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Jenn and Dave's Wedding at Stonegate Glass Chapel

“Dance with Me Under the Diamonds”

The wind was blowing. Sun was shining. A nice warm fall day. Flaming red leaves could be seen on the trees. Colors of yellow and orange peeking around every corner. While many trees still carried their green summer leaves. It officially felt like fall. Jenn and Dave’s wedding day had arrived. They are from the St. Louis area. Alex and I got to meet them for the first time up in Lafayette Park back in August for their engagement session. I can’t believe how fast time flew! The gates to Stonegate opened at noon. The minute they did. Cars flooded the parking lot while family members hopped out and got busy to work decorating the reception space. I was so impressed. When Jenn arrived, her hair was covered in order to prevent Dave from seeing it too early. She planned to have a rehearsal shortly after everyone arrived. I gathered all the wedding day details and got to work while the rest of the wedding party headed to the chapel.

Jenn and Dave choose colors of yellow and purple. Jenn’s details complimented her theme perfectly. From her invitations. To her shoes! I was also in love with a detail that I don’t get to photograph very often and that was her perfume bottle. The glass was in the shape of a high heeled shoe. So fun!!! Details can suck me and I could photograph them for hours, but I knew the clock was ticking and I would have to wrap up soon 😉. I put all the details back where they were. Or close to it 😂, and went to look for Jenn. The wedding party was finishing up their rehearsal and headed to the reception space for lunch. A table outside the venue was filled with sandwiches for guests to quickly grab. Inside, the reception space was almost complete. Amanda, from Sugar leaf Bakery, was putting the final floral decorations on the cake. I’ve been wanting to meet her for a while now but we always seem to miss each other on wedding days! Her cakes are amazing!!!

The ceremony was near. In the bridal suite, Jenn passed out gifts to her bridesmaids. One thing I noticed at this wedding was that Jenn was so thoughtful in making special moments for the people in her life. The flower girls got gifts too and the oldest was so excited about her new jewelry box. Showing it off to a variety of people. These are moments they will never forget! While the final gifts were being opened, it was time to get Jenn in her wedding gown. The dress had to go up and over her head, which she knee might be a challenge with hair and makeup already complete, but she had practiced. With a small team, they made it happen. Her mom laced up the back of her gown while one of her bridesmaids helped to do a final touch of deodorant in the front. 😂. That’s teamwork! The gown was on. Jenn put her grandmother's earring clip on the front of her dress. Secured the earrings in her ears and gently put her necklace on. She was a GORGEOUS bride ❤️. I took Jenn out on the deck to do some bridal shots. I couldn’t not, it was too beautiful! 😉. Everything was too perfect! On Stonegate's deck, there is a barricade separating the groom's suite. You have to go around the building to get to the other side. I could hear Alex’s voice working with Dave and his family. I told Jenn after I finished taking some pictures of her I would head over to capture some of his moments before they saw each other for the first time.

Dave was dressed and ready to go when I joined up with Alex. I did make one minor adjustment to his boutonnière. The pins were showing that secured his rose to his jacket. I knew I would kick myself later if I didn’t fix it now 😂. I dragged Dave around the building trying to find the best spot with the best light. I was on the struggle bus a bit. Finally settling on the front of the chapel. We started with pictures of Dave and ended with a whole audience full of family behind me. I think it was meant to be because we managed to get photos of the kids in the wedding which we may not otherwise have gotten! YAY 😍.

The final component before the ceremony...Jenn planned to do a first look with Dave. She wanted it to be intimate and natural. With Jenn standing on the deck behind the bridal suite, Dave walked through the back door and saw her for the first time as his bride. Jenn warned me that he might do a little dance. A moment I wish I had captured on video 😂. In all seriousness, this was a moment that quickly became serious and genuine. Tears came to Jenn’s eyes as they embraced. I took a few photos and exited the deck to give them a moment alone. It was time for the ceremony.

Guests were seated. The wedding party lined up behind the chapel doors. The processional began. The doors closed and the music changed. Doors opened to reveal Jenn and her dad. They made their way up the aisle. Stopping at the altar while Pastor Randy began to speak. Jenn’s dad confirmed that he was giving Jenn away and gave her a hug. Turning to give Dave a handshake, he went to sit. Jenn and Dave joined hands and stood at the altar. Randy began. He talked about the importance of marriage. Jenn and Dave had chosen two special people to speak at during the ceremony to do readings from the bible. After the readings, a unity candle ceremony was performed. The unity candle ceremony symbolizes the joining of two families into one. Something so very important to their day and one that took on a whole new meaning to me when I learned during the reception that both of their parents have been married for over 40 years. Jenn and Dave have strong foundations rooted in the family. Dave’s parents went to light their candle first, followed by Jenn’s parents. Jenn and Dave lit the third candle together. Their ceremony ended with an exchange of rings and sealed with a kiss. They were officially husband and wife!!!

After the ceremony, we took family photos, followed by wedding party, and ending with portraits of Jenn and Dave right before they headed to do a grand entrance. Dave did have Jenn open a gift during this time. Jenn asked if it was candy, and Dave said yes. However, when she pulled a box out of the bag it was “Cheez-its” 😂. When Jenn started laughing, he had to prompt her to open up the cheez-its box as he had hidden something inside. 😉 That’s where the good stuff was stashed. We marathoned a few more portraits after that and by a miracle, we were right on time!!! We nailed it Jenn 🙌. Guests were all seated in the reception hall. Eagerly waiting the entrance of Jenn and Dave. Once I spotted them outside the glass doors, Alex and I got into position to photograph the moment. The doors opened and the couple made their entrance. Walking strait to the dance floor for their first dance as husband and wife. The cover song “Anyone” by Kaleb and Kelsie played. Jenn later told me that she had took my advice and YouTubed dancing and practiced before their big day!! Jenn, that made my heart so happy!!! I’m telling you, youtube is the best 😂. It saved Alex and I for our wedding dance and I think you two did phenomenal. After the dance, dinner was served. Alex and I snuck in with family so we could eat while Jenn and Dave ate. Good thing we did because they were as exited about sunset pictures as I was. We snuck out while guests were eating to do some final photos. I am so glad we did because this was the best light of the night!!! And we got FALL COLORS 🙌🙌🙌.

The sun was going down and the reception was in full swing. Guests were finishing up dinner and toasts were about to begin. Starting with the best man. Followed by the matron of honor. Two speeches. I think they were surprises 😁, were made by Dave’s dad and Jenn’s dad. One part of Jen’s dad’s speech stuck out to me. He told a story of setting up traditions in your marriage. Shaping your marriage into what you want it to me. The story was about a new husband making a pot roast for his new wife. When he made it, he cut off the ends of the roast. His wife asked, “Why did you cut the end of the roast?” He replied, “That’s how my mom made it.” The new husband asked his mom, “Why do you cut the end off the roast?” His mom replied, “That’s how my mom made it.” Finally, his mom asked her mother, “Why do you cut the ends of the roast?” To which the grandmother replied, “because my pan was too small” 😂🤣🤣🤣. The moral of this story is that not about the roast, but that we learn traditions from our family. Regardless of the reason, traditions can help to bring meaning and legacy into our lives and as a couple, we shape those traditions over the years. Such a fun story!!! One that I will remember for years to come.

After speeches came the cake cutting. Followed by all the fun reception things. Shoe game, father-daughter dance, mother-son dance, A special dance with Jenn and her mom to “Fancy Like.” LOVED this part 😍. This was a reception where the kids stole the dance floor. They must have danced for over an hour and really got into it when the lights dimmed and the disco lights came on. But mostly, family and friends were enjoying their time together chatting and catching up. That’s the best part about weddings ❤️. One thing Jenn and Dave did that I loved was a photo dash from table to table. This ensures that they get a picture with everyone at their wedding ❤️❤️❤️. Her family was very on top of this part too!! They were prepped in formation and ready to go when Jenn and Dave arrived at their table!

As the night came to a close, Jenn asked if I could come outside to photograph the moment she showed Dave something. She walked him out to the parking lot. Their car had been fully decked out with a "just married" banner and lined with florals 😂. She wanted to capture Dave’s reaction and it did not disappoint. Before we were officially done, we attempted a few night shots to celebrate the end to the evening. Their wedding day was truly special and I feel honored to have been a part of it. Jenn and Dave, thank you so much for giving Alex and I the opportunity to capture memories of this day. CONGRATULATIONS!

P.S. I hope you had the best time at Silver Dollar City!

Jenn + Dave

Dream Team

Flowers: Linda's Flowers

Make-up: Gloss Salon

Rings: Kay Jewelers

Officiant: Pastor Randy Calhoun


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