A Fall Wedding in Branson, MO
Northeast of the Branson landing, just off Lake Taneycomo, lies Sycamore Creek. Tucked away in the countryside. October 30th had arrived. The Wedding day of Travis and Jamie Holbert. The week leading up to the wedding had been gloomy. Cold, grey skies and torrential bouts of rain. Today, the warm sun made an appearance. Light shone across the rolling hills overlooking the lake. Colors of red, yellow, orange, and green dotted the horizon. The peak of fall saved itself just for this wedding day. Jamie and Travis were experiencing what so many couples dream of when they think of a fall wedding.
Jamie and Travis were preparing for their big day in two separate locations. Travis spent the morning with his groomsmen at the Hilton Convention Center. Jamie, with her bridesmaids at Shiloh Ridge. In the bridal suite, the bridesmaids were getting ready in full force. Jamie had one of the largest bridal parties I’ve ever seen. 12 bridesmaids in total!!! While it was one of the largest, these bridesmaids were on top of it. Almost all of them already had their hair and makeup complete and were ready to jump into their gowns when given the go-ahead. Mentioning how impressed I was with everything to Jamie, she explained with a smile, “they know the drill.” There was a team of bridesmaids steaming gowns and some providing assistance as tasks arrived. Grabbing Jamie’s gown, flowers, shoes, and jewellery, I headed outside to take pictures of the beautiful details she would be wearing on her wedding day. Back inside, Jamie was presented with a gift bag from Emily Edgar. Emily, if you’re reading this I don’t think we realized who it was from until I looked back at the pictures and saw your name on the gift bag! Or the present was put into a bag with your name on it, but it was actually from the venue. As I write this I still am not 100% sure who it was from. 😂 Readers, if you know, make yourself known in the comments. 😄 But this gift also comes with a story 😊 Jamie opened it and pulled out a small box. It contained a heart lock and key. Her and her fiance’s name as well as their wedding date were etched onto the lock.
Taken from the facebook page of Sycamore Creek, this is what the lock and key are for:
“For years, lovers around the world have locked padlocks to fences and bridges then thrown away the key symbolically locking their love forever. This symbolic gesture of everlasting love and commitment is consistent with the mission of Sycamore Creek. We want marriages that start here to last! SCFR has added a love locks fence at the base of the windmill. Our couples are given a padlock engraved with their name and wedding date. Couples are invited to attach their lock to the fence, then to throw their keys into a tub at the middle of the windmill. We believe in love and commitment here at Sycamore Creek. Always have and always will” - Sycamore Creek
I knew this was something that we would need to have on hand later in the wedding day, so I took the lock and key for safe keeping to make sure we would have it when we needed to do a photo.
By 1:30, we knew that the groomsmen had arrived at the venue. My husband, who was second shooting with me, explained that there was a minor finger cut crisis with Travis and things got a little crazy at the hotel. 😂 But nothing a band-aid couldn't solve. Knowing that Travis was officially here, we started the first looks. One with the bridesmaids and then to Travis. For Travis and Jamie’s first look we moved up to Heartwood barn. I placed Jamie in her spot outside and ran into the venue to grab Travis. Tucked away in a small room with 12 other groomsmen, I grabbed Travis and instructed him to not look to the right as we got outside. Once prepared, we told Travis it was alright to turn around. They both immediately broke into a smile as they slowly walked toward each other. I remember hearing one of them explain, “I can’t believe we’re not crying.” 😄 While there were no tears, we could feel and see the joy the two of you had for each other. Even as Travis showed you his finger injury and explained what had happened. 😂
It’s time to shine the spotlight on the bridal party. All 24 of you!!! I still can’t believe that happened 🤩. Lining all of you up, I realized that we were going to need chairs for some of these photos. Thank you to all the groomsmen who jumped into action and lined up all the chairs, even if it seemed like a crazy idea. This is also the time that I have to offer a big APOLOGY for the amount of cheering photos we did. 😂 It probably seemed like overkill, but I promise it was well worth it in the end. Thank you for bearing with me as we did that one too many times….maybe 100. I might have lost count.
Prior to the ceremony, the pastor spent time with both Jamie and her bridesmaids and Travis and his groomsmen. Praying for the couple and giving blessings over their marriage. While I did not get to spend time with Travis during this special time, I did get the honor of being with Jamie. Her bridesmaids and immediate family shared what they loved about her. Then, Jamie got to share what she loved about Travis. As the minutes grew closer to the ceremony, a standing circle was formed and everyone bowed their heads in prayer.
The ceremony was held in front of the large sycamore tree. A long aisle ran from the heartwood barn to the tree. Jamie's father walked her down as her mother joined them in a final hug at the altar. Jamie and Travis stood facing the sycamore tree while behind them sat their closest friends and family. In the middle of the ceremony, the pastor had them turn and face all the people who had come to be a part of this special day. The crowd giggled as he made the joke about also looking at your “37 bridesmaids.” 😂But in all seriousness, the ceremony was filled with advice about the purpose of marriage and the commitment to one another. My husband later mentioned to me that he was moved by much of what the pastor had said and it made him look at our own marriage in a different way.
At the end of the ceremony, Jamie and Travis shared a kiss and turned once again to face the crowd as husband and wife. Extended their arms up in a cheer, they started the trek back up the aisle to ring the bell in celebration. Congratulations to Mr. and Mrs. Holbert!
This is where things got a little crazy. I’m not afraid to admit it. We planned to do extended family portraits after the ceremony. What we weren’t expecting was doing them right in the middle of cocktail hour with all the other guests as well as the extended family. 😂 I want to give a big shout out to Misty Willinger’s assistant, Claire, who was the BIGGEST help during this section and made it all possible. Between the two of us, we were able to nail these family photos. Finishing these pictures, the sun was just setting. We walked into the field to take Jamie and Travis' first pictures as husband and wife right before they entered the reception to celebrate with friends and family.
This reception was a hit. Speeches followed by dinner followed by live music. My musician heart had some major appreciation for live bands. These guys were so good!!! This large reception party was celebrating to the max!
Backtracking for a second, do you all remember when Jamie opened the gift of the lock and key and I held onto it for safekeeping?....Well by this point in the reception we had not done the lock and key. By the end of the night, we had run out of time and I passed along the lock and key to Misty. Jamie and Travis, if you did not get to do it on your wedding day, you two will have to come back to Branson and we will photograph the moment together. 😄 But if you did get to do it, you’ll have to let me know. I’m drowning in suspense not knowing what happened with the lock and key lol.
As the night ended, Jamie and Travis joined the dance floor right as “Stuck on You” started to play. Travis in his cowboy hat and Jamie in her second dress of the night. The grand exit was approaching. Behind the scenes, Misty and Claire were pulling out the strings of bulb lights for their grand exit. Alex and I joined them outside to offer assistance. Right as they ran into a snag. The lights weren’t working. Panicked, we tried plugging them into multiple different outlets with no success. Suddenly a few bulbs that Alex had been messing with sprung to life. Here’s the secret, you have to twist and shove the bulbs in hard. Then they magically come on 😂. Jamie and Travis, we were terrified we were going to break the bulbs, but we did it!!! You would have never known any of this happened on your wedding day because that exit was epic. One of my favorite parts of the day was capturing that photo, showing Jamie the back of my camera and her saying “That’s going on our Christmas card.” 🤩Maybe because Christmas is my favorite holiday, that made my heart explode with happiness! What an end to a magical day.
Jamie and Travis Holbert
October 30, 2021
The Dream Team
Wedding Planner: Misty Willinger Events
Bar and Beverage: Shakers
Make-Up: Emily Edgar
Catering: Simply Delicious
Venue: Sycamore Creek
Videography: Complete Weddings and Events
Photography: Christina Zapata Photography
Entertainment: Diamond Empire Band
Floral: Rosewood Floral
Officiant: Pastor Dan Deeble
Rentals and Decor: Branson Party Rentals
Transportation: Thompson Coach
Travel and Accommodations: Hilton Branson Convention Center