Wedding days come with lots of expectations. One of those is typically that it won't rain. Why would it rain? Your wedding is supposed to be a blissful day and rain is often dreary. Yet it still rains, way more often than you'd think.
I have a bag full of stories from rainy day weddings. But here is what I know: You can celebrate rain or shine. From what I can tell, the difference is in the expectations.
When we arrived the morning of Daniel and Jenna's wedding, struggling to see through windshield wipers, I quickly realized my ONLY option was to wear Chacos. Hiding a camera under a raincoat is quite the challenge, but so is holding an umbrella while you shoot. Rainy days call for extra creativity.
I started the day, just like every wedding day, surveying the property and making decisions about where we would take all the photos. The rain plan was to use the tent for the ceremony and reception, but as I made my way down to it, the groomsmen were all working to carry dozens of tables and hundreds of chairs from the tent to the house. I was a little confused. As I stepped under the covering, I realized I was standing in a few inches of water. The tent was NOT going to work. The backup plan couldn't be the backup plan.
I was nervous Jenna was going to be a nervous wreck, and I'm not sure I would have blamed her if she was. Yet Daniel and Jenna are exceptional people. I never once saw either of them panicking. Jenna laughed a lot, all day long. She started calling it her "surprise wedding", deciding that since she couldn't do anything about the rain, she'd just enjoy whatever became of her wedding. WHAT?!! Unheard of! There was a peace that Jenna carried with her all day long. She knew she would be with Daniel. She knew she'd be celebrating with friends and family. And that's what they did!
A MAJOR shout out goes to the lady in yellow, Mrs. Lindsay Heath. Good golly, she saved the day. There aren't many other wedding planners I know who could go from "Plan A" to "Plan B"... and eventually all the way to "Plan G" and still keep her sanity. I'm pretty sure I could take on any wedding day with this woman by my side. She's phenomenal. A serious calm in the middle of a storm. THANK YOU, Lindsay, for the gift of your peacefulness. I'm a fan of adventuring through days like this one with you.
Daniel & Jenna's wedding was FULL of celebration. The sky cleared just long enough for a beautiful ceremony. Honestly, it's one of the most moving ceremonies in my book. Their mentor and friend, Buddy, did an exceptional job officiating their ceremony. He started it off explaining the significance behind why the guests all stand when the bride enters: we are all acknowledging that we are also the Bride, the Church, in need of the Bridegroom.
He spent a good amount of time explaining how loved they each were. He looked at Jenna while her father was still next to her and explained that if this decision was not from the Lord, that her dad could walk her back down the aisle. Her family would love and support her. Buddy then did the same for Daniel. He recalled the many toasts from groomsmen the previous night, reminding him that if he wasn't confident this was exactly what he was called to do, that those men would stand by his side and support him. Woah. I've never seen an officiant challenge the couple like that. It was beautiful. My favorite thing Buddy said was during his charge to the couple. He began explaining to them that doing marriage well meant constant movement towards each other. He listed examples, like holding hands at other people's weddings. Then he said this:
"Do whatever it takes to find Jesus in each other."
It was all I could do not to scream "Amen" from the back.
Processional // "Beautiful Things" by Gungor Bridal Processional // "Come Thou Fount" Communion // "Amazing Grace" sung by the Mother of the Groom Recessional // "September" by Earth, Wind, and Fire (the lyrics start with "Do you remember, the twenty first night of September?" Perfect!) First Dance // "Living of Love" by the Avett Brothers Father/Daughter Dance // "I loved her first" by Fly Boy Mother/Son Dance // "Mama's Eyes" by Justin Townes Earl
Our wedding could best be described as a "surprise wedding." We had no clue what was happening and when we finally let it be, it was a blast for that reason. We loved being surrounded by everyone! A few of our favorite parts of the day included:
- Meghan wearing pigtail braids by a dare during the ceremony!
- The groomsmen chanting while pushing our florist's car in a downpour after it broke down.
- Crying the moment I saw my dad to when I saw Daniel crying.
- Everyone running for shelter from the pouring rain, therefore making new friends huddled under anything that would keep them dry.
- The beautiful and gracious Gene and Lynn Overholt opening their home to everyone!!
- When the house cleared out, I thought everyone got tired of being squished inside and went home. I walked out on the front porch looking for Daniel and, to my surprise, saw a driveway full of people! They all started clapping and cheering. Turns out, they were having a great time!
- Once it finally stopped raining, everyone made a train to the dock (AKA our dance floor) holding flashlights for us.
Advice? Have fun!! There's nothing that will make engagement more stressful than forgetting you'll be married at the end of the day. Weddings are great because of the people there, not the decorations. Also, plan the honeymoon before the wedding. When we talked about stressful things or worried about what could go wrong, we would often laugh and say "and then there's Mexico!" You always have the honeymoon to look forward to!
Kelli -- Thank you for adventuring through this day with me, especially with little June in your belly. You're a fabulous partner-in-crime on a rainy day. Here's to breaking the wedding day record for devouring a 12 pack of CFA nuggets! But hey, you were eating for two. Let's do it again soon. Maybe Joe can have an all day daddy/daughter date? Oh, and serious photo cred goes to you for this killer leaving shot (above right).
Mr. & Mrs. Mathewson -- You guys had quite the eventful day!! One most of us won't forget. I'm still amazed that even your grand exit on a BOAT called for a plan B! And yet you still just laughed it off. Your joy was contagious and I'm so glad I got to witness it all in person. Thanks for letting Kelli and me share in your celebration.