I really could just sit here for a minute and reminisce about that golden chandelier swinging from the treetops above the spot they shared their first dance.
I could gush about the WEST-ELM-ONLY-WISHHHHES retro mod house she got glammed-up in, and the unbelievable amount of COOL emanating from the overall location. People. The skylights, the cowhides, the secret bookcase door that led to a hidden lovenest…. the six or more airstreams situated about the ranch’s exterior, the fantastically remodeled red barn, and the outdoor leather couches draped in eclectic elegant furs. I could really have myself an overwhelming girl moment here and tell you about the amount of detail poured into this wedding day. And I think you might be super impressed and think to yourself something real deep like “Damn, that’s hip.” But if I spent another second tallying style points, I think I’d be missing a really beautiful opportunity here. I’d be missing the chance to tell you about something more impressive than anything moth and rust can destroy.
And in my missing it, you’d miss it too. So I’ll closet all my photo-heaven ramblings and tell you a story that actually matters.
Her arms were tightly wrapped around her daddy’s neck, as they slowly swayed to a country song that made me FOR REAL ugly cry. It’s been over a month, and I still can’t shake the lyrics, or the look of her ring finger tightly pressed behind her dad’s back; I saw how precious he made her feel in that very moment, and an entire childhood of good and hard days leading up to this one. He carried his daughter down the aisle like she was a royal stone, and he carried her across the dance floor here like she had triple gained worth in the single hour since the aisle. It wasn’t typical. It wasn’t routine, the way he esteemed her. He loved her in a way that makes you tremble. And if I’m super honest, it made me ache for a redo of my own childhood, wishing I would have felt as loved as she. Because in that minute, I knew that she learned what to look for in a man because of him. She didn’t have to crawl through a million heartbreaks like I did, she married her high school sweetheart. She chose right the first time, and it was because she knew how real love felt– how real love looked when acted out. She felt it for herself, she saw it equally given to her adopted little sister, and maybe most importantly, she saw it poured upon her mama.
It took a minute to process, to let my faith rewrite what I was feeling, but all at once, when she lifted her head from his shoulder and they shared a laugh, my super grieved heart turned hopeful… and happy. Not fade-away when the song changes happy, a limitless kind of happy. Because I realized, that even though I didn’t know what real love was for a long, long time, and even though it took me lot of super crappy tries at it, I knew that because I eventually chose right, my daughter might have what Hillary has. I’m not saying I’ve paved the way to Perfect for her, but I’ve given her the best damn shot at knowing real love, just by me marrying her daddy.
Some of the lyrics from the song they danced to her were these:
One day soon she’ll be a teenager
And at times you’ll think she hates him
Then he’ll walk her down the isle
And he’ll raise her vale
But right now she up and cry’n
And the truth is that he dont mind
As he kisses her good night
And she says her prayers
He lays down there beside her
Till her eyes are finally closed
And just watch’n her it breaks his heart
Cause he already knows
It wont be like this for long
One day soon that little girl is gonna be
All grown up and gone
Yeah this phase is gonna fly by
He’s try’n to hold on.
And just as magnetic of a vision it was to watch Hil’s dad sway his first baby girl, trying to “hold on”, it was also a sight to see– the look her husband gave as he agreed with her dad what a treasure she is. You could physically see that he KNEW what he had been given just an hour prior, when Hillary’s hand was entrusted to his. You know when you know when you KNOW that a guy KNOWS what he has in a woman, all in a single look. That look leaves no secrets. He reveres her with respect and adorns with admiration and you can see his heart just spilling from the color in his eyes, as he watches her exit that dance and return to him. And the look he wore was regal and proud, that this gorgeous gorgeous GORGEOUS woman would not just sit at his side, but pledge her sacred, long protected heart, to him.
And that boy she first fell in love with, that sweet boy that grew into a good good man, has got to know that his bride is so sure about him… especially after he sees a dance like that. What it has to say to him is he is everything she was shown is good. Matt has got to feel the favor of God himself, knowing it wasn’t by his own righteousness, but by what God has done in him, that has made him a worthy worthy man.
And for a worthy worthy man, God will give a prize of a bride. A bride that not only knows how to find good love, but knows how to give good love too.
What more than this? I would say, not a thing. To me this is it.
To be given a chance at good love, well, that’s as far as my heart can possibly see.
RAVES & THANKS //
Photographer: Whitney Darling Photography
Second Shooter: Dawn Parker, Dawn Alexandra Photography
Wedding Venue: Retro Ranch
Florist: Enchanting Blooms
Coordinator: Angela Hall, Hall Occasions
Cake: Sweet Layers Cakes and Pastries
Wedding Gown: Pronovias