About a year ago, I sat down with Kelsey and Jon at a Starbuck's in Brookline, Massachusetts, where they shared their story with me - in November of 2012, the met while serving on a missions trip to Haiti. Fast forward three years, after Jon made a move from Michigan to Massachusetts to be with Kelsey - in May of 2015, the two of them went back to Haiti, and Jon proposed!
Kelsey and Jon were married in late July in Brownfield, Maine. For their venue, they rented a private log cabin with an expansive plot of land featuring a beautiful old barn and a large pond bordered by little birch trees. In the distance, mountains rise over the horizon. The location is remote and quiet - the land completely surrounded by forest. The wedding was a combination of rustic and Tuscan themed, and Kelsey and Jon planned everything themselves. The ceremony site was simple but beautiful - an arch constructed of birchwood, looking back onto the grounds and the expanse of mountains in the distance. Two wooden chairs were placed next to the arch where the ceremony was to be performed, each with a single red rose. These chairs symbolized the place and presence of Kelsey's maternal grandparents, who have passed on.
The ceremony began with a quiet moment and a prayer, and then two of Kelsey and Jon's friends were called up to read a prayer. Jon's three younger sisters also read during the ceremony. Finally, the mother of the bride and mother of the groom performed a tree planting ceremony, in which they poured soil from each of their homes into the pot of a young tree. It was a truly beautiful ceremony - filled with laughter, and joy, and love. And at the conclusion, after the kiss, Jon hollered in joy and the two of them skipped down the aisle together. Of all the weddings I've been to - I've never seen a man so excited to marry the woman he loves.
The rest of the day was filled with sweet, personal touches that made the event fun, casual, and memorable. Kelsey's nephew sang during the father/daughter dance. And for dinner, Jon and Kelsey donned personalized aprons and served their guests pizza! I can't say I've ever heard of wedding where the bride and groom are serving dinner, and it was honestly touching to witness the big hearts of these two wonderful people in person. And if that adorableness wasn't enough - they decided to forego the traditional wedding cake route, and instead chose to have whoopie pies for dessert! Throughout the night, Kelsey's beloved dog, Beckham, made multiple appearances - although we never were able to sit the pupper down to get a good portrait! As the sun went down, the Christmas lights bordering the dance area came on, and Jon proved to be the real life of the party with his groomsmen.
Each wedding I shoot feels like a blessing for me. I learn more and more with each and every event - about the industry and the mechanics and skillset of this job. But I also learn a lot about myself, and about the world around me. Each and every wedding, no matter how different, will always have one thing in common - it's a celebration of love. Sometimes, I get so wrapped up in the job I'm doing - capturing every little moment - that I forget to slow down and really pay attention to those moments as they're happening. More often than not, I come away from a ceremony realizing that I haven't actually heard a word of what the couple said in their vows. Which is ironic, because that's the service I'm trying to provide for my clients - to freeze a small, intimate moment in time, so they may have a chance to cherish it forever. But Kelsey and Jon's connection and love for each other was inspiring in the most beautiful way, and it came at a time when I needed to be grounded, and reminded more than ever of what's most important in this world - the connections and love we foster with other people. Real, genuine, uninhibited human love and connection, that allows us to be our true selves without fear or insecurity. For this, I am more grateful to Kelsey and Jon than they will ever know.