jenna + ryleigh | jumers wedding in rock island, il.

This wedding day is a special one for so many dang reasons. It’s special to me because the bride is someone I’ve known since the moment she was born – my younger cousin, Jenna. Her mom and my dad are two of eight total siblings, so we grew up with a whole lot of cousins and aunts and uncles and loud get togethers, and are pretty used to the whole “big family” thing. When she first started bringing Ryleigh around years ago, he initially put in his time being our designated photo taker since he wasn’t “officially” in the family yet, as well as eventually gaining the status of Honorary Rumbold as he made future appearances at our family hangs. The thing is, I think we all always knew Ryleigh would someday be officially joining the fam, simply because anyone who knows Jenna and Ryleigh would be hard-pressed to deny that these two were going to spend the rest of their lives loving each other.

And that leads me to the next, and more important reason why this wedding day was special – this day was special because these two are special. Their wedding day was not only chilly, but it was also one of the windiest weddings I’ve ever photographed – and with an outdoor ceremony, this could have very easily been a day ruiner for some couples. But Jenna and Ryleigh? They beamed at each other and wiped tears and held each others’ hands amidst the wind, and it seemed as though they forgot about the weather and their surroundings entirely. As the ceremony came to an end, a red truck pulled up behind the two of them and their wedding party – a truck that Jenna and Ryleigh’s best man had secretly been working on restoring together as a gift for her new husband for over a year. We all watched as his best man handed him the box Jenna had labeled “big surprise”, and as Ryleigh opened it with a mixture of confusion and intrigue right before he saw a keychain inside with a picture of the truck that had just pulled up, and as a giant grin spread across Jenna’s face, it quickly became one of the best wedding day moments I’ve witnessed thus far. Jenna and Ryleigh exited their ceremony hand-in-hand and walked straight toward his new truck, and then he helped his bride climb in and continuously looked at her with disbelief, exclaiming over and over again that he couldn’t believe it. But then again, it’s Jenna, so he sort of, kind of could. She is easily one of the sweetest, most genuinely good hearted people you will meet, and the fact that she would secretly work on a gigantic surprise with her guy’s best friend actually makes total sense in the best of ways. She and Ryleigh spent the rest of the afternoon and evening still beaming at one another, and dancing and drinking and having the best time, and every so often I’d catch him looking at Jenna in a way that again looked like disbelief — not about the truck or her many thoughtful surprises and gestures, though, but rather in a way that suggested he simply couldn’t believe he’d found a love like this with a woman like that. And this way they love each other — mutually and adorably and loudly and unapologetically – this is yet another part of what made this day so incredibly special.

Venue: Jumers
Coordinator: Stress-Free Weddings, Inc. | Brianne Ackerland
Dress: Cloud Nine
Florals: Garden of Grace
Hair + Makeup: Laura Traum
Cake: Cindy Ehnle

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