josh + lauren | wedding at the stables | kewanee, il.

Josh and Lauren started, as did many couples who planned a 2020 wedding prior to the pandemic, with plans for a wedding day that looked quite a bit different the celebration they ended up with. Their wedding was originally supposed to take place back in May, and once the Department of Defense signed into effect a travel ban for military and their families due to covid, the two of them decided to officially postpone their wedding for the month of August. Not only did these two take it all in magnificent stride, but they also made alterations to their plans in order to create a safe environment for their loved ones: they reduced their guest list, and made sure those attending adhered to the church’s mask requirement – they had to-go boxes for the dinner in case anyone wanted to catch the first dance but felt more comfortable eating at home, and they moved the rest of their reception outdoors behind the venue. They were thoughtful and wore their masks when indoors with their older family members, and they laughed and celebrated and danced amongst all this – they showed us all what it looks like to not only do it right, but to also soak in the beauty and joy that comes with getting married at the same time.

When I think about my favorite moments from Josh and Lauren’s day, I think about how so many of the experiences within a wedding involve the relationship between poignancy and joy. I think about the way Lauren’s mom’s eyes filled with tears as she watched her daughter’s friends see her in her wedding dress for the first time, and the way Lauren and her parents quietly teared up while in the room at the back of the church prior to the ceremony, and the way Josh embraced his mother on the dance floor, and the tight gripped hug his father gave him immediately after the ceremony. Moments like these are bittersweet – it’s letting go of a previous chapter of life and preparing to embrace a new one, and a happiness for your grown child that I imagine can only be explained by those who have experienced it. I’m reminded of this poignancy again when I think about the loved ones watching Josh and Lauren get married via a live stream on this day – thinking about the tears I didn’t witness or capture with my camera, but that happened out there all the same. These happy tears for two people they love, and the understanding and care that comes along with this moment in time we’re all in.

Wedding days are ripe with poignancy, and I think it’s important to revel in that, because how lucky are we to have people and moments like these that lead our hearts to feel so insanely, heavily full? And then, there’s the joy – the outright joy that comes from so many things on a wedding day, like the sweet toasts from your siblings, and the relief that comes from getting beautiful weather on your backup wedding date after moving your reception outdoors, and casually chatting with your loved ones under a tent as your favorite songs play, and your girlfriends hoisting you up in your wedding dress for a photo, and seeing friends and family you haven’t been able to see in months, and watching your wedding guests dance and laugh and put their drinks in the air and celebrate together in a way that feels downright special these days. It’s poignancy and tears and laughter and swaying and joy all swirled together and a reminder that when it comes to being with the people you love and getting the opportunity to celebrate life with them, those things are the main ones that actually end up mattering.

Reception Venue: The Stables
Church: St. John the Evangelist
Dress: Marien Mae Bridal Boutique
Florist: Enchanted Florist
Day of Coordinator + Decor Rentals: Aunt Sue’s Bridal
Catering: Renee Endress
DJ: 815 Productions 














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