I'm so excited to share a few images from my cousin Stacie's wedding! She and Tim are the sweetest couple and are so in love with one another. They are just so fun to be around.
You'll be seeing more images from their special day in later posts, but I wanted to start with a few of my favorites - and a few personal stories from their day and of my memories of our childhood.
It turns out Stacie LOVES surprises - so much so that she didn't even want to know where Tim was taking her on their honeymoon until they got to the airport! She gave Tim just one stipulation: It had to be some place warm.
Where did they go?
They are both quite athletic and share a passion for water sports, so Tim had all sorts of adventures planned. They even went cliff diving! Way to go, Tim!
I'm thinking I could use a vacation like that!
Not to be outdone by Tim, Stacie had a little surprise of her own planned. Tim is a volunteer fire fighter for the village of South Holland. Stacie thought it would be a perfect surprise to have some pictures taken in front of a fire-truck.
Of course, I loved the idea!
The South Holland Fire Station is a bit too far from the church where they were getting married, so Stacie made other arrangements. It turns out her great-grandfather used to be the Fire Chief for the Munster Fire Department, so her mom made a phone call. Graciously, they agreed to park a truck outside a fire station near the church where Stacie and Tim were getting married.
Thank You, Munster Fire Department!
Stacie scheduled her surprise to be the very last stop before heading off to the reception. At this point Tim had been in front of the camera for most of the day - since early morning. It was now after 5:30 p.m. Like most grooms, Tim was a little frustrated at the thought of having to make yet another stop for more pictures. But, like a true gentleman, he went with the flow.
His frustration quickly turned to glee when their car made an unexpected turn into the drive of the Munster Fire Station. I only wish I could have seen his expression the moment he laid eyes on his big surprise! I'm going to venture a guess that very few grooms have ever been more excited about taking pictures on their wedding day than Tim was at that moment.
We had so much fun and were able to capture by far some of our favorite images of the day.
Take a look!
I know I'm partial, but Stacie has got to be one of the most beautiful brides - EVER!
Stacie had asked Tim to bring along his uniform. He even had his jacket dry-cleaned! To mask her surprise, she told Tim that she wanted him to wear his uniform when the DJ introduced them at their reception (which he did).
Of course, we had other plans...
I love these!
Before the wedding, Stacie told me exactly what enlargement she had in mind for their new apartment.
THIS is it!!!
Even their parents got in on the action! How sweet is that!
Tim and Stacie weren't the only ones with suprises up their sleeves. I had one of my own...
Stacie's mom Bonnie and I are first cousins. We are two of 40 grandchildren. I never met our grandfather. He passed away before I was born, but I grew up spending an abundance of precious time with our Grandma Groen. She passed away over 10 years ago, but she continues to hold a special place in all of our hearts. Her example greatly impacted who I am today.
Though we were a big family, Grandma Groen opened her home every Sunday morning for coffee after church. Fresh banana bread, windmill cookies, Jay's potato chips, and an abundance of other treats were always at the ready.
It was wonderful seeing everyone on a weekly basis!
When Grandma Groen passed away in 1994, Stacie's grandparents (my Uncle Bob and Aunt Gerry) purchased and moved into Grandma Groen's house. They even carried on the tradition of Sunday morning coffee for a while.
Those were wonderful times!
Uncle Bob passed away almost five years ago. I knew he would be missed, so it was on my heart to do something special to honor both his and Grandma Groen's memories on Stacie and Tim's special day.
The wheels started turning. What could I create that would be both meaningful and artistically beautiful?
Then it hit me!
Grandma's Tea Cups!
My mom has a collection of my Grandma Groen's old tea cups. In our Dutch culture, it is not uncommon for friends and family to arrive on your doorstep unannounced for a cup of tea.
We love this!
Grandma Groen trained her children well, and even today they are well prepared to serve up a cup of hot tea, a plate full of sweet treats, and an over-flowing heart full of welcoming cheer to anyone (friend or stranger) who walks through their doors.
If I miss one thing about living at home, it is that spirit of uninhibited hospitality!
The tea cup - to me - represents the heart and soul of who Grandma Groen was. She had a gift for hospitality like none other. I remember fondly the stories my mother often shared with us of their childhood. Grandma and Grandpa Groen were always opening their home to others.
My mother grew up in a house located across the street from railroad tracks, and in those days it was not uncommon for hobos to knock on a stranger's door looking for food. Grandma Groen not only fed them, she welcomed them to their family table. Not surpisingly, it became a favorite pit-stop for many vagabond travelers as they journeyed along to their next destination.
That was Grandma Groen! She didn't know a stranger and everyone felt comfortable and loved being in her presence. She was self-less, giving, incredibly humorous, and as honest as they come. I could dedicate an entire post just to her many funny quotes and sayings.
I miss her!
Uncle Bob (Grandma Groen's son) shared her giving spirit and gift for hospitality. I'll share more on that later.
Back to my surprise...
I was so excited about my little secret, that I had to tell someone. Of course, Stacie didn't want to know. She likes surprises!
So, I told Bonnie.
As the tears glistened in Bonnie's eyes, I knew right then and there that Stacie was going to love it!
Wedding rings represent unending love - of which Grandma Groen had more than enough to go around. I could think of no better place to photograph Stacie and Tim's rings than nestled inside one of Grandma Groen's tea cups.
It brings joy to my heart to think of all the love, tears, stories, and laughter shared over a cup of tea in her home over the years. I pray Tim and Stacie will share a life-time of that same tender love.
Grandma even had a tea-cup in Stacie's wedding colors! How perfect!
I mentioned earlier that my Uncle Bob shared my Grandma Groen's generous and giving spirit. I have one last surprise up my sleeve - one no one knows about.
A story about my Uncle Bob...
When my parents divorced, my mother suddenly found herself a single mom with three young children to feed and raise on her own. My father was no longer in the picture. She was desperately in need of help.
Stacie's grandparents (my Uncle Bob and Aunt Gerry) - took us in. They opened their home to us and gave my mother a job! We lived with their family for several weeks until it was safe for us to return to our own home.
I'll never forget that!
It seems the apple doesn't fall too far from the tree, does it?
I'm forever endebted to the love that was shown to our family! And I have no doubt in my mind that Stacie and Tim will carry on the Groen legacy of generosity and hospitality.
And, seeing as they just moved into the upstairs apartment of Grandma Groen's old house, I'd say they are off to a pretty great start. What a remarkable place to begin their married life together!
Both Stacie and Tim grew up in homes where they were taught to love and serve Jesus Christ. Their parents are shining examples of what a loving, committed marriage looks like. What a blessing! What a gift to pass on to your children!
And, it's a gift that both Stacie and Tim have wholeheartedly embraced.
During their wedding ceremony, Stacie and Tim washed each other's feet - to symbolize their commitment to serve one another in Christ-like love. Their parents must be so proud of the wonderful young adults their children have turned out to be!
I know I am.
I pray someday Steve and I will also have the privilege of watching our own children do the same.
Congratulations, Stacie and Tim! Thank you so much for the privilege of photographing your wedding!
Much Love to you both! And many more pictures to come!
. . . . . . . . .
I leave you with a heart-felt request.
Just days after Tim and Stacie returned from their honeymoon, Stacie's Grandmother (my Aunt Gerry, pictured below right) was diagnosed with Lymphoma. Please join me in praying for her recovery. I would be so very grateful!
Aren't they lovely!