Rachelle & Stephen

 *Rachelle, Grad Student & Stephen, Brewer*

I’m thrilled, delighted, super excited, dancing in my seat (all true) to give you Rachelle’s Wedding Graduate post. You’ll remember Rachelle from her Wedding Undergraduate post on planning with divorced parents, not to mention her bad-ass Royal Tenenbaums engagement shoot, where she learned that they could just plan their wedding and stop worrying about how it should be done. Which is funny because the wedding she ended up with is profoundly f*cking beautiful, just because it’s so pure and honest and theirs. So here is Rachelle & Stephen’s wedding as shot by Elissa R. Photography. (Alert! Elissa’s first wedding grad post! And it’s her birthday! Congratulations lady!) What Rachelle has to say is so wise and thoughtful and so DEAD ON. I can’t wait for y’all to read it.

It was the quiet things, for me. The just-us things. Not the ceremony, though it was simple and lovely. Not the raucous dance-party reception, though it was the possibly the most fun I have ever had and the best party we will ever throw. It wasn’t the dress I loved to pieces or the flowers I arranged; it wasn’t the time with my closest friends or the overwhelming feeling of family and connection and togetherness. Those things were wonderful, and I’m so thankful for them and so glad that we spent the time and money and effort to plan them. Our wedding would not have been the same without all those things.

But for me, it was the quiet things.

Texas, Butler's Courtyard, Elissa R Photography, Intimate Wedding

It was the private words my husband wrote for me and read to me through watery eyes when we were alone together before the ceremony. The tears that streamed down my face as I listened to him and realized that this was it, this was my husband and this was our wedding day. Realizing that all the time we spent together had led us here, even when we didn’t know this was where we were headed. It was the poem I read to him that expressed what I wanted him to know better than I could ever say. It was the freedom I felt having that moment alone, without either of us having to care about saying private and personal things in front of an audience.

Texas, Butler's Courtyard, Elissa R Photography, Intimate Wedding

It was the meal we shared alone in the bridal cottage after the ceremony, while everyone else was eating in the reception hall. Being able to sit and breathe and just look at each other across the table.

Texas, Butler's Courtyard, Elissa R Photography, Intimate Wedding

It was our last dance of the night, alone on the dance floor while the crowd gathered outside for our exit. Not our first dance, which I barely noticed as it was happening because it’s strange to feel a hundred pairs of eyes staring at you as you sway in the center of the room. But our last dance, when we sang all the words and held each other so tightly. When it felt like we were the only people in the history of the world who ever loved each other that much.

Texas, Butler's Courtyard, Elissa R Photography, Intimate Wedding

It was holding hands in the backseat of the car as we rode to the hotel. Not saying much, because there was nothing important left to say. Waving to the cars that honked as they drove by us on the freeway, feeling so special that even strangers wanted to wish us well.

It was running around our fancy hotel room, taking pictures of each other sporting ridiculous grins that refused to leave our lips. Rushing out the door so we wouldn’t miss our dinner reservation. Walking through downtown in a wedding gown and a tuxedo, and then sitting at a booth in the middle of a completely empty steakhouse and enjoying the best meal we’ve ever had. Saying over and over how perfect our wedding day was, and how happy we were, and how much we loved each other.

It was getting ready for bed together. Realizing we forgot to pack the contact solution and trying to figure out an alternative. Taking a million hairpins out of my hair. Eating all the cake the venue sent home with us. It was waking up the next day and realizing we were actually married now. Wearing my husband’s t-shirt and boxer shorts to breakfast at the hotel restaurant because I forgot to pack any normal clothes and had nothing but my wedding dress. It was hearing him call me his wife.

Those are the things that mattered most to me in the end—the moments that felt like real life. Because my everyday life isn’t gowns and extended family and rose petals. My everyday life is this man standing beside me enjoying our happiness and working to solve problems together and feeling so damn lucky.

I wouldn’t change a thing about our wedding day, not even to elope (as I had always wanted) and have a wedding of only just-us moments. We needed the other things too—the family and the friends and the public ceremony and the dance party. But as I look back on our wedding day I find that our relationship, the private and personal one that exists only between us, the thing made up of heartfelt words and a close friendship and gentle embraces and a sense of adventure, that was the core of our wedding day and it was the moments we were alone together that felt the biggest, the most real.

The Info — PhotographyElissa R Photography / VenueButler’s Courtyard

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  • Finally ! Rachelle, know that I was waiting for your grad post, and it is full of calm wisdom as I thought it would be.
    This: “My everyday life is this man standing beside me enjoying our happiness and working to solve problems together and feeling so damn lucky.” is the prefect summary of married life.
    Our first dance was also our last dance because of all the logistical chaos we only managed to have it just before saying our final goodbye and thanks to everyone (and all of this was completely unplanned, even if yes, we had a day schedule handed to the MC and all the relevant people). Hint if you want an organized day, a day planner or assigned friend with such an experience (eg someone who when through it, ) is a good idea-
    But yes, that is exactly how it felt, the moments together . Thanks . And congratulations agin.

  • Holy shit Rachelle. Holy effing shit this is beautiful.

    • Exactly.

    • So poetic DDay. Play on, bard.

      ….but also, yes, agreed.

  • Carbon Girl

    This post was so beautiful, I am tearing up a little.

  • Ummm… I love this.

    1) great photos
    2) the tye-dye car?!
    3) you explain being in love really, really well. Like I really want to find my husband and hug him right now.

    I just might tell the strangers sitting next to me in the library to read this because it is that good…

    • Rachelle

      Thank you so much!

      The brewery where Stephen works has several tie-dyed cars for promotional purposes and we were able to get this vintage tie-dyed Bentley (with his boss as chauffeur!) for our exit. An excellent example of how working with what you’ve got can turn out to be magical.

  • You have no idea how badly I needed this. The one thing with wedding planning that I’ve been struggling with above all else is how to reconcile the importance of those private, powerful moments with my fiance with our desire to have our loved ones surrounding us and celebrating with us on that day. I was so afraid that by having a big wedding, we’d lose out on those wonderful, personal, quiet moments together, but this post makes me realize that we can have the best of both worlds.

    Thank you.

    • Ps. Also, can we be friends? I just clicked over to your blog, and your post about marriage is almost word-for-word how I feel about it (that it’s not entirely about love, but also that you love your spouse so much that you can’t watch movies in which someone loses a spouse without bawling… this is me).

      Also, my name is Rachel (close to Rachelle!) and my spouse-to-be is also a brewer-to-be.

      You also mention Brave New World in another post, which is my favourite book.

      Also, you and your husband even look a bit like me and my future-husband. Weird.

      Anyway, I’m done being a slightly creepy stalker now. Moral of the story, I think we should be friends :D

      • Rachelle

        You’re so cute! Yes we can be friends : )

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  • Oh Rachelle, this is lovely! Elissa’a pictures, your words, all of it. The little private moments where so important to me too. My favorite moment of the whole day was late in the reception, when we slipped away to watch the sunset over the lake, and it was finally just the two of us, with no one else around.

  • This is the exact conversation I had with my fiance last night when the “bucking tradition” of wedding planning had me beaten down. I just want to hold his hand, be surrounded by the love of the people we know and marry him. Now I know I’m not crazy!

    • Granola

      Sometimes going against the grain just gets to tiring. I don’t want everything to be a struggle all the time… But then I remind myself that inner calm from doing my best against a system that I don’t like with be worth it.

  • Love, love, love this. So beautiful, the photos and the words.

    Also, a big YES to the private last dance concept. We did the same thing, and it was wonderful. We didn’t realize until we were in it just how very long our first dance selection really was!

  • A perfect post.

  • When Rachelle sent me her draft of her grad post, I totally cried. I find that I’m still a bit weepy reading it again now… her words are so poignant, and actually being there to see her get married (and photograph it) was simply amazing.

    I heart this post!

    (And thank you for the birthday wishes, Meg :)

  • YES!!!!!!!!!!!!! I love everything about this.

  • “When it felt like we were the only people in the history of the world who ever loved each other that much.”

    Seems kind of obvious but it rings *SO* true. Perfect line.

  • Claire

    What a lovely start to the week. Thanks for your beautiful description of the quiet yet tremendous moments that stick with you after a wedding.

  • RachelC

    wow wow amazing wow wow. All I can say is wow and yes and exactly and thank you and gorgeous and wow. It’s the real life stuff. Yes. Ok

  • Beautiful!!! :)

    Simply lovely. And this perfectly captures the moments that I so loved about our wedding day- the moments that were distinctly about the two of us, versus the moments when we got to share our happiness with everyone.

  • I think this is an excellent way of framing the whole “Don’t Buy All the Things” concept that’s so popular around here. Instead of focusing on what doesn’t matter, which is just really difficult to internalize pre-wedding, this post beautifully describes what DOES matter on your wedding day. And focusing on what really matters tends to have a nice affect of allowing all the tiny stresses to fade away as they pale in comparison.

  • Beautiful.

    And I got married at Butlers, too! (Our ceremony was at League Park, but that aside….) and the private dinner and the private last dance are two of my favorite parts of the evening. Being able to share those moments alone, if even for a few minutes, was magical.

  • Sarah

    I just love the idea of you walking through town in your wedding clothes! One of my favourite bits of our wedding day was feeling like we could do something like that, like we could do anything and it wouldn’t matter because we were invincible that day.

  • Well this gave me goosebumps like crazy!! What an absolutely beautiful description of your wedding day and all the moments throughout. Absolutely stunning. And somehow I feel like Elissa’s photos match perfectly with your words – the quietness, the joy.. all of it.

    Congratulations to you two & Happy Birthday Elissa!

  • Rachel

    So simple, yet so complex. Isn’t this how we are supposed to know what love is? And what it feels like? Its the quiet moments. Maybe not for everyone all the time (and yes, I think there is more to Love and its huge awesomeness), but its a pretty dang good indication. Right? But really?

    Thank you for sharing your beauty.

  • Holy moly gorgeous.

    I lovelovelove how your most special moments from the day came down to the relationship you and your husband share and just living that.

  • Becca

    So beautifully written. Such a perfect description of the real joys at my wedding. Thank you for sharing this glimpse into the heart of your wedding.

  • Fawmo

    This post was truly touching.

    My favorite part,though, is the second to last photo of Rachelle itching Stephen’s beard. I do this for the BF all the time! Its a sign of true love and intimacy.

    Thanks for capturing that lovin’ feeling so well.

  • mimi

    Beautiful post. I love the idea of the pre-ceremony meeting and the private last dance. I’m saving this in my “ideas” file for someday :)

  • Emily B

    My fiance and I were both in tears reading this. Makes even more excited and encouraged to keep planning for our wedding day and marriage. Thank you for your gracious, humbling words.

  • This post is so calm & peaceful & lovely, just like those little, private moments it describes. Wedding days are so busy & full & you carved out such perfect, couple-only moments. My husband & I spent half of cocktail hour alone just to talk, relax & be. It was unplanned which was against my wedding planner nature but it was more perfect & needed than any of the planned moments of our wedding day. Thank you for sharing & Congratulations~

  • The Beagle and I had scarcely a moment together alone, but still I find myself agreeing with you. For a good portion of the day my eyes were glued to his and we felt like to only people in the world. We had those quiet moments somehow even though we were surrounded by people. We just let those people fade away when we needed to be “alone.”

  • This post is beautiful. I hope we get to have some of those quiet things.

  • This post is so beautiful. It makes me so excited for my own wedding. Hurry up, September!

  • Jo

    I heart Rachelle and Stephen. And this wisdom.

    The quiet things were the best for us, as well. Schedule them in, y’all.

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  • The small things. The quiet things. Those are some of my favorite moments still. This weekend at our anniversary get-away I told him that I still feel such a quiet excitement about us, and that’s the best way I could explain it.

    Thank you for sharing your quiet things.

  • Moz

    Great grad post! Congrats on your marriage x

  • Kate

    I really loved this post. Weddings can sometimes feel a bit like you’re putting your relationship on display. In reality, the things that make up the best relationships, those quiet moments, can only truly be appreciated by the two people who share them. I hope someday I fall into a love as beautiful as yours.

  • Shotgun Shirley

    Beautiful post (the pictures, but especially the words). Congrats!

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  • This is amazing!

    The one thing I wished I’d done differently at our wedding was have a few minutes alone after the ceremony (unfortunately I didn’t learn about yichud until afterwards or else I’d have stolen that tradition for my own). Since then I’ve told every newly engaged couple I know to at least consider doing that. We still had plenty of moments that at least felt like we were alone together so I still relate to your beautiful post.