We recently flew to Ord Nebraska to photograph the wedding of one of my dear friends Kellie (who also happens to be an incredible photographer herself) to her awesome fiance, Justin. This wedding was filled with classic glamour, lots of laughter, lots of tears, and so many inside jokes and stories I don’t even know where to start. It even ended with a surprise firework display in the parking lot!
As usual, we asked Kellie a few of the “big questions”, so we’ll let her begin.
We have crossed paths several times, we later found out, but it wasn’t until Justin’s niece Abby had her graduation party that we finally saw one another.
Mom and I took Abby’s senior pictures, and Abby helped out around the holidays at the studio. She also dates our manager’s, Ronda’s son, Shane. Naturally, when it came time for graduation, Ab invited me to her party. Only it was in Ord, and it was the same day as Burwell’s graduation. I had several parties here in town, so I really didn’t want to drive all the way to Ord. Not to mention, the weather was crappy! So I called Ronda and asked her to take my gift over to Abby. I was on my way to another party when she called to tell me she forgot it! But, she convinced me to make the drive because there was an open bar and margarita station…..it had been a long week, so what the heck? I left another party and followed Shane to Ord….in a hail storm.
Thankfully, I made it out with no visible damage, but planned to stay just long enough for one marg so I didn’t get caught in bad weather again. I knew four people at the party….Abby, her mom Jen, her step-dad Tom, and Shane. I did see Amy Hughes across the room….I know her from the City offices when I go in to pay my absurdly large electric bill every month, so there was that. But I said hello to Ab and Tom and Jen, ate my cheesecake, drank my drink, and prepared to leave. The sky was getting dark and ominous again, so I was anxious to get on the road. I went to say goodbye to Jen, and we took a minute to talk about Abby’s photos. I had my hand on the door to leave and then I heard it – more hail! Cringing, I just KNEW my car was going to get it this time. Jen told me there was nothing I could do now, and to go get a drink.
I went and sat down at the bar next to Amy, and Justin was tending bar. Amy and I started chatting about my “haunted” house, and Justin joined the conversation. Before too long, it was just him and I talking (or so it seemed), and we realized we had a ton in common. I asked him how old he was and he wouldn’t answer me. Of course, then I just HAD to know. Finally, I asked how old he thought I was, and he said, “23.” Naturally, I fell in love with him instantly!! Any guy who thinks you’re a decade younger than you are is the one, right?! LOL! I was definitely interested in him….I even called my mom from the bathroom to tell her I’d found a really awesome guy! We realized we were both in our 30’s, never married, no kids, and had lived away in a city for several years before moving back home to Ord and Burwell, respectively. So basically, he was a unicorn! I was hoping he’d ask for my number, and he did. I left (late….very late), and before I walked in my door, he was texting me.
I fell asleep well after midnight, phone in hand, texting him. His phone had died, so he texted me the next day and we never quit. Oddly enough, I woke up with the flu (thanks, Peyten), and the next day, he sent me red roses. He was leaving for Colorado for a week and a half, so we set our first date for the day after he got home. We couldn’t wait…..I think he got home on Wednesday at 3, and by 6, I was at his house and we were finally talking in person! I don’t even think we ate dinner, just sat at the bar in his kitchen talking for hours. The next night, we went to the Sandstone, and he wore a shirt with cufflinks….which I definitely noticed! I knew he was very different from the guys around here, and different from anyone I’d ever dated.
That weekend, he was in and officiating his friend Chico’s wedding. I went up to meet his friends the night before, and we had a campfire while we chatted. That was the night he said he loved me for the first time….not even two weeks since we met! But I knew I was in love with him too. I’ve never believed in love at first sight, but within 3o minutes or so of meeting Justin, I knew he was the one I was going to marry. It was surreal….but perfect.
Good things really do come to those who wait!
Well there isn’t much else to say. Kellie said it almost perfectly. The night of Abby’s graduation I did see her walking over to where I was standing and I did think wow who is this gorgeous woman? I was hoping she was coming to sit down and sure enough she was. I felt an instant connection to her like I’ve never felt in my life. One inaccuracy in her version though is before she left she asked for my phone number! (Ask my Uncle Lex ). I was very excited to talk with her more and get to know her.
Like she said I left for Colorado that next week and we non stop talked and texted every night for hours. I felt like I knew her better than any girl I’ve ever dated and knew she was totally sincere and a genuine great person When I got back to Nebraska she joined me at my friends Chico and Ashley’s wedding reception and I was ecstatic she was there with me. I was talking to my cousin Zeke that night and I told him, this is the girl I am going to marry. That next week I talked to Casey, Randy, Nate, Winston and several other friends and told them the same thing. I’ve never been that sure about anything in my life and they could tell I meant it with the tone of my voice and the look in my eye that I had found the absolute love of my life.
We had custom-ordered our ring, so we knew it was coming….but he still wanted to surprise me. The day it came in, he put it in his pocket and came to Burwell. We picked up my (at the time) 5-year-old niece from Kindergarden, and I was busy working while he hung out with Peyten. They asked me to come outside….it took a bit, as I was, as usual, trying to do 500 things. He finally got me out to the backyard at my house, and told Peyten to show me where she wanted her swingset. She pointed to a spot, and we went and stood there. Then she pointed to another spot, and I turned around to look. When I turned back around (mostly to ask WHY THE HECK he told Peyten we’d get her a swingset!!), Justin was down on one knee! I was so excited (and blinded by the ring, which came out even more beautiful than we ever expected!), I don’t know if I even said yes! But that was it…Oct. 7, 2017. We hung out the rest of the night and started planning the wedding.
Justin grew up golfing on the course and has many fond memories there. Its a beautiful course that’s over 100 years old, so Kellie thought it would look great in photos as well!
Bride and mom made all centerpieces, Dad helped make ceremony arch and backdrops at the reception.
Also, fun fact – if any of you follow rodeo – the officiant was none other than Stran Smith!
Ready for the awesome vendor team of this vintage glam wedding?