Even though Valentines day has come and gone, I wanted to share some love from a shoot that I worked on with the AMAZING Lisa from Johnny and Dottie! Some Valentines-style inspiration!! :)
I have to admit that I haven’t been known to be the girl that counts down the days to the epic 14th of February on the calendar. Why? Maybe it’s because the whole flowers-and-chocolates bit doesn’t speak “romantic” to me….do my dishes, watch a Hallmark movie with me or surprise me with a new set of knitting needles….that’s your ticket to Emily Steffen’s heart! :) But, none-the-less I think we all LOVE to feel special and appreciated no matter what day it is, right? There is something that yearns for the words “BE MINE” especially in the midst of frigidly cold winters like we are having this year. We want to be loved, appreciated and cared for. We want to hear the “I love you’s” and “You’re specials”!
So carve out some time today (even just 2 minutes) to say I LOVE YOU or YOU’RE SPECIAL to someone that you care for! A voicemail, a sticky note or an in-person SHOUT! :) Because you can make the magic of February 14th happen any day of the year, eh?! :)
A HUGE thank you to Style Me Pretty for featuring this last week! :) Check it out here! :)
I felt like I needed to be packing my knitting. I threw all of my camera equipment in the car and pulled up to the trusty, old Pondview Lodge when our knitting girls have our weekend retreat every October! Today was the day that my friend Emily was going to make her second start. You see, she lost her husband Chris a few years ago to cancer, a brave brave battle that required endurance and proved his AMAZING character. It was one of his parting wishes that his dear Emily and his baby-girl Erika would find a new companion and a new Godly Daddy for their life. And Em had found this in Scotty! :)
We all were so surprised when Em started talking about online dating and that she said that she found a special guy. It was at one of our winter get-togethers at the Nova where wine glasses and gut-wrenching laughs fill the night. When she started talking about him she just LIT UP, like a fifteen year old talking about their first crush (it was adorable)! :) But this was the kind of “light-up” that we hadn’t seen in Em for awhile…she had braved Chris’ cancer and the struggles of being a care taker for a loved one as they die. So seeing her light up about another man was a kind-of new thing for us…we supported her and we heard the stories of how they talked hours into the night (and sometimes morning) together, how they felt connected from their very first conversation and how Em was falling for him. Things started progressing, she started talking about marriage and moving to Washington (GAH!). All of us were scared and nervous. We didn’t want her to go. We put up our guards; we started telling ourselves that Scotty couldn’t be great as Em’s stories and that there was NO WAY that he could be good enough for Emily and Erika. We put up our guards.
But as Emily told more and more stories, we all kind of fell more and more in love with Scotty FOR her! :)
She told us about how he had five amazing kids. How he had just lost his wife Bev to cancer after moving back from living as an overseas missionary. How he had a heart for living overseas and serving people. How he was strong for her. How they could almost grieve together. How they understood one another’s hurts and struggles as widows and widdowers. How she saw that he was the companion that she could walk along side. The kind of companion that Chris had desired for her. And our hearts grew softer to the idea of her moving away and starting parts of her life again.
So, as I packed up my equipment, I knew that I was going to Emily’s second beginning! Her and Scotty were starting their journey as a new family. Six kids, two adults…going out to the west coast starting again! It was Emily’s second beginning. And it was Scotty’s second beginning. And it was was a beginning of their family ……. And it was one of the most beautiful redemption stories that I’ve ever seen! :)
Abby said it perfectly; she was talking about how we were all SO NOT thrilled with the idea of loosing a best friend (a sister, daughter and knitting companion) as they moved out to the coast. But the minute we heard more about Scotty, the minute that we MET Scotty, we knew it was right. We knew it was the path that God wanted for both of them…for their new family! We just knew! The kids just fit together SO perfectly as a new family. Emily and Scotty fit so perfectly. This day was carved out for them. And if we all were being honest, we would have wished that we didn’t HAVE to be in that room that night, because it would have meant that Chris and Bev wouldn’t be gone. That Em and Scotty wouldn’t have had to walk through such heart wrenching grief. But the (sometimes missed) beauty of any ending is that there is always a change for another beginning.
And this was the beginning of their second beginning!
**AND PS, I think it should be WONDERFULLY noted that Emily, MADE….KNITTED (did ya hear me, KNITTED) her own wedding dress! :) She knitted through her grief and began her wedding dress before she even met Scotty! It was quite an AMAZING site for us knitting girls to see her wear it knowing that she shed tears of grief when she began it which turned into tears of joy when she met Scotty! Pretty amazing, eh?! :)
Gold sequins, strawberry reds, cream, white and LOTS and LOTS of love from family and friends is EXACTLY what this wedding was all about! Doesn’t that color palette just scream HAPPY to you?! :) That is EXACTLy what Elena and Matt are…full of joy brimming with joy! :) Elena, an adorable, bubbly brunette was dressed in a gorgeous custom made dress, sequin shoes and a bright bouquet filled with lots of color while Matt adorned his custom suit and personalized collar stays for the day! :)
The ceremony was held at Elena’s home church which was perfectly filled with history and charm as they exchanged vows! :) The guests “waived” them out with ribbons and extra-loud cheers as they made their way to the Hawthorne House where the celebration was awaiting! Mom’s homemade buttermilk biscuits and locally made jam greeted for the guests as they arrived; it was sort of a “welcome to the family” moment as guests enjoyed them while chatting! :)
The best part, however, was the music at the end of the night! Not only did Elena and Matt hire a KILLER band….BUT, Elena’s uncles serenaded everyone for a few songs in honor of her late grandfathers’ musical talents! It was phenomenal…full of passion and story and so much love for the bride and groom! :) The party was fun, the desserts were extra yummy and the night was TOTALLY one to remember! :) A day filled with glam and charm and so much personality, YAY!!!!! :)