My First Love: A Story of Memphis Kindness

Mr. & Mrs. Presley

I find myself in tears as I write this blog. This past Sunday made me so incredibly proud to be a Memphian. To put the past 2 months in perspective, I think you deserve a little bit of a back story.

Back in January, I was having a conversation with another Memphis wedding vendor/close friend, Nicole, who owns PicStripPhotoBooth. God had been weighing heavily on our hearts to give back somehow. So we prayed for His direction.

The following morning, I was laying in bed doing my usual 'wake-up' routine (checking emails and Facebook), and I saw a post from this girl named Lauren about her daddy.

We found out the cancer has spread to his spine. My daddy is the strongest man I know and I know he can get through this. This is in Gods hands and I thank the Lord every day for every second I have with my first love, Rodney Riales.

I didn't know Lauren personally, though over the years our paths crossed in many ways... We both were Olive Branch High School grads. She was a bridesmaid in a wedding I shot last fall. When my husband and I bought our first house, she was the person that got my electricity connected... Just to name a few. Though I didn't know her personally, I knew enough about her to know she was getting married in May, and she's one of the sweetest girls I've ever crossed paths with. So I reached out to a friend of Lauren's that I knew well, Anna.

Anna immediately broke down and told me everything... Long story short, the doctor told Lauren if she wanted her daddy at her wedding, she would need to have her wedding sooner. For various reasons, vendors were unable to reschedule. On top of that, medical bills were piling up, and money was becoming very tight for the May wedding.

I couldn't even begin to fathom the thought of not having had both of my parents at my wedding, better yet... I can't imagine it having even been a concern the last few months before the wedding.

So I prayed.

God spoke.

I was flooded with an idea - If she couldn't move her wedding, we could at least have a small ceremony where her daddy could walk her down the aisle followed by a small reception, and I would volunteer my photography services for it. So I reached out to a florist, hair/makeup artist, and a venue. When both agreed, I reached out to Nicole with PicStripPhotoBooth. She volunteered her photobooth, and said she could get us a DJ. So with that, I reached out to a baker, and an event planner, both agreed without hesitation. Before I knew it, within 3 hours time, I had a wedding full of vendors all volunteering their services. (A full list of all amazing vendors involved is at the end of this blog post).

So next, I needed to reach out to Lauren. I told her I had a team of vendors that were willing to ensure her daddy walked her down the aisle on March 13. It was just up to her if she was willing to accept. After an emotional conversation and many tears, Lauren and Bryant accepted the offer. She already had a dress, but her veil wouldn't be here in time. So I reached out to Molly Farrell with Maggie Louise, and she didn't even hesitate to donate a veil to our sweet bride.

The week leading up to the wedding, the forecast for the day called for storms all day. When we woke up Saturday morning, the sun was streaming through our windows. The rain held out all day. At one point, we looked at the radar and a circle of storm clouds was above us. But right in the middle was a hole... And in the hole was Annesdale Mansion. Then literally, the second we finished the reception exit, the sky opened up and it poured the rest of the night. We all knew God had His hand on us.

The day went off without a hitch. Annesdale Mansion gave us a stunning Memphis setting. I was in awe of how it all looked. Katherine with Bella Baxter Events really knows how to pull a wedding together. There were lots of tears, lots of smiles... And so much love.

I am so overwhelmed by the generosity of all the vendors involved, and I am so incredibly proud to be a Memphian. Our city has so much love and is full of so many people who just want to be kind and give back. #choose901

And just a sweet little topper for this story (as if it even needed it)... The only thing that could make this amazing Memphis story even better is the bride and groom became Mr. & Mrs. Presley.

Here's a slideshow and some of my favorite images below. I know I have some video clips in it, but do NOT confuse this with the videographer. There is a beautiful wedding day trailer to follow. Be sure to view in HD for the best viewing experience.

Check out these amazing photobooth pics too from PicStripPhotoBooth below!

Now, prepare yourself (and grab some tissues) for the incredible videography trailer that Sami Sue Studios did for the day. I'm so in love!

Check out this amazing list of vendors involved. Thank you all for donating your time, money, and love to create such an incredibly special Memphis day. You are part of the reason I love this amazing city. <3

Photographer/Coordinator: Bethany Veach Photography 

Second Shooters: DeShona Lockett & Kaitlyn Stoddard

Wedding Coordination/Design: Bella Baxter Events

Venue: Annesdale Mansion

Officiant: Tommy Austein, Dingo Entertainment

Videographer: Sami Sue Studios

Florist: Ashlye McCormick Design

Rentals: Mahaffey Tents & Party Rentals

Caterer: Heart and Soul Catering

Cake & Sweets: 17Berkshire

Groom's Cheesecake: Spring Creek Ranch

DJ: Jordan Rogers, Tiger City Entertainment

String Trio: Steven Bowman (trio coordinator/violin), Kristy Rhodes (violin/viola), Jamie Weaver (violin)

Photobooth: PicStrip PhotoBooth

Hair & Makeup: Mathis Makeup

Veil: Maggie Louise

Get Away Car: Vintage Automobiles for Special Occasions

A special thank you to Southern Bride for helping us with finding and arranging the perfect get away car for the evening!