I'm so excited to finally be posting these pictures! My apologies, this blog post is long over due...
I was honored to photograph Stephanie and Neil's wedding along with Molly of Molly Bea Photography. Though we had never met previously, Stephanie had told me all about Molly and I've followed her photography blog over the years. It was great meeting up with Molly before the wedding to talk about our businesses over lunch. Having Molly on my team at Neil and Stephanie's wedding was a true pleasure!
This particular wedding was extra special for me - not only to photograph, but especially to attend. Stephanie and I go way back. We were roommates for a semester while attending Moody Bible Institute in Chicago, and over the years we've kept in touch. Whether it be vacationing together or photographing a wedding together, we always have a great time! Last year Stephanie assisted me during my very first big wedding in Indiana.
Stephanie has a great sense of humor and is always there for her friends! She has a heart of gold and a special passion for children (which is evident in the number of young people that were invited to their wedding reception). She and I share a love for all things health and nutrition, a love for photography, and a love for the Lord. I'm so happy I was able to be such a special part of her wedding day. Being able to document her and Neil's memories was very meaningful to me.
Stephanie was also one of my bridesmaids in my own wedding back in 2000. Needless to say, I've been anticipating this day for Stephanie for quite some time and am so excited to share it with all of you!
Before I do, let me tell you a little about their story.
Stephanie and Neil were introduced by a mutual friend via Facebook. Yep! Their's is another online romance success story. The only catch is that Neil was living overseas at the time. An ex-Marine, Neil has been working on a government security contract in Afghanistan for the past couple years. He and Stephanie got to know each other via the internet and Skype and soon decided to meet during one of Neil's visits home. It didn't take long for both of them to realize that they were meant for each other, and Neil proposed (with the help of his family with t-shirts spelling out his proposal message).
Stephanie planned their wedding - all while Neil was overseas. Many of their decisions were discussed and planned over Skype. It was so fun to hear her updates as we shared pins on Pinterest and talked about her dream dress over the phone. When she told me her dress featured Swarovski crystals, I was so excited! I didn't even have to see it. I knew it would be beautiful!
Neil and Stephanie's Skype days continue even after the wedding - as Neil finishes up his contract in Afghanistan and Stephanie remains back in Michigan until he returns to the states in May.
I hope these pictures help to bring some joy to their long days of waiting for May to roll around.
Many Blessings, and "Thank You" for hiring me to photograph your special day!
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Neil and Stephanie: January 5, 2013
I walked out of my hotel in the morning and found this...
Stephanie and Neil's wedding colors were navy and pink with green accents - featuring two love birds. I love her bright pink wedding shoes - perfect for the long night of dancing ahead.
And, speaking of Stephanie's gorgeous Swarovski embellished gown...
It's simply stunning!
As is the Bride...
Neil and his groomsmen had a paintball adventure the day before. I was half expecting their faces and hands to be splattered with paint. Turns out, they cleaned up pretty well!
With most of the pictures scheduled for before the ceremony, we arranged a "First Look" so Stephanie and Neil could share a special moment together. I simply adore the expression Molly captured on Neil's face as he saw Stephanie for the first time in her wedding gown!!!
He was giddy to say the least!
After their "First Look" we braved the frigid weather for some snowy outdoor pictures. Brr....
Before the ceremony started, we dragged everyone outside in the cold for one group shot. Good call on the fur wraps, Stephanie! Fashionable and practical. Just like you!
By this time, poor Stephanie was frigid! We brought her inside to warm up before walking down the aisle. Resourceful as always, I spotted her using the clothes steamer to warm up her toes (all with a huge smile on her face). So glad Molly grabbed the shot!
Toes warmed and pictures taken, it was time for Neil and Stephanie to say their "I Dos". Officiating the wedding were Stephanie's dad and Neil's step-father. This church holds special significance to Stephanie's family as her dad used to serve as their pastor. It was under his ministry that the new sanctuary (one that he designed) was built.
Stephanie commissioned a friend to paint this to adorable canvas to welcome their guests to their wedding - tying in with her wedding invitations and other stationary beautifully.
Mr. and Mrs. Neil Hegle!
The wedding reception was beautifully decorated by Stephanie and her mother continuing with the bird theme in navy, pinks, and greens. I especially loved the blessing tree. (I have to say, though, I was secretly hoping Stephanie would find a way to incorporate her love of bunnies into the decor.)
One of my favorite moments of every wedding I attend...
Neil and Stephanie both love children, so they wanted to be sure to invite all their friend's children and their own nieces and nephews to the wedding reception for the big party. And party they did! What a great time!
The BEST sort of family portrait (in my opinion): Neil's sister with her husband and their three children. (Neil's mom is even in the background.) I LOVE it!
I love you, Steph!
Congratulations, Neil and Stephanie. I'm looking forward to seeing what the future holds for you!