Tuesday, May 5, 2015

in which phillip was "what he must be" to marry jasmine linette :: cypress, tx wedding photographer

There's something about your love
That makes me weak and
knocks me off my feet
I don't want to bore you with it 
Oh but I love you, I love you, I love you
|| stevie wonder ||
"Have an awesome time at the conference! Hope you bring home a husband!" 
These words, yelled out by a well-meaning family friend the day before the Bauchams left for The Gospel Coalition conference, were met with a sarcastic eye-roll by Jasmine. That conference, in April of 2013, is where Jasmine met Phillip Holmes. Upon meeting, neither of them saw fireworks, heard Etta James singing, or gave the other more than courteous attention. Phillip was in Orlando to promote the Reformed African American Network, a website he'd co-founded two years earlier, and Jasmine was there to celebrate her twenty-third birthday with her parents. While at the conference he interviewed her for the RAAN and piqued her interest in writing for them. They started working together long distance shortly after while Phillip wore his many hats as a Resident Director, basketball coach, church intern, writer, and student in Jackson, Mississippi and Jasmine continued life as a pastor's kid, older sister of many, and a teacher in Houston. 
They were certainly "just friends." Until....
Both of them planned a break from their busy schedules to travel to California during the same week in January. And, having communicated sparingly since their first meeting, they both "happened" to look on Twitter and see that their travels had landed them within thirty minutes of one another along the coast. They met up for dinner and went their separate ways, but unlike their lukewarm meeting at TGC, "running into each other" in California lead to something more very soon. They started thinking a lot more about each other and Phillip contacted her dad to express interest two weeks later. And for all those that know of Pastor Voddie Baucham -- yes, that's Jasmine's father....and, no -- Phillip wasn't deathly afraid of him. ;) After a couple months of Phillip talking with Voddie first, he was given the "go ahead" to start speaking with Jasmine...it all started with a text "Hey you, let me know when is a good time to talk."  And the rest is, as they say, history ;)
After several months of becoming best friends, Phillip proposed in a way that showed he truly knew the way to Jasmine's heart...with a bag of Skittles (basically her love language) and a dream of a ring stuck inside of a heart that had been carved in the center of her favorite book, Wuthering Heights. ;) In her words "It was perfectly unexpected." :)
Since you've heard the story of how they got to the wedding day...I'd like to take a minute to express how got to this wedding day. One of the most frequently asked questions I get now is "How in the world did you shoot Voddie Baucam's daughter's wedding?!" The Bauchams are such very down to earth and humble people so, knowing them now, the disbelief in which that question is asked kinda cracks me up. But I do realize why people ask it and my answer first and foremost is "The grace and kindness of God." In some ways it does seem like a photography fairytale in my own personal life. I remember being 9 or 10 years old when my parents first discovered some Voddie Baucham sermons. It wasn't long before his voice became a very familiar sound in our home. Fast forward to 14 or 15 year old me and Pastor Voddie's 20 year old daughter had written a book called Joyfully at Home . (Amazon describes it well in this way, "Jasmine writes with verve and transparency about her own struggles and triumphs as a young woman, encouraging other girls to embrace a vision for the home as a hub of ministry and discipleship and as a training ground for life ahead. With humor, humility, and heart, Jasmine tackles the tough questions girls face, offering practical counsel on how to overcome false views of marriage, husbands, and singleness.") I was going through a tough season of life that, though seemingly silly, is very real for young girls who desire marriage. (The thoughts I expressed in the beginning of this post is an example of what I was wrestling with even at 15.) Jasmine's book was one of the greatest eye openers -- encouraging and convicting, relatable and insightful. I definitely felt deeply grateful for Jasmine...like a wise friend had just given me amazing council that was a balm for my heart when I needed it most. Sure she was the daughter of one of our favorite pastors and now an author of one of my favorite books...but I felt a closeness with her even if it was only one sided. ;) 
Fast forward to 17 year old me -- freshly on Facebook and I came across her profile....yes of course, I sent her a friend request because WHY NOT?! ;) And she accepted my stalker friend request!! About eight months later. ;) By now there was a pretty special guy in my life  and it looked like she had found herself a man as well! I had plenty of tearful "How beautiful is this?! We've totally come full circle!! The girl that wrote the book that helped me through my singleness has a boyfriend at the same time as me!!" Little did I know, things were about to come a little more full circle than that. :) A year passed...I commented and liked her posts often but I had no evidence to show that she even knew I existed. A few weeks after my wedding  I noticed that she had gotten engaged!! (Obviously super exciting news!) Then three days later I got a Facebook message that, admittedly, had me screaming and scaring the daylights out of my husband. 
"Girlie, I just wanted to tell you I spent an enraptured half-hour perusing the latest wedding photos you took. You. Are. Amazing. They are so stunningly sweet and romantic. I always love what you do! Signed, a fan. 
I'm assuming from your recent update that you're booked for October. *sigh* but I need to pick someone's brain on wedding photography! I am paralyzed by the options and the pricing. SOS whenever you have time, dear!"
I had just posted a status about being super booked in October. (I was shooting a wedding every weekend except one, and one of the weekends I was shooting two!) I almost hyperventilated as I prayed, "Lord...if this is meant to be....let her wedding date be the one weekend I'm available!!" Though I was obviously freaking out, I tried to sound über calm, cool, and collected as I asked what her date was.
"October 4th."
Pandemonium of excited squeals ensued....I think I even called my mom and when she answered I was just basically screaming. Once again, trying to be as level headed as possible in my messages I simply put, "I'm actually available the 4th!" Within 30 minutes she had decided on a package and things were "official."
And that, my dears, is the story of how I not only became the wedding photographer of "Voddie Baucham's daughter" and "the author of Joyfully at Home" but how I became Jasmine Linette's friend. Now she's one of the sweetest, most genuine people I'm honored to know. 
All because God is gracious and very very kind. :)

I'm fully convinced that BHLDN only makes pure magic. This enchanting creation of theirs that Jasmine wore is their Laverne gown which she perfectly paired with a belt from Etsy. :)


I think its easy to say that all her bridesmaids have amazing hair. (And they're all just ridiculously gorgeous in general...so there's that. ;) ) 

Astoundingly elegant. What a bride you made, Jasmine. 
When dads see their baby girls as brides for the first time, it's easily one of my favorite parts of a wedding day -- I vividly remember this moment for me and it's just surreal and special. Pastor Voddie's first sighting of Jasmine was one of the sweetest I've ever seen. :)
"Jasmine! Look at you! You look like you're gettin' married!" 
"Soooo....you like it?"
"Baby girl...it's perfect." ❤️
And speaking of "first sightings", Phillip + Jasmine chose to have a first look and I'm always a fan of that. :) An intimate "breath of fresh air" type moment where you get to just take in how wonderful your love looks and you get to mutually spaz about how close you are to being married. ;)
❤️ * h a p p y    s i g h * ❤️
Jasmine, in all her bridely glory also had a special moment seeing her stunning mama Bridget...
...as well as all her little brothers and sister. Soooo so cute. :)
Jasmine has 7 younger siblings and it's super precious to see how much they love Phillip. She told me "He loves my family. He would rather sit laughing with them in the living room or roughhouse and cuddle the kids than any event I could plan." :)
Before the wedding began, Pastor Voddie was casually chatting with the groomsmen and he said, totally nonchalantly (and all in fun, of course) "So guys, I don't want you to feel like you're under any kind of pressure. This is just my baby girl's big day...and if you do anything to mess it up...I'll have to hurt you. No biggie." ;)
Praying together before walking down the aisle. <3
These were the faces when the question was asked, "Who gives this woman to be married to this man?" Faces filled - not with sorrow, not with dread, not even really of bittersweetness...just of pure love and joy. Priceless. 
Here's a quote from Voddie that will explain why those faces were possible..."It's a wonderful thing when you come to the place where you realize 1.) She was never really YOUR girl in the first place, 2.) The Lord gave her to you so you could prepare then 'launch' her, 3.) Letting her run into the arms of a godly man who will serve her as a priest, prophet, provider and protector is, in reality, an act of loving her, and 4.) Failure to do so would be selfish and idolatrous. At that point, letting her go becomes a glorious expression of your love for her. A truly remarkable transition!"
Pastor Voddie preached a phenomenal message, highlights of which you can hear in their wedding video created by Elect Film productions. I was definitely nodding and "amen"ing from behind my camera. ;)
Jasmine saw this idea on Pinterest years ago and she told her students that if she ever got married, she would have a Spiderman peeking out of her wedding cake. Clearly she's a woman of her word. ;) 
These two have a pretty cool bond and it makes me smile. :)
Her little brothers were so attentive all day :D
Jasmine's one and only sister Safya is such a sweetie and I love that she found a friend in Ben Serven (who you might recognize as a groomsmen and the bride's brother from this wedding!) :)
Don't let all these glamorous pictures of these strapping guys fool you. They were total hams!

When it was time for their group shots, they were teasingly difficult and requested that I direct them in a British accent for them to comply. I guess they didn't think I would seriously do it because when I let out a very proper "A little to the left, please everyone!" they all gasped, laughed, and excitedly obeyed. ;)
Let's talk about these bridesmaids dresses....Jasmine's main instruction was "floral", which doesn't sound too complicated except for the fact that her bridesmaids are from all over the country! After much searching and plenty of "Hey, is this dress okay??" texts to the bride, the day finally came for them to try them all on together. And they complimented each other so well! Which is a very good thing considering that the first and only time they were all worn together was the wedding day itself! I'm in love with how the whole look came together....utterly fabulous.
Shoutout to sweet bridesmaid Cecily who was the florist for the day! She did such an amazing job putting together bouquets that looked good even with floral dresses (a tough feat in and of itself I'm sure.) One of my favorite parts (that you might've noticed in the previous shots of Jasmine's bouquet) was how she incorporated the book page roses!! It was a perfectly darling nod to the bride's passionate love for literature and her desire to have that be one of the themes of the day. 
And while we're doing shoutouts, let's all stop and giggle over how adorable matron-of-honor Elena looked while she was still carrying her little muffin man who is now about 4 months old! Cutest pregnant bridesmaid ever award? I think so.
This is their response to me saying "I'm only getting your dresses and feet for this one!" ;) 
Queen Jasmine + her forest fairies. Basically. 
I noticed this palm branch laying on the ground and immediately envisioned a funny scene of them fanning her with it. I inwardly laughed at the idea and then realized Birdie was on the same wave length as me. ;)
"Aaaaaat laaaaast...." Etta James might not have been singing when they first met but I'm pretty sure she might've been during their portrait session. ;)
I asked Phillip to describe Jasmine and what he loves about her and this is what he told me...
"Jasmine is a servant. She loves people well and aims to love people with all her heart and head as well as her hands.
She's also a giver which overflows from her servant heart. She pays attention to the most minute details so that she knows how to best serve. She's one of the most intelligent people I know. I love her mind and her ability to discern. 
She constantly challenges me but with gentleness and respect. It is rare to find beauty and brains wrapped in humility. It's amazing and mind boggling that she chose me. I'm extremely grateful and honored to do life with a woman such as herself. 
She's not perfect but what I love most is that she is aware of that. And though she's become well aware of my imperfections, she still loves me more than before that shortcoming was revealed. 
I asked Jasmine to do the same with Phillip...
"Phillip is one of the most caring men I know. Which sounds cliché so I'll preface it by saying that this was not immediately apparent to me when I met him. I am always suspicious of extroverts, and he was just too FRIENDLY! What did he want anyway?! 
To know, to love, and to serve for the advancement of the Good News and the building up of the Body of Christ; that is what he wanted. He is always seeking insight and common ground, building, nurturing, and striving to honor trust. 
The thing I love most about him is his persistence. He pursues me with the confidence that the Lord has providentially placed us in each others' lives. 
He loves me in my prettiest moments and chooses me at my ugliest moments (and brings them both out in turn :) ) 
Phillip is the tangible example of what it means to love another person as Christ loves. He brings all that I ever learned or hoped about committing to another for God's glory to life.  
Later that afternoon they held a private reception and the theme was, again, very literary based. Not only were there books and book page roses adorning the tables, but the tables were actually named after Jasmine's favorite characters (like Knightley, Rochester, Augustus Waters, Romeo, Juliet, and her very favorite Atticus Finch.) :) It was such a fun and unique idea! She had told me during her engagement that her plan was for the whole wedding day to be lots of themes melded together...like a Great Gatsby Garden Party Book Club Floral Extravaganza. Honestly it sounded rather far fetched and ambitious but it couldn't have come together more perfect in my opinion. It was all the aspects she had envisioned and they harmonized seamlessly and made the October day feel like the essence of spring. :) 
Also, not to be overlooked or forgotten -- Skittles were mandatorily involved. ;)
Mr. + Mrs. Phillip Holmes, everyone! (She had adorably gone from one lovely dress to another by slipping into this Anthroplogie beauty for the reception.) 
Voddie and Jasmine's Father Daughter dance was to "If it Wasn't for Your Love" by Heather Headley. Yep. Lots of tears happened. *goes to listen to the song and cry again just thinking about it*
As the song was drawing to a close Phillip stepped forward to "cut in" and take over and her dad hilariously pretended to not see him by bumping him out of the way and holding her tighter. ;) 

But all joking aside, these two have an awesome relationship. He gets asked all the time, "How on earth did you end up with Jasmine? Weren't you scared to death of her dad being Voddie Baucham? I mean...he wrote a book about what his daughter's husband should be! Isn't that intimidating?!" Such questions make him laugh because he just saw Voddie as another brother in Christ to love, respect, and grow close to -- not like a huge wall to be climbed or dragon to be slain. And quite obviously, he loved Jasmine enough to pursue her whatever the costs. Guess that's why he is now the fulfillment of Voddie's great book "What He Must Be." ;)
Ah, the great bouquet toss....(this day was just chock full of so many fun moments!!) 
As Jasmine threw it, her friend Celeste rushes out like a football player making a catch and, without missing a beat, runs to her seat like it was the end zone. She was so embarrassed because she did it without even thinking and by the time you're halfway through with such a scheme it's hard to just stop. ;) The room was roaring and buzzing with laughter for a good while after it happened. :)

The rest of the afternoon was spent all-out celebrating and rejoicing at the great joyous thing the Lord had brought to pass. Jasmine and Phillip were marrieeeeeed!! ;)

Dearest darling precious beloved Phillip + Jasmine. What an honor... What a privilege... I wish I could type something that truly embodied the depth of my appreciation for you two. It was a blessing just to know of you from afar but to have been given the opportunity to know you in person and to come to love you and be loved by you for real is something I am so thankful for. I will never forget the day I became the wedding photographer of one of my favorite authors and daughter of one of my favorite pastors....not because it was some prestigious thing, but because I feel enriched having been even a small part of such a grand and glorious thing that was your wedding and is your marriage. I miss you sweethearts a ton and just looking through these photos and writing your story warmed my heart afresh. I know you have big leaps of faith in the near future and I trust that the Lord will see you faithfully through as He has so well these past seven months. I'm excited to see how He plans to use you and just to watch you continue to honor and acknowledge Him in all that you do. Much much love, my friends. xoxo

10 comments:

  1. Gahh! I love these so so much. Wow. O_O <3 <3 <3

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  2. Wow! What a privilege to shoot Voddie Baucham's daughter's wedding! It was simply beautiful and I LOVE the paper book flowers and all the literary inspired touches. So lovely!! Jasmine and Philip are such a sweet couple. <3

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  3. How gorgeous!! The photos capture everything and everyone perfectly - I love it!! So unique and beautiful. Thanks for sharing the pictures so freely!

    (Jasmine has also been a great inspiration for me over the years so I was delighted to get a glimpse of her special day!)

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  4. Well, Allix, you've outdone yourself again. Wow. I love how you engage your readers by telling the story of the couples you photograph and by telling the story of their special day so that the pictures we see as we scroll down have a deeper meaning and help us feel connected in a way. :) And my goodness, this story was beautiful, and coupled with your gorgeous photos nearly brought me to tears. <3 this is one of my favorite posts of yours. Lovelovelove! P.S. I can't wait for the day you get to photograph my wedding #dreams (if it's God's will for me to marry of course) ^_^

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  5. Allix, I love the realness of these. Beautiful hearts, beautiful work!

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  6. Wow, Allix! These are as stunning as ever! E.V.E.R.Y s.i.n.g.l.e time I see your portraits, I'm always blown away with how perfectly you weave the story and photos together!

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  7. Allix. I was pretty much ecstatic when I heard you were photographing this wedding! Jasmine has been such a huge inspiration to me - I've read her blog/book/heard her speak for years. And being able to see this glimpse of their day was such a joy, such an encouragement. God is so faithful, so good. And is warms my heart that He brought these two together. <3 Incredible images!!

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    1. P.S. And I simply ADORE your writing style, too!

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  8. these are stunning! love the story + the images.

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Hey!! You're commenting!! You are so nice :) Thanks for making my day. :D