Sweet Christmas Love

*Spoiler alert: this is a bit personal and LONG ...jump to the asterisk * if you just want to read about this couple and their intimate emotional wedding.

This blog is SO VERY LONG OVERDUE. I am so thankful for everyone's patience and forgiveness!

On December 12th my world turned a bit upside down with some life change that would be happening with my husband's work and our lives. This amazing wedding was that Saturday December 17th, 2016. This was such a pivotal day in not only this bride and groom's lives but mine as well.

I have to admit that I have struggled often with photography being a worthwhile career choice for me. My husband would attest to me being wishy washy and even discontent as a photographer, not always feeling fulfilled. Feeling like there was something more. In October I started working an additional "actual" job. A full-time 40(plus) hour job that earned insurance and real paychecks that paid taxes in for me. I was very excited about getting this job and came to quickly enjoy the people I was working for and with and was able to learn the position quickly (thanks to everyone that helped me!).

Between the start of that new job and getting to shoot this wedding I had very little time with the camera in my hand and was already falling behind with my photography business. I became acutely aware very quickly that I was not the Superwoman I thought I could be to work two jobs well and that I'd taken on way too much. But it wasn't something I really even had time to think about and couldn't do anything about at the time either. 

Preparing for this wedding was like no other. I knew we were going to be in the darkest church I'd ever been in, possibly the darkest walls inside of a building I'd ever shot in and then we were going to have the reception in a Mansion down the street that had very yellow walls. This was not going to be the natural light and bounce flash on white ceiling wedding I was used to. So...I went to the church Friday night to work with lighting, was more nervous that any other wedding, literally felt sick about how to make it happen to be able to deliver the images I desire to deliver.

The day arrives on Saturday and it just became "go time". I (and my intern Amy) got in the zone, had fun with the day and did our jobs to the best of our abilities. We got to spend time and feel a part of these two amazing families--the Thewis family and the Miller family. By the time the day was done I felt like I actually was a part of their families--loved them like my own. I couldn't wait to the see the mother of the groom the next work day to hug her and tell her again how beautiful she and everyone else was--how beautiful the whole day was.

We laughed with them. We cried with them. We photographed them laughing, crying and celebrating with one another. It was the most beautiful, intimate, solemn, covenantal wedding I had been a part of.  When I did get to see the mother of the groom, she over and over again emphasized how highly everyone thought of our time with them that day and what an amazing ministry we had with the people....how we made it fun and made everyone feel beautiful! "Ministry? What? What do you mean?" I asked. She reiterated how much of a ministry my business is and my work with the people that I photograph and that I'm documenting two people joining in the covenant of marriage...that the photos they will look at every day on their walls will remind them of that beautiful day and that promise, that covenant, that commitment they made to each other on their wedding day. Wow! All that she said, and others from that wedding day said to me, coupled with the fulfillment I felt at the end of it was life changing to me. It is my "stake-in-the-sand" day. My "Red Letter Day". My "dream big dreams" day. I pray for many more weddings to photograph and the opportunity God might give me someday to have my own brick and mortar photography studio with amazing natural light, clients to to serve, care for, and show how beautiful God made them...and a staff to work with doing it all for His glory! 

*Eva and Colten actually met on a blind date...well, kind of! Here's her take on the story: "We were set up on a blind date. Well, rather a blind phone call. I came back from a bad date and was talking about it with a friend. She showed me Colten's picture on Facebook and asked if she could give him my number. Not caring or thinking he would call, he did, 4 hours later. We talked on the phone for 2 hours! My sister was visiting me that night and we were in the same room at night. She was trying to sleep as I was talking with Colten. Needless to say, she was not pleased with all my talking :) He sounded so handsome on the phone and he loved golf :)"

I love what Eva told me when I asked her if there was anything they wanted me to know about them: "Both Colten and I are old fashioned people. I love the traditional and unique. I want to bring back the classic, romantic, traditional wedding back. We both have waiting a long time for this moment. I am so excited to have found the one person that I will be spending the rest of my life with. It has taken much time to wait for the one that Christ has made me to be with." 

The wedding day was beautiful...new snow had fallen overnight and the world looked new again. Eva and Colten got their pretty selves all dressed up for one another. The guests didn't seem deterred by the recent snow and filled the ornate beautiful church. The families were so kind, emotional with each other, loving, and embracing each side as if they'd always known each other (maybe they had?). I can't tell you in words well enough to describe these families, the ceremony and the day but it was spiritual, emotional, meaningful, tender, lovely. I wish I was a better wordsmith (like Eva's sister) to describe it better for you. I just hope each photo below truly does speak a thousand words for you! 

With love, 
Jen    Psalm 139: 13-14

The ceremony was at St. Andrews Episcopal Church in Ashland, WI // The reception was at the Wilmarth Mansion in Ashland, Wisconsin // Hair by Upper Cut // Florals by Ashland Floral // Catering by the amazing Renee at Good Thyme Catering, Events & Lodging // Cake // Dress  //  Tux // Bridesmaid dresses // Rentals by True North Tent and Party Rentals