As some of you have read, I spent my sophomore year of college as a resident assistant and it was during that time that I met three very special people.
Layla was always polite and kind, always on a mission, Ryan would always stop to talk after class, ask how I was and sometimes ask me to unlock Layla's room. Now a landscaper, Ryan was taking a floral design class and would leave his creations on Layla's bed or drop them by her room.
As the year progressed, I watched from the desk as Layla and Ryan would meet in the lobby (they lived in opposite wings of the building) to talk, say hello or meet before they left for class. Most Sundays they would leave for church, Ryan always very polite and kind, Layla genuine and sincere.
And then I discovered Jackie Sue, Layla's roommate and best friend since the third grade. Jackie was always in and out, talking to everyone, very busy - yet she seemed to never have a bad day. They both had long, long brown hair and shared a classy, simplicity - both bubbling with kindness. Qualities, I now know, they took from their awesome families.
After many weeks of flowers, smiles and hellos, Layla showed her ID as part of the daily routine, this time a ring adorned her finger. Being the most wedding-obsessed person around, I noticed and congratulated her. She smiled like a little girl, said thank you and headed for her room. Always kind, smiling, never pompous or proud.
After the year ended, we all went our separate ways, I transfered to another building, Ryan had graduated and Jackie was the only one I ever ran into. Though I don't remember where we were, I bumped into Layla, in a hurry as usual, and asked how planning was going. She said good - lots was planned, but some of it wasn't together yet. I asked about her photographer, which she didn't have...and the rest is history.
I supposed God has his ways of bumping everyone into one another at just the right time. Saturday's ceremony, the close to many years of dating - was just the same. Ryan and Layla met in the 7th grade and soon thereafter, Layla announced that she would marry that boy. Obviously quite wise, Layla did just as she intended. A bit later they began dating, grew together in church, dated through college and are now married.
Saturday was perfect, Ryan ever the gentlemen, Layla sincere and gracious all the while maintaining her girlish, appreciative manner. I can't tell you how many times the three thanked me for coming (uhm, hello - I love these people!).
The ceremony was perfect, the reception stellar. Crafty, little Layla planned so many perfect touches that her family, without complaint, helped to assemble. It was obvious everyone in attendance was just as excited for their union as Layla and Ryan were.
Thanks for inviting me - I cried as usual, had lots of fun and remembered why I love what I do. Not every weekend is a wedding quite as sweet as theirs. A perfect match, a Godly marriage and the best, most fun group of family and friends around. Nearly everyone stayed until Layla and Ryan left for their honeymoon to Hawaii, helping to clean up afterwards. I hope you all enjoy these and can feel their connection. Mmm...and did I mention, I LOVE my job!
No more waiting...here's her ring.
(A HUGE thanks to my second-shooter, Nathan Morgan. On a day's notice, Nathan met me in Owensboro and took some stellar images - sorry I don't get to take credit for all of these!)
LOVE her veil.
The handsome groom, Ryan.
She really is as beautiful as she looks...for sure, much more.
Last moments with her dad.
As part of the ring ceremony, they both removed promise rings, a True Love Waits sort of vow - and their minister wasn't shy about presenting Ryan with the real deal.
A dip for the kiss. Yes, Ryan has brothers. Haha.
Check out the Bivins - married for 52 years. A sign of things to come.
The Bouquet...all of the flowers were made by a teacher of Ryan's - beautiful!
And the garter.
Layla dancing with her brother.
And with Jackie...one of the best maid of honors around...she's soooo invited to my wedding :-)
And a sparkling exit. Enjoy Hawaii! And thanks again - it was great.