My dear, sweet readers… I’m throwing a disclaimer in before this wedding post – because if you are anything like me, I’m letting you know that you may very well cry through this entire post. (Much like I did nearly the entire wedding day.) So if you are at work and supposed to actually look like you’re working? Maybe wait to read this until later. (Unless crying at your job is acceptable – then by all means… go for it!) I should also note that I’m writing this post with the approval of Laura who said, “Darcy and I would not have the depth of love and support we have for each other if it weren’t for the obstacles in our lives… It really has made us stronger and is important to our ‘love story’.”
And with that… where do I begin? If I’m being honest – I should let you know that I just spent the last 15 minutes in the shower crying as I went through the wedding day in my head, contemplating what to write that could possibly give you all a glimpse at what this day was. I’m figuring that no matter what words I write here – they will not be enough – so I’m hoping the photographs James and I took fill in the blanks and help you to see how amazing these families truly are.
In short – this wedding was so beautiful, heartfelt, and absolutely moving that it still has me thinking about it weeks later… and I’m certain that I will remember it for the rest of my life.
Laura contacted me back in late September to see if I was available to photograph her December 30th wedding in Chicago. I was surprised at the short engagement, but was thankfully available and lucky enough to move forward with them. Over the next 3 months I learned many things about Laura, Darcy and their families (via email, meet-ups, and at the wedding).
I learned that Laura and Darcy are some of the most genuine and humble people I’ve ever met. Their love and support of one another is so palpable and obvious to anyone who sees them together. And beyond that – they are equally sweet and caring to those around them… always lifting others up with a kind word, a smile, or a laugh.
I also learned from Laura that they and their families have been through some unbelievable difficulties and tragedies in the past few years (which you would never guess upon meeting them, with their positive outlooks and demeanor). Laura’s wonderful father was diagnosed with throat cancer four years ago, and after battling it for all these years, he recently has become increasingly weak, which was one of the main reasons for their short engagement. As if that was not enough to endure, Darcy’s sister-in-law passed away just this past June from brain cancer, leaving behind Darcy’s amazing brother, Drew, and their beautiful 3-year-old daughter, Julia (who was the flower girl in the wedding).
I believe Laura said it best when she said, “Our families mean everything to us and I am very proud of how well Darcy and I have wrapped each other in love during these horrible tragedies. We have so much fun laughing, playing, and goofing around… we really are best friends. I just wanted you to know a little about what our families have gone through and how happy we are to have something wonderful and positive to celebrate.”
And celebrate they did.
I think above all else – above all the tragedies, grief and loss – it amazed me how these families and their friends rose above it all. They are so grateful for each person, for each day, for everything – that they are an example to all of us – to appreciate what we have, and cherish every little, seemingly insignificant moment in between.
There was talk in the speeches (which were truly amazing) about the generations of family that came before, and generations of family yet to come… about tradition… about what true difficulty and support look like… about being thankful… about everyday heroes… about love. I wish I could share each speech with you, each moment with you, so that you could be changed the way James and I were after spending a day with these unbelievable families and their friends. But instead – I will do what I know how to do better than write… I will share the images with you. Snapshots of an unforgettable, moving, and beautiful day. A day that James and I were so blessed to have as the last wedding of an amazing year.
**To Laura, Darcy, your families and friends – We send to you all, from the bottom of our hearts, the hugest hugs and biggest THANK YOU for sharing this day in your lives with us. We have forever been changed because of you all, and we will never in our lives forget that. Thank you for reminding us to cherish all we have, and never take one moment for granted.
Sending all the love in the world, Christy & James. xoxo
(May I suggest listening to the song Laura’s bridesmaids walked down the aisle to while you go through the images… Adele’s rendition of Make You Feel My Love.)
Preparations + First Look: The Public Hotel, Chicago
Ceremony: Cliff Dwellers, Chicago
Reception: Maxim’s, Chicago