We've been getting to know Kim and Chris since the beginning of April 2016, so we've witnessed their difficulties in the past year and a half that they've faced with much strength. Kim had quit her job only to find she needed back surgery at the end of 2015. Prior to that Chris had planned a very romantic proposal at a winery down in Texas, but when it turned out that Kim was in so much back pain that they couldn't go on a trip to the winery, Chris went with the flow and proposed to Kim from the comfort of their own home. We were very touched by this since Chris had been excited about the winery proposal plan, but he clearly put Kim's needs first by proposing to her at home (no less romantic in our opinions)!
During the beginning of their engagement Kim's back surgery went well, so Kim began the job search. In the meantime the two carried on knowing that both of Kim's parents were suffering from cancer. During our first meeting in person Kim was beaming with excitement over her dress, but it was clear that it was a bittersweet excitement knowing that her mother was suffering. Tears were shed at our first meeting and we kept up with them throughout summer. When we finally made it to September and they came back up to Indiana from Texas for their Engagement Session they were hit with another couple blows: one being Kim's mother suffering from a stroke. It was all so overwhelming for them that we pushed their Engagement Session back to the next morning. When we got to their Engagement Session the next morning they asked that we keep the mood light and that we all joke around to try to distract a bit from the intense reality in their life. There was palpable emotional exhaustion (and physical exhaustion since it was sunrise), so the two of them goofed around throughout the session literally dancing and diving around. We were happy to laugh with them especially given the toughness that they were showing. Fast forward to this winter: We received the email we were dreading: Kim's mom had passed away during the first few days of February just months from their wedding date.
...Which takes us to July 1st, 2017. Kim kept it together all morning in her hot dog print button-up and golf skirt, but amidst the fun her mother was clearly present the entire day. When she was at the Morris Inn on Notre Dame's campus that morning she set her dress up in the window to photograph it and every time she went to capture an image of it she noticed a green dot in every image afterward. She took this as a sign that her mom was with her right from the start of her wedding day. Her dress also carried significance as she had a silver shamrock sewn into the pocket of her wedding dress as a token to remember her mother by.
Chris and all of the groomsmen were getting prepared for the day in a room on the other side of the Morris Inn. The greatest challenge faced by the groomsmen was attempting to tie a real bowtie. Most of the guys resorted to setting Youtube tutorials on repeat and desperately attempting to tie the bows correctly. Eventually one of them got the hang of it, and was recruited to make sure that all the bow ties were in perfect form. We also took advantage of the hotel and took a couple of minutes for a groomsmen photos at the large conference table in the room.
The women took a party bus over to the Basilica at Notre Dame in order to avoid running into Chris and the groomsmen (and were successful in avoiding them). When we arrived the Basilica was gorgeous as always. The grandiose classical architecture makes taking a bad photo nearly impossible. As we prepared for the ceremony to begin we all took our places and planned a couple of portraits to make the most of the few minutes we got in the Basilica following the ceremony. During the mass Kim and Chris also chose to take part in the optional "Mary Rose Adoration" ceremony which gave us an opportunity to capture a few images of them in the stunning architecture at the rear of the church.
After the mass we captured some photos of the bridal party and family inside the church before taking a photo of the full bridal party in front of the grotto behind the Basilica and then heading on to Morris Park Country Club! The bridal party had a few quick cocktail hour snacks since they hadn't eaten since the morning and then we moved on to finish up some formal photos.
We captured another photo of the bridal party as well as formal photos of the bridesmaids with Kim that we hadn't gotten to prior the ceremony, then it was time for everyone to be announced. Kim and Chris -true to their die hard Notre Dame fan style- were announced and did seven push-ups right then and there on the dance floor (as is traditional for every touchdown that Notre Dame makes during football season).
The reception moved right along, with the main events of cutting the cake, toasts, and first dances happening right away. Kim and her father shared an emotional dance to the song that her mother and father had danced to at their wedding. There was hardly a dry eye in the house as Kim's father shared a few memories of his late wife and the speeches centered around remembering Kim's mother.
After the open dance opened to their guests prior to sunset we took Kim and Chris out to a beautiful weeping willow we'd seen while volunteering at a Morris Park/ Humane Society event days earlier to catch some photos of the two of them together. It was a blast riding two golf carts out to the tree far out in the golf course especially when a dog similar in looks to Lassie darted up a hill and started chasing the happy couple. Chris utilized his expert driving skills to outmaneuver the dog and we all safely reached to great weeping willow where we intended to capture a few photos. Luckily all of the golfers had finished up for the day and we were able to have a few minutes to ourselves on the long stretches of the fairway.
The night concluded with the lighting of several sky lanterns. Before everyone in attendance was called to come send off a few lanterns at the end of the night, Kim, Chris, and Kim's father let off a single lantern in celebration of Kim's mothers life. Yet again it was another tearful and emotional few moments. Once this lantern had drifted off into the distance everyone else was invited to join in. The several dozen lanterns took a few minutes to light and send off, but the sight of all of the lanterns ascending off into the night was a fitting end to the day.
Congratulation again to you two, Kim and Chris! Now that things are official you can breath a sigh of relief and enjoy the rest of your lives together. We're glad to have been invited to help document the memories of your journey together and wish you the best!