"Something in your voice called me, turned my head
Your smile just captured me,
You were in my future as far as I could see
The moment I looked into your eyes you won me
It was over from the start, you completely stole my heart"
|| you had me from hello -kenny chesney ||
"So. I had a date last night." I've been best friends with Rachel Greene since I was twelve years old. And when you have a bestie with brothers, those guys kinda come with the territory. Jay is Rachel's oldest brother...a straight forward race truck loving, computer tech homebody who likes to fish, bowl, and listen to classic rock. After seven years of being close to the Greene family (through going to church with them, countless sleepovers, and working at the front desk of Dr. Greene's dental office) I got to know Jay like he was my own brother. Which is why when he came by the office one day in July, sat down, and said the first sentence in this paragraph I was more than all ears. The second I looked over at him to see him looking off and smirking I had a feeling this was not going to be just any date. I asked for the details right away and tried not to laugh as he "nonchalantly" relayed how the date was (read: if a 27 year old man can blush and try to keep from smiling well then...) "We went out for Mexican food...and then I took her bowling." I nodded and smiled. "And!" he continued proudly (still hiding a smirk), "I gave her some money and told her she could play any music she wanted on the jukebox." I had to laugh at that one. ;) "Yeah, I mean...we'll see how it goes. I met her in school when we were younger. I think she had a crush on me and I thought she was cute. I've been Facebook friends with her forever and we chat a lot...I finally thought it was about time I just asked her out!" With his every attempt to make it seem like no big deal, he made it more and more clear that my suspicion was correct, "Mhmmm, he likes her...a lot." I wasn't surprised that, from that point on, I began hearing about Kayla often. She was quickly becoming a pretty prominent and permanent part in Jay's life.
He was right, she had, in fact, had a crush on him when she was in fourth grade. They both went to a small local Christian private school together; she was a cheerleader and he was a basketball player a few years older than her. Insert lots of young girl heart palpitations and dreams and then fast forward. Jay ended up being homeschooled at the end of high school and Kayla's family moved to Pennsylvania. They eventually moved back to Texas but this time they were 3 hours away in Waxahachie. Good thing Facebook exists or this love story might've gone cold. (And a multitude of modern couples said "Aaaaamen!") So Facebook eventually led to their first date and their first date was just the beginning of more dates to follow. Suddenly "Jay's new friend" became the other half of "Jay Greene has changed his relationship status" in August. Things were moving fast and I don't think anyone had any doubt that this was the real deal.
He invited her to join his family on their annual vacation to Destin, Florida in September. I wondered if he would propose there but was actually proud of him that he didn't since his younger brother Daniel had already played that card with his girl. ;) Though she didn't get a ring quite yet, Kayla did have an amazing time at the beach with him and they exchanged their first "I love you"s. :)
October 17th he popped the question we all knew was coming and she said "Yes!" The path took a few unexpected twists and turns along the way but this small town, family oriented, Coca-cola loving Texas Rangers fan of a girl was finally going to marry her fourth grade crush and the man of her dreams. Which brings us to their January wedding day! Their venue was none other than where they first met -- Bethel Christian Academy. They were married in Bethel Baptist church on the grounds of the school and their reception was in the same gym where Kayla had cheered while Jay played ball...flashes of childhood nerves and excitement, old sparks and sweet memories intertwined with the grand new memory they were making together: becoming husband + wife!
Kayla's sweet sister Karly was the one responsible for the bride's beautiful curls. It was precious seeing them laugh together like this was any other day; just them two getting pretty and having fun. Family is definitely a big part of both Jay and Kayla's life so it was very fitting that she had her sister and his sister as her bridesmaids and he had his brother and her brother as his groomsmen. :)
You looked wonderful as a bride, Kayla. Your excitement to marry your man just radiated. Didn't Audrey Hepburn once say "happy girls are the prettiest?" Because it was certainly true of you this day! :)
Seeing her daddy and her little brother Austin. :)
I always love when my couples choose to have a first look and it was especially great for these two. I don't think she could've stood being away from him for another minute! As soon as she was dressed and ready, he was the first and only person she wanted to show off to. ;)
And she wasn't disappointed by his reaction! He let out the longest, "Wow!" as he turned around to see her. He 110% approved. :)
"We've been married 72 years!" I heard Kayla's great-grandfather telling her and Jay. Wedding days are really not exclusively about the bride and groom. Two people pledging their love to one another is not only a foundation of a new family, it is often a building block upon a legacy of love that precedes them. I was honored to be able to capture 4 generations of women sporting their symbols of commitment and faithfulness to their beloveds.
Austin crying on the right!! Such a tender hearted little guy!
Great-grandfathers that fist bump, am I right?
Peephole in the door for the win. ;)
The best kinds of wedding receptions are ones where I see dear friends and past brides + grooms of mine! Tom + Amanda looking adorable as always. <3
A couple of months after the wedding Kayla's grandfather lost his battle with Parkinson's Disease. She texted me this picture and said "I cannot thank you enough for snapping this precious picture of my grandfather! Portrays him to a T....always loved his Coke/Dr. Pepper & a sweet snack." I've said it before and I'll say it again -- preserving memories -- this is why I do what I do, friends. It makes every bit of it worthwhile. <3
It's fun when your friends start falling in love because everything that used to be a mystery, "What kind of girl would be good for him? What will she be like when she finds a guy?", is suddenly clear! It's incredible how God writes love stories in a way we never would have begun to imagine. I certainly would've never pictured Jay being with someone that brought out a...mushy side in him. ;) Browsing their Facebooks for even a few minutes will key you into the fact they are very very much in love. But underneath all the kissy face emojis and "I love you!" comments exchanged, these two are best friends and really do fit each other so well. Jay considers her to be the most wonderful caring girl he's ever known and exactly what he needed to complete him. Kayla has grown into that crush of her youth, falling deeper every day and is "completely, and perfectly, and incandescently happy" with the love of her life and favorite person in the whole world! I think their smiles will give it away as you scroll through their portraits...they're buddies and they fully enjoy being together. :)