Wow! I was trying to come up with the best way to describe last Saturday's wedding between two fun-loving, beautiful individuals and the best word I could come up with was "inspirational." Everything about this couple inspired me as a photographer, and as a guest. From their Christ-centered occasion, their self-written vows to love one another always out of reverence for Christ and His love for them, to every decoration and personal touch, this entire day was just inspirational.
The day began at the Senate Luxury Suites in Topeka where the men and women were getting ready. The rooms had awesome lighting and the hotel was kind enough to paint the walls in a color that perfectly matched the Bridesmaids! (Ok, they may have already been that color, but it was still awesome from a photographer standpoint). This hotel began as an apartment building in 1928 and had a wonderful old-fashioned charm to it. The wedding colors were a shade of pale green, pinks, and accents of gold. The Bride wore a gorgeous dress and chose to go barefoot for the day, wearing just some simple jewels over her feet. The Bride & Groom enjoy being barefoot but the Groom opted for shoes to go with his suit for the occasion. =)
Once the Bride & Groom were ready we headed over to the Ted Ensley Gardens at Lake Shawnee for a first look and the group portraits. It was a hot, humid day but definitely could have been worse. Everyone pushed through the heat like champs and we were able to get some beautiful portraits in a decent amount of time so that we could head over to the air-conditioned ceremony location at Reynold's Lodge, Lake Shawnee.
Reynold's Lodge is where the magic really happens! The Bride's family had decorated the lodge with wedding and flower girl dresses from the generations before them, including a sign indicating the Bride that wore it and the wedding date. A decorative photo panel was in the corner of the room and included wedding photos from previous generations on both sides. The linen covered tables included antiqued china, flower centerpieces, candle-filled teacups, and personalized sweet boxes for the guests to take home. The centerpieces also had various small frames of photos from the engagement session I had with the couple a few months prior. The wedding cake was gorgeous and unlike anything I have seen previously. Outside the lodge the guests were able to create bags of colored rice to throw when the couple left in the evening, as well as sign a Jenga piece as part of their guestbook. The couple also provided handkerchiefs for the ladies for their "tears of joy." All of the details were beautiful and thoughtful. There were even more details not mentioned here that can be seen in the photographs below.
The ceremony took place outside the lodge with a tree-lined backdrop that backed up to Lake Shawnee. It provided a perfect amount of shade for the occasion. The couple exchanged vows, led by the Groom's father who officiated the ceremony, under a handmade gazebo of wood that adorned a simple white cross with a crown of thorns. While walking down to the ceremony site from the Lodge, the Bride and her father were hidden behind a partition of fabric and lace carried by a couple of gentlemen. The aisle was adorned with fresh rose petals and lined on each side with tree stumps, mason jars, candles, and flowers. During the ceremony, the couple lit a unity candle held inside a large lantern and privately took communion after praying together. As an utmost believer in Christ and the importance of His role in marriage, this was the most beautiful, sincere, and touching ceremony I have ever witnessed. (It may have included some tears on my part...I am positive I am not the only one!). I have absolutely no doubt that the love these two share will not only endure a lifetime together, but that their union will prove to be inspirational, God-honoring, and life-changing to those that come in contact with them in the future. On top of all of that, they are young, funny, and full of life and I imagine will keep each other laughing over the years.
Some highlights of the reception included the first dance, the father-daughter dance, toasts by the maid of honor and best man, and a round of the "shoe game," which is always fun. The DJ conducted an "anniversary dance" where the Bride's grandparents, married for 55 years, were given the Bride's throw bouquet as a "thank you" for being such a strong example for them as a newly married couple. You will see a photo below with four generations of wedding rings; the Bride's grandmother is holding the wedding band of her great-grandmother over a family Bible. The night ended with dancing and a surprise duet, sung by a bridesmaid and groomsman, of "A Whole New World." It was a humorous, but well done arrangement that had everyone laughing and enjoying themselves.
I cannot thank this family enough for letting me take part in this event. I know I always say how blessed I am to be a part of such an important life-changing occasion, and I absolutely mean it each time, but it feels like an understatement in this case. It was such an honor, and I will always treasure being there to witness the union of these two. Thank you so very much again for choosing me, and God Bless you always.
Stacey Zoll is a photographer based in Manhattan, Kansas that serves the surrounding areas of the Flint Hills, including Fort Riley, Junction City, Wamego, Saint George, Kansas City, Salina, and other surrounding areas! Wedding service areas include Topeka, Kansas City, Wichita, Salina, Abilene, and other areas of Northeast Kansas and Southwest Missouri. SZP offers services for Glamour / Boudoir, Engagement, Wedding, Maternity, Newborn, Cake Smash, Seniors & Teens, Family and more!
Images included on blog are a lower quality than what the client actually receives.
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