July 29, 2017 - Makaila and Cody Tolliver
The day started out a little dreary with a few raindrops here and there, but they say it's good luck if it rains on your wedding day. I arrived at Toneda Baptist Church to find decorations that hadn't been there the night before. Evidence that the bride and her helpers had been busy. Burlap and lace bows with cute Mason Jars lined the pews. The wooden arch was done up with white lights and a table was set up for the sand ceremony. I set my gear up and started snapping away at the small little details that tend to get lost in the whirlwind of the day. Once everyone began to arrive, I tried to catch the moments I thought they would want to look back and remember. The way the bride's mother looked at her as she was getting ready. The dress waiting to be put on. The ring that the bride hadn't seen yet.
Right before the ceremony started, we decided to have a special moment for the bride and the men that were to walk her down the aisle. Her father and her grandfather had their backs facing the door when she walked out and stood at the end of the walkway. The pure emotion you could see on their faces when they turned around and saw her would have brought a tear to anyone's eye. This picture is one of my absolute favorites from this day. In this one picture you can feel the pure and raw emotion her dad was feeling when he saw his daughter on her wedding day for the first time. The love and joy he felt for her mixed with the sadness and loss of giving her away. His little girl is all grown up and I'm sure he gave away a part of himself that day.
The ceremony was beautiful. Blue flower petals fell from the Flower Girl's hand and the ring bearer strutted down the aisle. The blue of the Bridesmaid dresses popped in the otherwise white room. Under the arch Cody and Makaila said their vows and mixed their sand to show that they are forever one. Everyone watched with smiles on their faces and a few laughed when it was time for the kiss.
Once the ceremony was over, everyone made a beeline for the park so they could eat. My second photographer and I stayed behind for with the Bride and Groom to get a few pictures of the lovebirds alone. The rain, mud and wet grass meant we were limited to where we could take pictures without ruining the dress, but the wind made for some fun pictures. I honestly have to say that Cody and Makaila made it easy to take great pictures because you can see the love they have for each other. It's not even something that can be put into words, it's just the way they look in each other's eyes and the little moments that would be missed if you weren't paying attention.
The reception was held at Oceana Park in the ampitheater. There were beautiful lights hung all around. An old rustic wooden door served as the background for the cake. The cake itself was about to fall over, so we snapped some quick pictures and went ahead and let Makaila and Cody dig in. In true lovers fashion they made sure to "help" each other get a good bite. Cake was everywhere, including down Makaila's dress and in her eyelashes.
The buffet style dinner smelled amazing and looked even better. After the food was blessed, everyone lined up behind the Bride and Groom so they could fill their plates. As people got done eating, the music started. Just about everyone joined in at some point for the Macarena and Electric Slide. The best dance was Makaila and Cody's first dance as husband and wife. The sweetest thing I saw all day was them singing to each other as they danced. Looking into each other's eyes with a look of complete adoration, like they were the only two people on Earth.
Of course, no wedding is complete without the bouquet and garter toss. The bouquet toss went as smoothly as it can go when all the girls want to catch it. Everyone tried their best, but there can be only one. We'll see if the victor truly is the next lucky girl to get married. The garter toss went a whole other route. Cody dove under the dress and pulled the garter out with his teeth. The look on Makaila's face was priceless and there was laughter, ooooh's and awes's from the crowd gathered around them.
Makaila and Cody, thank you for allowing me to be a part of your special day. I hope your lives together are long and happy. When times get hard always remember the way you looked at each other on this day.