A Racine, WI wedding with a deep personal connection

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and Ryan
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(ie. I bawled my eyes out!)

I have been meaning to share this wedding and this story for quite a while now! And for it, we’re going back to last June…and 1996.

Now, I’m not really a public crier. But in this moment at this wedding, I bawled my eyes out. 

I cried through this dance, and when it was over, I couldn’t stop. I was crying so hard the bride, Julie, actually came over to me to make sure I was okay, and apologized for making me cry (she is literally the sweetest 🥲)

A trip back to 1996

A little backstory first: This picture below is of me and my mom on her wedding day. Up until this point, my mom had raised me as a single parent. The man she married (my dad) adopted me shortly after their wedding (next picture). I cherish these pictures so much. My dad married my mom young, knowing she had a daughter. And he’s treated me as his ever since.

I know, I don’t look thrilled. Fun side note – I screamed for probably more than an hour on their wedding morning because the hair stylist put flowers in my hair. I screamed and cried all the way into the church until someone took the flowers out. If you have kids involved in your wedding, and not everything goes as planned, you are definitely not alone!

A full circle moment

When I showed up to Julie and CJ’s wedding, their youngest kids were running around, getting dressed with mom. I was immediately transported to that moment at my own mom’s wedding. I realized what had come full circle. That I was now in the position to capture the moments that these kids would frame and keep with them the rest of their lives. 

Fast forward to the first dance. Julie told me she prepared a surprise first dance between her eldest daughter and CJ (her new stepdad). The two were very surprised, and looked cutely uncomfortable. They started to dance with each other as if they were at a middle school dance – hand-in-hand, lots of space between them. 

Julie rushed over to them, took their hands, and wrapped them around each other. After another moment of awkwardness, she suddenly MELTED into CJ’s shoulder, crying. That’s when I, and everyone in the venue, completely lost it 😭 I still don’t know how I even got more pictures of this moment – I couldn’t see a single thing. 

Everything about this hit me right in the heart, and I knew the significance this moment would forever hold in their lives. 

These are the types of moments we get to capture for people, and we are so lucky 💕

More from Julie and CJ’s wedding below! They held their wedding at the Roma Lodge in Racine, WI. I loved how they infused their personalities in every detail of their day. It was 100 percent them, and all about their family and their friends!

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