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{Hitched} Stefanie & Alex in Branson

I could not have asked for a more joyful, beautiful or sweet wedding to cap off my season than that of Stefanie & Alex. Ali and I got to go to Branson for the occasion… the ceremony and reception took place at Integrity Hills. So that of course set the tone for  a perfect day. It was incredibly windy, but balmy and comfortable. Stefanie is hands down one of the most gracious and accommodating brides I’ve ever met. And her smile…her smile LIGHTS up the room and the faces of those around her. When I met her mom, it was all too obvious from where she got that trait.

So things I shall remember about this wedding:

There was so much laughter, and light-heartedness from the get-go. No one was rushed, no one was in a less-than-Cloud 9 mood.

The wind was the least of our worries. Apparently, the wood that makes up the chapel attracts a certain type of wasp. They were EVERYWHERE. I might have screamed a few times, or stood frozen, in an awkward position, hoping the winged creature would abandon its perch on my neck… but even more notable is the way Stef & Alex handled the unwelcome guests. Even when Stef was “attacked” by one, she smartly wrapped herself in the veil and waited it out. I am SO glad that I got pics of it! (Below!)

Alex…in addition to being a dapper, good-looking groom, he proved to be one who so easily tugged on Ali’s & my heartstrings..repeatedly. The First Glance between the two of them was the most emotional one to date… and he wasn’t too macho to embrace the emotion. He’s a keeper, Stef! 😉 And he’s also funny. His antics all day, combined with those of his equally as good-natured groomsmen, had us laughing a lot. One such joke he continued to make…he referred to Stef’s train on her dress as a “caboose.” And the more I thought about it…the more accurate that is! 😉

Stefanie wore pearls around her neck that came from overseas. Her dad when to Japan when he was a young Boy Scout for the World Jamboree and bought a bag of pearls  off of a street vendor. He brought them back and gave to his mom. She eventually had them strung into a necklace, and that turned into something-borrowed for Stef!

The ceremony was yet another to pull tears from my own eyes. The chapel, with so many windows revealing a gorgeous dusk outside,   proved to be a romantic, intimate and exquisite setting for the official joining of such a gorgeous couple.

I mentioned on their post for their engagement photos that Stef is the first real redhead that I’ve ever shot. So that was once again exciting. And her locks matched the coppery warmth of the leaves that were remaining on the almost-bare trees. I could have shot these two all day long. The setting provided almost too many picturesque backdrops…coupled with a couple who immediately exuded love when they touched or looked at one another…and I was positively smitten with my “job” that day!

The reception unfolded in the grand, rustic ambiance of The Stables. Breathtaking. Seriously. The tables were adorned with simple clusters of baby’s breath, and hurricane glasses w/ candles and metallic filler. You couldn’t look anywhere in the barn without feeling cozy.

As Stefanie said, “There will be no booty-dancing.” The reception was low-key, like a long cocktail hour, with the comforting buzz of conversation, laughter and well wishes. Merriment was at every turn! And in the corner, they had set up an “instant” photo album for their guestbook. Guests took their own photos with an Instapix camera and added them to a scrapbook. Me likey!!

And this was the first First Dance that I ever told my husband about because the song they chose was right up his alley–in fact, it’s by his namesake! They did HARVEST MOON by Neil Young. Props to them for being a bit different! 😉

Ok ok ok… done chattering… I am just so pumped to close out my 2013 weddings with such an intimate, visually decadent affair. Stef & Alex… thank you SO much for bringing Ali and I along. Your families were so warm, so friendly, so fun! And your friends are so clearly supportive, witty, sweet and some were even ornery. 😉 I wish you a just-as-perfect holiday season, your first as married! And… go, TIGERS!!!!! XOXOXOXOXXO

For their full gallery…go here!!!

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