Josiah and Danielle

I don't even know how to begin this post...there's so much to say! The story of how this all came to be deserves telling, but I'm not sure I can express just how cool it was. But here goes anyways.

Josiah and Danielle are two of the most gracious, kind, genuine, generous, selfless, and beautiful individuals I have had the pleasure of meeting. When I say that God brought them into my lives in a very direct way, I do mean that very literally. I got an email one day from a girl named Joanna who had heard that I sometimes did pro bono weddings, and she asked if I would consider helping out her brother and his fiance. She explained that they were both in full time ministry and that they had started a unique underprivileged children's home called Sonnyvilla. They were working on a shoe string wedding budget and a friend who had been willing to photograph their wedding had been forced to back out. I had heard of their work and was familiar with it and really impressed. But the wedding was only a few months away, and in Florida, so I responded that I would have looooooved to help out such a deserving couple but I already had a wedding that day and my schedule for the year was already full. I told her if they happened to move the date, by any chance, to get back with me.

Half a day later I got a response...they'd be willing to move the date! Only problem was, the only date they could move it to was the very next day. Having a wedding on Saturday here and in Florida on Sunday was absolutely impossible. Or so I thought.

I quickly skimmed the email and immediately began typing the words, "Sorry, but..." when a coincidental detail caught my eye and made me stop in my tracks.

Now, you can call me WEIRD...I don't really care...I believe that God sometimes works in very quirky ways in our lives. Not even 10 days prior to receiving this email from Joanna I had received a facbook message from an old bff (whom I rarely have the pleasure of connecting with anymore due to our busy lives and careers) from Fort Myers, FL basically saying, "Come visit me!" I jokingly replied, "Get me a Ft. Myers wedding and I'll be right there!" Nothing weird about that, right? Well, two days after that I received an email from a potential client asking if I would photograph their Ft. Myers, FL! My jaw dropped. I get requests for destination weddings every so often, but that exact location? I was like THAT is just WEEEEEIRD. But I was all looked like I was going to have a very ironicly timed trip to Ft. Myers. However, as hard as we tried to rearrange our calendars, that client and I could not synchronize our schedules and the deal fell through. I was SO bummed. I couldn't believe all that irony was for nothing. But it turns out, it wasn't...

As I read the email in front of me and began typing, "Sorry, but..." I saw the specific wedding location for the first time, "Ft. Myers, FL." I was like NO STINKIN WAY. I sat back in my seat, "You have GOT to be kidding me!" I thought how ironic ONE request for a Ft. Myers wedding was within a week of that first conversation, but TWO? It was just enough of a coincidence to make me think that God wanted me to take a 2nd look at this whole scenario. So I began punching numbers and checking times.

As it turned out, the wedding I was photographing in South Bend on Saturday was an early wedding and would be done by 6pm, so I could actually get home, pack, and get a decent night's sleep...very unusual! I found a direct flight from South Bend to Ft. Myers early Sunday morning for less than $250 which is ALSO pretty unheard of. I always check South Bend flights first and they've sometimes been as high as $600 with 2 layovers. I called my FL friend who enthusiastically agreed to not only pick me up from the airport, but to assist me with lighting and equipment and taxi me around, eliminating the need for a rental car. Suddenly the impossible seemed very very plausible.

I backspaced and deleted the "Sorry, but..." and wrote instead, "I'm craaaaazy, I really am! I have a wedding on the 16th AND the 23rd, but I'm still going to say YESSSS to this crazy plan! I actually think I'd be more crazy not to!"

And so THAT is how I knew God was telling me to photograph Josiah and Danielle's wedding. And that is also how I ended up starting my wedding season by shooting 4 weddings in the span of 15 days. But it was SO worth it!!! Check it out...




As if this story wasn't amazing enough...look at how gorgeous their wedding was even on a shoe string budget...I was amazed at Danielle's resourcefulness! I don't know all the deals she got, but I know her dress, readers (...I hope she doesn't mind me telling you...) was only $100. That is one of the most ornate and gorgeous dresses I've ever seen! I really was amazed!





It was pouring rain the day of their wedding, but it stopped just in time for us to get the pictures done...and look at the amazing background the dramatic clouds gave us! I LOVE these pictures!



A gorgeous setting unfolded for their wedding...




I love this image because it was purely candid...Josiah and Danielle laugh's one of the things they do best. I loved capturing such a perfect illustration of that.




A couple of final shots before the sun went down...



The reception venue was gorgeous, dimly lit and incredible...



Since I was only able to come in JUST in time for their wedding and I had SO many pictures I wanted to take, I convinced these guys (it wasn't TOO hard) to do a day-after session before they took off for their honeymoon. That day, however, the weather decided not to cooperate and we found ourselves facing torrential downpours. I told Josiah and Danielle we'd start in my hotel room with some natural light photos because I was really in love with the colors and the decor...I think they were just a little skeptical until I showed them the pictures on the back of my camera and then they were like, "Ok...we get it! Those are awesome!" I have to agree...they're some of my fav's!




Danielle's Mom was able to pull some strings and arrange for us to gain access to some gorgeous gardens and arcitectural areas. It was truly a photographers' playground! It was challenging finding ways to keep Josiah and Danielle out of the rain...but a FUN challenge!



This was an immediate favorite! I absolutely adore this one...


When the rain broke long enough to step outside, we made a run for it...they were SUCH good sports about it all! We had fun and laughed A LOT!



Easily my favorite shot of the entire day. We looked long and hard for this fountain! We'd seen it in a picture and knew it was there, but we couldn't find it for EVER! As it turned out, we wouldn't have wanted to find it any sooner because when we got there the sky was dimming perfectly for capturing the lights of the fountain and all the drama. Once we FOUND it, I think we captured this shot in less than 2 minutes and moved on...badda bing, badda boom.


At the end of the day, we still had dry skies so we made a mad dash for the beach. The dramatic skies really made the mood of this image perfect. I couldn't have asked for a more perfect day, in spite of the rain!



Seriously, you're not going to believe it, but immediately after this shot was taken, the BIGGEST RAT (or baby or the other) creeped in from the left side of the picture and ran RIGHT behind Danielle's dress! It was SO freaky!!!! Josiah yelled, Danielle bolted, and the rodent ran back the other way. EEK! We were convinced it was a possum until someone reminded me that possums play dead when frightened. This thing was certainly not playing dead. UGH...I can't even remember it without shuddering!

That's not the ONLY creepy thing about this picture though...if you find the other thing, that will give you shudders too. ;)


Josiah and Danielle, thank you and congratulations! It was an honor to be a part of your wedding day and to know so directly that God placed us in each other's lives. I'm looking forward to being more involved with Sonnyvilla in the future.

For more information about Sonnyvilla, visit

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