"They say when you meet the love of your life, time stops. And that is true." - Big Fish
The scene opens under a big top, a circus is in full swing when the lead male figure in the movie "Big Fish" sees the love of his life for the first time. He is so enamored by this woman that the hustle and bustle of the circus freezes while the popcorn that she is holding... well, it floats. (See scene here.)
Tyler has hung on to that scene and jokingly shared with friends that until the "popcorn floats" he would wait on getting married. "Lofty standards", some may say.
Then Kennedy walked in, time stopped - the popcorn floated.
Their story is a whirlwind romance, unconventional and a bit wild, and their wedding at the "Dwell Hotel" in Chattanooga, TN couldn't have been a better backdrop.
Their day started in the woods - just the two of them. (Not even the photographer was invited to this party!) They both have dreamed of marrying in the woods, and though there was no "formal" exchange of vows... two beautiful souls stood behind a giant oak tree, vows in hand, tears on cheeks and committed themselves to one another. It wasn't about the charades and the production, it was about a mutual promise, about one another.
After a while, they emerged together and we took a few quick portraits before heading off to their wedding together. (Our ride back over consisted of a quick practice session of a song they would conclude their ceremony with. It was the most fun I have ever had being a third wheel! ;)
An intimate ceremony of 50 people gathered around tables with fine food and laughter. Minutes later, Kennedy and Tyler appeared at the top of a large staircase. After a beautiful speech by Kennedy's dad, they commenced the evening by sharing their story. For many, this was the first time hearing their journey. By the end of them sharing, there was hardly a dry eye. My eye cups on my cameras had puddles of their very own!
As dinner was served, one after another, influential people in the couple's life got up to speak wisdom, share in HYSTERICAL stories, and encourage the couple. We took a brief break to squeeze the last few minutes of sunlight and grab a group shot of ... well, you guessed it. "Floating popcorn!" (Swooooon)
We came back in, finished speeches and after everyone was full, there came time to officially commit their lives to one another. Promises were made, and then communion and worship ensued. It was unlike anything I have yet to see in this lifetime. The spirit of God fell on the room and people began speaking prophetic words over the lives of these two. There was joy-filled weeping and laughter. A subtle peace blanketed the room.
Finally, a blessing was spoken over the couple and the two sealed the deal in a steamy kiss. Then, to everyone's surprise (though not mine!) they grabbed mics and sang a song which perfectly described their love to one another. Everyone couldn't stop clapping and cheering.
Oh, and the parting gift? TATOOS. You read that right. Guests had the option of getting the word "Dwell" tattooed pretty much anywhere! Whaaaaaaat?!
In full Kennedy and Tyler fashion, the wedding was perfectly imperfect. No formal aisles, throwing of the bouquet, first dances or cake smashes but yet - perfect. It was a highlight in my career for many reasons and I couldn't be happier for the two leading roles.
They reinstate hope to anyone out there waiting, holding out and keeping lofty standards that this God we serve is fully capable and willing to give us beyond what we could ever ask for, think of or imagine.
He can even make the popcorn float.