Kentucky Farm Wedding | Sydney and Stephen


This sweet wedding was such a refreshment for my soul. There’s always been something - for me - about a Henry County wedding, but adding in Sydney’s beautiful story of redemption and her pairing with Stephen - let’s just say there wasn’t a dry eye in that field.

There’s a purity and a simplicity amongst these tight knit communities that is invigorating and restorative. On their wedding day, I got to hear from the community that surrounded these two - many as a result of previous tragedy for Sydney ( If you have a tissue, and want to know the back story of Sydney’s dance with death and full recovery, you’d be blessed to click here and watch ) and many who held the bride and groom as babies and still others who have held them over the years since.

It was after the wedding, that the family pieced together, for me, the fullness of how redemptive marrying off their girl was. And, still, what a gift it was for Stephen - who is deaf - to find a bride who both loves him and in ways, knows suffering and difference, well.

Sydney’s childhood pastor married the two, and his words shared during the ceremony are the perfect introduction to this story and day.

“Sydney and Stephen, thank you for allowing me to share this day with you, your families, and your friends. In late 2006 and early 2007, I feared this day would never come. In fact, I feared it would be another ceremony for Sydney at which I would officiate.

Sydney, as your pastor, I prayed for you on the day you were born; I saw you come to faith in Christ; I stood beside your hospital and rehab beds and prayed for you to live even as I prepared to grieve your death; and today I rejoice to be here for your wedding.

Sydney, as of today, there are three special moments that I hold in memory of you;

  • The day at Frazier rehab when I knelt beside your chair and talked to your unresponsive body…and then the stuffed animal fell from your tray. I put it back; it fell again…and again I put it back; it fell again… and then I saw that you were ever so slowly pushing it off the tray. I knew that you were inside that broken body - that Sydney was there and with us.

  • The day you walked the long aisle of our church bearing the candle lighter, bringing the light of God into the sanctuary. Your funny gait shouted courage and grace.

  • Today, the day you marry Stephen.

Stephen, you came to me as a stranger. As I've come to know you and to see your love for Sydney reflected in her eyes and smiles, I am happy to welcome you as a friend and a soon-to-be husband of one of “my kids.” I know you love her, but I’m warning you, if you hurt her, you will answer to me…and a number of others.”

And that. That’s why I enjoy my time in Henry County. A deep love, a long knowing and a swift reminder of that tight community. Sydney’s story of healing is so beautiful, yet I hope it isn’t a distraction from the lovely wedding day these two shared. The weather was amazing, the band so fun and the guests who shared sparklers, fried cornbread and lots of laughs were a joy to photograph.

Sydney and Stephen - it was a privilege and my deep joy to make pictures of the start of your new life. Sydney, your fervor and fullness of joy that you both live with and greet others with is beautiful and contagious. It was so fun to watch people come alive as you greeted them - the same is true with Stephen. I love how cozy y’all are, together.