Let's start at the beginning...
Laura and Jeff have the kind of love that shows in everything they do. When I met with them over coffee a couple of months ago, they immediately made me feel comfortable and at ease. They were so gracious and kind, and I could see how strong their bond was when Jeff told me about how much his children, Emma and Elijah, have come to love Laura. Seeing her eyes soften as Jeff talked about his kids, their faith, and how important Laura had become to him in just a few months of dating, I was swept up in their love story.
Jeff first met Laura on an online Ft. Worth hiking meet-up group. Laura had grown up hiking in Northwest Arkansas, and after moving to Texas to build her career, she continued her lifelong hobby. The group had organized a hiking trip one summer weekend, but when Jeff and Laura arrived to the site, they discovered that they were the only ones who had actually shown up! There's no better way to get to know someone than on a hiking or canoe trip (MO/ARK people, you know this is true!) and as they walked and the conversation flowed effortlessly, Jeff knew he had to see this girl with the flashing blue eyes and beautiful smile again.
There were many more dates and hiking trips after that. By fall, Jeff knew he couldn't let Laura go. He proposed in November, and they quickly set upon planning for their April wedding date.
April 9th began with beautiful sunshine, and while that changed to an unexpected rain shower right after their first look, Jeff and Laura weren't stressed at all. Nothing could diminish their happiness.
The details of their day were full of meaning - from the family mementos that Laura carried in a pocket sewn into the lining of her dress, to the words that Laura's sister Jill wrote for her toast. The elegant ceremony was full of sweet moments - including readings of the letters they had written to one another in the weeks leading up to the wedding. I couldn't help but cry along with Jeff as Laura promised to honor and love his children.
As the night went on, the sounds of toasts, dancing and celebration rung through the reception hall. Laura and Jeff have cultivated many friendships over the years, and seeing how well-loved they are was a testimony to their character.
Before their grand send-off, we pulled Laura and Jeff out for night portraits. I noticed Laura removing her shoes as we walked back afterward. I asked her if she had flip-flops to change into, and she just smiled at me coyly and said, "I'm an Arkansas girl."
And so, after many hugs and well-wishes, the barefoot beauty from Arkansas and her Texas gentleman walked through a spray of lavender petals and sped off toward their happily-ever-after.
Thank you Jeff and Laura for being everything that true love should be.
Venue: St. Anthony's on the Creek
Catering: Simply Divine NWA
Cake: Rick's Bakery
Florist: ZuZu's Petals
Bride's Hairstyle: LUXE Arkansas
Associate Photographer: Sa'dia Luallen-Blattert