"Love of my life
Look deep in my eyes...
For better or worse
Forever we'll be...
You're my beloved lover
|| tenth avenue north - beloved ||
In a small country church, a cop and a chef exchanged vows and became Mr. and Mrs. Bradley. This is the wedding story of some of the most caring, kind, softhearted, gentle, and tender lovers I've ever had the honor to work with.
Aaron and Hannah first spent time together at a Sunday School ski trip. Hannah caught Aaron's eye right away but he discovered she was dating someone else at the time. He reluctantly did his best to ignore his feelings and try to forget her. A couple of months later, Aaron happened to pull Hannah over for running a stop sign in his area of jurisdiction. (Super romantic right? ;) ) He warned her about the violation and further realized she had an expired inspection sticker. He came to find out a short time later that she was no longer in a relationship. (Hey hey!)
A few weeks later he got a text from an unknown number saying they had fixed their inspection sticker. When he asked for their name he was shocked to get the reply, "This is Hannah!" The girl he was desperately trying to forget because she was taken, was now single, and talking to him! His heart stopped as they continued texting.
As the months went by, they kept making excuses to see each other and going out of their way to spend time together. As things grew more obvious and teetered on the fence of "just friends" and "more than", he went to her dad and asked for permission to officially begin dating this girl he'd been crazy about for months. Their first date went wonderful...lunch, fishing, and walking for hours. Things couldn't be better!
But then Hannah went off on a five week long mission trip. Being separated for over a month only impressed upon Aaron's heart how much he cared for Hannah. Every day they were apart, she consumed his thoughts. When she returned they celebrated the 4th of July together. He opened up to her letting her know that he wanted no one else but her. He was 110% committed to their relationship and believed God was calling them past dating and onto spending their entire lives together as husband and wife.
That day they held hands for the first time. :)
After sharing their first "I love you"s and their first kiss over the summer and fall, Aaron's mind was reeling trying to plan the perfect proposal that winter. They were going on the same ski trip that started it all at the beginning of January. But his tentative plan spread like wildfire and he was afraid Hannah, who loved surprises, would find out before he was able to pull it off. And so it was, that at a Christmas Eve family get together, he successfully surprised her, proposed, and was thrilled by her resounding YES! :)
And that "yes" lead to this humid August day, with bright gray and blue overcast skies to match the color scheme of the wedding, vibrant greens, an exquisite lace wedding gown (worn by her big sister two years ago!), lots of sweet tears, a handful of cop buddies, and two in love coffee drinkers.
Hannah's darling sister Rachel (the one previously mentioned), did the bride's hair and makeup. Watching these two giggle and tear up together was priceless. There's something surreal about being there for your sissy on the day you both dreamed about as littles. All the dress up, Barbie dolls, playing house, Disney princesses, and Easy Bake ovens suddenly collide into real wedding days, and strapping husbands, and marriage, and happily ever afters. It's a magical thing for baby girls and grown up girls alike. ;)
This is Noah, the ring bearer and future heartthrob of America. (Don't quote me on this...but also don't be surprised if I end up being right.) He walked into the room, took one look at Hannah and said in a small, polite, and most genuine voice, "Oh you look beautiful. I love your dress. Do you...um...do you like my suit?"
The diamond necklace Hannah wore proved to be as stubborn as it was stunning. No matter how many times Rachel put it on her, it kept flipping upside down, or backwards, or twisting. Just when they thought they had finally put it on right, it would go askew again. That is until their Daddy, who happens to be a jeweler, came in and saved the day.
Most little girls think their dad is their hero, but Mr. Shaw was true hero material exactly when she needed it most. And how many dads can expertly help with jewelry? Ultimate cool points.
Their first look is when I first witnessed Aaron and Hannah's love in action. The minute he turned around and pulled her close with such tenderness, and deep affection, and looked at her like she was the most magnificent thing he had ever seen I choked up. I guess I was expecting him to be a "tough guy" type since he's a cop but, the truth is, when it comes to his bride, he was a "softie" with a bold and honest love for her. It was powerful to watch.
Throughout the whole necklace struggle, Hannah laughed saying, "It's not like Aaron's really gonna care about my necklace anyway!" Funny enough, after their first embrace, he stood back to get a better look at her and his first words were, "Wow! Your necklace is really pretty! I love it!" Figures. ;)
"I was doing so good! No tears the whole morning and then...I saw you."
Barefoot bride. Yes please. <3
All her adorable nephews and her one cutie pie niece, Sydni. :)
When Rachel began to pray, she was understandably overcome with emotion. As the tears flowed, words were impossible through the sobs. But right as the lump in all of our throats grew to an unbearable size and our mascara threatened to run, somebody's upbeat funky ringtone crashed its way into the room obliterating the tearful mood and turned all the weeping into roaring laughter. :)
As the unity portion of the ceremony, they put together a cross...the outside stood for the man and the intricate middle piece stood for the woman. The two pieces were held together by three pegs that symbolized God: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.
This moment, right before the kiss...look at them! So overjoyed to be joining as one and beginning their married life, so delighted to wholly belong to one another...this spoke more to me of their love than the actual kiss.
And as they walked down? Aaron had another surprise up his sleeve....
They are a happy pair in the best kind of love. <3
I thought Hannah and Aaron's wedding bands were especially beautiful, and then I heard they belonged to Aaron's great-grandparents who were married for over 50 years. He wanted them as a symbol for him and Hannah to follow in that wonderful example of lifelong love. Then I saw, through tear-filled eyes, that the bands were priceless.
Aaron told me while they were engaged,
"Hannah is a breath of fresh air on a hot muggy afternoon. She is the sun after months of rain and gloom. I love her gentle caring nature, her chastity, purity, and virtue. I love her sense of humor, her common sense, and her serving heart...
...I love her face and the gracefulness of her neck. Of course I love everything else about her body but her face and neck are my particular favorites at this point in time.... ;)
...Hannah is very well put together and carries herself with grace. I also appreciate her smile."
And Hannah told me,
"I love Aaron's caring and gentle spirit. His selflessness and servant's heart shines out. Aaron is very sensible, but he has a silly side too. He's just the right amount of romantic! :) I love that he makes me feel safe, and he makes me feel beautiful. Oh! And he's handsome too...big plus. ;)"
They are both quite smitten. :)
The dads both gave a charge to and prayed over them. Precious.
Because the pavement was hot and she was barefoot, he didn't think twice about scooping her right up and carrying her out. Testament after testament of how this man cherishes, provides for, and nurtures his sweet lady.
The final goodbyes to her beloved mama and big sister. She is so so loved.
Thank you two soooo much for letting me capture your sweet wedding day. I was delighted to share in all the tears, and laughs, and preciousness. Hope y'all have been abundantly blessed in and greatly enjoyed your first months of marriage.
First of a great many I'm sure! :)