Abby and Jason had always planned for an intimate wedding ceremony on the beautiful shores of Lake Superior to be attended only by their parents and siblings. Despite Covid-19, their plans didn’t have to change at all, save the minor detail of dinner being moved from the restaurant of Lutsen Resort, to a home-cooked meal in their cabin. Sounds perfect in my book.
This amazing couple has been dating since high school, and are both active military members in the Army National Guard. In fact, I met Abby years ago at Ft. Jackson in South Carolina when my daughter attended basic training with Abby and they became fast friends due to both living in the upper-midwest and having similar worth ethics during their training.
Here’s the thing: I’ve seen every kind of wedding. Formal church-officiated weddings, intimate bare-foot on the beach weddings, twelve attendants on each side, to one witness each. Full entourage of people including hair stylists, make-up artists, and wedding planners, to families taking care of every last detail on their own. 450 guests in attendance to a total of five people involved (A musician and I even served as the witnesses one time because the couple wanted to be completely intimate and alone). I’ve seen it all. And while I do love all the pomp and circumstance, there is something so organic and raw about small, intimate weddings.
In the case of Abby and Jason’s day, I don’t want to confuse ‘small’ with ‘simple’. The details from the beautiful flowers, to the a-MAZING Vera Wang wedding dress (more on that in a moment), this celebration of their union was spectacular, especially since it was set on the lake shore on one of the most pristine days this body of water can give us. Sans professional hair and makeup, a fancy meal prepped by the lodge’s expert chefs and a few other services that may have helped out, doing it all themselves really brought out the intimacy and the true meaning of the day. Just them, and their closest family. Perfect.
On to that dress. I typically start a wedding day by photographing the bride’s details (i.e. dress, shoes, rings, accessories, flowers, etc). The second I lifted this magnificent dress I thought “wow, this is beautiful” and then went about my busy-work. Later in the day, while the family was having their social hour, I noticed a huge hard-bound book, signed by Vera Wang herself. Alright, what? So I asked – did Vera Wang actually attend your dress fitting? You might remember me mentioning at the top of this story that both Abby and Jason are members of the Army National Guard and Abby is a radiologic technologist and Jason works in construction but is also an EMT and a volunteer firefighter with aspirations of going full time. They won a contest put on by Brides Across America (BBA), a non-profit committed to loving one another by gifting weddings and wedding gowns to our military & first responders. Their grand prize included a trip to NYC, a wedding dress shopping event by Vera Wang herself, dresses and tuxes for Jason and their family, and a lot of other valuable items. What an amazing organization to recognize our service members and first responders! Check them out!
Even with the uber-special dress and other bridal details, they always did envision their special day to be just their closest family, on the shores of Lake Superior, celebrating their love. Congratulations Abby and Jason! Thank you for allowing me to be a part of your special day!