Amanda + Justin {wedding story}

Every wedding day is special.  It’s a whirlwind of excitement.  Pounding hearts, tears of joy, laughter and celebration.  No matter how many weddings we capture, how many dresses, and shoes, and first dances we see – a wedding day is and will always be… magic.  This day had an extra twist for us – and for many others.  An added aspect that made it sentimental.  Pretty much everyone in attendance have seen this day coming for a long time.  Imagined that someday this boy would marry that girl and they’d live a life that true love stories are made of.  I remember watching it unfold.  We happen to photograph both Amanda & Justin’s senior photos.  We were new in town still, and didn’t know many people.  When Justin asked at his session who else we’d be doing seniors for, in the list was Amanda.  “Amanda Dowdy?  She’s one of my best friends!”  There was something in the way he said it.  You could tell right away that maybe there was a little more in his heart for her than just friendship.  She would wear his jersey on the Fridays when there were football games, and there was something in the making that you could sit back and see developing.  And sure enough, the next thing you knew these two were an item.  They both went away for college and managed to make it through long distance dating.  As jobs were obtained and life continued on together, you knew that Justin was soon to ask Amanda to be his wife.  We had a heads up it was coming, and hoped that after he asked – that their next question would be if we would be there photographers.  And as luck would have it, they did!!  I can’t even express what an honor it was to document the next step in their lives together.  It felt so sentimental to watch Amanda come down the aisle towards Justin, know that dream had been in their minds when they were merely kids.  Isn’t love fantastic?
Please enjoy Amanda & Justin’s wedding day!!


I mean seriously.


Oh Amanda.  You are as adorable as they come.  Photographing you never gets old!  Love the way you work it.

There’s the smile Justin.  When we photographed Justin’s senior photos, getting him to smile for the camera was a challenge.  So when it came to his wedding day – we were determined to show that charming smile that natural comes out when Justin doesn’t know the camera is up.  Seriously… how can you not love that smile?  (Roger and Justin are man friends and talk “outdoorsmen talk”, so he would like me to mention that he did not write that, nor would he ever say “charming”.)

Justin had graduated from Illinois State Police Academy the day before his wedding.  Yes.  The. Day. Before.  Can you imagine that much excitement in one weekend?  So I find this bad a$# photo of him rather appropriate as well.  Bad guys beware.

Oh good Lord – did I mention this…

So I also photographed THIS guy’s newborn photos.  And now look at him.  Next thing you know, we’ll be photographing HIS senior photos!  (Make it stop!!!)aj-009

And yeah.  This girl right here.  She made my day with this.aj010

Recognize that guy at all?  So to add to the nostalgia – we photographed Amanda’s dad Todd and his wife Mary’s wedding a couple years back.  Being a part of all of these people’s memories has been such a true honor.aj011aj012aj013aj014

One of my favorite things in the world is the way he makes her laugh…aj015aj016aj017aj018
Even though the time with this wedding party was interrupted by rain – we had a blast with them!  They are a FUN bunch!aj019

I can never repeat what was said to make Amanda laugh that hard, but it was really good.  aj020
Love the bright bouquets from the local floral genius Sarah at Main Street Florist.aj021aj022aj023aj024

Love a man who loves his momma.

And love a daddy who loves his little girl.


Amanda and I had talked about her dance with her dad, and I’d suggested this song by Miley Cyrus (pre tongue out, foam finger Miley) that perfectly summed up their relationship.  We cried in my kitchen listening to the words and envisioning this moment…

But THIS moment was a special surprise.  I’ve seen a few choreographed dances – but this one was the best I’d ever seen!aj033aj034aj035aj036
If there is one thing that gets me every time – it’s the anniversary dance.  Roger and I always place bets on who has been married the longest.  But I love watching the countdown to the winner, and seeing the strength of love.

When I walked outside of the reception for a moment and saw that the rain had turned to a magical (yet 100% humidity and WET), hazy sunset, we knew we needed to get these two outside immediately.  After 10 minutes of waiting for a lens to defog, we finally were able to grab a few magical photos that were the perfect ending to the perfect day.aj039aj040

Amand and Justin – you two always hold a special place in our hearts and we will always champion your love.  We look forward to watching the rest of your love story unfold throughout time, and are so thankful to have been a part of your happiest of memories.  Thank you for choosing us to be part of your day!!  XOXOXOXOXO
You’ll want to check out more of this gorgeous day in the slideshow below!!

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