Despite jokes to the contrary, a blind date can sometimes be the best thing to ever happen to two people. Miranda and Jesse met back in 2012 after being set up by her aunt and uncle, who thought the exuberant and playful Jesse would be a perfect match for their thoughtful, book-loving niece. While their first date started off with dinner and ended with Jesse falling asleep in a movie theater, these two were meant to be, and were soon spending every spare moment together. Jesse proposed last year by handing Miranda the keys to his brand new home (along with the ring!) She didn't notice the ring on the keyring until Jesse dropped down on one knee to propose!

Jesse and Miranda's wedding day was blessed with a beautiful blue sky and lots of sunshine. From the moment I arrived at Miranda's parent's home to photograph her bridal preparation, I was embraced and made to feel welcome. Her mother and father as well as her aunts, cousins, and grandparents surrounded her all day - bestowing Miranda with gifts, hugs, and helping in any way they could. I felt like part of the family.

Documenting the "getting ready" portion of the day is my very favorite part of being a wedding photographer. Anticipation and excitement hovers in the air, and there is an endearing nostalgia to the traditions surrounding marriage that make for great candid moments. This is the time of the day when you hear stories about family members who have gone but are still remembered - where heirlooms are lovingly passed between hands both young and old. Miranda's mom and I shared some thoughts (and some tears) about little girls growing up as we spoke of the mementos in the bridal suite Miranda had carefully planned - including her great-grandmother's pearls, and her grandmother Connie's brooches, which sparkled in her bouquet. Connie's Bible also played a role in their ring ceremony later that day. Faith and family are important to Jesse and Miranda.

The bond between Miranda and her family was made especially clear to me during her first look with her dad. Being a daddy's girl myself, I got a little choked up as I watched her dad prepare to let his little girl take her final steps away from childhood and into being a married woman with a family of her own. I love first looks with a bride's parents - it is easily one of the most emotional moments of the day. 

I left Miranda to go to the Round Barn to meet Jesse and his groomsmen. When I arrived, the venue had been decorated in a beautiful rustic vintage vibe - with homespun details in shades of blush pink and Tiffany blue, antique milk glass, and of course - lots of books!

Miranda had entrusted me with her gift to Jesse - a memory book and a pair of socks wrapped up with a cute note from his soon-to-be wife. I really enjoyed watching him laugh as he read her words, and I could tell that Jesse had the farthest thing from cold feet!

After joking around with Jesse and his best friends Ajay and Aaron as they finished up with their dapper details, the anticipation for Miranda's arrival grew more heightened. The groomsmen kept stealing nervous glances out the window, watching for the ladies to arrive. Finally, with much excitement, the beautiful bride and her entourage arrived, and it was time for Miranda and Jesse's first look.

First looks are wonderful for many reasons, but mostly because it's a special time for the bride and groom to see one another away from everyone else, and to talk about all the things they are feeling before their ceremony. I use a long lens and stay as far away as possible - to make the couple more comfortable yet still be able to capture those moments of surprise and awe as a groom sees his bride for the very first time.

The rest of the day was a flurry of activity as all weddings are - frolicking flower girls, a meaningful ceremony performed by Miranda and Jesse's pastor, heartfelt speeches, and sentimental parent dances. Jesse's grandparents were the last ones standing during the longest-married dance, and it was very sweet to see how crowded the dance floor was late into the evening. 

At the end of the night, the happy couple made their way to the getaway car amid the glow of sparklers and well-wishes of their family and friends. The new husband and wife sped off to their honeymoon in a shiny black Mustang, waving and smiling to the crowd. It was the perfect ending to a perfect day.

On their wedding day, it was plain to see that Miranda and Jesse are loved by all who know them - from little children to feisty great-aunts, and now admittedly - their wedding photographer. Congratulations, you two. Your love for each other made my job easy. I wish you every happiness!

Venue: The Round Barn on Clear Creek

Wedding Coordinators: Sheri Perkins and Renee Textor

Catering: Rick's Smoked Meat & Catering

Cake: Beth's Bake Shoppe

DJ: Courageous Productions

Photography Support: Sa'dia Luallen-Blattert