel that morning to set up for the two long days ahead of us both of us were a bit nervous. The neat thing about this story is that, though the workshop went great, I didn’t realize just how important those two days would be to Delyn for the rest of his life.
All the photographers taking the class showed up early and took their seats. They all took out notebooks and started chatting with each other while they waited for us to start. They all grabbed coffee and snacks and sat a bit awkwardly not knowing what all they’d see and face over the next couple of days. They were all pretty similar - except this girl. Megan had been a bridesmaid in a wedding that I shot a few weeks prior and though her and Delyn and briefly met at that wedding, when she flew in from Texas to be a part of this workshop she had no idea she was driving around her future home, or hearing her future husband teach. In fact this whole scenario was so far beyond what any of us expected that when I found out Delyn had taken off after the workshop to grab coffee with one of the students I heckled him pretty hard. Especially when I remembered that she had also been a bridesmaid.
But this is all the story before the story. If you read, follow, or watch us at all you know that Delyn is so much more to me these days than just my assistant. He doesn’t just shoot for me, or behind me these days but this guy has elevated his talent and his place in this company to the point that he is in every way a partner. To see him happy with Megan means the world to me and this story isn’t about his work, or his history with me - it’s about his future with her. Delyn chatted with me quite a bit over the few months these two dated about how he felt about her. Over the course of several trips to Texas to visit Delyn was pretty madly in love in no time. When he decided to propose the thought of who would shoot his wedding hadn’t even occurred to me. This whirlwind romance is completely unlike Delyn’s personality (and Megan’s if I’m honest). These are two incredibly deliberate people. Two people with a heart for Christ and a discernment about their calling and place in this world that is remarkably rare. For them to find each other was nothing short of a miracle and only a few months later Delyn slipped a very important family ring on Megan’s finger.
Every little element of their story is another story. Even this ring, which was the engagement ring Megan’s father (who passed away when Megan was fairly young) used to propose to her mom. For Delyn to get this ring was a big deal. If I’m not careful I’ll never get to the actual story here so let me get back on track. We all can picture Tom Cruise with tears in his eyes choking out the line “You complete me.” It’s so inherently cheesy but the reality is I got to see Megan fill a spot in Delyn’s heart that was completely void. I am still getting to know her but I am completely amazed at her humility, her wisdom, and her kindness. Megan is a stunning girl and this wedding was the result of so many amazing friends contributing their talents together to pull off something that was 100% Megan’s vision for her wedding day.
I’m not sure I’ve ever seen a girl relax into a man’s arms like Megan does with Delyn. If you know Delyn this guy isn’t a big dude. It’s wild how large he looks with his arms around Megan just because she fits so perfectly wrapped up in him. The wedding itself made room for Christ in a way I’m not sure I’ve ever seen so clearly. As we started this day off with Megan and her friends I spent more time laughing than taking photos. Megan was of course even keeled as always but her friends are wild, loud, and funny. The house where they got ready for the day was full of fun and even a few mimosas and as we got close to getting Megan in her first of two dresses (the second that nobody knew about yet besides the girls and of course Max and I) Megan had no idea that the reason I was rushing was because Delyn was hiding in the woods ready to surprise her with a first look that will easily go down as my favorite ever. There was a fairly elaborate lie to get the girls out of the car and back in the car leaving Megan, myself, and Max alone on the side of the road conveniently next to a cute little bridge by the woods but if you know me well you know you can hardly trust a word I say on a wedding day. Everything has a purpose and this plan was flawless. As Megan stepped back on the bridge and humored me with a few quick bridal photos I spent a few moments making sure she knew exactly how beautiful she looked. As we chatted and laughed she had no idea that Delyn stood about 8 feet behind her, tears in his eyes, and a huge grin on his face just waiting for her to turn around and see him. As I asked Megan to turn around for a quick shot of the back of her dress she looked up at this guy staring back at there and the reaction stopped time. These two amaze me with the way they can cancel out the noise around them and even after the bridesmaids pulled back up cheering and the sounds of our shutters came in and out on them during these moments they never once broke eye contact. It was at this exact moment that I knew something completely and totally profound to me. These two are already very married in their eyes and all of these events are simply a celebration - not a formality.
The bridesmaids and groomsmen were hilarious in this group. All of Delyn’s buddies represent so many stages in his life. He’s changed a lot over the last few years. From the skater boy I hired to the suit and tie gentleman that Megan turned around to see on the bridge behind her Delyn’s friends are every step in between. The amazing thing about both groups was that between the jokes and the fun were incredible deliberate moments of Christ centered focus. The men’s prayers over Delyn were powerful but easily the most powerful moment of the day happened about 45 minutes before the ceremony started. Delyn grabbed Megan right after family photos for a quick last minute pep talk and prayed over her in the small ally right next to the venue. This moment was completely God breathed. I honestly have no idea what was said but as I crept around shooting through a crack in the gate next to them I watched as these two gave into what God had called them to do. They stepped out of that gate focused and completely and totally in love.
Fast forward to a ceremony packed full of prayer and worship and before any of us knew what had happened the rings were on and the kiss was finished. I know this wedding wasn’t mine, but I have to personally thank so many friends for their contributions to this wedding. I’ll post a full list of vendors below but the reality is that as we walked outside after the ceremony (a miracle in and of itself considering the 90% chance of rain that somehow never dropped a single wet spot on the ground all day) we wasted a few quick moments of the cocktail hour and then crept around into the reception area where Amanda Reed with Bates-Reed Brides had pulled off SO much more than beautiful. This reception wasn’t just gorgeous, it was completely Megan / completely Delyn. I know I know, I’m rambling now. The toasts were amazing, the dancing was incredible (no surprise there since Brock with Brock Entertainment was behind the controls) and every single second was a blast.
I don’t know how to wrap up this post. I have no idea whether I’ve said too much or not enough. I know that I love these two in a very real way (something I don’t say lightly). To see one of my closest friends marry somebody so beautiful in such a Christ centered wedding was amazing. To see friends of ours join in to support these two was really special. THANK YOU to Delyn + Megan for asking me to help you remember every moment. It was a great honor to carry the camera at your wedding. THANK YOU to Max for helping me manage every moment of the day and shoot along side me. Thank you to my amazing in laws for watching our kids for giving my gorgeous wife a few hours to come to the wedding and dance with me (and shoot a few of the most beautiful wedding of the day).
Wedding Planning, design, decor. : Bates-Reed Brides
DJ : Brock Entertainment
Rentals : Eventures
Florals : Jules Design
Lighting : Lightworks
Venue : Fairlane Station