The dress was ready. The flowers ordered. A fabulous meal was planned. There was even going to be an Easter egg hunt for the children after the ceremony. Everything was coming together for the day Emily and Jeff had been waiting for. And then… a global pandemic exploded into their lives making everything seem uncertain. As many couples have contemplated, Emily and Jeff had to decide what to do about their spring wedding.
Their family is no stranger to chaos surrounding weddings. Jeff’s sister got married on September 15, 2001, only a few days after the devastating attacks of 9/11. They had been here before…but, in the end, this was more challenging to navigate, as the opportunity for their guests to come was taken out of their hands. Either postpone the wedding, or only have a handful of people attend. After careful consideration, Emily and Jeff decided to proceed with their wedding date, and figure out the details together.
Their wedding story will go down in history as one of the most unique and beautiful of the Spring of 2020. As a wedding photographer, I don’t believe I’ve ever been part of a happier occasion. There was so much joy throughout the short day, as you can see portrayed on their faces in the photographs. Jeff and Emily are both such beautiful people, with hearts of gratitude and love. Being with them for such a short time, and seeing how they didn’t let the circumstances change their view of their wedding day, was a reminder to me to not let fear and uncertainty steal my joy. Their wedding may look very different to the viewer, but to them it was a blessed time to focus on what really matters in their relationship. It was a celebration of love…and the celebrating will continue at the reception they have planned for July!
Emily and Jeff first met online. They both were a little nervous and unsure about getting their hopes up because online dating hadn’t worked for them in the past. They tried again and it was a success! Sharing the same values and beliefs was important to both of them, and they matched up from the start. Her spontaneity and his cautiousness were a perfect balance, and after the first date, they knew there was a mutual attraction worth exploring. As time went on, they slowly began to fall in love. The one thing Jeff and Emily grew to love most about each other is exactly what kept their wedding day on schedule…the ability to stay consistent with each other in the ups and downs of life.
If you’ve ever seen photographs of a beautiful beach sunset proposal, then you can imagine the dream date that Jeff took Emily on to ask her to be his wife. After a private boat took them to a gorgeous island in the Gulf of Mexico, Jeff waited until the perfect moment to propose. As the sun began to set over the water, he got down on one knee and asked Emily to be with him forever. And, of course she said yes!
Planning had been going on for a year, when the pandemic struck. Many tears were shed, and fears discussed, but one thing they knew for sure…they did not want to wait one more day to get married. They decided on a small intimate ceremony with just their parents and two siblings in attendance, at the Stone Mill Inn, where they had already planned to wed. The Stone Mill Inn was extraordinarily accommodating and even worked out a date for a reception later this summer. You would think that with social distancing being practiced at the ceremony, it would seem awkward, but it was not. As you can see in the images, there are several feet between the couple and their guests, but that does nothing to diminish the radiating joy from their faces. Everyone was so happy.
To Emily, it was an incredibly emotional day. All of the planning she had done was being reduced to a quick one hour long event. Trying to balance safety concerns while still making the day special was a little stressful, but in the end, well worth the effort. Emily’s mother helped her with her makeup and hair before they arrived at the Inn. Once they got there, her mom and sister helped her into her stunning bridal gown. As her dad walked her up to “The Woodlands”, Emily knew they had made the right decision. The weather was beautiful, she was overjoyed, and Jeff was waiting to promise her forever.
There was a sacredness about their intimate ceremony. The love between Jeff and Emily is so pure and sweet. A peaceful quietness surrounded us all and you could hear the birds singing as the vows were exchanged. It was a moment in time that will not ever be forgotten. The gourmet meal they had planned for afterward was replaced with sandwiches and cupcakes for the couple and their 7 guests. There were no complaints or disappointments…only an abundance of joy and laughter. For an hour, that place in the deep recesses of all of our hearts, where the knowledge that our world was at a place of uncertainty, was forgotten. Joy reigned supreme and this wedding was truly one of the most beautiful I have ever personally witnessed.
I’m so thankful that I was blessed to meet Emily and Jeff. Their wedding was ray of hope and light in a seemingly dark place in present times. I learned that although at times, things may seem bleak and the future unclear, there will always be something to be thankful for. There will always be something to look forward to. And there will always be love. Congratulations, Mr and Mrs Fowler! I can’t wait to continue the celebration in July!
Photography | John Malloy Photography
Venue | The Stone Mill Inn
Dress | BHLDN
Florist | Butera the Florist