I have a new nephew! He's in his 30's and is now, officially, the tallest member of our family. But, as of yesterday afternoon at about 4:15, Matt Bailey is now officially a member of the family. "My babies" now number 8 in total (Taylor and Dustin aren't pictured). From left, Steve and Amanda, Andrew, Matt, Ashley, and Aaron.
I've never been blessed with kids of my own, but being an Aunt is the next best thing - and may be the very best thing - since I didn't have to pay for their tuition and I could hype them up on sugar and send them home (You're welcome siblings!) I can't tell you how much I love each and every one of them. Each of you holds a little piece of my heart - and Matt that now includes you too.
And now for a wedding story...
I had the privilege of serving as rehearsal day photographer and, as Matt's aunts from New York called it, the "day of" coordinator. No wedding run up or day of is perfect, but Ashley and Matt's came blissfully close.
Several of the girls got their nails done in Richmond on Friday afternoon. Ashley and her lifetime BFF (and by lifetime...I mean literally as they share a birthday) Audrey Alice shared a few laughs as Ashley got some of the last stress and tension out.
That evening we had the rehearsal followed by a beautiful dinner hosted by Matt's parents Cliff and Dianne at Olde Richmond Inn.
One of those "not so perfects" - we have no idea where Ashley's bow bouquet went so she's carrying a flower from her mama. My guess...we'll find that bow bouquet about midweek ;-) As I reminded Ashley a couple of times - the only thing that really mattered was that she and Matt actually got married and that they made their flight for their honeymoon. Both were accomplished absolutely successfully!
She cried her first time down the aisle with her dad but held it together for their brief second run through. Wedding day - there were a few more tears.
Amanda did a beautiful job reading 1 Corinthians 13 and Andrew read a beautiful poem.
A pic of Ashley's new family and their friends - it was great to get to know the Bailey's better. What a wonderful family!
Another of my favorite shots from my camera this weekend - Ashley with her Grandma and Grandpa.
And, of course, the Lewis family.
After the dinner, we all slept for a few minutes (or at least that's what it felt like) and then it was time for wedding day. Their reception was held at beautiful J & J Winery in Richmond. And, for nearly mid October, it was an absolutely perfect day! I had the pleasure of setting up with much of Ashley's new family and a few of the guys and remembered to grab a few shots before I left.
All done and just waiting for the "twig vases".
Ash's father-in-law, Cliff, made awesome place card holders for the receiving table as well as cornhole games (which were set out in the photo below, but I forgot to get a close up of) and her cupcake stands.
A coworker of Matt's produced the honey that served as their guest favors - so cute!
One of my favorite parts of weddings - and all the family time they provide - are the little things that each person does to make them special. Some of the twigs for the vases were gathered one Saturday by me and several friends at a volunteer event here in Indy and then several more were just picked up at random from mom and dad's yard at the Meadow.
And the little baby pumpkins were grown by Ashley's grandpa Frank from seeds I bought the day they moved into their new house all the way back in March when Ashley and Matt were talking about their fall themed wedding which seemed so far away then. Takes a while to grow sweet little pumpkins to sit all around the reception - as well as some bigger white pumpkins that added even more decoration.
How cute! (The table number pumpkins were provided by the florist since they were all a standard size and a little easier for her to work with - cute! - and we had the privilege today of sharing many of those with a local nursing home to help brighten it up and bring in some pretty fall colors!)
After all the setup - it was time for the wedding and the reception. Ashley and Matt had a wonderful photographer and videographer for the wedding so I just grabbed a few shots with my cell phone. Can't wait to see the thousands of frames they shot!
Lucas was an absolute angel during the ceremony and seemed to love both flipping through the hymnal and watching all the happenings at the front of the church. He's been feeling under the weather all week so it was so good to get to see him - even if only for a little while as he went off to his Grandma and Grandpa Stout following the ceremony so his mommy and daddy could relax at the reception.
The reception "guest book" - a tree hand drawn by Ashley's dad Jim - that folks stamped their thumb print on and then signed. So cute.
Weddings aren't completely about the bride and groom - they are also about all the family time and time to reconnect with friends. My nephew Aaron grabbed this three generation selfie - which I think is adorable!
What a beautiful day! This group keeps getting bigger and they're having babies of their own now. I still love them more every single second that they are in my life.
Ashley and Matt - I hope your wedding day was everything you dreamed. I'm so happy for you!