"Baby, if I had to choose
My best day ever
My finest hour, my wildest dream come true
Mine would be you"
My best day ever
My finest hour, my wildest dream come true
Mine would be you"
|| mine would be you - blake shelton ||
In their crowded high-school gym in DuQuoin Illinois, he asked for her name. He couldn't hear her above all the noise no matter how many times she repeated, "Michelle! Michelle Crifasi!" Fast forward a number of years to 2011...she was a mom of two boys, he was a dad of two girls. Her cousin introduced them to each other and they spent an evening dancing and laughing, playing pool and telling stories. He asked to drive her home that night and she said no. He asked her to have lunch the next day and she said no. But Gonnie was very persistent and made sure Michelle knew he wasn’t going anywhere and he would wait as long as it took. But he didn't have to wait long before she found herself drawn to his kind heart and warm smile. With her in Georgia and he in Illinois, they dated long distance for the first year and a half.
Three years after they started dating they had a rare minute together before Michelle's busiest work season began and she had to leave Illinois and go to Atlanta for a couple months. They decided to unwrap their Christmas presents early and go to dinner before she headed out of town. She had a 5:00 business call scheduled that got pushed back an hour so Michelle being Michelle, wanted to go ahead and open their presents, get on her call and then head to dinner. He bought her a stereo for her Jeep and wrapped all the “extra” parts (wires/brackets/etc) individually which annoyed her…and that was his goal. One little package after another got her good and riled up but the last one she opened had something quite different inside....the most dazzling ring with which he asked her to become his wife! And she said yes!
This day was a blast to be a part of not only because of how extraordinary it was but because of my special connection to the bride. Just five short months after I married her son, I had the great privilege of photographing the incredible wedding day of my sweet mother-in-law! It all began at the big townhouse in old Germantown in Nashville that Gonnie and Michelle had rented for all the family to stay at for the weekend. As her brother Bobby was cooking gargantuan pancakes for breakfast downstairs, I was swooning over all of her stunning details upstairs!
She happened upon her wedding dress in a small shop that was going out of business that she went to check out when she heard about the great closing sale deals. She originally was in search of a mother of the groom dress for our wedding and after she found one she asked the girl helping her, "I know this is gonna sound weird since I was just looking for a mother's dress but...can I try on some wedding dresses?" ;) And so it was that she was introduced to this lovely two piece set and scored it for under $100! It was the perfect mix of grace and sass to suit her and their wedding. :)
Halfway through the morning we all realized my husband Trevor had managed to slip away unnoticed. He has a tendency to do that since he takes long walks often. His mama wanted him back to start getting ready so the search for him began. We were all in unfamiliar territory so we didn't really know where to start with him not answering his cell phone and there being countless streets surrounding us. Turns out he wasn't very far away. He had stumbled upon a pick-up basketball game at the court on the corner and was trying to find a place on a team with the neighborhood natives.
Once we found him, he wanted Gonnie and Yancey (Gonnie's oldest daughter's boyfriend) to join in the fun. Yancey declined, pointing out he only had cowboy boots. Trevor quickly came up with a solution by running to a yard sale down the street and somehow finding a pair of size 13 tennis shoes to fit him. It was on!
As the current game wrapped up, they welcomed the three newcomers in for the next one.
Not many grooms get this kind of wedding day morning experience, am I right? ;)
After Yancey drained a massive three-pointer, a roaring cheer rose up and the game took a turn in their favor. After several more fantastic plays, their team ended up on top!
We rushed back to the house where Michelle and Gonnie's girls, Sarah and Grace, were getting pampered by hair stylist Reyna Waller of Salon Ya Ya and makeup artist Lindsey Helms of The Southern Chic.
Because I was part of the family and the photographer, I got dibs on a corsage, professional hair and makeup, and a new dress! Being a part of a new family is a fun boost to life. ;)
Her headband from Pink Pewter made her look like a princess, and matched the embroidery work on her dress really well. :)
I was so thrilled to be shooting at their epic venue, The Acme Feed and Seed on the corner of Broadway. Gonnie and Michelle's shared love for country music and travel made downtown Nashville the perfect location for their wedding. When they were venue scouting the ACME was under construction; they had to wear hardhats because it was just a big shell of a building with concrete and workers everywhere. But they loved the vibe, the location, and all of its potential and when they heard a rooftop wedding was an option, they were sold. (As was I when she texted me!!!) To see the concrete floors and open beams turn into such an amazing place decorated exactly like they envisioned was amazing.
Being on that major thoroughfare is such an experience...the sights and smells and soooounds. The constant music pouring out and rich tangible musical heritage makes it such a terrific place to be and it set such a fun mood for this whole day.
The gorgeous flowers were done by Enchanted Florist who also happened to be who did the florals of the nuptials of these familiar country music faces!
You know the bridesmaids gifts are going to be good when they come in that iconic blue. ;) And she gave me my first Tiffany earrings that day too! Michelle is a master gift giver. <3
As you saw, Michelle had Gonnie's beautiful daughters as her bridesmaids and Gonnie had her studly sons as his groomsmen. I love that. :) They are both wonderful parents who love their kids fiercely and love each other's as their own so their wedding party was super special and totally them.
Rooftop first look!
My mama (who served as my second shooter when I needed to be in some pictures) and my man. <3 Aren't they adorable? :)
Oh hey ;)
Tooootal Mama's boys!
Such a good looking group!!
I was eating up every second of shooting in the middle of the street...and I cracked them up when I got so in the moment I almost forgot I had to watch for cars whipping around us who had the right of way. ;)
I especially enjoyed having this stud in front of my camera.*heart eyes like crazy*
I could get very used to photographing him in a suit! ;)
Gonnie told me,
"Michelle is realistic, cautious yet vibrant, and adventurous.
She has a magnetic personality that draws people to her.
She leads you to believe that anything is possible."
And Michelle said,
"Gonnie is the most patient human on the earth. He has a calmness about him that just makes everyone at ease and he doesn’t know a stranger.
He’s about the only person on this earth who can shut down my work brain."
Favorite shot! :)
My oh my, I married into a gorgeous family. Love these ladies so much!
The music for cocktail hour was provided by Eisenhauer Band, a mom and her two kids with major musical chops who also happen to be Gonnie's cousins! :)
She had her boys walk her down the aisle. *Cue tears!* So perfect :)
Michelle surprised Gonnie the night of the rehearsal dinner by letting him know his best friend James would be the officiant and he was beside himself excited. :)
Michelle kept hounding him to make sure he had his vows written down but we were all blown away and touched when he spoke them from his heart instead. :)
Mr. + Mrs. Morgan!!
All of the print-work (signage, table favors, invitations) coordinated and were specially designed by Michelle's friend Rachel and her husband Keith to match the Acme even down to the iconic hatch show print.
The cakes were courtesy of Dulce Desserts and one of Michelle's lifelong besties, Trish, made the cupcakes and cookies which she is now famous for. ;) Famous in my book anyways...I'd be up for a shipment of those things any day!
The white pumpkin centerpiece flower arrangements were done by Michelle's friend and co-worker Daniel. :)
Michelle's mom Carolyn and her sisters tore up the dance floor all night! Such a precious hilarious group of women. ;)
Trevor found a new level of confidence that night and cut a rug. He made up for being too shy to dance much at our wedding. ;)
The Nashville staples favors were put together by her friend Rachel as well. :)
( This is Trish, the
world-renown beloved cookie maker. ;) )
Josh Helms was their reception musician and he is a phenomenal artist! Don't be surprised if becomes a familiar face one of these days.
Gonnie got up during one song to join Josh and experience some of the stage glory when....
....Sarah got up too and sang along to "Sweet Home Alabama" with them! Gonnie said this was one of his all time favorite parts of the day because it was so spontaneous and unlike something she would do. He was shocked and proud and excited and they had the best time just having fun up there together. :)
One of the best moments of the night was when he kept singing while sharing a dance with his sweet wife Lindsey who, yep!, was the makeup artist of the day! Talented couples are the best. ;)
Ohhhh Tyler...my brother-in-law and king of sass. ;)
Fun fact! This adorable girl was one of Trevor's best friends growing up and you can see a ridiculously cute picture of them as little buddies in this post!
This day couldn't have come together without the work of this lovely lady who was the rocking awesome coordinator. You were amazing Casey!
They couldn't have described their wedding day better when they said
"We were blessed to be surrounded by incredibly talented people who shared our day and added so many special touches. Our wedding was truly a celebration. Everyone came to celebrate us but we were actually celebrating our friends and family. Our vision was to have everyone we loved under one roof for a brief moment and we pulled it off."
Gonnie! Michelle! This was so. much. fun. reliving your outstanding wedding day while writing this post! I can't believe today marks one whole year since we laughed, cried, sung, and danced the day away together. I am so honored to know and love you and be a witness to how perfect you are as a pair and even more honored that you entrusted me with capturing the marvelous memories we were making October 25th, 2014. Your wedding day will go down in history as one of my absolute favorites and I know it was just the beginning of the incredibly adventurous and fun-filled life you two are going to embark on as one. Love you guys to pieces and I request another family Nashville trip asap! ;) xoxo