Their day was a vibrant celebration of their love for each other infused with a tangible love for the people in their lives.
Mine was the immense privilege of being candid photographer. Julie told me she wanted me to capture "the faces of me and my loved ones laughing, crying, and otherwise showing emotion", which meant I got a backstage pass to the most tender moments of the day. I tell you, at times I felt like I was treading on holy ground. :) To say that, just by being, they blessed me, is an understatement.
Here are a few of the blog-rated shots I can't help but share:
Pre-processional happy jitters with the bridesmaids.
Ready to walk the aisle with her proud papa.
Husband and wife! Tearful hugs with her parents. Notice Laverne? He couldn't let go of her one minute. They could both be hugging different people, but at least one arm was always around Julie. Too cute.
Flowers from the bride's mother's garden and river rocks made the perfect reception deco`r.
This was SO them. :) Bare feet.
Upon arriving at the reception site, guests were greeted and served meadow tea by the couple who, by this time, looked as if they'd never stop smiling.
Music. That was another thing. The ceremony music, done by a full choir of Laverne & Julie's friends, was stunningly splendid. The music continued as the reception festivities opened with songs by Julie's siblings and one of Laverne's brothers.
Lots of laughter.
This was another "so typical" thing: instead of having the bridal table served, Laverne and Julie went through the buffet line with the guests. Aren't they great?
Simply delicious food.
... and lots of time for the people they love.
It was one of those days which left no one in doubt of the fact that what Laverne and Julie have is real, life-giving, and good. One of the things that struck me the most was their gratitude for the people in their lives. They don't pretend to be self-made. Living out of that gratitude, they bless others at amazing depths.
The table containing gifts for the people who had a part in the wedding attracted much attention. Laverne and Julie gave books as gifts, books that perfectly fit each person.
"Drops Like Stars, a few thoughts on creativity and suffering", by Rob Bell.I couldn't believe it! I've wanted the book for over a year! The really cool thing? They didn't know I've wanted it, they just thought it fit me. Laverne said that they thought of getting some more copies for other people who had part in the wedding, but decided that I was the only one getting one. I was speechless.
Visually, artistically, the book is a treat. It gives wings to the soul-words it contains like notes to lyrics. If you ever find the book for sale (which, to be clear, mine is not), clutch it to your chest and don't let go until it's legally yours! Let the clerk scan the bar code through your clenched fingers!
There's really no way to give you a synopsis of "Drops Like Stars", but these segments give you a little peak:
"Jesus doesn't give the story [of the prodigal son] the proper Hollywood ending
we've all come to expect...
...Some elder brothers never join the party.
Some fathers never throw one.
Some brothers never come back.
Some things never get resolved.
Lots of parties are missing somebody.
And when we try to resolve things
too quickly or pretend that everyone
is there when they aren't or offer hollow,
superficial explanations... it's not honest
and it's not right and it's not real.
It's not how life is.
If we went to the ballet and
everybody in the audience was
wearing snorkels or the musicians
were all red-haired banjo players
with no teeth or instead of being
handed a program we were handed
a squirrel, we would immediately
What is this?
But our real question would be,
Where is this? Where do we
put this? How do we place it?
Because our standard reference
points - the usual insulators -
wouldn't be there to guide us.
That's what happens when we suffer. We had things well planned out.
We knew what meant what. We had all our boxes properly organized
and labeled. But all that was disrupted when we began to suffer.
So there's "out of the box", which is often merely a variation of the same thing.
And then there are those who think and feel and live and create from a different place.
They've had their boxes smashed and their insulators dismantled until
they had no other option
but to imagine a totally new tomorrow."
That's just an introduction to a fascinating compilation of honesty, humor, photography, and quotes line this one by Abraham Joshua Heschel:
"Above all, remember that the meaning of life is to live it as if it were a work of art.You're not a machine.
When you're young, start working on this great work of art called your own existence."