I know I say I have a lot of special brides, and over the past few years, I’ve been honored to be a part of the celebrations of some girls I have known since they were wee babes. This is one of those stories. Marlee first entered our family (yes, she’s even family!) when she was a baby, into the loving home of Dale & Darla, and with three older brothers. Being the life-long baby lover I am, I quickly scooped this little one up in my arms. I still remember holding her in the back pew of church, caressing her forehead and soothing her to sleep.
Years of playing with beanie babies, chalk messages on my steps (I will not embarrass her by posting those pictures here), and watching her grow up into the beautiful woman she is were all things in my head on her wedding day. I always love that moment of seeing a bride as she prepares, but there was something special for me in those moments. Each step of the day had an accompanying memory from her childhood.
Her beautiful wedding was held at Castle Farms in Charlevoix, on a gorgeous Friday the beginning of November. Her hair, her makeup – so vintage, and so amazing. Her details, 100% Marlee. I loved them – let’s call it “Punk Princess.” Even her mother joined her in some studded shoes (way to go, Darla!).
From Marlee and John’s first look and all through the day, it was easy to see the love between these two. While I had to maintain my composure at times, I held my tears together long enough to smile and witness a beautiful wedding – performed by “Uncle Bobby.”
The reception was full of friends & family – it was also like a mini-reunion for me too! While we had to leave to head back down to Grand Rapids for a wedding the next day, we had plenty of time to share in some special memories as Marlee’s brothers stepped in for her father, who sadly is no longer with us. It was truly a beautiful moment, and I loved seeing how these young boys I know had become such strong amazing men, husbands and fathers.
But the best part of this whole day was seeing Marlee smile at John. It was seeing her having become a woman, and now a wife.
Marlee Jo, you’ll always be that sweet little girl to me, but now I have even more beautiful memories of you to add to my collection.