Jordan and Shantel's wedding is one I have been looking forward to for a long time. Jordan actually stood up in my own wedding as one of my husband's two groomsmen. You could say that he's near and dear to our hearts. Of course, when he introduced us to his girlfriend, Shantel, I was in love with her and hoped for the day we could attend their wedding. Lucky me, I got to photograph it, too! My favorite way to experiencing a wedding day. :)
Jordan and Shantel's wedding and reception were held in two different states! Luckly, the commute between Idaho and Oregon wasn't a long one since it was right near the state line. ;) I absolutely loved photographing in the Pacific Northwest, one of my favorite places I've ever been. (Anyone else getting married there and need a photographer?) ;)
So many moments of Jordan and Shantel's wedding were so absolutely precious and special. I have to say, Shantel's family has one of the most amazing family dynamics that I have ever seen. The way the four sisters love each other is the best. One of the things Shantel told me is that if they are all four sitting on a big couch, they'll only be taking up one of the cushions because they love being close to each other. Oh, my heart! You've got some tough competition for attention and love there, Jordan! ;)
The relationships between the sisters and of course Jordan and Shantel aren't the only absolutely precious ones here: Shantel's Dad adores his girls. The father/daughter dance turned into a father/daughters dance. I normally can't help but cry during father/daughter dances, so all of the daughters getting up there of course got me! I love that there wasn't just a first look with the bride and groom (of which I am a huge supporter, because it allows you to get all the photos you want before the ceremony so you can go straight from that to the reception and party with your guests!), but also a father/daughter first look and mother/daughter first look. These were all moments I could look back at again and again.
So many special details came together on this special day for Jordan and Shantel. Shantel carried a special handkerchief that thirteen or fourteen family members had held on their wedding days. A note of pride for them is that all of these marriages are still going strong, the longest being...well, they've been married a lot longer than my short term memory can recall, haha. Other special details were a delicate, old family Bible for the ring bearer to carry the rings on, Shantel wearing family pearls, and the bride and groom using the same communion cup that Shantel's parent's used. They also added a special, lasting memory for themselves during the ceremony, because they planted a tree together instead of incorporating the traditional unity candle. One of my favorite ceremony details was that Jordan made the wooden cross that stood behind them as they said their vows. It really all came together amazingly!
The reception held many special details, too. It was held at the home Shantel grew up in as well as the yard adjacent, their grandparent's home. Again with the amazing family love! As you entered the party and made your way to your seat, you were greeted with photos on the side of the barn of Jordan and Shantel throughout their relationship. Just past the seating area there were games set up specially for children and adults, including a bounce house and croquet, so everyone could have a great time—that is when not having a great time eating delicious food, like homemade pies, or letting loose on the dance floor, of course. ;)
Oh, speaking of the dance floor! Outdoor wedding tip: white is reflective. It worked perfectly to have the sun setting behind the head table and the white, reflective dance floor in front providing amazing light. ;)
I couldn't leave out the fact that Jordan and Shantel's nerdiness was incorporated into their wedding day. It made it so perfectly theirs. First, there was Jordan's choice of his favorite shoe, Converse, for him and each of his groomsmen and even some given to their pastor. Then there was some time after the first look where Jordan and Shantel wanted to have Shantel try long boarding in her wedding dress. It was adorable. And my favorite, a Doctor Who wedding cake topper. Classy yet still nerdy; what more do you need? ;)
While there were so many special details and special moments in Jordan and Shantel's day, I think what encompasses their day is the love and support from each and every person, not only the bride and groom. The moment that stood out to me the most as the best example of this was when Shantel, her bridesmaids, mom, grandma, and other special women in her life all gathered around to pray for her and Jordan before the ceremony. That is where the love, and life, and joy overflowed. Multiple people prayed, and at the end every single person there was crying. You'll see a photo with each of them holding a kleenex; that was not staged in the slightest.
You can probably tell, but Jordan and Shantel are sure to have many years of love and wedded bliss ahead of them. I may have more stories from this day of her family because I ended up mostly with the bride, but both families are full of amazing, strong, caring, talented people. With so much love and encouragement, their marriage is bound to be one of the best.
Congratulations, you two love birds! May you have many years of nerdiness and love. And I pray that the love I witnessed on your special day extends and grows throughout your lifetime together.