Renewed: Richard & Kristina

This day represents why I do what I do. This celebration, rich with purpose, emotion, beauty and life, lights a fire in my creative heart and brought a soul-weighty responsibility to every frame I worked over. This day was about reconciliation. About redemption. About life-altering, all-encompassing LOVE. I wish there was a better word for the commitment expressed here... perhaps you can figure out what that word should be when scrolling through these pictures.

Kristina and Ricky are beloved friends of mine, and I bore witness to the deep valleys that brought them to this day. The sheer fact that they chose to soldier through the pain, instead of run away from it, is awe-inspiring. But the fact that they emerged from the other side with an even deeper sense of trust, care and tenderness for one another?! There is no human expression to accurately describe that, but GRACE. The pure, unmerited favor of God is clearly entangled in this love story, and it was nothing short of miraculous to watch it all unfold.

So, this day. Kristina and I spent hours planning every last detail, and of course it all came out beautifully. But what shone through, past the romantic florals and soft pastel tones, past the moody candlelight and wispy fabrics, was the incredible display of God's goodness and fierce love for this marriage. Kristina and Ricky - surrounded by their family and friends, who loved them through the mess, and stood up for their marriage in seasons of despair - were able to proclaim Holy Victory over a covenant that was so very close to destruction.

What absolute beauty. A picture of heaven on earth. A physical representation of us being reunited to God, despite our earthly sin and rebellion. He desires us and wants us, even though we wound him deeply. Christ covers all.

And on this day, Christ truly covered all.

Renewed: Jason & Aubrey

While weddings are thrilling to capture, in all their newness and excitement, there is something deep and soul-quenching about a vow renewal. And this particular re-commitment of promises was not just a celebration of legacy, but a commemoration of God's incredible restorative work in this marriage. To say I was honored to capture this day is an immense understatement.

While every marriage endures its storms, this one was fighting for breath as the waves pounded over and over again. And yet amidst the lightning and thunder, these two had the most incredible community pushing them up from below. These amazing people, who couldn't in worldly terms be called family, laid down their lives and took this marriage on their own shoulders.

Then, God did a miracle and breathed life into this drowning couple. He seized them from the waters and placed them on dry ground! The storm wasn't over, but He gave them ground to stand on. Together with their community, this couple chose to walk the brave road of forgiveness.

To celebrate this amazing redemption, their church family put together a beautiful backyard ceremony and family party to celebrate the miracle that only God could do. The vows that were said were something I will never forget. The love and support hovered low in that summer air - suffocating in the most holy of ways. The bright colors of the flowers and decor echoed the vibrance of newfound passion and intentionality in this marriage. And each element of the day was chosen specifically to illustrate serving and supporting each other. I've never seen such a beautiful and tender foot washing ceremony!

At the end of this amazing day I was left with the fullest sense of awe. How else can I describe the beauty of this kind of healing? While no one ever wishes for devastating pain in a marriage, it was very evident that God knew exactly what He was doing and has amazing plans for these two, in spite of the trauma they underwent. What a good, GOOD God we have.

What a perfect way to honor this new chapter of marriage!