Driving two hours in the rain to a remote town in southern Iowa had me a little worried, as speed limit signs fell away and paved roads turned to gravel. For one, I had never met the bride or groom; we’d never spoken over the phone, and I’d never so much as seen a picture of the couple. Our communication had been sparse, a few emails stretched out over the course of a year. I had no idea what I was in store for, and yet, when I arrived what I found was a beautifully curated rustic wedding, filled with personal touch.
Julia and David’s wedding was the rustic wedding I’d been waiting to attend. These two were charmingly unconventional in their approach to their wedding day. They had no strings attached to tradition yet maintained the elegance of many rural weddings I’ve attended. (Well perhaps their were some strings - Julia did tell me her mother was silent for a long time when she announced she was wearing a red dress.) They had the essentials: DIY silk flower bouquets and boutonnieres, a barn venue and reception hall, votive tea lights, moss and tree rings. However, they had included some really interesting personal touches: lanterns as bouquets, fresh wild flowers on reception tables, old books and glass bottles, small items revealing a deep appreciation of the natural world.
Their wedding venue, Ramsey Farm is a venue and inn of restored prairie houses. The surrounding historic town also includes the original church and school house. David’s family lived in the town in the early 20th century. His family’s name still remains imprinted on the pavement leading up to one of the area homes. Due to the rain I shot some very moody portraits of the couple inside one of the houses, and was able to use the large back porch of another for family photos and wedding party shots. If there had to be rain on a wedding day, I’m glad it was this one. It cast a veil across the landscape, adding to the nostalgic mood of the celebration.
Julia and David’s ceremony was short and sweet, and contained my favorite reading I’ve ever heard at the 20+ weddings I’ve attended. I’ll leave you with the words of Neil Gaimen:
This is everything I have to tell you about love: nothing.
This is everything I've learned about marriage: nothing.
Only that the world out there is complicated,
and there are beasts in the night, and delight and pain,
and the only thing that makes it okay, sometimes,
is to reach out a hand in the darkness and find another hand to squeeze,
and not to be alone.
It's not the kisses, or never just the kisses: it's what they mean.
Somebody's got your back.
Somebody knows your worst self and somehow doesn't want to rescue you
or send for the army to rescue them.
It's not two broken halves becoming one.
It's the light from a distant lighthouse bringing you both safely home
because home is wherever you are both together.
So this is everything I have to tell you about love and marriage: nothing,
like a book without pages or a forest without trees.
Because there are things you cannot know before you experience them.
Because no study can prepare you for the joys or the trials.
Because nobody else's love, nobody else's marriage, is like yours,
and it's a road you can only learn by walking it,
a dance you cannot be taught,
a song that did not exist before you began, together, to sing.
And because in the darkness you will reach out a hand,
not knowing for certain if someone else is even there.
And your hands will meet,
and then neither of you will ever need to be alone again.
And that's all I know about love.