"Draw me after you and let us run..." Song of Solomon 1:4
"For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them." -Matthew 18:20 I feel like there is no better way I can tell this story than to start with that verse. Don't get me wrong I know that I soap box way too often, and I also am well aware that it's an absolute huge honor to be at weddings week after week celebrating something that I completely believe in. Love is pretty much my life and though I'm no better at avoiding being selfish silly things in my own life than anybody else I do strive to make sure my wife knows that I absolutely love spending my life with her. If there's anything that I believe in more than love, it's that Christ has to be the central source of any love that's actually authentic. I'm blessed to be at so many amazingly sweet christian couple's weddings but this one was perhaps more focused on the point of the day than most. I don't want to discount anybody else's faith here, but I do want to point out that it's rare for us to see a couple this intent on giving God the credit for their love and faith. All day was a complete treat. At one point I looked at Andrew during hair and makeup and just smiled at what was happening. 7 or 8 girls in an empty white room getting makeup on, snacking on things here and there, laughing about this and that, and all the while singing (not just singing but actually harmonizing beautifully) worship songs for a couple of hours straight. The number of humble references to the fact that God had brought all of these people together that day was staggering and while I spent the day completely journalistic in my approach simply because of the quality in the moments happening in front of me I also felted like I was loved on and appreciated all day in a way that's pretty rare.
The back story here would take forever. But the short of it is that both of these sweet people come from incredibly Godly families. Andrew's parents live in Africa helping to drill water wells for remote villages and provide safe drinking water. The world is a very large place to people like this and to find somebody who is willing to commit their forever to you is something neither of them took lightly. Emily is the picture of humility. This girl is beautiful and kind, quiet in her approach but so funny. The way she makes her friends smile and her family laugh is really pretty incredible to watch and yet when Andrew is around there might as well not be anybody else in the world. She just stares at him. I don't mean that in a creepy way, but I can say that as a guy who's job is to watch people, I caught Emily several times just lost in thought about the man she was about to marry. Their first look wasn't the anxious, fast paced emotional roller coaster so many are but instead was oddly quiet. When Andrew saw Emily the first time his smile stopped time. There wasn't but just a few seconds before he collected his thoughts and told Emily how beautiful she looked but those seconds were deliberate as he took in the gravity of the moment. From that moment on Emily just melted into his arms and though the whole day was every bit as big of a rush as all wedding days are they were intentional in their attempt to remember the big moments.
Right before the ceremony started the storm opened up. If rain is luck on a wedding day this couple is about as lucky as they come. A complete downpour for about 10 minutes gave the outdoor ceremony and reception locations a nice little bath and as suddenly as it started it passed. Emily never missed a step and smiled the entire time as she was completely willing to give up the anxiety for the joy of the moments. Creekwood Garden's staff barely managed to get everything dried off in time but just a few minutes later Emily made her way down a long slow aisle right towards the sun and Andrew standing right in front of it. I suppose there's some symbolism there they didn't even realize at the time but as I photographed the sunset peaking through the trees behind them I couldn't help but realize just how beautifully the light seemed to tell their story for them. Not long after the rings were exchanged toasts, cake cuts, and dances erupted just 25 yards behind the large wooden cross in the field.
Every single person on the dance floor jumped and moved together to song after song after song. Towards the end of the night as the sparklers lit I got to see a little moment where Emily was walking across a field towards a runway of friends with fireworks and Andrew caught her watching him. I doubt at this point either of them even remember this moment but it was amazing. He smiled and squeezed her hand and she looked away shy and happy as I saw the very first sparkler flare up and they ran through the smoke.
Every, single, amazing moment from this day has an image associate with it. I'm not sure I've ever talked this little on a wedding day but I really did just spend the day in awe and thankful for people who devote not only their lives but even their love to God. So grateful for the opportunity to be a part of this wedding and glad to call Emily + Andrew friends.