Have you ever wondered why you ended up somewhere? Like, why did you go (or not go) on a trip? I firmly believe there is a reason for everything we do and that every action has at least an equal and opposite reaction. In June 2018, I was asked to go to Puerto Rico to document the World Changers trip our church was going on. I had never been to PR and was pretty stoked and excited to go.
Leading up to our departure from the church late Saturday night (11:30pmEST), I went to an Atlanta Braves ballgame (Friday). After the game was over, I traveled Lebanon, TN for a wedding the next day. I ended up saying in a Motel 6 on the way so I didn’t fall asleep at the wheel. Saturday morning, I arrived at the wedding venue and shot Ashley and Bryson’s beautiful wedding. At 8:15pm CST, I jumped in my lil 2012 Nissan Altima and jetted to Knoxville. Knoxville is an hour ahead of Lebanon and it takes roughly three hours to get to Knoxville from the Middle Tennessee area. I won’t say how fast I was going, but I made it to the church by 11:25pm EST. I boarded the bus and we went to Atlanta (full circle for me) to fly to PR.
I went on the World Changers trip with the understanding that I was there to capture what was going on. However, things changed and I ended up becoming a crew leader. What?! Im in charge of a group of strangers on a construction site? Thats funny. lol! Im a guy, but construction and mechanics are not my thing. So…I become a crew leader and documented the trip. No different than multitasking on wedding day, right? While on the trip, I met Michelle. She was on staff with World Changers. We became friends and after the trip, our friendship was Facebook official.
Now, lets fast forward to the end of December 2018. I discover (through the wonderful and creepy ways of Facebook) that Michelle is now engaged! I shot her a message congratulating her. We began to talk and over the course of the a few months, she and her awesome fiance (hubby now) decided they wanted me to capture their wedding. I was so excited! I had never been to Missouri before. We talked details over the next months and finally, the big weekend was here. The day before the wedding I drove from Knoxville, TN to Piedmont, MO. It was a beautiful drive (once I was past Nashville) and I throughly enjoyed it. When I arrived, I met with Michelle and Tate and went over their timeline for the following day. It was great seeing her again and finally getting to meet Tate.
So, Missouri in July (20th to be exact) is hot, plain and simple. But, so is Knoxville from May-October so it’s nothing new to me. The girls got ready in a beautiful old building in downtown. They guys got ready at home. Michelle’s dress was absolutely gorgeous. Simplistic elegance all the way. She and her girls were a hoot! I loved getting to know them. A fun bridal party really does help the day keep going and not drag on. Michelle and Tate’s first look was downtown. It was very sweet and he was filled with joy and love. We traveled all around downtown (all of maybe 2 blocks) to do some couple portraits before heading the the farm for family photos.
Family photos and full bridal party photos happened at the family farm down the road. The were nice trees that shaded us from the sun…which was harsh that day. We started with family pics by the house. We knocked those out quick. Michelle was prepared and had a list and everyone knew their place. I love it when brides do that! Then we jumped in a few trucks and went down into the field under a really cool tree. That is where we did bridal party photos. Everyone was super fun, which always makes photos more enjoyable.
After bridal pics, it was time to head to the Patterson Community Center for the ceremony and reception. Not gonna lie, I was a bit anxious about doing the ceremony and reception in a 1950’s gym. The lighting had potential to be horrible. But, it turned out great. With most school gyms before the 2000’s, there is a stage at one end. Well, that’s where we had our ceremony. Was it somewhat difficult for the ladies the scale the stairs in their long dresses? Yes, yes it was. Did they conquer those stairs? They totally did! The ceremony was beautiful and yes, they both said “I do.” The reception was a lot of fun. These two have a thing for ice cream…so they had an ice cream cart! I loved that idea! However, the best part of the day wasn’t the ceremony or reception (although those were amazing and quite memorable). The best part of the day was the ability for Michelle’s grandfather to be there. His health is rapidly declining and they were unsure if he would be able to make it. There was no real exit to the reception. The bride and groom stayed and helped clean up before heading home to show and nap.
It was a beautiful day filled with love, laughter and sprinkles. I now know one of the reasons I was in Puerto Rico in the summer of 2018. Yes, I reroofed a house with a team of students from Tennessee, Florida and Maryland. I also documented what our church did while there. But, most of all, I built relationships and go beyond a chance meeting.
Photographer – Jeff Fyke with Fyke Photography
Wedding Dress- Tiadora
Bridesmaid dress- David’s Bridal
Officiant – Jim Stewart
DJ- Kenny Berkbueglar
Rings- Zales and Bellyssa Jewelry
Caterer- Counts Catering
Flowers- Piedmont Florist
Live Music- Emily Ayers and Ashley Ayers
Shoes – Jessica Simpson and Bostonian
Hair – The Hair Co.
Venue – Patterson Community Center