Just five years ago on a southern plantation in Alabama, two hearts were joined in unending love under a pecan tree as Jessie and Eric exchanged vows among their friends and family. Their lives have been a whirlwind of change since that August day, but the journey has brought them closer and made them stronger.
Jessie and Eric are so much of what I admire. I can hardly believe I only just met them. Already I am so grateful for their friendship and their influence in my life. They are both refreshingly witty, hilariously fun, and ceaselessly supportive. Fellow photographers, Jessie and Eric Stevens (of Simply Jessie Photography) are such an incredible example of what a true partnership is- not only in business, but in their marriage. Their love is deeply inspiring and so very real. And their talent astounds me. So when I heard they were planning a vow renewal ceremony in the woods of Michigan, I was both excited AND nervous to be shooting with Jaclyn Simpson to capture their special ceremony.
Mosquitoes swarmed, cicadas buzzed and the air was thick with summer’s humidity, but nothing could detract from the tender moments Jessie and Eric shared. They stood under a canopy of trees, styled by Kelly of Fleur with ribbon, lace and twine, as they renewed the vows they had spoken to one another five years ago. “I promise to love you, honor you, comfort you…I promise to pray for you and pray with you, to live with you in an understanding way, to grant you honor…” were among some of the powerful words they read from the beautiful stationery created for them by Suzy of Lily Red Design. Jessie’s bouquet was made with cotton (to remind them of their wedding day), thistle (from the song she walked down the aisle to), rosemary, oak leaf hydrangea, acorns and billy balls and finished delicately with twine, for that’s how Eric had proposed. Kelly spared nothing in gorgeously crafting their arrangements to be abundant with symbolism…just one of the many reasons I ADORE her work. A few personal touches of their own- the Persian rug that was given as a wedding gift from Jessie’s parents, a basket with their wedding album and mementos from the last five years, and a ceramic jar with thoughtful sayings to one another- added even more significance to their ceremony. And to work with Jaclyn again? I couldn’t have asked for more! Jaclyn is one of the people I most love shooting with because she is so sensitive to the dynamics of each couple, amazingly creative, and truly just so much fun to be around. She brilliantly captured the essence of their vow renewal and I was thrilled to romp around with her, Jessie, Eric and Kelly through the fields of Michigan. As much as I love city life, there is something so rejuvenating about the countryside! After enjoying some of the glowy evening light, Jessie and Eric continued their celebration with a small picnic- their favorite wine and beer, small sandwiches of tomato, basil and mozzarella, and decadent pecan tarts. Suzy’s menus and a few other paper pieces beautifully accented their treats.
Jessie looked simply stunning in her slate and silver dress. A friend of hers made a custom hairpiece to suit the occasion.
And Eric was quite strapping in his rolled khakis with suspenders and a boutonniere of billy balls and cotton, courtesy of Kelly.
Jessie and Eric, thank you so very much for allowing me to be a part of your anniversary celebration. I feel so very honored. I have nothing but love and respect for you both, and wish you many more years of love and learning!! It was a blessing to collaborate once again with Jaclyn and Kelly and to photograph Suzy’s work for the first time. We are thrilled that Eric and Jessie’s picnic and vow renewal was recently featured by Ami Price of the inspirational wedding site, Elizabeth Anne Designs. She told their story beautifully and went all out with the photos! Also be sure to check out the phenomenal posts by the rest of the crew, including Jessie, herself!