I am beyond excited to finally be sharing Kyle and Stacy's wedding with you! Some of you may remember this wedding I photographed back in March. Today, you will see it featured on Magnolia Rouge too! This wedding carries a lot of significance for many reasons. After Kyle and Stacy booked me to photograph their day, we made plans for me to go to Chicago to shoot their engagement photos where they live. Just a few weeks before that was planned, I received a phone call from Stacy with information that greatly affected their wedding plans. Below she has written their story and I encourage you to take the time to read it! I'm so thrilled to have met these two and their entire family and it was an incredible honor to capture these memories for them. Also, a huge thank you to my dear friend Rhi, who stepped up to help this deserving couple in a time when they really needed it.
Kyle and I met on my birthday back in 2010 after I had just relocated to Orlando, Florida. Mutual friends took me out for a night on the town and we celebrated and danced the evening away. We instantly connected. It was so easy, as if we had known each other our whole lives, and we quickly became inseparable friends. About a year went by before we finally admitted that we were actually in love with each other and to this day I still consider Kyle the best birthday gift I ever received!
Together, we moved to my home-state Illinois and into our first apartment in Chicago. Kyle had lived in Florida his whole life so he was ready for a new adventure and thankfully, he fell just as fast in love with the city as he did when he first met me. Three apartments later, we bought our first home together and got engaged on a mountain top in Colorado.
We were truly living out our fairytale as we set the date for our dream fall wedding in October 2017. As most newly engaged couples do, we began checking-off our wedding to-do list, hiring vendors, finalizing decisions and getting excited for the big day! Our fairytale took a dark turn in January when my father was diagnosed with stage IV cancer. Our blissful hearts were shattered and planning turned into chaos as we scrambled to move up the wedding date to fit within the time frame given by the doctors. This type of devastation really put things into perspective for me. I remember thinking "Even if the wedding isn't perfect, or the flowers are a different color or not everyone can make it, the two most important things about this day are the man walking me down the aisle, and the man waiting at the other end."
I was determined to have my father walk me down the aisle and give me away, so I began reaching out to our vendors. I called the venue first to see if they had any dates still available within the next few months. They had one weekend left to host the rehearsal dinner and the wedding - March 11th. I was overcome with relief which quickly turned into panic as I realized that meant planning a wedding in one month. The next teary eyed phone call I made was to our photographer, Samantha James Photography. The stars seemed to align yet again as Sam was available to photograph the wedding for that date! Talking with Sam gave me a sense of comfort as she reassured me that she was there help with more than just photography. Shortly after our conversation, Sam reached out to her colleague and dear friend Rhiannon Bosse who is an expert at wedding planning and design. Rhiannon graciously offered her services to help us and was adamant that we would still have our dream wedding, even if there was only a month to plan.
Rhi and Sam took everything they could off of our plates to ensure Kyle and I could spend every second enjoying time with my father and our family rather than stressing about the wedding. As Rhi began to reach out to her industry connections, the love and compassion that followed was simply awe-inspiring. There was an overwhelming willingness from everyone to help out, provide services, resources and donate products to make our day perfect. It seemed as though every time I answered the phone, I was left speechless by the generosity and kindheartedness or every individual.
March 11th came around and we entered the green house at the Downtown Market for the big reveal with Rhi and we were overcome with emotion looking around at what had been brought to life. I still get emotional thinking about it to this day. My entire body was covered in goosebumps, the kind that almost hurt as if to reassure you that you aren't daydreaming and the moment is REAL. I remember the lump in my throat looking around the room and making eye contact with everyone who had volunteered to spend their Saturday helping out on our big day.
Our fantasy garden wedding was actually happening and it was more amazing than we dreamed it could be. As I sat with my father, waiting for the ceremony to begin he told me that he didn't actually view my two older sisters as adults until the day they got married and he admitted that he had wondered if it would be different with me being the youngest. As his eyes welled up with tears, he whispered that he was having the same reaction, seeing me in a wedding dress and getting ready to give me away. I was no longer his little girl. This moment meant the world to me and I will never forget it. I hugged him tightly as I reflected on how blessed we were to be sharing that moment together.
My father walked me down the aisle that day and handed me off to the man of my dreams. Everything about the day was more magical than we could have ever imagined and the outpouring of love from family, friends and vendors within the industry restored a lot of faith in God and humanity.
Photography // Samantha James Photography
Planning, Design and Floral // Rhiannon Bosse Celebrations
Makeup Artist // Alexandra Nicole
Venue // Grand Rapids Downtown Market
Calligrapher // Prairie Letter Shop
Videographer // Coastline Studios
DJ // Adrian Butler
Cake & Desserts // The Cakabakery
Rentals // West Michigan Rental Company
Linen rentals // Special Occasions West
Seed Packets // Floret Flower