Erin Rachel Photography | Picayune MS High School Senior and Family Photographer serving the surrounding areas Mandeville LA, Covington LA, Slidell LA and the Northshore » Senior and Family Photographer covering Picayune, MS and Mandeville LA, Slidell LA and Covington LA. Offering Photography Classes and Workshops in the Picayune MS, Covington LA, Mandeville LA and Slidell LA area. part one []

August 31.2013

This was an absolutely perfect day in our lives.  I say that knowing it was a perfect day in our world…our world that day just became a better place…

a day that we will never forget

a day we know that God ordained for our lives

a day that God blessed us with each other

a day that started “us” together as one

a day that a new season of life began

a day that we both had waited many days and years for

a day that we celebrated with our family and friends

the day we said “I do”

We may not have understood what the two words “I do” fully meant at that very moment for the days that lie ahead.  “I do”- those two words encompass much more than what it looks like written down.  To sum it up for me at this point…”I do” means = love.  Ok yes not the flakey…sporadic…happy…googly eyed love….Maybe I should define love in my words as well.  Love= serving, giving, caring, forgiving, kindness,gentleness, strengthening one another, being a friend,  investing in each other, effort, impacting and encouraging one another  to be more Christ like and putting the other before yourself.  I think there is no better example but Christ’s love for us…he g.a.v.e. himself for us…for the world.  Love is a precious gift that God has given to us from him and as we strive to be more Christ like I think love will shine in our lives to everyone around us.  Again love is not always a happy-go-lucky feeling…to simply sum up this entire paragraph love really is giving which means sacrificing.

I know you might be thinking…”seriously you’ve only been married five weeks”.  Yep and I don’t know anything compared to our parents that have both been married for 30+ years…our grandparents that have passed up the 50+ year mark…we are surrounded by family and friends that have truly given us an example of what love is.  We have a lot to strive for and through Christ we can do all things.

Well without further ramblings, which so easily happens as I sit here quietly in our home at 6:30am with pandora playing on my iPad, I can easily get “lost” in this writing!

The morning started early for me…with little sleep the night before.  I tossed and turned on the couch in our living room, for the last time in my happy home with my family.  I was so excited to start a new life with the love of my life.  My head was spinning making sure every thing was in order and ready to roll the next morning.  Just the excitement was over-whelming…I did get a few hours of sleep!!!  We had family and friends filling up all of our bedrooms in the house, so I opted for the couch in the living room.  Only to wake up at 5:00am to my dad and uncle discussing random topics over coffee…so I took the blanket and stretched it over my face, hoping to drown out their conversations…to no avail I gave in and got up.  Jumped in the shower…grabbed my bags and headed out the door at 7:00am to get my hair done.  I had my time-schedule in my head and of course as I know how the day goes we started running behind…only by about 45-min but it was enough for me to be a little anxious…my hair-dresser was late…hence making me run late.  I remember saying “ummm- can we hurry up the process I get married in an hour and a half- I’m not even at the church much less make-up and dressed!!!”  It was building a little in my head…because at 10am we were getting married…I couldn’t wait to see Bern…I wanted to talk to him…see him…I knew he would be my calm that morning.

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As I arrived at the church my sweet friend, Cindy, whom I had been texting letting know I was going to be late…was waiting on me to do my make-up.  As she was doing her thing…my sweet photographer was fixing my hair.  Yes you just read that right…the way it was fixed wasn’t going to work…and she agreed…yet we had to leave and get to the church so we both looked at each other after my hair dresser finished up…”thinking we’ll fix this when we get to the church, lets just get out of here.”

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It’s 9:00am and I’m supposed to walk down the aisle in an hour…Cindy had just started make-up…my mom was there along with my aunt…I don’t remember any of our conversations…I don’t think I could tell you one thing we talked about…besides the fact that Cindy was swearing that her deodorant would work better than mine…she has her daughter wipe it off and makes me use it.  I’m not sure what at that moment possessed me to give in on that one…I think the fact my mind was really not in the room on that conversation at the moment.  We laughed about it…and if you know me, that’s something I would NEVER…like n.e.v.e.r. do.  I’m a germ-a-phobe…yep one of those.  Well I love Cindy and well…yeh now that’s the past!

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By this point it’s about 9:30am…well somewhere in that time frame…again my mind was buzzing…and I was so ready to see Bern.  I heard his voice down the hall and was told “he’s here.”  I couldn’t wait to hear how his morning went…how he was doing…what he was thinking…if I could just see him I knew I would be better…but I had to wait…I still had to get dressed.  The room where I was began to be flooded by people…I knew I could hear the music being played…sweet familiar hymns simply being played as the guests arrived and were sitting.  My amazing friend Melissa was playing the piano and accompanying my other amazing friend Christina on the cello…oh my the music was just oozing over with amazing-ness and filling the entire church…I could hear distant chattering which meant people…our friends and family were here…here to celebrate with us…this day that God had given us.  I can’t really say I got nervous…I think a better word to describe my feelings at that moment were over-whelming. I don’t think I could even explain them and give these feelings justice.  It was an over-whelming feeling of “Wow…the day I’ve prayed for has come to pass and it’s just not the day I’ve prayed for…God has given me more and above what I could have ever imagined with a man that loves the Lord and loves me, more than I could have ever known.”  At this time…I began to get dressed and there were way.too.many.people. in the room—staring at me.  I don’t do good with that…I don’t like the attention on me…I needed a moment…my sweet friend aka photographer simply knew…she saw it…she asked everyone to just give us a little time aka space.  The room slowly…and in my mind simply slowly cleared out…ahhhhh now I could just…just…shed a few tears of joy and over-whelming-ness.  Whatever those words really encompass…I’m not sure yet.  Well fast-forward a few minutes and it was ten-til-ten am.  I was to get married at 10 am.  I was ready to roll…no matter if the guests were there or not… I can remember looking at whoever was in the room and saying “lets roll”!  Well they laughed and said well in ten minutes we can…I said no lets roll…they wouldn’t let me!!!!   ErinBernWedding-62PIN THIS ErinBernWedding-76PIN THIS

A few last minute touches…hellos…see you in the church…I was standing there…like a moment of “there is no one around…I am standing here all by myself”.  There was not a soul there…that was weird.  Like totally weird…it was a moment my mind had not thought about.  My friends were in the church…my nieces and nephews were sitting up front with their parents, really curious what was going on.  After weeks of hearing the word and the buzz of “EE and Uncle Bern are getting married” they were finally putting this whole picture together in their little innocent minds.  My sweet friend, Kimberly who coordinated the day, she was busy letting everyone know what was happening next…Bern walked his mom down and seated her, then to stand up front…my dad was walking my mom down the aisle to seat her…it was me…just me…ahhhh if I could just run in and see Bern…but the next few minutes were fast…yet at the moment they didn’t seem like it.  My dad was back by my side in no time…he looked at me and I could tell he was getting emotional…I had already had my moment, I didn’t need another one…we weren’t delaying this any longer…we were walking down the aisle.  The music stopped…

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We were behind closed doors…

then the music began again…the song I had picked out to walk down the aisle to.

The doors opened…I couldn’t see Bern.  I’m short and there were lots of people beginning to stand…I couldn’t see him…as we walked around the back of the pews…to the aisle, my eyes met his.  It was like at that moment, there was no one else in the whole world…but he and I.  Even though reality there were lots of people watching…it was a moment that everyone had come to see us…that’s weird to think…I really can’t remember another day in my life that everyone was there for just us.  Think about it…it’s true.  Well maybe the day we were born…but we certainly don’t remember that, right?!

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The next seconds are a blur…I think my dad and I walked kind of fast down the aisle…like a lot fast.  I remember thinking if I could just freeze this moment…but yep you can’t.  As my dad of thirty years…who nurtured me, raised me, invested in me, trained me, loved me, gave for me, served me, listened to me and cared for me…gave me away in marriage to my now to be husband…at this moment it was such a picture yet again of Christ’s love for me.  I am so blessed to have a father who loves me so much…yet much more a heavenly Father who has now given me a husband to care for me, love me, give to me, invest in me, serve me, listen to me and be there for me and so much more.

Yet again time didn’t stop for me during these moments…time kept going.  The only good thing I was with Bern…my calm…as my dad sat by my mom, I was now holding Bern’s hand by his side.  We walked up the steps…my sweet niece Leah-Kate ran up to get my flowers to hold during the ceremony.  Our hands joined each others…ahhhh it seemed like it was all perfect now.  I wasn’t nervous…I was over-whelmed yes…not nervous…just wanting to freeze time so I would never forget these next few moments.

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We chose one of our favorite hymns to sing as a congregation…we were going to only sing a couple of verses…but as we read them we couldn’t decide and decided well lets sing all five verses!  So that we did. As we stood there singing…hearing the music…and the congregation singing…it filled the sanctuary and my heart was over-joyed!

Nearer My God to Thee

Nearer my God to Thee, nearer to Thee  E’en though it be a cross that raiseth me; Still all my song shall be nearer my God to Thee

Nearer, My God, to Thee, nearer to Thee!

Though like the wanderer, the sun gone down, Darkness be over me, my rest a stone; Yet in my dreams I’d be nearer, my God, to Thee,

Nearer, My God, to Thee, nearer to Thee!

There let the way appear steps unto heav’n; All that Thou sendest me in mercy giv’n; Angels to beckon me nearer, my God, to Thee,

Nearer, My God, to Thee, nearer to Thee!

Then with my waking thoughts bright with Thy praise, Out of my stony griefs Bethel I’ll raise; So by my woes to be nearer, my God, to Thee,

Nearer, My God, to Thee, nearer to Thee!

Or if on joyful wing, cleaving the sky, Sun, moon, and stars forgot, upwards I fly, Still all my song shall be, nearer, my God, to Thee,

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Yes, we wanted to keep this day as simple as possible, yet meaningful, intimate and special.  Hence no wedding party, since they were there anyway celebrating with us…the hymn as a congregation…no special singing…no wedding programs…no unity candle/sand/water etc, just simple.  As my brother, who officiated for us, began to speak…

*pause with me and rewind with me to the day before…Friday before our wedding*

my brother sent me a text

“Praying for you both”

“Excited for you both”

“Blessed for you both”

“Vision for you both”

It was sweet…thoughtful and had a lot of meaning and I appreciated it…I didn’t realize Bern had gotten it too.  Little did I know this would be the points my brother would use as he spoke about us.

Well continuing on with my brother speaking…

I could barely remember this after the ceremony, so week or so later I asked him if he had this part of the ceremony written down and if so if he could send it to me….he emailed me::::  If I tried to write it out here, I would leave something out and it would have no meaning…hence I’m sharing with you the words during our ceremony.  Read if you like…skip over if you want…your choice::

 “Praying for you both” – Oh what an answer to prayer to those days when you thought all was forgotten by a Holy and Righteous God. When you wondered if that person that I believe was created to fulfill the aspect of our earthly relationships was really there… It doesn’t stop now, prayers still needed. Ps. 34:4 “I sought the Lord, and he heard me..”

 “Excited for you both” – I would say that we all here today are EXCITED for these two. Psalm 34:5 said “they looked unto Him, and were lightened: and their faces were not ashamed.” To see the faces at this moment of excitement and joy! Why? Result of two that waited on the Lord, remained pure in opposition to a wicked world of pressures and vices.

 “Blessed for you both” – why? Psalm 34:8 said “blessed is the man that trusteth in him”. We here today are blessed by two individuals that have waited upon the Lord! We are blessed to see the Saviour take two souls at young ages trusted in God’s Son for salvation. (For those that wonder what I mean. I don’t mean trusting in Church, or a Person, or a Saint, or Baptism, or good works. But a true Christian is one that DOES NOT trust in those for salvation, but acknowledges the ONLY way is the way that was offered by God of His Son Jesus Christ that can only be accepted via FAITH in Him. T rusting that only Christ can save, believing in the eternal payment of God’s righteousness in Christ.) We are blessed from the lives of these two, each here today blessed in ways unique to the relationships we hold with these two, the blessings we have in memory of these. But the blessings we anticipate from two joined together to serve the Lord Jesus Christ in an unified bond – looking forward to the blessing!

“Vision for you both” – in Psalm 34:9 David said “for there is no want to them that fear him.” and in vs14 “seek peace, and pursue it.”. That is Vision, it doesn’t stop here its only the beginning of a new life of:

Companionship:  a growth of oneness of spirit

Enjoyment: a time of great worthiness

Completeness: God designed marriage to complete what was lacking in the lives of these two

 Fruitfulness: God commanded with marriage to be fruitful, joys of the blessings from this union.

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We then had our vows…

Bern, will you have this woman to be your lawfully wedded wife, to live in the state of matrimony? Will you love her, comfort her, in sickness and in health, forsaking all others, keeping yourself for her so long as you both shall live?

I Will

Erin, will you have this man to be your lawfully wedded husband, to live together after God’s ordinance in the holy state of matrimony? Will you love, honor, obey and keep him in sickness and in health, forsaking all others keeping yourself only for him so long as you both shall live?

I Will

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Bern: repeating these vows to me::

I, Bern, take you Erin to have and to hold…

from this day forward…
for better, for worse…
for richer, for poorer…
in sickness and in health… to love and to cherish…‘til death do us part.

Me: repeating these vows to the love of my life::

I, Erin, take you Bern to have and to hold…

from this day forward…
for better, for worse…
for richer, for poorer…
in sickness and in health… to love and to cherish…‘til death do us part.

Rings::  I placed a ring on his hand he on mine…promising

With this ring, I thee wed, and all my worldly goods, I to thee endow.

Then we had our parents come up with us and pray for us.  Each of our dads prayed…it was a special time, knowing too that they are continuing to pray for us.

Then the moment we had been anxiously waiting for::

Our first kiss

Not just our first kiss as man and wife…our first kiss.  Yes we kept this special moment for this day.  Something truly almost unheard of in this present day we live in.  Then we were announced as “Mr. and Mrs. Bern Staples”

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 There are so many more details of our day…so many more a few I’ll leave with you here before I begin part two-to come::

:: The weather was beautiful…sunny…blue skies…no rain…a few clouds in the sky…a little humid for the deep-down south…but honestly for me it wasn’t drenching hot!  Hurricane Erin…yes that is not a joke…there was a Hurricane Erin the week before that was a possibility of coming into the gulf the week of our wedding…thankfully God just let it weaken and dissipate.

:: Our arch was hand-crafted by my amazing husband.  He brought white birch trees down from Maine and built our arch.  I still am amazed at his amazing handiwork.  It was perfect and gorgeous

:: The barrels in the front of the arch were brought from Maine as well…these were in his home given to him from his grandparents.  When I saw these at his house in July, I told him these would be perfect at our wedding IF you have room to bring them down! *smile* they made it from Maine to Mississippi for our wedding with a special meaning from his grandparents

:: The church was beautiful.  I had shot two friends weddings there and loved the ceiling architecture and all of the beautiful natural light that seeped in from all of the windows on the sides.  Then our sweet friend and amazing floral designer coordinated her ideas with mine and made it absolutely stunningly beautiful with the babies breath in the clear vases wrapped with twin/burlap and white birch bark.

:: This southern girl l.o.v.e.s. pearls.  If you didn’t know that, watch because I will most likely always have some kind of pearl on at any given time. Hence I borrowed my mom’s pearl earrings and necklace.  I wore my pearl bracelet my parents gave me for my thirtieth birthday.

  • Kelly W - What a wonderful testimony! Thanks for sharing the amazing photos of a day we wish we could have experienced as well!

  • Sarah - This is just all so precious & beautiful Erin. So happy for you!

  • Vicki McCormak - You and Bern are truly blessed and loved by all!

  • Karen Patterson - Thanks for sharing the pictures! Such a blessing to know that God has put you too together! Can’t wait to meet him someday! Our prayers are with you! Serve The Lord together!

  • Martha Vernon - Oh Erin Your wedding story is sooo beautiful. May God Bless Your lives together and may You both Celebrate MANY MANY years together.

  • Mom - Erin, you are such a beautiful writer…. A beautiful way to share your perfect day…:)

  • Betty Jo (Jody) Hardwick - Erin, I have enjoyed reading your blog as you have recorded your meeting Bern and now your wedding. Truly you are blessed to have found the man God prepared for you. I so appreciate your sharing your ceremony with us and the emphasis you have put on what love
    really is! You are a beautiful bride and such a talented young lady. I know your parents feel blessed.

    You won’t recognize my name but ask your Dad about the connection of our families. I have many happy memories of time spent with your grandparents, Sanford and Dolores and now I am privileged to worship at the same church with Sanford and Mary.

    May God bless you with many years of joy and happiness.

  • Brenda - I enjoyed your beautiful “reenactment” & recollection of this very special day!

  • Kami Bourque - I am speechless! Although I’ve never met Bern, he seems like an amazing young man. Congratulations to you both and may you share many years together. I don’t have to remind YOU to keep CHRIST in everything. You are an amazing bride and I am very happy for you. (Especially the “first kiss” thing)

  • Amanda - So you Erin!!! and so beautiful! Loved hearing all about it and can’t wait to see more!

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