I met Erika when I first moved to Knoxville.  She worked at our church, lived with a great group of girls, and she was such an encouragement to me.  She fell in love with a guy in NYC, eventually married him and sailed her ship north to Hoboken.  Even though she's many states away from me, Erika still manages to be one of my biggest supporters.  No kidding, she deserves an award for "Best Blog Follower"!  She's consistently faithful to comment and like my photos.

So... when it came time for her sister, Kelly, to get married, I think Erika must have carried around a sign saying "Hire Carrie Jo".  The crazy part: Kelly is a photographer!! No pressure, right?  On a trip between Knoxville and DC, Kelly and I met at Greenberry's -- a great little coffee shop in Harrisonburg, VA -- and got to know each other.

Kelly told me all about her man, Matt, and the delightful day they were planning on this awesome farm -- Sunny Slope Farm.  Sounded like something out a movie to me! Turns out, these two have quite the incredible group of committed friends and family and their wedding day was a blast.  A huge thanks to Miss Hanna Reeves for making the trek to Harrisonburg and back with me.  We both had so much fun celebrating with the Deans at Sunny Slope!

Kelly, this photo of you is one of my favorite shots... ever.  Thank you for trusting me to tell your story.  It's a beautiful one!

Processional // "Your Love Is Strong" by Jon Foreman - This song so beautifully captures the Biblical illustrations of God's love - a love that invites us in, meets our needs, and fuels our own ability to love and meet each others' needs.
Recessional // "All I Want Is You" by Barry Louis Polisar
First Dance // "I Will Love You" by The Steel Wheels

We don't remember the first time we officially met; at a small, private college you sort of loosely "know" everyone. We didn't interact much until we played on the same intramural floor hockey. That year, our two "houses" went on a group date, sans Kelly. Two of our good friends ended up really hitting it off (and later, married. and later, stood by our sides on our wedding day!). Through this intermixing of houses, we spent more time together, which led to some of our own sparks flying. One night, during a walk under the terrific sky of a surprise meteor show, we admitted our little crushes which grew into a lot of love. :)
(Engagement Story Abroad on Erika's blog)

Everything from the ceremony was so intimate and special, but one of my favorite parts of our wedding day was walking into the reception tent, hand-in-hand with my hubby! Hearing the cheers and seeing our most cherished family & friends rise to their feet was an experience I'll never forget. Later, my Uncle Scott came up to our table at the reception, pulled up a chair and so poignantly shared how much I exuded the spirit and character of my Dad, Will (who passed away from cancer before I turned two). We both had tears in our eyes. There's no greater compliment on your wedding day. It's nice to be told how beautiful you look, but to hear how I carry & radiate the good things of my father - that is the sweetest gift.

Matt: My favorite part was seeing Kelly walk down the aisle with a twinkle in her eyes and a smile on her face (from what I could see through my own misted eyes). And as much as I don't like dancing, I enjoyed our first dance!

Remember what is actually important about this day. For us, it was each other, God, and the party-people we call our friends and family. It wasn't the DIY projects, the attire, the weather, or the $$$. And before you do anything, read "A Practical Wedding" by Meg Keene. Any advice I would have, she sums up perfectly in this book.

Venue // Sunny Slope Farm, Harrisonburg, VA Florals + Decor // Bouquets: Mary Jo Swartzendruber, Decor: DIY projects by bride, groom & friends Hair + Makeup // Hair: Rachel Reesor (friend); Makeup: Erika Lenzi (Bride's sister) Paper Goods // Eastern Mennonite University Print Shop  Dress // Watters Shoes // Sandals by Sseko Designs, Yellow Flats by Halogen, Nordstrom's Suit + Tie // Men's Warehouse & The Tie Bar Rentals // CVR Rentals Catering // Sue Dean (mother-of-the-groom) and family DJ/Band // Spotify Playlists with help from Hall Vought (Uncle)

Erika, thanks for your spunk... and thank you especially for your kindness to me.  It's never everyday you find a gal willing to run around with a sparkler just 'cuz.