Intimate Backyard Wedding
Brendan & Brenda
This blog post is more than just a wedding post. Don’t get me wrong – this is an absolutely stunning wedding that we get to share today. But we also get to share an incredible story about love after loss and beauty borne from ashes. I hesitate to start this post because it’s a story so beautiful that I’m not sure that I can do it justice. But it has moved me, and with permission from the bride and groom, I will do my best to tell it with the justice it deserves.
We met Brendan during his sister, Meredith’s wedding, which we were fortunate enough to photograph. We fell in love with their family immediately, as they were so jovial and fun-loving. At that time, Brendan was married to his late wife, Melissa, who was battling cancer. What struck me about Brendan and Melissa then was their deep joy in the midst of struggle. Sometime after the wedding, I learned through Meredith that Melissa had lost her battle. The grief of the situation struck me deeply, as she left behind two young sons. I could only attempt to imagine the pain, and I’m sure my imaginings fell far short of the reality.
Brenda’s story, though I wasn’t personally acquainted with it, was marked with similar loss. And it was in the midst of these grievous losses that Brenda & Brendan’s story begins. They both believed that they could love again, and they chose to hope for that special person with whom they could share both their joy and their grief. It was through this hope that they found each other and quickly fell in love. What began as a text conversation quickly turned into hours of talking on the phone. And so it was with them in general. They both knew exactly what they wanted, and they both were exactly that for each other! When Brendan emailed us to inquire about wedding photography, I was overjoyed for him and his boys. And yet, it was only as they continued to share their story and as I continued to observe their love, that I became more and more amazed by its beauty and depth.
What I love most about watching Brenda and Brendan is that their love is large enough to celebrate their past. It’s as though their lives are a woven piece of fabric. The bitter loss that they both endured by losing their loved ones was a strand that would be woven into their story. For a time, this singular strand of their story lay quietly to the side as they processed their grief. But in time, both of these individual strands would meet – Brendan’s story would meet Brenda’s story, and they would begin to weave anew another story together. This new story would incorporate all the fabric of their lives, and it would make the newly woven fabric that much more precious.
Brendan & Brenda’s intimate backyard wedding day was one giant celebration of their love. Yet in addition to that, it was also a tribute to their late spouses. They incorporated them into all facets of the wedding. At the beginning of the day, Brenda, Brendan, and the boys released some balloons in honor of Melissa and Rich. Their wedding bands were engraved with the initials of both Melissa and Rich as well. During prep, Brenda showed me a handkerchief that she planned to keep with her during the wedding day, and her words said it all so well: “I cried a lot of bitter, sorrowful tears into this handkerchief at Rich’s funeral, but today it gets to be filled with happy tears.” And it was. All of the sorrow they both endured paved a way for a deep love that they get to celebrate now and forevermore.
And that’s exactly what their wedding day was: one giant celebration! Friends and family gathered for an intimate ceremony on their back porch, and we ALL cried our share of tears (yes, definitely we included)! They played Laura Story’s song, Blessings, which is just an amazing song. The chorus goes like this:
‘Cause what if your blessings come through raindrops
What if Your healing comes through tears
What if a thousand sleepless nights are what it takes to know You’re near
What if trials of this life are Your mercies in disguise
Brendan and Brenda also shared personal vows with each other, and after that, it was made official and sealed with a kiss!
Following the ceremony was an evening filled with fun, fun, fun! It was the most perfect fall day (probably of the entire year), and we loved all of the golden colors in the surrounding trees. The tent was placed in the heart of their property, hugged by a mixture of pines and golden hues. Dinner was served in the tent on the most beautiful farmhouse style tables with grass underfoot and the fresh fall air all around (my favorite!). After dinner, the band began, and the dance floor was full nearly all night! Be sure to check out the photos from Brenda & Brendan’s super fun choreographed dance. It was SO fun to watch!
In general, the entire day was a huge joy. We were honored to be able to capture this celebratory part of their story. Brendan and Brenda love each other so well. They love each other’s past, and they look forward to their future together. I could go on and on with the many ways they both showed honor for Melissa and Rich (and by doing so, deep love for each other), but suffice it to say that it was all so real and plentiful. I think that’s what moves me so much: their ability to celebrate the past while looking with hope to the future… and now, hand in hand as the new Mr. & Mrs! Congratulations, Brenda & Brendan! We hope you love this snapshot of your perfect day!
Thanks to these vendors for making Brenda & Brendan’s intimate backyard wedding just perfect:
Floral: Diana Draeger | Cupcakes: Classy Girl Cupcakes | Band: Mud Dogs Band | HMUA: Victoria from Healing Elements Spa & Salon | Bridal Boutique: Vera’s House of Bridals | Designer: Allure Couture | Men’s Wear: Jos A. Bank