But First- The Engagement Story.
This Memorial Day Weekend I was blessed to be a part of a wonderful couples love story. I was able to photograph their gorgeous wedding at the Waldeck Mansion in Crestwood, KY.
When Ariel first met with me about wedding photography (something I do with all my couples to be sure were are a good fit for one another) it was in October of 2020. We sat down at Starbucks together and went over the details and expectations she had for her special day. A day she had been dreaming about since she was a little girl. The first thing I always ask is, “How did he propose!?!” Because who doesn’t like to hear an amazing proposal story!!! I was shocked when she told me, “Well…..he hasn’t proposed yet…” I am not going to lie, I was a little worried that she was already booking a wedding photographer and she was not engaged yet, but after sitting down and talking to her about Philip, how they met, the sweet things he has done for her, and how they were raising his daughter together, I knew I had nothing to worry about. She told me she knew he was planning on proposing, she just did not know when he was going to. She already had booked the venue- Waldeck Mansion. It was her dream venue and she was so relieved she was able to book it even before getting engaged!!
Fast forward to March. I was so excited when I received a Facebook message from Philip letting me know he was planning on proposing soon! He had made plans to propose earlier in the year, but it didn’t work out how he wanted. So- he was onto plan B. And he was wanting ME to be there for the proposal to capture the whole thing!! How lucky am I!?! I suggested taking her to her dream venue that she was in love with and proposing there. I messaged the event coordinator at the venue (who was so very nice and accommodating). We made a plan and set the schedule. We were ready to rock! I sent Philip a Style Guide to try to help him prep himself and Ariel for the proposal. I didn’t think she would want to be proposed to yoga pants and a sweatshirt at her dream venue. So, I told him to try his hardest to get her to dress up!! Well- easier said than done, but he did it!! He convinced her to wear a dress.
I show up to the venue a little early to pick out the perfect spot. He had mentioned some trees that she really liked. Of course, it’s Kentucky and March. So it’s like 20 degrees out. And most of the trees had no leaves or anything on them- but I still found a spot and sat behind some bushes waiting for them to arrive. Philip had been there earlier in the day and laid out roses all over different spots because he was not 100% sure where he would propose, but he was definitely ready wherever that may be!
When they both arrived, they walked over towards where I was. Ariel still had no idea I was there. It was cold and I could not help but laugh when I heard her say to Philip, “Why did you make me wear a dress?? I would have been much more comfortable in my yoga pants. It’s so cold out here!!” After walking around for a few minutes and making eye contact with me, Philip dropped to one knee and Ariel turned around with the most excited, most ecstatic, joyful look at her face.
Of course, we could not finish the surprise proposal without popping some champagne that they were finally engaged!! Woo hoo!! Its March and they were getting married in May!! So, better late than never!!!
Fast forward to the end of May. Another chilly day in the beautiful bluegrass state of Kentucky. But no better day for these two to tie the knot and become husband and wife. The venue was gorgeous, just like Ariel had dreamed of. Her dress was absolutely stunning. The bridesmaids were beautiful. And Philip and his groomsmen, I mean, they looked alright too. 😉 The whole day was filled with laughter and joy. Their friends and family were so nice and helpful.
I think my favorite part of the day was the surprise Ariel had for her soon to be step daughter, Kayleigh. After doing the first look with Ariel and Philip we had Kayleigh come out and Ariel surprised her with a gorgeous necklace with her name, her birth stone, the wedding date, and it read, “Today I tell your Dad “I do” and I promise you forever too.” Ariel also read a vow to Miss Kayleigh that was the sweetest letter a mother could write her child. To my surprise, she only teared up a few times. It was such a special moment for Ariel, Philip, and Kayleigh to have together, alone, before the wedding. I was so blessed to be able to capture that for them. They have always been a family, of course, but this was sealing the deal. This was making it forever. For the 3 of them.
After the ceremony, the whole night was filled with dancing, more jokes and laughing, and so much love. It was absolutely a dream come true day.
To Philip & Ariel-
Thank you so much for allowing me to be a part of your day. You are both so lucky to have friends and family that love you all as much as they do and were out on the dance floor with you, dancing the night away! I loved it!!! You are so blessed to have found one another. You are both so sweet, kind and loving, smart and so much more. Don’t stop and don’t ever change. There are so many things to be discouraged about or find negative in todays world. But I know you two, together, will always remain positive, through the ups and down, the good times and the bad times. Ariel and Philip are forever.
God bless you both!! Congratulations on this new adventure together, the two of you with Kayleigh. It was such a pleasure to get to document the first day of you all becoming the Holzknechts. Party of 3. I am so excited to share these special moments from your special day. I hope you enjoy a few of these sneak peaks from your wedding day!
June 2, 2021