Emilie & Brandon were married 8.14.10. A gorgeous summer day that was much looked forward to and celebrated by everyone who knows the couple. Emilie and Brandon have a special story that makes their love unique. It’s not a story of clouds parting and rainbows on the day they met, or blissful romance – although there very well may have been some of that. Their story is one of miracles and true love.
The story begins when Emilie was 19 and attending U of I. She was home on Christmas break and driving home from a fun evening of catching up with friends. Almost home, a brain aneurysm ruptured and Emilie – unconscious – lost control of her vehicle. When paramedics got to the scene, the coroner was called because they could not get a pulse. Her parents were called immediately and they rushed to the scene. Panic. Prayers. Pleas. And then and there – a pulse. Call it God or fate or an angel, but a true life miracle happened that cold December night. Emilie lived.
With every bone on the left side of her face broken as well as her right jaw, Emilie’s strong family and even stronger spirit got her through the daily fight of surviving something so tragic. Through time and several reconstructive and plastic surgeries Emilie began to heal but she was still battling double vision and physical and emotional scars. She fought long and hard and eventually, after her double vision was corrected decided to stop putting her dreams on hold and moved to Texas to finish vet school. Despite any insecurites on how the accident damaged her face, or her families insecurities on letting the daughter they nearly lost go, her spirit guaranteed she could make it through whatever life threw her way.
Emilie continued her surgeries during her breaks making her times at home difficult. 2 years into vet school Emilie met a young man named Brandon. Brandon saw how beautiful Emilie is inside and out and loved her with all of his heart. Sometimes, it takes seeing how beautiful we are in the eyes of someone else to fully embrace who we are and be comfortable in our own skin. Brandon confirmed her beauty and from then on – her times at home would never be spent enduring any more surgeries, she’d found peace with who she was thanks to the unconditional love of this amazing man.
One night while dining at their favorite Bistro in Bryan TX, Brandon purposefully dropped his napkin during dinner and when kneeling down to pick it up – asked Emilie to take the twists and turns of life’s journey together, and be his wife.
When Emilie’s mom Beth sat down with me last year to talk about Roger and I photographing her daughter’s wedding, she told me this story with tears in her eyes (and in mine). She told me that her daughter is truly an angel and that God has big plans for her. I can’t quite put into words how special it felt to stand next to her as Emilie walked down the aisle on her father’s arm and to feel the joy that radiated from her. The happiness of that day was palpable and leaves me with chills just thinking about it.
From the moment we walked into Emilie’s parents house to the moment we drove off from the reception at the beautiful St.Clair Country Club in Belleville, we felt part of a day that was deeper and more heartfelt than anything a photo could ever capture, but we hope you can feel the joy when looking at their smiles and the endless bounty of the love that surrounds them both.
Please enjoy Emilie & Brandon’s wedding day!
Emilie – you were positively radiant on your wedding day! I cannot look at your beautiful smile without smiling as well. You are truly – beautiful.And Brandon – you are ridiculously handsome and I adore your solid, strong smile. (And Roger – somewhat mortified when I write something so obviously girly – says he thinks your cool.)
So jealous that these girls aren’t my bff’s. They are the sweetest, cutest girls EVER.
There is nothing more beautiful than the look of love.
Emilie & Brandon – thank you for letting Roger and I have the honor of describing your day through images and through words. (I know I didn’t do as good of a job as your mom, Emilie!) But thank you most of all for giving us the opportunity of knowing you both. I cannot think of two more beautiful and inspiring people. I know life’s blessings will continue to be abundant for you both!
For Emilie & Brandon’s slideshow I could not think of a more fitting song than To Make You Feel My Love. Roger and I danced to the Garth Brooks version at our wedding and it is in fact “Our Song” – as in – I can’t use it in other people’s slideshows or videos because I believe WE actually have ownership to it. That and I can’t listen to it without breaking out in tears. But the amazing Adelle recently remade the song and even though I still feel like it’s “ours” – there is no one else I’d be happier to share it with than these two. Enjoy!