Joleigh + John

June 26, 2017

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When a mutual friend of Joleigh’s and ours contacted us a few WEEKS before the wedding, on a whim, wondering if by chance we had the date open to shoot a super small “top secret” wedding for someone we all know and love we were intrigued.  When she told me it was Joleigh, we were all in.  They were married in the backyard at her childhood house, the same house I remember thinking was so cool as a kid. I mean who wouldn’t, they had a ping pong table and a trampoline IN their garage, the best rope swing that hung out over the lake and a revolving door of friends coming and going at all times.


If you know Joleigh you know she’s a gifted writer and I couldn’t wait to hear what she would say about their wedding day. The following is from her and it’s beautiful, witty and perfect…. much like the two of them. We were so honored to get to capture their wedding and witness the merging of two families and cheer them on as they start this new chapter. Enjoy!


Our wedding day was exactly what it was supposed to be: a small, intimate gathering of family to celebrate the merging of two families in what we like to think is a pretty storybook level middle-aged romance. The bride, being the introvert that she is, never wanted a huge wedding. (She only likes people looking at her if she’s doing something for a cause. Otherwise she’s happiest at home doing something domestic.) The groom, being the kind soul that he is, didn’t want his new wife all stressed out. So they quietly plotted a small, intimate, super-secret wedding in the yard of the home where she grew up. (His idea.) Her sister (who had previously demonstrated her love and devotion by traveling to China to bring her second niece home) graciously stepped in as wedding planner. Oh, and event host. The friend who played a huge role in getting the bride and groom together (and out on a first date) also helped with details and secretly hired the best photography team in the Twin Ports region. She told the bride only “I have hired a photographer. It’s my wedding gift to you guys.” Imagine the bride’s unspeakable joy when she discovered that said photography team would fit so beautifully into her small, intimate “family and friends who are family” theme. (She babysat Lyndsey from the time she was tiny, and has adored Al since Lyndsey brought him home a few decades ago. And they traveled the path to adoption at roughly the same time, with the Johnsons paving the way and giving the bride advice when she needed it most.)


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The wedding day, after threatening rain from morning until night in the 48 hour forecast, ended up being absolute perfection. The venue was amazing, thanks to all the details the bride’s sister (in-law, but who’s counting) and brother put into making it so. The flowers, delivered by the same friend who hired the photographer, were supplemented by the most beautiful lilacs possible, from some friends’ farm. The matchmaking friend assembled the bouquets while the bride’s brother, new step-son, and Al put together one of the grills for the reception, and other friends draped quilts (made by the bride and her mother) over hay bales in the yard. This all happened while the bride’s friend and favorite former barista-turned-hairdresser coiffed her into fairy tale perfection and then, without even pausing to breathe, curled the hair of two squirmy flower girls, one from Bulgaria and one from China. The ceremony was conducted by a good friend and former professor of both bride and groom. The bride forgot the rings and had to pause the ceremony to send the matchmaking friend and Girl Friday off to find them in her childhood bedroom. (You get now why she wanted it to be small and intimate, right? Fewer people to witness the awkward moments she knew she’d provide.) The vows, written by the groom, were said. The rings (delivered safely and in record time) were exchanged. The kiss was magical. And then they partied with a fabulous barbecue with the bride’s brother and nearly/almost/for all practical purposes other brother and the matchmaker’s best guy grilling. The bride, never one to realize her limits, made her own cake and put the finishing touches on it seconds before donning her dress.

A good time was had by all, the food was fantastic, and, most importantly, at the end of the day two people who love each other deeply, laugh often, and were tired of saying “goodnight and good-bye” every evening, got to go home. Together.


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