A few minutes had passed since Natalie had disappeared into the changing room with her mother and sisters. I waited in the next room with the other bridesmaids, talking quietly. Natalie had probably just finished putting on her dress and was modeling it for her family when all of us heard her yell out, “LESLIE MARIE!” (Her sister’s name).
A second of silence and then “….ya big softie.”
“Leslie must be tearing up.” One of the bridesmaids commented.
Another added, “I’ll probably cry too.”
I can’t think of this moment without smiling like a happy goon. There are so many reasons I think of this moment first when I think of this wedding. First, because Natalie has the best personality – the kind that makes you laugh out loud during any moment, even when you’re tearing up. And second, because the entire day was a summation of so much beauty and happy emotion that nearly everybody, including yours truly, cried a little at least once.
Even though I’m actually a big softie myself, I’ve also known Natalie for nearly my entire life. We grew up just five houses away from each other on the same block. When I was small, her family was one of those neighborhood families that I was so close to I might as well have been related to them. Her siblings all nearly matched my siblings in age as well. I adore Natalie and I love her family. For this reason and many others, this wedding was an absolute joy to be a part of.
While I was with the girls, Chris was with Nick and the boys…
He said they were awesome. They are. And Nick – so handsome!
We snapped some shots of the girls before the ceremony. It was VERY bright outside, but they outperformed! Her maids were all beautiful.
Here, all of her girls and then one with just her maid of honor:
With her sisters:
Natalie killed it in that beautiful dress. She was absolutely stunning.
The ceremony, taking place in the church we grew up in, was very sweet and very lovely.
After the ceremony we drove up to Thorpewood for the reception. This venue is seriously beautiful! Natalie and Nick had set aside a good hunk of time before the reception to get photos of just the two of them.
You know that guy who loves his girl so much it’s written all over his face, all the time? That was Nick. I never had to un-stiffen him because he is clearly happiest when he is with Natalie, whether there’s a big fat camera ten feet away snapping his every move or not. It was awesome to watch (and made my job super easy).
If you’re with the pair for more than thirty seconds you realize just how amazingly well they fit together. They match as though they were always meant to match.
We snapped a couple full-bridal party pics before the reception began.
And then it was time for their grand entrance.
During dinner, Natalie’s mom asked me to grab a few shots of her and her sisters and I just HAD to include them because these women are all so beautiful and joyful!
An adorable couple do some cake cuttin’
And afterward everyone headed downstairs for the reception and dancing.
First Nick and his lovely mother…
Then Natalie and her father…
Then the bride and groom. I really am serious when I say there were plenty of tears on this day!
Handkerchiefs were put to good use.
Natalie and Nick had a fire going outside and smores set out for everyone!
The dancing started and it was just the best. It was totally clear that everyone was having a blast.
I love these series of photos of Natalie and her little brother:
This selfie stick was like a wedding guest itself, and an active one! It would’ve been a crime not to get a photo of one of the MANY group shots it helped accomplish!
Nick’s parents dancing adorably:
The final dance:
I asked everyone who was still around at the very end to gather for a group shot. A lot of guests were still there, because why wouldn’t they be? It was such a good time.
Natalie and Nick, I don’t even know where to start. Your wedding was beautiful. Emotional. Lovely. Hilarious. Fun. Amazing. Joyful. And wonderful. Everyone had the time of their lives. It was clear that you put your heart into it because your heart was of it. The two of you are gorgeous, you look great together, and you were clearly meant for each other. You are both so obviously in love that watching any moment of the day turned everyone into a softie and soaked a bunch of handkerchiefs.
Most of all, though, I wanted thank you so much for letting us be there. It felt like a true gift to be able to capture this celebration and, at the same time, celebrate with you. I know you’re going to have such a wonderful life together and I wish you, now and always, the best and better.