It was mid October of 2014, and a day like any other for Emma. As a stylist working in a busy salon near the holidays, every day seemed to be like any other. From booked clients, to an endless sea of walk-ins, familiar faces sometimes started to blend in together towards the end of a day. But one unfamiliar face stood out.
"Ryan." Emma announced his name off the list of walk-ins.
"Yep," Ryan said as he stood up from waiting in the salon lobby.
"So what are we doing today?" she asked him as he sat down in her chair.
"Just a buzzcut."
Who'd have ever thought that "Just a Buzzcut" could lead to such a beautiful day?
Emma and Ryan's Wedding Day.
When Shelby and I first met with Emma and Ryan to talk details of their big day, we had no idea how gorgeous it really was going to be.
"Bohemian on the Beach," Emma explained. "Blues, and muted greens, earth tones and you should see Ryan and the groomsmen's ties!"
The ties must really be something, because she's really excited about these ties.
"Are they color coordinating with the bridesmaids' dresses?" I asked her.
"Nope, they're map designs!"
As you'll see in our photos, these ties are really something. She had them custom made to tickle her map fancy. Yes, I said map fancy. As unique as it may sound I, along with Emma, have some fascination with maps: Old World maps, modern Geo-political globes, heck even road maps. Maps. Ok, I'm done saying maps. Every detail of Emma and Ryan's wedding was custom designed and beautifully detailed. From a handcrafted altar made by none other than Emma's handy Dad, to a stunning custom flower crown to match a drop dead gorgeous bouquet, every detail was executed to an artistic level.
Navarre Beach Florida, a vacation spot that Emma and Ryan fell in love with a couple of years back is where all the magic of this tale happens. Now, if you've never visited Navarre Beach, I could say that you've never lived, but that'd be too cliche'. But guess what? If you've never visited Navarre Beach...
This town is hands down, deer in the headlights expression incredible. Pastel blue and yellow houses, white sand beaches, scorched pink sunsets, and a warm, calm ocean. It had me wondering why I still live in Tennessee and I'm not riding a beach cruiser bike to my next wedding consultation.
"Dream house on the beach is booked!" Emma says on one of our phone calls a few months before the wedding.
"Is it sweet or what?!" I ask.
"OH EMM GEE."
Omg is accurate to say the least. When Shelby and I pulled into the driveway to this masterpiece they called a house, we couldn't help but feel slightly small. A brand new house complete with two decks, (front and rear) a salt water swimming pool and a third story ocean viewing deck. It was most definitely the Titanic of all the houses on the block. Emma's dream house was now a dream come true, especially when we found her relaxing with the girls having a few mimosas. Once Shelby and I settled our luggage in the house, we were off to celebrate with all their friends and family at the rehearsal dinner. The rehearsal was held at a beautiful pavilion right on the coast line. Snacks, drinks and toasts were enjoyed while Emma and Ryan's kids, Lila and Aiden, ran around with the other kids, digging and playing in the sand. As the sun set, Shelby and I gathered the family for a few group shots for a beautiful ending to the beginning of Emma and Ryan's wedding weekend.
The morning of the wedding, Shelby and I were greeted to a bridal brunch that would have made even Audrey Hepburn swoon. Mimosas, bagels, the most beautiful picturesque donuts, and a full fruit spread. The girls were hanging out in their robes, drinking and chatting excitedly about the day ahead. Shelby and I immediately got to work capturing all the little details that Emma and her #BrideTribe had worked so hard on. After brunch the girls started on their hair and makeup, while the boys worked on setting up the altar down on the beach. Later, we found the guys hanging out on the back deck and we took the opportunity to photograph them and their friggin' awesome ties!
As the vendors arrived one by one, Emma's dream day was all coming to life. When the cake arrived, everyone stopped what they were doing to admire it. It's not like they had a choice; it was too gorgeous not to. A beautiful three tier cake decorated with green succulents and bells of Ireland. Emma was so ecstatic, she couldn't even contain her excitement. So naturally, she immediately had to call Ryan to tell him. After the flowers and cake came, it was Emma's turn to get ready for her walk down the aisle.
As Emma's mom buttoned up the back of her wedding dress, Lila looked on in awe, and you couldn't help but feel the emotion in the room. With hair and makeup done, and flower crown in place, her maid of honor handed her the bouquet as the last touch.
"Gahh, this thing is heavy!" Emma joked as she slumped her shoulders while giggling.
I just stood in awe at the sight of this bouquet. Yes, this was a massive bouquet, and no I would not want to carry it. But it was stunning.
"Dude..." I said to everyone in the room.
"What?" Shelby whispered back to me while looking through her viewfinder to snap another photo.
"Dude... it's such a nice bouquet."
Shelby and Emma both gave me the classic look that basically said, "Well, yeah. It's a bridal bouquet".
But, dude... I'm a sucker for craftsmanship.
With a heavy 'ole bouquet, Emma was the most beautiful bride and was ready to walk to her love, Ryan. We followed Emma down to the beach where Ryan was waiting patiently to see her for their First Look. His expression could've filled a book had I tried to describe it. Their first look was so romantic! Every second was full of laughing, hugs, and kisses.
"Look at your tie! Oh wow!" Emma said adoringly to Ryan seeing him for the first time.
"Yeah, its pretty cool."
"You're shakin'! You nervous?" she asked him in the sweetest tone.
"Lil' bit." he quipped back smiling.
"Awe! Me too." she said as she rubbed his cheek.
Although most of us think of sun and sand, and not a cloud in the sky when envisioning Florida beaches, Emma's wedding day almost did not end that way. Hurricane Michael had just passed and narrowly missed Navarre Beach two days prior to her wedding day. "Luck" would be a good word to use, but as perfect as her day ended up being, I would use "fate" instead.
With Hurricane Michael in the rear view mirror, it was showtime. The sun was setting, the guests were seated, and Emma started down aisle pinned to her dad's arm.
Ryan stood tall and smiling with his groomsmen at his back. The bridesmaids, with their dresses whipping in the coastal breeze, watched as Emma met Ryan at the altar. After reciting their vows, the officiant read a closing quote that no one could deny was the cutest dang quote to have ever been quoted.
" We're all a little weird, and life is a little weird. And when we find someone whose weirdness is compatible with ours, we join up with them and fall into mutually satisfying weirdness and call it LOVE."
Emma and Ryan playfully call themselves weird.
We call them adorable!
Wedding Dress: Davids Bridal
Bridesmaids Dresses: Davids Bridal
Guys Attire: Men's Warehouse
Bow Ties: Chachee Ties
Traditional Ties: Hoboties
Flowers: Navarre Beach Flowers, inc.
Cake: Kimberly Cakes