Jill is a woman with a story to tell. One of heartbreak and joy, loss and love, brokenness and redemption. It’s real, and it’s beautiful. She has a keen mind and a caring soul. I remember her in college as the girl every boy wanted to take home to their mothers, & a young woman that her female peers looked up to. A level-headed beauty with everything lined up much earlier than the rest of us (a good job, a fine home, strong community), we all were surprised and excited to hear Jill was moving to teach English in Korea. She had an adventure ahead… more than anyone could ever begin to realize. As with many adventures, there were unexpected twists and turns. Jill stuck it out through the hardships. She committed herself to the madness of the unknown, as well as the daunting task of documenting this part of her story. Through her blog, we all were able to watch (and squirm, and cheer, and laugh) as this new life unfolded.
Slowly but surely, a young man by the name of Aaron became a running character in this foreign story. This new man was a wonderful compliment to Jill’s personality. Adventurous, artistic, and attentive… he looked like he could shake her up or hold her steady, depending on what was needed more at the moment. We watched as over time, he evolved from the energetic friend to a tender & cherished loved one. It was like watching the tension build between your favorite fictional characters, and you read anxiously waiting for that moment that they finally will be together… but better, because this was real life, and these people both deserved the happiness they brought to each others lives.
When they announced they were together, I sighed. When they announced they were engaged, I squealed. When Jill contacted me and asked if I would photograph the wedding… I did a dance worthy of an NFL Touchdown. These two are special. Their story is one brimming with joy and promise. Their love is one that reminds us all that, often, the random detours life forces us to take are really leading us to where we needed to be all along.
Meet Jill & Aaron:
This sweet, intimate, homemade wedding took place in Aaron’s hometown of Black Mountain, North Carolina. Southern charm and personal details infiltrated every part of the day. Jill and Sarah (her maid of honor), spent the morning of the wedding getting ready at the adorable Red Rocker Inn, which was located just across the street from the (family owned) private residence where the wedding was to take place. Other than a few emotional tears that escaped when Aaron snuck a note to his bride, Jill spent the morning serene, sharing happy stories and hopes for the future. Even when her zipper busted moments before we were scheduled for portraits, she simply kept smiling while Sarah sewed her back into the dress with fishing wire. It was a moment that all of us will surely never forget. Ladies, this is prime example of why it’s important to schedule in buffers… and to remember that everything will work out fine… because it does.
Aaron & Jill are budding photographers, so they put a high priority on their portraits! I was thrilled when they chose to do a first look, allowing everyone to relax and enjoy the time. Our original idea included multiple locations, but since Jill’s zipper had other plans, we chose to stay nearby. Thankfully, there was beauty around every corner, so we had this lush, woodsy location just outside the inn to work with. Sorry Kermit… sometimes it is easy being green.
Oh… did I mention that the ring bearer was Aaron’s childhood pet? That’s right. A Ring Pooch, wearing a bow tie. Someone had to pinch me. Cash got along swimmingly with the flower girls, who were equally adorable.
Their ceremony was beautiful and very personal… just as it should be. It was touching to see so many people together who also had followed their love story over the years. Subtle, tender moments were sprinkled throughout this special time. The hand of the best man, squeezing his dear friends shoulder while Jill walked up the aisle. Sarah’s giggly grin while the officiant addressed some facts that the blog readers may have missed. The tears in Jill’s eyes as she and Aaron turned to face those dearest in their life, and watched those people agree to stand beside them. Also, the delight… oh, the overwhelming elation as they were announced husband & wife. It was exquisite.
Excuse me, Mr. & Mrs. Osteen. How do you say “ridiculously good looking” in Korean? You might want to learn.
I was absolutely blown away with the details of the wedding, especially because this was planned from halfway around the world. Jill designed, crafted, and set up nearly everything you will see here. This goes beyond a few painted signs or ribbons & burlap (which she also did)… I was especially impressed by the more unique ideas that came to life through her hands. Personalized coloring books for the children. Custom sewn chopstick holders. Wedding photos from multiple generations of families… all still happily married. I also would like to note the floral arrangements. Sarah made the bouquets, and she & I arranged all of the centerpieces. The hydrangea was… acquired… on an old backwoods road. The rest came from the local supermarket. If you have the will, there’s a way to pull off a professionally styled wedding on a budget! Fabulous job Jillers. Please send me your card when you go into event planning.
The toasts provided plenty of tears, laughter, and even a few surprises. Highlights: for me, it was definitely when the old family dog, with superb timing, came panting to the front to “assist” the best man with his speech, just as the toast was touching on lifelong loyalty. For everyone else, the unforgettable moment came in the hands of a childhood friend, who produced a pair of Aaron’s 8 year old underoos, complete with an MC Hammer quote sprawled across in childish handwriting… that brought down the house. Also, it was Sarah’s birthday, so we were given one more reason to celebrate!
The rest of the evening was a blend of wild frivolity and quiet quality time. The newlyweds joined the long standing tradition of a wedding parade, complete with signs, instruments and lights. Upon return, guests played cornhole, stuffed their faces with drool-worthy desserts, and passed on their best wishes to the happy couple. Conversations grew deep and lingered into the wee hours… just as Jill dreamed they would. As the night drew to a close, Aaron whisked Jill to their honeymoon suite, pulling her down the road in a little red wagon, surrounded by high fives, cheers, teary good byes, and beaming grateful faces.
Congratulations Jill & Aaron!
Thank you so much for your hospitality, your generosity, and your sweet love. I will never forget your wedding. Thank you so much for letting me be so involved, with the photography, and everything else. I can’t wait to continue to follow your story as it unfolds. Please come to Boston soon, so I can photograph your beautiful faces again. Looking forward to 2013 when we care share life together in the same time zone. Love you both, so much!
Photography by: Briana Moore Photography
Hair & Make Up by Melissa Deboer
Brides’s Dress: BCBG
Caterer: El Kimchi