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Sometimes love reaches out and surprises you. For Brad and Donita, a shared heart for helping others was only a small part of their initial attraction to one another. Brad is the medical director and lead physician at a Fort Smith area rehabilitation hospital -  helping patients who are recovering from recent surgeries literally get back on their feet. Dr. Short is very respected in his field, and judging by how his staff adores him, he's a pretty great guy to work for. Donita is the case manager for the hospital, and when these two met, something pretty special happened.

Donita talks about Brad so lovingly, calling him her rock and her best friend. She told me about how Brad had always been there for her, and that he was her confidant and caring advisor in difficult times. While she thought Brad only saw her as a friend, eventually co-workers convinced her that he was really in love with her, and the rest took care of itself with time. When Brad asked Donita to marry him, she knew that joining their families, their homes, and their lives fully through the bond of matrimony was the best gift she could ask for.  

It is so obvious how close Donita and Brad are to their families, as both sets of kids were very involved in every aspect of the wedding - from creating the cornucopias of rose petals for their send-off, to making up the majority of the bridal party. Hannah helping her mom into her dress and shoes was incredibly sweet to watch, and then Zach escorting his mom down the aisle brought back memories of my own wedding, when my daughter did the same for me. Brad's daughter Lindsey was super fun to talk to - the kind of girl Sa'dia and I could hang out with IRL. And Ben shares his dad's wry sense of humor and smile. I loved listening to his toast!

These two have so many great friends. I'm pretty sure the entire staff of HealthSouth was in attendance, and you can tell these nurses and other medical professionals have such an amazing bond. David, Donita's BFF, served as a groomsman and was hanging out with us almost all day. What a charmer! Not only was his toast sentimental and sweet, he's also the life of the party! At the end of the day, Donita changed into her going-away outfit, and afterwards David had the chance to pull Donita aside to "dance-it-out" to Pink before she escaped to her weekend honeymoon. I was lucky enough to be in the room packing up my gear when this happened, resulting in some fun candid photos!

Brad and Donita's wedding day was absolutely perfect. But most of all, the way that Brad looks at Donita, and how her face lights up whenever their eyes meet shows the nature of their love for one another. It was an honor getting to know these two, as well as their friends and family on that day, and the Bonneville house was a gracious and romantic setting for their beautiful wedding. I wish them so much happiness in the years to come!

Venue: The Bonneville House

Wedding Coordinator: Debbra Severson - Events by Debbra

Florist and Decor: Debbra Severson - Events by Debbra

Associate Photographer: Sa'dia-Luallen-Blattert

Bride's Makeup: Deanna Ferguson

Cake: Confectionately Yours



From the beginning...

flyover photography

On Carey and Aaron's wedding day, we were graced with an unseasonably warm and sunny February afternoon. Even more miraculous, Carey and her mom, Jamie, were able to plan an entire wedding in 51 days! Aaron had decided to enlist in the Navy, and while the couple had been engaged for several months, they decided to bump up their wedding date so that they could have their celebration before he had to leave for boot camp.

Carey met Aaron through mutual friends a few years ago, and he proved to be a loyal and caring boyfriend. When Carey's dad Bill passed away two years ago due to cancer, Aaron knew her grief, as he had lost his own dad as well. He was strong and steadfast, and Carey knew that he would be the kind of man she could count on. 

During a beach vacation with her family, a series of funny events happened which would lead up to the best day of Carey's life. Her nephew accidentally clotheslined himself while playing, leading to a massive bloody nose. Everyone else in her family was completely freaked out by the blood, but Carey - being a nursing student - kept her cool and saved the day with her medical skills.

As she and Aaron were walking along the shore with her family later, a beach wedding was going on. Carey mused out loud - as we girls often do when we are dropping hints - "That will never be me." (P.S. I did the same thing to my husband the day he proposed.) 

Hilariously, just a few moments later, Carey's family lined up as if they were going to take a family picture, and Aaron dropped to one knee in the sand - presenting Carey with the most gorgeous rose gold ring. There was surprised laughter, tears, and cheers of congratulations. And of course she said yes!

Family and their hometown friends are really important to this couple, so they decided to have their ceremony at their home church, surrounded by all of the people that they had grown up with. One of the things I love the most about a wedding day is how everyone pitches in to make things wonderful and memorable for the bride and groom. From the scrapbook full of Instax photos that Carey's bridesmaids put together for her, to the way her aunt quickly repaired a small tear on the lining of Carey's dress before pictures, it was wonderful to see how much love and dedication this couple inspires in those around them.

Carey's grandfather gave her away in his son's place - wearing shoes that had belonged to her dad. Carey's Cherokee heritage is an important part of her life, and from the toast that her sister gave at the wedding, to the traditional clothing that her grandpa wore, honoring their Native American heritage was a big part of the day. Remembering both fathers with memorial tables on the altar was another way that Carey and Aaron displayed their devotion to family. Carey even had a commemorative bouquet charm made with a picture of she and her dad  - and all of her sisters and her mom wore charm bracelets containing her father's ashes. Bill was very much there in spirit as his little girl said her vows. 

Seeing the way that Aaron and Carey look at one another, and feeling the amount of patience, understanding, and commitment they have was so touching to witness as their photographer. Even though being a military family can have its challenges, Carey is so proud of Aaron, and excited for him to fulfill his dreams. These two have what it takes to make the sacrifices and meet the difficulties of military service. This Sunday, Aaron left for training, and while there were tearful goodbyes, there was also a lot of pride and excitement for the future.

Carey and Aaron deserve all the best in life, and I am so honored that I got to be a part of their day. I had so much fun working alongside my friends Jeannie and Sa'dia to create memories that will last a lifetime for this wonderful couple and their families. 

Thanks for having us, Carey and Aaron! God bless you.

Venue: Riverton Friends Church, Galena Elks Lodge

Cinematography: Flyover Films LLC

Second Photographer: Jeannie Huff