Tags archives: spring wedding

The words for this blog will fall short. Nothing I (Amy) can say will fully explain the magnitude of the emotions on Melissa and Travis’ wedding day.

What I can tell you, is it all starts with Emily Bell.

29 years ago, Emily’s parents, Lester and Bridget Bell, said goodbye to their sweet 10 month old baby girl. In their most sorrowful moment, they chose to give life. They signed the paperwork and Emily’s heart was no longer her own. She didn’t need it any longer when she entered the kingdom God had created for her. Melissa did need it though and at just 10 days old, Melissa became the youngest known recipient of a heart transplant. Emily’s heart would go on- it would allow dreams to come true for more than just one. To give someone the greatest joy, at your deepest sorrow- is the greatest gift one can give. It is a gift we can all choose to give. Unless you work in the medical field, the chance to save a life seems slim, but it isn’t. It is as simple as a signature on a driver’s license. More often than not, that simple signature saves more than just one.

Melissa’s perfect heart would allow her to laugh, run, and play. It would allow her parent’s to rock her to sleep. It would allow her brother to pick on her. It would allow her sister to have her best friend.  It would allow her to graduate high school. It would allow her to fall in love and become a beautiful bride. Thus far, it has given 29 years of a wonderful life to a woman who may not have even had 29 days without it. Her life has been beautiful, but it hasn’t always been easy.

When you are a transplant recipient, you are placed on medication for life to ensure the organs remain a perfect fit. Those medications come at a price. In Melissa’s case, it was her kidneys. The first time Melissa needed a kidney, the woman who first gave her life (her own mother) stepped up to once again provide life to her daughter. Not long after, the need for another kidney arose and a beautiful woman named Cindy gave her kidney to a complete stranger. Melissa is no longer a complete stranger though, Cindy stood by her side as Melissa married the man of her dreams, Travis.

I know I usually post more about the couple. If I know Travis though, and I think I do, he would rather this story be told. He would hold the door open for Emily and Melissa as their story went ahead of him. He would silently sit by their hospital bed and provide support expecting nothing in return. All I can say, Travis, is as a parent of two little girls- if my daughter’s heart were to go on without her I would be thrilled that heart had grown to love a man like you. May you both be forever grateful for the gift you have in one another, and in the gift you were given almost 29 years ago.

 

I got to spend the day with one of my besties (Kurtis Hall).

Knowing he is fairly awesome, I asked him to cover travis getting ready. I think he did alright. ; ) 

I can’t speak for Kurtis but this is the moment I lost it behind my camera.

Being the mom of two little girls and remembering the joy they brought at only 10 months, I have to say this was the most heartbreakingly beautiful moment of any wedding I have ever attended. A beautiful soul walked down the aisle as the people who saved her watched their Emily’s heart make a journey their daughter would not.

(I may or may not have lost it again as I typed that)

  

Each person in this picture made a selfless choice.

Lester and Bridget’s little girl’s heart beats inside Melissa’s chest.

Mom and Cindy became live donors and each gave a kidney.

(not pictured- Melissa’s wonderful sister also chose to become a live donor and donated her kidney to a complete stranger)

     

Many daughters wonder if they will get this dance with their dad.

Hers spent many nights worrying they would never have the opportunity. 

Travis and Melissa, dance through everything. Every raindrop, every sunset.

The image below I took as a “Thank You” to the three wonderful donors who brought Melissa and Travis to this moment. 

Last but not least, please consider signing up to give the gift of life.

A single organ donor can save up to EIGHT lives. In addition to that, enhance the lives of up to 50!

If there is one last gift you can give the world, this is it.

I wanna make you smile whenever you’re sad
Carry you around when your arthritis is bad
All I wanna do is grow old with you

At Shadow and Light, we absolutely LOVE getting to know our couples.We enjoy seeing their unique personalities shine through. While Pinterest is full of some pretty fantastic ideas (Hello Mudroom Bench I am making Andrew build for me), the wedding photos can often be reflections of someone else’s wedding day rather than your own. Couples everywhere should take note because Derek and Jessica’s wedding day was a true reflection of who they are. Jessica was pretty awesome about another girl stealing her thunder all day long. Derek and Jessica’s sweet niece, Georgia, made sure to leave her mark on everyone’s hearts. I (Amy) tried to stop taking her picture so much but she just went from doing one cute thing to the next!

    

Jessica MADE all of the jewelry for the moms and bridesmaids. She has her own store you can check out here!

I loved all of the jewelry, Jess but the colors of your mom’s piece just make me so happy! Love!!!   Jessica and Derek chose readings from Boy Meets World and The Wedding Singer.

They were perfect and so very memorable!

 

  

Instead of saying “Speak now or forever hold your peace” (Does anyone ever actually say that!?!), their friends were instead asked to speak now about why Jessica and Derek belong together. Each member of the bridal party got their turn.    

Instead of sealing with a kiss (they did that too), Jessica and Derek concluded their ceremony with a minty shot of Rumplemintz as a wink to Derek’s mom (it’s her signature drink).     

The cutest “Something Old” ever! These Bloomers were Jessica’s when she was little!       

Jessica and Derek, we had so much fun with the two of you! It was such a fun day where your personalities were as vibrant as the jewels.

We hope you love your pictures and even more- we hope they always bring you joy!

 

Ceremony and Reception: Silver Oaks Chateau

Brides Dress:Enzoani from Something White Bridal Boutique

Flowers: Roses and Mint 

Mens Attire: Mens Wearhouse

Photo Booth: Shutterbooth StL

DJ: Our much loved Jimmy Hussey

 

 

Every since Kimber was a little girl, she dreamed of getting engaged at the World’s Fair Pavilion in St. Louis. It is such a magical place…set up on the hill the way it is. When it was time to take things forward, Kyle knew exactly where he needed to take her to pop the question. Obviously, she had to say yes! We met them for the first time at their engagement session it was at that special place, and we fell in love with the two of them right away. They are such a fun, sweet, expressive and real couple that it is impossible to not love them.

Our excitement for their wedding was given an additional boost because it was at the amazing St Louis Union Station which is a top favorite of ours. The wedding was set to be outside in the courtyard in the glorious St. Louis spring weather, but in case you have not been paying attention to the weather around here this year, it has been two things…wet and hot. We received double doses of both of those things that day. It rained…and rained for the few hours of the day. The call was made, and the ceremony needed to be moved indoors. It probably worked out for the best because had we been outside, everyone would have melted (had they not drowned first). Kimber rolled with it like a champ, though. It’s amazing when even amidst all the pressure and anticipation of a wedding day, a bride is able to take a step back and remember why it is they are truly there. She did exactly that, and you would never know that the day’s plans had been thrown a massive curveball by looking at her face. She was just beyond excited.

There was so much laughter and so many tears (a large percentage of which from Kimber!), and the look on their faces with Kyle and Kimber saw each other for the first time was priceless. And speaking of priceless…Kimber and her dad. Wow. So much love there…I would be lying if I said theirs were the only wet eyes when they were together. Even though the ceremony was not where it was planned to be, it was still incredibly beautiful in the Gothic Corridor. More laughter…more tears…move love. It really was powerful to see so much joy and love for these two from countless faces. After the ceremony, we went right into the reception in the Grand Hall and the party got started (and it was quite the party).

Here are some of our favorites from the day. HUGE CONGRATS to you both…we are so excited to see your future as you grow together!

P.S. HUGE shout out to the incredible Ashlee Erlinger from Signed Sealed Delivered Events. She and her team helped deal with the changes and stresses of the day’s weather seamlessly. That is not always an easy task (i.e. it never is), but she made it seem simple. That’s the sign of a truly excellent professional. Plus, all her work at styling the entire day was impeccable. She is amazing!

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Family.

Regardless of any other part of weddings that are more glamorous…the dress…the flowers…the decorations…the pomp and circumstance…the beauty, the aspect of weddings that always capture our hearts more than any other is family. This was a wedding where the love and joy of family was palpable. Miriam has two little ones, Lily and Liam, and Roger was marrying into this lovely craziness. There is a special place in our hearts for any groom who is marrying into an existing family and treating the kids with the love and care of a true father, and this is Roger to the letter. It was obvious to everyone how much the kids are attached to him and how much he loves them back. Lilly and Liam were such wonderful kids and wow did they love their mom. You could see it with how they watched her and leaned on her and pulled on her…not in that tiring overly needy way (anyone who is a parent knows what I am talking about), but in a way that just said “I want to be with you.” And Miriam was so loving back to them and helping them to be involved and listening to them when needed to talk to her. As parents ourselves, we loved every moment of it all. My (Joel) personal favorite moments were watching Liam pick up the train of Miriam’s dress to follow behind her and when Lily put on her mom’s shoes to go dancing in them. Priceless.

The wedding was at the Barn at New Leaf in Lawrenceville, IL near the Indiana border, and we spent the entire day within the same 500-feet radius or so. Rather than going far away for photos, we kept it simple all within one block of the barn. Plus, as many of us know, this “spring” has been a bit on the warm side…so keeping close to the air conditioning has been generally encouraged by our wedding parties. Here are some of our favorites from the day. Huge congrats to you four! Thank you so much for letting us be a part of your day!

P.S. Thanks to Garrette and Amber from Eyenamics for being an amazing video crew to work with!

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I (Amy) just love spring. The greenery comes in so fresh and new. You see signs of new life as your emerge from winter’s hibernation. The grass is truly greener on this side of the year. Being a family of horticulturalists, the Endres family had the perfect setting for Stephen and Meghan’s Wedding. Nestled in the back of the stunning, Silver Oaks Chateau, Stephen and Meghan said their vows surrounded by friends, family and a mix of Oak and Dogwood. Meghan picked the perfect time of year, likely picking the perfect day for other’s enjoyment more than for her own. Whatever the reason, the weather was perfect and so was everyone’s spirit! The girls started the day with a dance party that rivaled the dance floor at the reception- which was hopping as well thanks to Rockstar DJs!

Before the wedding, Meghan told us the following story about their proposal. ” We had a running joke about him hiding the ring in a certain spot and he would act like he was pulling out a ring and proposing every so often. Then one evening he went to the spot and actually pulled out the ring. Definitely didn’t believe it at first, I was not expecting it at all. After he proposed he had another surprise for me–a party at his parents house with all our good friends and family. (Still can’t believe he kept it a surprise because he’s the worst at keeping secrets haha) It was a great night!”

Little did she know, he was keeping another great secret from her. Shortly after the wedding, Stephen surprised her with yet another ring! She had no idea it was coming! He just felt that one wedding band wasn’t enough so he bought her two! How sweet is that?

 

 

      

When Andrew and I found out our 2nd baby was a girl as well, this is the image I had in mind. Sisters sharing in one another’s joy and being there by their side to encourage and support.

These images give me so much joy!

           

  

Meghan and Stephen, thank you for such a fun afternoon. We had a wonderful time with you and the people who love you! It was the perfect first day back after maternity leave!

It’s not too often that I (Joel) get to shoot a wedding with people from my hometown (Collinsville, IL), so it is always a special treat when that chance comes along. This past weekend was one of those days! Even better, the wedding was for someone I have known for a long time, and there were a lot of friends both in the wedding party and attending. We had a whopping FOUR former brides of ours at the wedding…so much fun! Alexa and Luke and such a sweet couple. I first met Alexa about 10 or so years ago while working at the local Collinsville Horseradish Festival (and we are darn proud of our horseradish around here…don’t you forget it). She was in the wedding of another Collinsville bride of ours (Lauren & Jeremy), and I was ecstatic when she asked if we were available for her wedding. Now they have their amazing little boy Landon too, and he was obviously a big part of the day. The only bad thing I can say about the experience is that Luke is, unfortunately, a huge Manchester United supporter and that Manchester United was mentioned over and over again all day. As a Liverpool supporter, it took some work, but I was able to forgive him for that, hehe.

Here are some of our favorites from this past weekend. Hope you enjoy them as much as well did. HUGE congrats to you three…so thrilled for you!

 

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It all started with a blind date after Shawn’s sister and Kimmie’s cousin set it all up. It was a perfect date for these two because they are both such big St. Louis Blues fans, and from that evening on…it was meant to be. Shawn says the first time he saw Kimmie, he knew he wanted to be together with her, the second time he knew he loved her, and the third he knew he wanted to marry her. And last year while they were on vacation in St. Lucia, Shawn hired a photographer to take some anniversary photos for them. Then suddenly during sunset on the beach, he asked her to marry him. I (Joel) have known both Kimmie and Shawn for many years, and I could not have been more excited for their wedding. It was our first wedding of the new season, so we were even more ready to go. For the first weekend in March, it could not have been a more perfect day outside. Forget the snow nonsense we’ve had this week, their wedding day was sunny and warm – a perfect reflection of their dispositions. The ceremony took place in the Provincial House Chapel on UMSL campus. This is an old Catholic church that has been turned into a chapel anyone can be married in, and it is lovely! After the ceremony and some photos with family and friends, we headed to the reception at the Mahler Ballroom, which has recently been renovated and looks great. Kimmie and Shawn took dance classes there in preparation for their wedding, so they got to show off their skills on the dance floor that evening! One of the most special moments of the day was when Kimmie’s step-dad came to the dance floor with her to share their father-daughter dance. He gave a moving, emotional speech about his love for her, not as a step-daughter, but as just a daughter, and about how this dance was for him and her dad (who passed 2 years earlier). You could hear a pin drop. It was one of the most moving speeches from a father we’ve heard. These are the moments that make it all worth it. We know it’s not all pretty flowers and dresses, parties and details – it’s the true love between family and friends, and the celebration of the beginning of forever. Congratulations Shawn and Kimmie! We couldn’t be more happy for you!

Meet Kaitlyn and Brennan and their wonderful little girl Morgan! I (Joel) and Shannon were so blessed to meet this family last year, and we were so excited for their spring wedding. Both the wedding and the reception were at the beautiful Forest Park Golf Courses in historic Forest Park, and while the day was a wee bit warm for an early spring day, it could not have been more perfect. One concern with outdoor spring St. Louis weddings is rain, we had nothing but beautiful skies. We had a lot of fun working with their wonderful wedding party and family. But, when it comes down to it, the best part was seeing these three who were already a family finally have the chance to say their vows together. It was so lovely and moving…and little Miss Morgan even behaved herself very well (for the most part…as a three-year-old she is required to at least be a little rambunctious!).

Here are some of our favorites from the day. Huge congrats to you three, and we wish you blessings and more blessings!

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When I (Joel) asked Kristen what it was about Lee that drew her in, she said that he made everything special. Even the mundane, every-day things became magical. They realized quickly that life isn’t built on the romantic , dreamy evenings but on the every day light that you build together and make special.  We could not agree more.

We first met Kristen at her brother’s wedding last year (you can see their awesome wedding photos HERE), and we were so excited when the time came for her own wedding. They are such a sweet, loving couple, and we knew it was going to be a fabulous day. It was even more special to us, because we would be at the fabulous Silver Oaks Chateau which is one of most beautiful places for weddings that you could ever imagine. Everything on the day went off a hitch (and their dog even behaved like a champ!), and it was such a lovely wedding. Here are some of our favorites from the day. Huge congrats to you both!!

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