"Love is an irresistible desire to be irresistibly desired."
Shelby + Jarret are like that first breath of crisp winter air. This wedding was full of so many high points I struggle even knowing where to start. From the first moment I met Shelby she made me feel like we'd known each other for years. I can clearly remember getting back into the car after their engagement shoot wondering if I had some how known them before that day and just couldn't place it. These two just love people like that. Their families and friends are perfect examples of the kind of people they are and though I'm a long way ahead of myself talking about the end of the reception, even the circle of friends wrapped around them as they had their last dance was the perfect way to say congratulations instead of good bye.
This day started perfectly. Delyn and I drove up to Joplin to look around a bit for some locations for the couple's photos and just around the corner happened to stumble into this neat little downtown reception venue. Inside and up some old creeky wooden stairs (or a terrifyingly slow and loud elevator) was a big smile waiting for us. Shelby is an amazing person to be around. Her joy and love for life isn't just obvious, it's loud. She hugs big, smiles bigger, and laughs loud and from the moment we watched her step into that dress you could see that the difference between Shelby as "fiance" and Shelby as "bride" were not too far apart. A huge compliment if you ask most people in the wedding industry, nothing about the spotlight affected her. She was eager for one simple thing : to see Jarret. So as we shot and laughed and prepped her for the biggest surprise she'd had the opportunity to give Jarret with a first look he had no idea was coming, her smile just bubbled over.
That moment was powerful. We've seen guys run, cry, laugh, scream. I've sort of seen it all at this time but Jarret froze. In fact he stood still staring at her for just long enough for his tears to build and by the time he walked to her and wrapped his arms around her, the tears were already halfway down his cheeks. These two are a passionate couple but not in an awkward way. The love is very real, very evident, and completely beautiful. As we wandered around we ended up about 6 stories up climbing out onto some roof tops ready to play a little. I'll never forget Shelby looking at me and saying "I'm pretty tough Miles, let's do it." Famous last words perhaps but as we helped her across a gap, in heels, with a 6 story fall below her she had to prove to me just how tough she was. The shots on that roof are a few of my favorite from the day and the memories are amazing.
Bottom line from the moment we walked in, to the time these two took to thank us publically in front of all of their guests over the microphone I felt more like a friend than I did a photographer. The end result then is much more like a friend's wedding photos. Real, organic, beautiful moments I was able to be a part of instead of simply witness. So grateful to actually call these two friends now and so blessed to be able to share with everybody just how gorgeous this day was.