Much More Than Just Wedding Pictures

When I signed up for Megan's sister, Katie Brase, from Katie Brase Photography,  to take our wedding pictures, I had no idea that I was getting a professional professional!  I knew she is a good sister to Megan, and a mommy photographer, but I guess I didn't realize that she is like, the mega real deal!  She did an amazing job of capturing every important moment on one of the most important and treasured days of my entire life!  

My wedding day was no less than perfect. I loved it from start to finish. It was flanked by weeks of storms on both side, but as you can see, there was just a decent spackling of clouds and a lot of sun peeking through on that day.  What a gift.  I'm not going to lie . . . I was going to be a touch on the saddish side, if this wedding was a drizzly, rainy mess.  But it wasn't!  It was nothing less than the perfect setting with the perfect weather. 

While the sun outside was providing a peaceful backdrop, in the indoors where the getting ready was taking place, it was not quite as peaceful and restful.  I must say, none of my bridesmaids (or myself) are on the cutting edge of make-up application.  I am quite sure I detected a little apprehension from two thirds of my bridesmaids when one of them   announced she would do everyone's make up, because she took a class on stage make-up once. Fortunately, Emily, the super sweet gal who did my hair (who I wish I could be friends with), was probably quite alarmed by the make-up inexperience in the room and stepped in to save the day.  Thank you, Emily!!!!!  Phew!

One of my very very favorite moments of the day, was the "first look."  We wanted to get some pictures in the daylight and be able to PAR-TAY after the words "you may kiss the bride," so we opted to get pictures done before the ceremony.  When we turned and looked at each other on that damp dirt road, with a huge canopy of trees on both sides, neither one of us could hold back the tears.  What a moment to remember.

Then there were pictures with every combination, while guest began to arrive.  I never knew that people arrive early, early to weddings???.  Now I know why I'm always seated in the back row when I arrive 2 minutes before the start of a wedding. Being early has never been my strong suit.  Lesson learned, I guess. After the photo shoot with all the relatives and bridesmaids and kids, etc. . .  I was ready to get this party started.  

I was more nervous than I thought I would be for the wedding portion of the night.  I'm not sure what I was nervous about . . . It wasn't getting married.  It wasn't being in front of a crowd.  Maybe it was just low blood sugar, from not eating much that day.  That dress was tight, people.  I couldn't afford to balloon out at the last second, or else that zipper might have given way at some very inopportune moment.

To kick off the ceremony, Leah, Spencer and Macie sang this little tune that I have always loved, called, "Always Be True." Then I walked down the aisle to my friend, Jessica, and the crowd, singing "How Great Thou Art."

I don't remember much of what Matt said, but I'm sure it was awesome.  My other very very favorite part and the most sacred part was exchanging vows.  In true Holly fashion, I crafted mine that very morning.  I meant to do it earlier, but  . . . I guess I was going with my MO that I do my best work under pressure.   When I wrote them that morning, I woke up knowing exactly what I wanted to say.  It was like God wrote them for me, while I was sleeping that night. Weird, but true.

 I said in room full of witnesses, "I know there will be times, where Egypt looks more attractive than whatever current situation is in front of us.  It may be sickness, it may be finances, it may be my finicky heart, it may be a million different things, but I promise to you that I will keep from turning back towards Egypt. I promise on this day that I will wander through the wilderness with you by my side and with my eyes on Jesus."  I am not impressed with myself when I say I have already looked at Egypt with some serious longing eyes.  I can't express how grateful I am that those who stood with us that day and said that they are for us, have taken that role seriously. So when the SOS went out, they acted quickly to sit around Tony and me and help us identify the weeds that are choking out the seeds of newness that were planted with excitement and love on our wedding day.  Tony and I love each other deeply and passionately, but we hurt each other to the same depth. We are now starting on what feels like quite a journey, with help from others to learn to live with far more grace, gentleness and freedom in the midst of our complicated storyline and past hurts.

After the vows was the kiss, of course, and then we walked out to, "I Stand Amazed in the Presence."  

Then it was time to dance!  We did a little eating, a little drinking, a little cheesecake tasting and then more dancing.  It was the most most most perfect wedding for Tony and me. These pictures are so important to me.  Not because they are beautiful, Pinterest worthy and fun to look at, but because they evoke the remembrance of how certain I was that night that God had given me the most amazing man.  I can see and feel in these pictures that this day was, in fact, sacred.  

Megan's Take: AWWW! I absolutely LOVE reliving this day with you through pictures and words. It was, without a doubt, a gorgeous moment with redemption and holy hope and promise written all over it!! The palpable love and energy you and Tony have for each other emanated throughout the whole experience. And, oh my lands, OF COURSE Katie Bradley Brase was the most awesomest photographer ever!!  I was not one single bit surprised. She is the best (in all senses of the word). :)  And I have to give a shout out to your amaze-balls team of wedding planners/decorators/food prep extraordinaire -- Brooke, Linette & Christy. They did a bang up job. Pinterest worthy for sure. Honestly, in this case, pictures are worth more than ten thousand words.

Even though things are hard, it is clear that God is doing a NEW thing -- let us now perceive it. I am thankful for your honesty in it all. Sometimes we can look at pictures like these (on a blog or Facebook or wherever!!) and think that everything must just be perfect for those people. I mean look at those precious kids and that beautiful couple... We always knew from day one that your union was a complicated one. Beautiful and full of love, yes. But also full of pain and loss. Of course, God is over it all, but that doesn't mean it won't be hard. Sometimes it takes the hard for Him to really show His glory. Praying glory over you guys today.

Christina's Take: First off, I have to say that the bride stole the show. She was radiant. Of course she was well put together – hair, nails, dress, make-up…all that jazz. She was indeed glorious. But the main attraction, the big draw, the most magnetizing part of her whole get-up was her joy (and Katie Brase captured it impeccably!). She was so excited to marry Tony. And she and Tony planned a beautiful ceremony complete with deep, soulful, meaningful music and rich scripture Matt Holtzman spoke out of. Then there was the PRECIOUS solo from Leah, Macie and Spencer about always being true. The whole ceremony was packed with truth, beauty and well…GLORY!

Even the incessant, history making amounts of rain ceased that evening as if shooshing itself for this epic moment. A covenant made and a celebration long overdue after so much heartache, trial and after such a long road the two took to be with one another.

So much GLORY to God in such a small amount of time. Somehow the Walls family managed to cram it all into that little evening and what an evening it was.  It was indeed a Pinterest-worthy, Spirit-filled wedding I won't forget.