A Chapel of the Ozark's Wedding
A blue sky with wispy white clouds filled the sky. It felt like a warm summer day. Kayla and Nathan’s wedding day at Top of the Rock had officially arrived! Kayla and Nathan planned to get ready in different locations within the Springfield area. Since they did not want to see each other before the ceremony, they planned to arrive at different times. Nathan first, followed by Kayla an hour later.
Little did I know, things were getting a bit crazy. There was a crisis with the seating chart and some of Kayla’s family members were scrambling to try to come up with a solution before the ceremony, which wasn’t until 5:00 p.m.. At the time, I didn’t know this until I had already arrived at Top of the Rock. Even though I wasn't able to do details when scheduled, I got a beautiful picture of the venue. You guys, this place is magical!!
When Nathan arrived, he came with his groomsmen. Minus one. lol Feeling hopeful that since I was with part of the wedding party we might be able to make our way through multiple locked doors and successfully enter the chapel. As we walked through the wine cellar, by some miracle, we passed an employee who helped us unlock the door to the exit which led to the chapel. I don’t even know who this employee was, but I was so thankful for her help! Nathan explained that the groomsmen would be on the basement level and Kayla on the floor above. Once in the chapel, we took the elevator down to the bottom floor. The groomsmen starting putting on their suits. Once they were ready, we hopped to the patio to take some getting ready photos. Heading back inside, some inspiration struck to do some photos on the couch. Nathan’s final photos included laying across his groomsmen lap 😂
Kayla had officially arrived, she was a floor above in the banquet hall. When I walked in she was already in her dress. I may have may an “oh no” sound 🤣. She laughed and assured me she would slip out of it so I could capture a couple pictures of the gown. My first mission was to gather her bridal details. This included the rings, her shoes, veil, dress, and jewelry. The one component missing was the jewelry. Kayla searched and searched, but finally looked up and declared it must have been forgotten. No worries. Two of her bridesmaids jumped in offering their necklaces and even earrings. But Kayla calmly and gratefully declined. In the moment it didn't seem to bother her a bit. Good news though!!! The jewelry was at the venue!! It was just with her mom. It was a wedding day miracle 😍. On my way out to do detail photos, there was some chaos. Apparently the bridal party and groomsmen needed to flip flop their locations. For any future top of the rock brides, brides are on the basement level and groomsmen on floor 1 in the banquet hall. By the time I finished with bridal details. The switch had been made and Kayla was now on the basement level. I may have laughed with her as I explained that all the groomsmen's getting ready photos were done in this room. 🤣 Oh well.
Like the groomsmen, we took group photos with the bridesmaids as well as individuals. The one set of photos that Kayla had requested was a first look with her dad. I sent the bridesmaids to go find Kayla's dad and we worked on hiding Kayla in the hallway. When the bridesmaids returned they did not return with her dad. Apparently, he was all the way up at Arnie’s barn working on the seating chart. Kayla I chatted about a plan B scenario before the ceremony to make it happen while I went up to Arnie’s Barn to take reception photos as well as chat with her dad. Like the jewelry, a small miracle happened! One family member was running late which was going to set the ceremony start time behind. While ceremonies running late isn't always the best 😂, in this case, it gave us just the time we needed for Kayla to have her first look with her dad! I call that a win!
The ceremony started. Light streaming in through the large windows overlooking the lake. Rosalie, Kayla’s daughter, walked up the aisle dropping red rose petals as she walked. The music changed and the chapel doors opened to reveal Kayla and her dad. During the ceremony, Kayla and Nathan exchanged their own vows. Nathan had his written down in a small black notebook. As he started reading, his voice choked. His eyes filled with tears. When it was Kayla’s turn. She laughed through tears, “I prepared vows but I didn’t write them down.” She jumped into her vows and they came straight from the heart. Like Nathan said in his vows, this all started with a coffee date and led to a beautiful friendship that has now become a marriage. They exchanged rings. The ring bear proudly presented the ring security box to Kayla as she and Nathan pulled out the rings. The ceremony ended with a kiss and they were officially husband and wife.
Guests lined up outside the chapel. Each receiving a small cone cup of dried rose petals. The chapel doors opened and Kayla and Nathan walked through as guests tossed their rose petals high into the air. Eliciting smiles and cheers from all around! After the grand exit, the family and bridal party gathered to take photos. I had joked with Kayla and Nathan days before the wedding in a zoom meeting that the tricky part about family photos is keeping everyone together. Family members tend to wander away which makes family portraits take longer than you think 😂. The first thing that happened right after I did photos with Kayla’s parents was her dad started to wander away. Kayla and I locked eyes and started laughing. To all my brides and grooms, this happens. But we eventually made it through! We finished 10 minutes past scheduled at 6:50 p.m. This time is important for context with the next set of events 😉
We headed up to the reception for the end of cocktail hour and for Kayla and Nathan to eat dinner prior to sunset photos and the cannon fire. Eight p.m. came faster than I anticipated. I headed over to Kayla and Nathan’s table and found that they hadn’t even had dinner yet!! A minute or two after they received their meals they planned to eat for 10 minutes and then run back down to the chapel. Kayla and Nathan, I feel so bad that you two hardly got to eat 🙈. I still feel bad as I’m writing this. Once back at the chapel, I did the fastest bride and groom portraits 😂. We even got interrupted by security as a warning that we would have to move for the cannon fire. There was also the added challenge of dodging the public. Top of the Rock opens up their chapel grounds after a certain time and there were a lot of people. But we did it! A voice came over a loudspeaker announcing that the cannon fire ceremony was about to begin. We were pushed back as far as possible for safety reasons. Bagpipes began to play. I didn’t realize how long they played for. Alex and I stood at the ready with anticipation for probably 5 minutes. 😂 Thank goodness security didn’t move us because as the cannon fired, Alex caught a photo at just the right time. Kayla and Nathan looked like they had been engulfed in flames. I wish the camera could also capture the felling of the pressure slamming into our chests as the cannon exploded. We celebrated the most epic picture of the night and Nathan, we’re holding you to printing that off and hanging it on your wall 😉😁.
Heading back up to the reception, Nathan and Kayla finished eating, cut their cake, had speeches, did first dances, and started saying goodbye to guests. It was a crazy but BEAUTIFUL wedding day. I loved capturing every minute of it. Kayla and Nathan, thank you for giving us the opportunity to preserve memories of this special day! You two are so joyful, kind, and fun. It was the best!! I wish you both a lifetime of happiness.
Kayla + Nathan
Venue: Top of the Rock
Wedding Coordinator: Erin Schroeter
Catering: Arnie's Barn
Cake: Sam's Club
Flowers: The Thicket
Suit: Men's Suit Mart
Wedding Gown: The Dress