Ben and I celebrated our 10th wedding anniversary this year. I loved everything about our Zukas wedding, and I remember waking up the next morning saying “lets do that again in 20 years.” So when we’re photographing particularly lovely weddings, I mentally add to our hypothetical renewal celebration list. Ben often hears “if we got married again, I’d love this at our wedding…”
But never more than this particular day, at James & Janelle’s Zukas Hilltop Barn vow renewal celebration. The wedding they never had when they were married 15 years ago. They fell in love in high school, and started their journey together early. They joined the Navy, married – just the two of them – and had plans for a wedding soon.
But life’s adventure kept rolling, bringing them four beautiful children over the years, a house, careers, and so on. Their love only grew stronger and they decided that this was the time to celebrate this incredible relationship with everyone they loved so fiercely. Their parents and their children. Their friends and their family.
Witnessing this wedding day, as a mom of two little boys, made me wonder why everyone doesn’t do it this way. Celebrating a love that brought this family together and created this incredible children. When Janelle and I chatted the week before her wedding, and things were crazy-chaos, she joked that nothing ever worked out well for her. She said it in the way that brides say when they’re 100% sure its going to rain on their wedding day, because well, why wouldn’t it. But their wedding day was something else. It was meaningful and genuine and heartfelt and beyond loving. They were present and so joy-filled in each and every moment. It was one of the most beautiful weddings I’ve had the pleasure to photograph.
I’m so happy to share a highlight of their incredible wedding day. Janelle, James, and their loves…
This super thoughtful bride got her girls ALL the personalized things!
This is their beautiful daughter…James surprised Janelle with a new diamond just days before at the Charlestown Naval Shipyard, and he surprised his little love with a diamond necklace created with Janelle’s original diamond. Both his girls were beyond surprised, and R took great care of her necklace that day.
And when it was safely away, PILLOW FIGHT!
How incredible, so share your first look with your kids? This was one of my favorite moments of the day.
That time when you ask your cousin to officiate the wedding…so he comes dressed ready to officiate.
And that time when she’s so nervous to walk down the aisle because she hasn’t worn a dress in 36 years, so she RUUUNS like her butt is on fire.
After Janelle’s sister and MOH made a toast, James & Janelle’s sons (oldest was best man) stood in front of 180 people and made incredible toasts. My mind was blown. They each shared stories about their dad – how he’s always there for them, always takes the time to play and teach and listen, and is the best dad in the world. There were few dry eyes in that room, listening to the love in their voices.
Kids + Blow-up Instruments = Dancefloor Beating
As someone who supports being uber-present in the moment, I’m generally not a fan of phones at a wedding. They’re distracting and separating. Unless its used to connect the bride with her best friend who is halfway across the country and couldn’t make it to their wedding.
Entertainment and lighting ambiance provided by Greg Bedard Entertainment – we LOVE working with this guy and highly recommend him. I’m a huge fan of the paper lanterns…and packed dancefloors. Especially when it involves 90s hip hop.
“We still do and always will…”