When Charlene called me at the end of September to see if I was free for her wedding in three weeks, I was quite sure I had heard her wrong. Three weeks?? I immediately assumed there was some disaster with another photographer, and she needed someone to fill in. But it turns out? Charlene was so set on her wedding being personal, intimate and meaningful, that she was getting married in three weeks before her pastor retired, so he could marry her. As soon as I heard that - I knew I wanted to spend her wedding day with her. So I met that weekend with her and Collin, and sat across a table from Charlene as she breezed through the fastest rendition of "its-nice-to-meet-you-I'm-so-madly-in-love-I-want-a-personal-wedding-and-here-are-the-important-details" I have ever heard. I instantly fell in love with her infectious smile, her high energy and her absolute and intense love for the man sitting next to her.
So three weeks later - I met Charlene and her maid of honor, Nicole, in the parking lot of the restaurant they were having their reception at, left my little car and joined forces with her for the day. We first went back to Collin and Charlene's home, where I met their sons, their beastly huge dog, and their teacup yorkie sized dog (I think with one dog inbetween!) Growing up in a house full of girls - I'm always a little amused by a house full of boys. It's always loud, banging and slamming noises filling the air, active, and full of ferocious warrior cries. This beautiful mixing of families was no different, and I just sat and soaked it all in. Collin and Charlene opted to mix sand, doing a personalized version of the traditional unity candle. They sat with their respective sons, and each group created their own sets of sand, representing their "individual" families....
And Collin and Charlene would later mix them together, to signify the mixing of families forever.
This day was so wonderful to be a part of. It was so laid back, and calm, and fun. After the sand, the girls piled into Charlene's convertible and sped off to get nails done! This photo is basically straight out of camera (with a little push on the blacks), and I just LOVE how carefree, content and happy Charlene looks here. She smiled, and sang, and danced, and kept saying over and over how she couldn't believe she was marrying her best friend.
Charlene surprised me and had made me an appointment to get my nails done with them!! I was completely floored, and obviously need to learn to argue better, because my protests held no sway, and I found myself with my toes in warm water, and a massage rolling down my back! It was an amazing little treat (thank you thank youuu Charlene!).
A little fact I didn't know about Charlene is that she is notoriously late. For everything. So in true form, we were running a little behind getting to the hair dressers, and really behind getting home to change. Let me tell you what - I've never seen anyone get dressed so fast in my life!
We were out to the limo in time at all!
I love this photo. Charlene was sitting in the limo quietly and looking out the window, and would randomly burst out with an exclamation about how blessed she was. How happy she was. How she's never known love like this before. It was beautiful to look at her.
Charlene told me many times how the most important photo of the day was Collin's face when he saw her. Charlene - it was beautiful. It was emotional. It was joy. It was amazement.
The pastor of this church means a lot to Charlene (she planned her wedding around him after all!). It was touching to listen to him talk to these two, admonishing them to love. It was so obvious that he knew, and loved this radiant bride in front of him.
We raced against the setting sun to grab family photos and some photos of just the new bride and groom.
Charlene father tragically passed away a few years ago. She honored him, and carried him with her on her wedding day by attaching his pin to her bouquet. The butterfly in her bouquet was meaningful and significant as well - and just another example of how intimately Charlene held this day to her heart.
Thank you so very much to you both for allowing me this glimpse into your family, your life and your love. You are a beautiful couple, and I wish many many blessings upon your home and your marriage.
CLICK HERE to see the slideshow!!