They are from two different sides of the earth and this past Saturday, friends and family from three different continents gathered to celebrate the marriage of Katie and John.
It was about ten years ago when they met. Katie, an athlete, was at the gym at her college in Minnesota playing basketball alone. John, from Ghana but in the states for college, was working security at the gym. After Katie arrived, John looked around. Everything at the gym seemed pretty secure ... so he decided it wouldn't be too much of a problem if he played a little basketball with the pretty girl alone on the court. They had seen each other around - working out, on the basketball courts, in the training room - but that game of one-on-one was the first time they had actually talked. Katie was immediately taken by his voice and his confidence (though his basketball skills could use a little work). John had never laughed so much on the court.
A simple game turned into an entire day, and that night they went dancing with friends. They danced together, inseparable, until the club closed. Years later, they remember that day as one of the best, ever.
Over the past decade a lot has happened. Together they have weathered the challenges of transitioning from college students, to graduates, to professionals. Transitioning from kids-in-love, to adults embracing the commitment of marriage. Ten years is a long time and Katie and John are grateful to still be standing, to still be together, and to have a love that is better than ever. This Saturday was filled with laughter and the love and support of friends and family from across the world. It was a day to celebrate the love of two people from two different sides of the earth.
And what a gorgeous day it was! John and Katie's wedding was the first I've shot in a FRONT yard. But I've never seen a front yard like this:
I love shooting weddings in homes. They have such a personal and intimate feel. This is Katie's parents' home in Paradise Valley and the mountain in the above shot is Camelback - the "Everest of Phoenix" I recently conquered. What a gorgeous place for a wedding!
Lucy, the family pet, was beyond adorable and narrowly escaped being kidnapped by me. I have a feeling her and Dixie would be best buds!
Katie was such a laid back bride. I loved how she took the whole day in and really treasured her relationships with family and friends. She and John are currently living in Ghana so her wedding was extra special because of the rare quality time spent with them.
Katie is a self-professed tomboy but she embraced being girly for the day and donned these sparkly Vera Wang flats:
Katie's parents gave her a special gift on her wedding day.
This gorgeous strand of pearls:
Love all these sweet moments:
Katie made a beautiful bride.
We spent some time before the guests arrived shooting portraits around the house and yard:
I love the look on John's face as he watched his bride walk down the aisle:
And the celebration when the pastor announced them husband and wife!
The guests travelled up the road a short distance to the Sanctuary on Camelback for the reception. Thanks to the amazing work of White House Flowers - also responsible for the linens, rentals and coordination - the ballroom was transformed into a winter wonderland:
The dance floor was customized with Katie and John's initials. I adore the linens. I almost wanted to snuggle them they looked so cozy.
The bar featuring Katie and John's names also lit up and changed colors:
The couple went over the top with favors for their guests. They gave them each a pair of converse sneakers to change into at the reception!
These were Katie & John's pairs customized special for them:
A few shots from the first dance:
I love that grandma and grandpa changed into their converse sneakers too!
And one last shot showing off both dancing fun AND the fun shoes :).