Mike and Allison's St. Louis Summer Wedding / by Meredith Washburn

Being a photographer sure brings a lot of beautiful people into your life. Mike and Allison are two of those people. They have tremendously kind souls and seem to just be made for one another. Photographing their love was easy and comfortable (I mean, just look at their smiles and the way they look at each other). As a photographer, it is such an honor and privilege to be invited to spend the day with the bride and groom and their friends and family. To see and capture all the behind the scenes moments and nuances makes my heart full. The natural laughs and giggles, smiles, tears, hugs, whispers, glances, hand squeezing, etc. is so special to capture and freeze in time forever. This specific wedding was especially full of love, fun, and joy.

Soon after their wedding I was informed that Mike's father had passed away. It broke my heart when I learned of the news. As I was going through their images it made me so happy to see so many photos of Mike's dad smiling, laughing, dancing, and just enjoying life. What an amazing day he was able to experience with his son and family before passing. I absolutely love that moments captured in photos will be beautiful reminders of the happiness and love shared during Mike and Allison's wedding day. This job truly makes my heart smile; I feel blessed by each couple who chooses and trusts me with the honor to capture their treasured moments. 

Read below about Mike + Allison's recap of their day:

"Mike and I could not have been more excited for our wedding day (as hopefully most couple are!). While we love living in St. Louis, our family and friends are spread throughout the country, so this was the perfect opportunity to have everyone we love in one place at one time.  From Seattle to Miami, New York, San Diego, and even a cousin from Beirut, Lebanon our wedding list spanned the world so we are never in the same place at the same time. As the RSVP's came rolling in, we knew we were blessed that everyone would be making the trip to help us celebrate.

Family is so important to us and I was lucky to have received several extra special pieces to wear on my wedding day to help remind me of them. The diamond in my engagement ring had belonged to Mike's great-grandmother and had made it's way to the United States from Cuba years before. Even more special is that it came from a pair of earrings and the other diamond is worn by my wonderful sister-in-law in her own engagement ring. Additionally, my something borrowed was a beautiful cameo ring given to my grandmother and then my mom on their own wedding day. With a tradition that began 77 years before, I couldn't wait to wear it (I may have also slipped it on my finger for the rehearsal just to get a feel for it!). Finally, my mom made my wedding veil, hopefully starting a new tradition in the family.

The actually day of the wedding could not have been more perfect. Of course the day began a little earlier for me then for Mike, with hair and makeup and breakfast with my mom, my bridesmaids, my sister and future sisters-in- law, but I think we both enjoyed the time with our closest family and friends. The morning was much calmer than I had anticipated and much of the time was spent relaxing, sharing stories, primping and drinking champagne. I had no nerves and was just ready to marry my best friend! With the hustle and bustle of the days leading up to the wedding Mike and I had spent very little time together and all I could think about was seeing him at the end of the aisle in only a few short hours. Since we opted out of doing a "first look" I couldn't wait for the moment when we caught each others eye as I walked arm in arm down the aisle with my dad (I was also slightly excited that our church had a very long aisle, so I could take my time).

While most of the wedding planning goes into the details of the reception, I have to admit that the ceremony was my favorite party. It was a time during the day that Mike and I had (almost) all to ourselves and a time where we could truly express our love and lifetime devotion to each other, while also being able to take a deep breathe and take in what was happening! Exchanging the rings and being announced as husband and wife are moments that I will truly never forget.

After the ceremony, the day flew by and our reception went by in a flash, just like everyone tells you. It was filled with lots of dancing, funny and heartfelt speeches by our family members and of course a lot of catching up with family and friends. Our goal was to have a party and I think that we succeeded.  By the end of the night I successfully had blisters on my feet and the bottom of my dress was more black than white from dancing for hours. I could not have imagined a more perfect day (Although I would be willing to throw an anniversary party with everyone year after year to compete for a more fun day!).

Our wedding will always live in our hearts as one of the best days of our lives. However, that special day took on an even more meaning when we arrived back from our honeymoon. Unfortunately, Mike's dad passed away very unexpectedly a little over a week from the big day. Now, even more than before, we treasure the pictures, memories and video of that day when everyone was together celebrating, dancing, laughing and enjoying themselves.  That day reminded us that we are lucky enough to have the most amazing people in our lives and to treasure each moment that we have together.

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