I've known Matthew York for years. We kinda sorta grew up together. Our families shared many similarities (lots of kids, homeschooling, love of Lord of the Rings). My siblings and I spent many hours romping outside together with them in Tennessee. We did everything from finding goose eggs on their farm, to tree climbing and four-wheeling at our house. We had mostly girls, they had mostly boys and we all got along fabulously. In fact, his mother Julie dropped all four of her kids at our house early one morning so she and her husband could get to the hospital to deliver their youngest, Seth. I just remember waking up that day to a house full of York kids and having a blast. Being around the York's always meant we were going to have fun. Good, honest, rowdy fun.
Fast forward several years and we're all grown up. We're adults now with jobs and bills and responsibilities. But I'm happy to say that, when we reconnected with Matthew (and his lovely, sweet southern belle, Chelsea) this past year to shoot their engagement and wedding photos, I quickly saw that the he and the York family are still just as hilarious and genuine as they were all those years ago.
Shooting Matt and Chelsea's wedding was truly a pleasure (despite the sticky, August heat). They were an extremely relaxed bride & groom. No hurry, no stress and simply madly-head-over-heels in love. Basically, just a joy to be around. Their wedding took place on a little farm tucked in the crook of a Tennessee river, surrounded by mountains, and bathed in old fashioned charm.
Everyone got ready in the farmhouse. Girls upstairs, guys downstairs. Matthew laughed a lot. Chelsea smiled quietly and ate tacos on the porch. Mama York straightened her many sons shirts and ties. Everyone happily bustled about in preparation.
And then it came time for Chelsea to slip into her gown, the one she said that originally would have never thought to even try on. It trailed of off her in ivory, princess-like perfection. And it had pockets. Pockets. I'm a sucker for any dress with pockets. Although she waited until the ceremony to let Matthew see her, she arranged to have a 'first look' with her dad. It was incredibly sweet. His shy but oh-so-proud-of-my-baby-girl smile was heart melting.
The sweltering heat did not, by any means, get anyone's spirits down. Their wedding party was full of bright, happy, beautiful people. Everyone was a dream to work with and made our job so enjoyable and easy.
They may not have seen each other before the ceremony, but they did have sweet prayer time and little pep talk together. Their last moments before becoming one. Such a precious time!
And then it was time to make the last minute preparations. That final flurry of activity before the ceremony (adjust the outfits! put in a few more bobby pins! straighten the ties!) That thrilling deep breath before the plunging in to the event we'd all been waiting for. One particular moment we got to be a part of was when Chelsea had a quick 'first look' with her future brothers-in-law. The interactions between them was completely priceless. I just love these boys and how they welcomed their new sister in to the family.
The wedding happened underneath the welcomed shade of old trees, their leaves rippling in summer light and waving in celebration. Surrounded by people who'd invested, loved on, and supported them their whole lives, they took their vows and committed to marriage. I got all choked up watching Matthew see Chelsea walk down the aisle. That was the moment he saw he's Forever One, his bride. It's the moment he'll always remember and one that we were honored to capture for them.
And just like that, after all the waiting and preparation and anticipation, they were husband and wife. I love the visible relief we see on bride and groom's faces after the ceremony. It's as if they feel lighter, you can see it in their smiles. Their joy of finally, finally, really and truly starting life together as one is a precious thing to witness.
Oh, these people! Matt and Chelsea sure had some hilarious characters in their wedding party. They kept us smiling and laughing the whole time. And what a beautiful backdrop they made for the new Mr. & Mrs!
The reception was a dream. Hearty, southern food. Rich and glowing light. Laughter filtering through the wooden slats of the old building. It was family gathering. It was celebration. It was beautiful.
The first dance. So symbolic of how their new life will unfold. A careful stepping together. Him pulling her close, her focus on his eyes. Their creating this safe together-space all their own.
And then, while the sun's last light fell on the summer blossoms, the night ended. Chelsea danced with her dad, Matthew danced with his mother and everyone danced until the building shook. There was even a special (and hilarious) dance Chelsea's family + friends surprised her with. Everyone was tired, but the kind of tired that comes from good, hard play; like how you felt after swimming or romping outdoors with your friends all day. Come to think of it, it's the same way we felt after spending those summer days with the York family all those years ago.
It might be late in coming, but we're saying, "Congratulations on your new life together Matthew and Chelsea!" We absolutely loved working with you both and can't wait to see all the fun you have together as husband and wife. We loved being a part of your big day and wish you all the best in the adventure of your life together.