Wednesday, May 21, 2014

In Which Colin Marries Tori and makes her Mrs. Skinner :: columbia, missouri lifestyle and wedding photographer

"Wherever I go, I'll take your hand, baby
Into the light of day
'Cause we'll never see just how far we've come, baby
If we stay
And nobody knows just where this road will lead
But I'll take your hand as He's leading me
We'll walk on the shores of this beautiful sea
And into the light of day"
jimmy needham ]

It's funny what all love can change. How it can start by dripping like a faucet that you didn't quite turn off completely and before you know it, it's rushing in like hurricane crashing over a levy. Without warning you're twelve feet under and can't breathe. But just as quickly you're learning to swim and everything that was so shocking, and uncomfortable, or unthinkable is suddenly right, inviting, and home. 
Turn back the clock to 2012. Colin (or Skinny as he's often called) and Trevor (MY HUSBAND) were chilling bachelors that shared a little yellow house on Shady Lane...without a care in the world. They made messes, had stinky dogs, worked out, fought over the thermostat, rapped in front of their webcam, prayed together, and generally had a blast being bros and roommates. They enjoyed single life. It was good. I don't know about Colin, but I know Trevor in particular enjoyed this life so much he didn't ever want it to change. But God had a different plan in store...for both of these bachelors. And I, for one, am pretty happy He did. ;) 
One night in the fall of 2012, when Trevor and I chatted frequently but were JUST FRIENDS mmmkay? (Hehe...that's a funny joke), he accidentally slipped and said, "I'm kinda lonely lately now that Skinny has been hanging out with his new girlfriend all the time." The squealing commenced on my end quite loudly. "Skinny! In love?! Tell me the details!! Teeeelll meeeee!!" (It's exciting when friends find love...don't even judge.) And right then and there things were changing for Trevor. No more "just bros." Colin liked a girl! A giiirl. But, as Colin would later convince him, Trevor liked a girl things were working out alright for the two of them. ;) adorably tiny, curly headed, spunky, gorgeous girl with a heart for Christ had changed Skinny. Suddenly nothing was right in the world without her. And that's exactly what love does. Months after they established the fact that they liked each other and officially became a couple, Colin was ready to makes things even more official. He was ready to show Tori that him without her would never do. That him without her wasn't worth living. That him and her together is where the Lord had lead him and he couldn't wait to see what was ahead. They rented a canoe and went for a ride on the lake where Tori had recently been baptized. Colin brought along his guitar. After they had rowed out a ways, he played her two songs that were meaningful to him: Guide Me O Thou Great Jehovah and Thy Mercy My God. All at once Tori had a pretty good idea of what was coming next and became even more sure when he told her to close her eyes and then clamored across the canoe to kneel in front of her. She told me she felt nervous feeling the canoe rock back and forth, but soon he was set and told her to open her eyes. As he asked her the question, she said she saw the ring reflect the sun and his blue eyes reflect the clear sky. And the only thing to say was, "Yes!"

And with that -- the buzz and hype of congratulatory praise and thankfulness and of course the rush of wedding planning is suddenly all underway. That time passes so fast and slow at the same time but waiting does end, the looked for day does arrive, and as if in a dream you're waking up as a bride. :)
And what a bride Tori was! I was definitely jealous of her wedding hair process. I had a relatively simple hairstyle at my own wedding and it still took somewhere between thirty minutes to an hour. But with Tori's natural curls, all it took was -- take out of hair-tie, fluff, shape, done! Literally...1, 2, 3, done! Who takes thirty seconds to do their bridal hair?! Ok..ok...clearly I was dazzled. ;)

Meanwhile in the room next door... ;)

Recognize this cutie? Perhaps you even recognized the sanctuary earlier? That's because I shot Helena and Taylor's wedding there at the Firestone Baars Chapel as well last July. :) These "newlyweds" were a killer bridesmaid/groomsman duo. ;)

See! There's Taylor. :)

The interaction between Tori and her little sister Tyesha (affectionately called Ty) was so darling all day. I was the maid of honor in my big sister's wedding when I was around her age and its such a special, exciting, and fun honor to be there for your sister whose been there for you your whole life. :)

"Every groom should feel like Hans Solo on their wedding day. I do." -Colin

Colin's older brother and best man, Ryan. (Fun fact! He was one of our groomsmen as well.) :)

Another married couple in the wedding party. :) This is Jamie: Tori's third bridesmaid, Colin's sister-in-law, and (bet you guessed it) Ryan's wife. ;)

Tori. For you to be truly the epitome of "adorable" and "cute" you made a remarkably stunning bride. Gorgeous, goddess divine, breathtakingly beautiful. And the huge bouquet of white tulips was such an exquisite choice for a bright March wedding day. :)

These guys are a riot. :)

But goofy fellas can be photogenic too. ;)

"Let's lean over her and do gang signs so it'll look like one of those 90s rap album covers." - Ryan ;)

And because they jumped at Taylor's wedding...

I am personally a huge fan of a First Look. In the days to come I'll be blogging about our wedding and what I loved about experiencing a First Look on my own wedding day. But for those that want to wait until the ceremony...I highly recommend finding someway to "touch" and "talk." A million nervous feelings are soothed, you get to tell each other how excited you are, you can pray with one another, and by golly! It's just fun talking about it being YOUR WEDDING DAY together.

THAT moment. When the doors swing open and you see your bride for the first time and your breath is literally taken away. That is the moment that we are watching Colin experience here. :)

His solemn, wowed, "taking it all in" face tells volumes...Tori really was a sight for sore eyes. :)

I have to admit the reason I love this picture so much is because of that little lady in the front row. Her name is Rebekah and the guy speaking is Jase. You might recognize them from Taylor and Helena's wedding...they walked down together as a bridesmaid and a groomsman...just friends at the time. :)
 But here, in this photo, you're observing a girl lovingly watching her fiancĂ© preach the Word of God. Once again, it is so fun how love changes things. :)

I love how their first married kiss turned quickly into their first married hug. I love how people clapped and cheered and rejoiced as the recessional began but of course the bride and groom are always too enraptured to really hear it. I love how when they whisked away to be alone all they could do was grin, and grin, and grin. Because they. were. married.

"Hey...hey Mrs. see me? You're married to me." 


"I have a brother!! Do I have a brother?! I have a brother!!"

So I have to admit when I got to Columbia for the weekend knowing that among things like "whimsical", "enchanting", "warm", "homey", and "simple"...Colin and Tori used the word "woodsy" as a describing word for what they desired their wedding day to be like. And for anyone who knows what Missouri looks like in March...dead trees and leftover snow patches. Woodsy isn't really anywhere on my list when I think of that area at that time of year. But I couldn't give up! I drove around the whole town looking desperately for a place. All the parks were sad and bare and there weren't any forests in sight. During my frantic search, I stopped by the reception location where several people were already setting up for Saturday just to check things out. And while there I briefly mentioned I was trying to find someplace green to do the pictures but wasn't having any luck. And then one of the kind ladies there, putting out tablecloths and tying blue ribbons, simply looked up from her work and said, "Shelter Gardens. It's beautiful! Plenty of trees. Try there."
I owe a million and six "thank you"s to that dear woman. Because it was the perrrfect place!

19th century schoolhouse golden window light magical glory. Ohhh baby.

And when all the shenanigans were over, the bridal party fun all had, and everyone was set free to go to the reception I was left with the two that had just become one.
And that is when my heart lept permanently into my throat.

I had been waiting for this snuggling alone time for them almost as much as they had. ;) Its such a rich, relaxing part of a wedding day. Right between the rush of the beginning and the rush of the end. Its a like the gooey center of one of those molten lava chocolate cakes....sure, the cake on the outside is delicious! But its the melty inside that makes it all worth while. :)

These two have such a deep, abiding, genuine love. It sees over, around, and through faults and past ugliness and lingering darkness. It is young-hearted, "Let's sing a song! Let's build a fort!", happy dancing, and explorative. And yet it is old-souled, mature, and prayerful. It is a love that builds up, and exhorts, and cherishes. It is a love that nurtures, holds fast, cleans off, and polishes. It is a love that carries, and soothes, and says "You're the most wonderful." It is a love that Christ gave them and it is a ravishing thing.

When I asked Colin what is Tori like and what does he loves about her he said,

"Tori is one of a kind. She is like no one else I've ever met. When I found her, it was like finding a rare flower...I learned later, like a desert flower. She was adopted very young and on top of that, faced other struggles growing up that most people can't even imagine. Yet, God saved her and made her bloom in the desert circumstances;

she is my desert flower." 

"Personality-wise, she is introverted, kind, smart, funny, fun, interesting, and interested. She is deep, thoughtful, and sometimes spacey. :) She is impulsive and adventurous. She is everything I could ever want in this princess of a young woman. 

I love her like no one else I've ever met." 

And when I in turn asked Tori what Colin is like and what she loves about him she had this to say:
"Colin is a man of adventure. He loves life and laughter and he seeks to squeeze as much of those two things out of each moment as possible. He is the most joyful person I've ever met and always has a song to sing. He loves learning and is continually in awe of all that there is to know.

I love his child-like spirit."

"Colin is a man of God. He loves the Lord as best as he knows how. He wants to love Him more. I often feel overwhelmingly fortunate to get to submit to such a kind, patient and gentle leader. I love his tender heart. Colin is romantic (some might say hopelessly so!) and a dreamer. He has high hopes and makes big plans. 

I love that I get to be part of his plans."

Are you catching onto the woodsy vibe yet?

How 'bout now? ;) Feelin' it? I'm feelin' it.

Reception time!

Mr. and Mrs. Colin Skinner!

"Candy bar" :)

And cake of course :)

And once each other was fed, they donned aprons to serve the crowd! Such a sweet gesture to show their guests how appreciative they were for each of them coming. That's just a tiny taste of how big and full of grace Colin and Tori's hearts are. :)

"Come on guys! Where's our bubbles?" ;)

Such stunning "husband and wife" faces. :)

(Speaking of a stunning husband-face...let's look to the left for a second, shall we? HIIIIYA HANDSOME!! *heart eyes emoticon*)

Love ya to pieces you Skinners you!! So happy to see the Lord working in you both and overjoyed that you are living life together as one! :)