Friends. I have been waiting SO long to share photos from my own wedding with you and tell you the whole story, and TODAY IS THE DAY ARE YOU READY LET’S DO THIS.
First, let me paint you a picture of what we had planned: A small, intimate April ceremony with our closest friends and family in my parents’ beautiful, lusciously green, perfect Oklahoma backyard (the place where we met). A tent of string lights we hung ourselves. A geometric wedding arch my dad built. Huge wooden farm tables lined down the middle with greenery, terrariums, and black candles in gold candleholders. A table full of scrumptious donuts and coffee and of course, PIZZA. Picnic blankets and bonfires as we danced under the stars.
Now let me tell you what actually happened.
The week of our wedding, the forecast began to show rain on our date. Every other day that week was going to be beautiful and sunny and 60 degrees, exactly what we had wanted. Every day except our wedding. As it drew closer, the temperature kept dropping and the rain chance kept increasing until it was 45 degrees and 100% chance of rain all. day. long.
I’m not gonna lie, friends. I was devastated. I hadn’t wanted anything elaborate for our wedding, just a small, simple backyard gathering. I had always dreamed of getting married outside. And it just wasn’t going to happen. Moreover, I had NO idea what our backup plan was. How on earth were we going to fit 90 people inside my parents’ house? Where would we even hold the ceremony?? As much as I had wanted a low-key, stress-free wedding, this was turning into an anxiety-inducing nightmare.
We considered finding a last-minute venue, a tent, heaters, everything. We even thought about changing the date and getting married that Sunday. Pretty sure Michael and I both mildly considered dropping everything and eloping haha. But at the end of the day, we knew it just wouldn’t feel like our wedding anywhere except my parents’ house, the place where we first met. We just decided to go for it, hope for the best, and roll with whatever got thrown at us.
The day came, and yes. A whole day of pouring, freezing rain.
Even the morning of, I was fighting back tears. I just didn’t know how on earth we were going to pull this off, and I was finally realizing all my dreams of an outdoor wedding were gone.
But thankfully, I am surrounded by some pretty incredible people. Family and friends arrived at 9am to make a plan and make our wedding happen. We cleared out the garage and hung curtains and filled it with our decorated reception tables. We moved a lot of the furniture into my parents’ room to make room for our guests. We turned on some TSwift and we got. to. work.
Michael and I were together all day, and as untraditional as that is, it was honestly the best thing to ease my anxiety and enjoy the day. Being with him and setting up our wedding together with all our friends somehow started to make all my worries drift away. We exchanged wedding gifts, and only separated when it was time to get dressed.
We decided to forego a wedding party, but that definitely didn’t stop us from having our people with us as we got ready. My closest friends hung out with me and kept me calm as I got ready, and that was the best thing ever. I gave them each a box of my favorite macarons from Cafe Disco in OKC, we danced and did our hair, and they knew when to make me stop setting up tables and actually sit down to get my makeup done haha. My momma helped me put my dress on (which is basically one of the dreamiest moments ever), my nieces and nephew were running all around, and once Michael and I were both ready we each took a minute to read letters we had written each other. In that moment, as I read and laughed and cried over his words, the weather suddenly didn’t matter anymore. I could have been getting married in Walmart and it wouldn’t have mattered. I was just ready to freakin marry my best friend.
Even though we didn’t want to skimp on things we truly wanted, we kept our wedding on a tight budget. I got my dress for $150. The majority of our decor ended up being gifted to us. But our two splurges were our photographers, Taylor + Kevin Feamster, and our florist, Meg Stephenson. Worth every freaking penny. Taylor and Kevin are not only two of our dearest friends, but two incredible photographers who were such a joyful, calming presence throughout the day and captured every detail to perfection. Kevin also did an amazing job as our officiant! We knew from the start we wanted someone who knew us personally and could really make our ceremony meaningful. Meg is a phenomenal florist who made all my boho floral dreams come true. I cried when I saw my bouquet for the first time. She far exceeded my wildest dreams! She even made the most precious colorful bouquet in memory of my niece, Avery, who passed away just one month before.
Michael and I decided to brave the cold and rain to meet up in the woods behind my parents’ house for our first look. Those few minutes were some of the sweetest of my life. The anticipation as I walked up behind Michael, his face when he turned around, all the hugs and kisses and cuddling together to stay dry. Since Michael is probably the biggest Lord of the Rings fan on the planet, I presented him with his final gift, the One Ring, which Meg had cleverly attached to his boutonniere. The look on his face when he saw it was priceless.
Friends, it’s hard to fully describe what happened next. When we came back in the house after our first look, cold and wet and the happiest we’d ever been, the house was full of our favorite people. And I mean, full. Humans literally stuffed into every nook and cranny. But I was so happy. I was literally surrounded by love. And in a delightful turn of events, we were even able to Facetime with Michael’s deployed brother so he could say hi and watch our ceremony. By the time our ceremony began, I had completely forgotten about the weather. I could care less that I was getting married in my parents’ entryway. In fact, in a lot of ways, it seemed pretty damn perfect.
I walked down the aisle (and by that I mean weaving through all the people haha) to “Quintessence” from The Secret Life of Walter Mitty (of course). Our friend Kevin did an incredible job with our ceremony. He kept it so personal and sweet and joyful. We read our own vows which made everyone laugh and cry. I remember looking out and seeing all my favorite faces so close, so near, so present. It was breathtaking. Our parents gathered around us to pray as we and our guests took communion and my dear friend Kristi sang “Reckless Love” over us. And with that, friends, we were finally married. The craziest, most stressful week of my life culminated into the most unbelievably happy I’ve ever been. What I thought was going to be a disaster turned out to be so imperfectly perfect. We walked out of our ceremony to the Friends theme song, and I just remember not being able to stop laughing and crying and saying to Michael, “We just got married! You’re my husband!” That was all that mattered.
After we took a quiet minute in the back room to thank our parents, we entered our reception to The Office theme, and danced our first dance to Vance Joy’s “I’m With You” (the line, “baby, this rain changes everything” definitely gave our guests a good laugh). We also combined the father-daughter and mother-son dances into one, dancing with our parents to “Your Song” by Elton John. The rest of the night was full of PIZZA (duh) and donuts and more laughing and more crying and hugs and selfies and confetti and just pure insane happiness.
After that whole experience, I have SO much more compassion and appreciation for the brides I get to work with. Even when you try to keep things simple, weddings can be hella stressful and you never really know what’s gonna happen. But now I feel like I can relate to my brides on a whole new level! I know what’s truly important on a wedding day. I know that the simplest, most candid photos can be the most precious, because that’s how I felt going through my wedding gallery (and no matter how strict your budget is, NEVER EVER skimp on a good, professional photographer!). And even when it seems like your wedding day might be a little bit of a disaster, I promise you, it’s still going to be the best freaking day of your life.
Our wedding day was nothing like we planned. Probably the most unlikely wedding you’d expect a wedding photographer to have. But friends, it was everything. We were married in front of our closest friends in the most unexpectedly intimate way and we had never felt more loved. Literally, best day ever.
Dress: Free People
Groom’s Attire: Target
Florals: Meg Stephenson
Photography: Feamster Photography
Pizza: Eagle One
Donuts: Five-Star Donuts
Rentals: Marshall Supply Co