The Murrays. They're my kinda people. Kind, hilarious, and so incredibly loved by a massive community that showed up for one of the largest, most FUN weddings I've ever been a part of. Kenzi and Evan are both from tiny hometowns, one in the panhandle and one in west Texas, and about 800 of both towns' residents descended upon Rowena, Texas for one heck of a celebration.
After a beautiful Catholic ceremony that included a minor mishap with the rings (don't worry, they were found and everyone laughed), the couple serving communion to their loved ones, and heartfelt prayers, they headed to the reception hall down the road. It's a wedding tradition in Nazareth, where Evan grew up, that the bride gets pushed up the town's only hill in a wagon, wheelbarrow, or something of the sort, by her new husband. Every time they stop, it's another future child! We didn't have a hill, but we did have a wheelbarrow and a sweltering hot few hundred yards to cover and I'm pretty sure the Murrays will be having about 7 kids at this point.
The hall had been completely transformed from a family life center into a boho garden-inspired venue, complete with an ivy-lined trellis. It was truly amazing to see how everyone from the town contributed to the wedding in some way, just out of the goodness of their hearts. Men cooked steaks - yes, steaks - for every single guest. Women served in the buffet line and poured tea and cut cake after cake after cake. Family friends worked tirelessly for a week before the wedding decorating the space so that it was almost unrecognizable, in the most beautiful way. I'd been to a wedding in this very church hall almost 8 years ago as a guest, but it was so cool to see the behind the scenes from a photographer's perspective. Small town weddings are truly amazing, and this small town is extra special.
One of my favorite parts of the day - the only time I've ever cried at a wedding - was when McKenzi read her letter from Evan. She bawled. She just kept saying, "He's the best. I'm so thankful. I get to marry the man I've prayed for my whole life!" The tears started again when her Godmother walked up, wrapped her in a hug and said "See Kenz, I told you it'd be worth the wait." AMEN. When it was time to take a few bride and groom portraits as the sun set, I asked the them how they felt about taking photos on main street. They were down, and I'm so glad they trusted my idea. Since everyone in town was at the wedding, the street was pretty deserted and made for SUCH a cool backdrop that means something to this couple with small town Texas roots. I'm in love with how their photos turned out!