COLORADO SPRINGS, CO
THEY WERE IN LOVE. IT WAS IN THE WAY THEY LOOKED AT EACH OTHER ... AS IF THEY HAD THE MOST WONDERFUL SECRET IN THE WORLD.
"A story of off-again on-again love has these two beaming with stars in their eyes that they really were meant for each other after all that time. Since middle school, their lives wove in between one another's as they waited ever so patiently." This is an excerpt from my engagement post about Joel + Dani. And now, here we are at the wedding, seven months later.
One of my favorite experiences as a photographer is walking with a couple from engagement to marriage in photographs: and with this couple, walking with a deep-rooted friendship. Their story feels personal to me - hearing Joel plan the first date, and then the break up, seeing them fall in love again at a concert.
It captivates me - the heartbreak, the sacrifice, the fight for who you love. This is the journey we embark on for the one we spend our life with. Enter into the captivation.
The day was sunny and warm as we pulled up to Spruce Mountain Ranch, right outside of Colorado Springs. The dudes showed up with crazy socks, and the ladies showed up with flannels and mimosas, rowdy about the ensuing events. We collected shots of the evergreen details as they put on finishing touches.
Bridesmaid portraits over at Redden Photography
As the music switched on, guests gathered, and emotion-filled clouds entered the valley surrounded by mountains, this story rings true in the background.
From middle school to high school, Dani + Joel were just familiar faces to each other. As the years went on, they would serendipitously hang out in a hodge-podge of friends. When college came, Dani became best friends with Joel's older sister + BOOM. He began to see the true beauty of who Dani was with her increasing presence.
Then, the date. Joel told me before this date that Dani was in fact the lady he would put a ring on, no doubt in his mind. This was the date that Dani still recalls as her favorite date with Joel. He spent hours stringing up twinkle lights in his backyard and setting up a projector to watch 'Pineapple Express', their favorite movie, on. The girl was impressed.
But fear closed her off, and it was over soon after.
Both dated others or attempted to date others. But that date + the magic of it all lingered in their memories.
And a concert where they stumbled upon on another + got lost together changed it all. They reconciled for backing away from something GOOD. They prayed through more fear. And then they fell in love.
These two always come back to each other. Seeing their lives intertwined so intimately, there is no one either of them feels more comfortable or loved around. And a love like THAT makes a person live up to their highest standards for themselves. Knowing Joel as a goof ball for all of college, it was inspiring to see how he is growing as such a man in this season; as a man great at loving Dani. And now, she has the most peace in the world about being with Joel, forever.
Joel stepped in right when Dani's family was at a loss. Her brother had passed away, during a time of togetherness and joy and holidays. Joel was there to walk with Dani to the depths, right when the first seeds of their relationship were forming. And Brian was not forgotten at their wedding. She carried a locket with his picture on her bouquet, he was reminisced about at wedding toasts with teary eyes, and Joel was there. Holding Dani through it.
They really were meant for each other after all this time - time united them perfectly on this breathtaking day.
The evening celebration took place on site at the same venue, with lavender adorning every surface, decadent wine overflowing, and a retro Volkswagen bus photo booth!
Portraits from our engagement session used as wine labels at the reception! PRAISE. Come on people, let's get creative.
first dance song: 'Our Love' by Judah + the Lion