Stories of Redemptive Love An Eclectic Illinois Wedding
This wedding incredibly dear to my heart and it’s off the beaten path too!
It was an eclectic ceremony packed with incredibly meaningful stories of the couple and their redemptive stories, speeches, art and music! The couple told stories and took a much bigger part than most couples do during a traditional ceremony. They asked close family & friends to share stories as well, and there was also a live painter during the whole thing! I hope this encourages you, my reader, to go off the beaten path and forge your own wedding. Let it be yours fully by doing whatever you want! Whatever makes it YOU.
And I got to be a storyteller!!!
Because this is my dear friend Libby, and her girls and her now “husband” Nick!!!! Everyone that knows me at all knows Libby.
Libby was my roommate for years in college. We have an exceptional friendship that has withstood storms & life trials and become only the stronger. She invited me to give a 3 minute story… that obviously turned into closer to 7. Alas, that is what happens when you ask Tracy to talk… she should have known better. lol. I tried my best and I think I did a good job sharing about our story & who Libby is. Below you can read what I wrote down as the key talking points but I am so proud of myself that I only checked my papers twice!
I winged it a little so I think it’s more natural than what I share below. But I felt like you might enjoy hearing what I had to say!
“Libby & I have been friends for generations.. okay maybe just 18 years but long enough to really KNOW each other. From the second we met we were two peas in a pod. We had so many similar stories, childhood experiences, and shared interests. I had met a kindred spirit and I knew it in a 5 minute conversation. And so did she.
From the moment we met we immediately started spending time together. Libby spent many a night traveling back and forth between Champaign and Normal. We spent hours bonding over late night sleepovers on my “my little pony” sheets. (Yes I was in college) Giggling & laughing and snacking and crying. All out sobbing knowing we had found a trustworthy friend who could carry our wounds and trauma together. For the first time I felt safe to really share myself in a deep way.
Libby is a safe person, she is kind and incredibly empathetic. I don’t think I’ve ever heard her say a bad thing about anyone like EVER. She always looks for the best in others.
Libby and I also have some pretty hilarious and insane stories and we don’t have time for them all, but I can briefly say there are stories of dorm life including really bad flues, spider bites and sliding hangers under all our dorm-mates doors during spring break – no one ever knew it was us but came home to rooms full of cheap Walmart hangers littering their floors, then there are stories of moving from the dorms to apartments
– just one- on moving day we stuffed my seafoam green tracker with all our world possessions and attempted to move this way.. but down the middle of Main Street my trunk fell open and everything we owned not packaged into a box or bin littered all over the street… Libby was drowning in text books in the passenger seat and couldn’t even get out to help me pick it all up -we almost peed pants laughing.
The stories move from college roommates, to us both falling in love and getting married and having kids. We even had our babies so close together. I remember the day Olive was born and I got a positive pregnant test. She announced a baby, I announced one to come. Are stories have gone on and on.
Libby and I have an exceptional friendship. We have been through so much more than college memories, and first loves, we have fought through life together side by side even when far apart. We have something deeper than any other friendship I have ever had.
I have been there for Libby when she moved around the country state to state never finding a home, I visited every single one of her homes multiple times, but then I escaped Illinois unfortunately right as she moved back.
But no matter where life took us or how hard it got, we fought for our friendship.
I fought for her when her first marriage fell apart, I fought for her when she literally fought for her life in the aftermath of that marriage, I fought for her when she wasn’t fighting for herself.
It has been an incredibly hard decade. But I never give up on her. And when I was about to give up because I was exhausted from my own life, fights and struggles and she was there for me. We never gave up on each other. Ever. We allowed each other to grow, evolved and become more.
Our stories have always crossed paths. Even if we went weeks without speaking, even if we hit a disagreement, even if it felt like it was time to just give up, we always circled and intertwined. There was always a reason to intertwine.
Like last year when we were struggling, Libby needed a branding agency and website designer to launch her business… and that’s what I do, I help people launch & brand their business… Apparently I have too many jobs. Lol. But Libby reached out on a professional limb. So once again our stories entwined and now on a different level.
I had the great joy of helping Libby brand & launch her business Redemptive Beauty Collective as her life was taking an upwards climb. Helping Libby finally launch her dream that she had been fostering for years and years was an incredible joy. So that brought us back together again, and our stories flooded out and trust grew again deeper and deeper.
So when I got the call that Libby was getting married my soul lifted and the tears just poured out. Tears of joy knowing that Libby wouldn’t have to do this life alone anymore. Because she had been fighting and making hard healthy choices and struggling alone for far too long. And knowing that someone else would love her like I love her… and so much more! That someone has seen and known her great beauty, kindness, depth, and faults and dug to find all the amazingness she has to offer life.
Libby has always had a lot to offer and having a partner that is kind, gentle, loving and supportive is everything she is ready for. I don’t know Nick yet.. really much at all. I have seen just glimpses over the past few months. Planning this wedding with them on multiple zoom calls where we had to navigate hard things like details & logistics but also emotions, I watched him speak to her with love and respect. I watched him calm her when the emotional waves hit, and not in a condescending way but in a I love you and support you and I’ve got you way. It was beautiful.
So like I said.. I don’t know Nick yet… but if Libby chose him than I trust it. Because I trust Libby. I trust that she has waited for the right man. I trust her I’ve watched her fight for this. She’s been fighting for healthy relationships and winning the battles one after the other.
And I am incredibly proud to be here and to be on this stage with her and hold her hand as her story continues and she continues to grow and become more and more of who she was born to be.yours truely-
Everyone did a great job! The ceremony was incredibly meaningful and hey… Nick & Libby are married!!!!
I am incredibly honored & proud to not only have photographed this artistic eclectic wedding but also planned it with the couple.
It was also challenging planning for the past few months from Arizona. But then executing the wedding in Springfield Illinois. I also brought my son Mateo because he is just as much a part of Libby’s life. But running around like a crazy person when I usually have a team was a THING. I am so grateful for the support of Libby & Nick’s family & friends who helped make this day a reality! There were a good amount of moving parts and I am proud to say there were hardly any hitches!
I hope the photos bring a smile to your face and encourage you to take your wedding off the beaten path. let it be whatever you want it to be!
Stories of Redemptive Love An Eclectic Illinois Wedding
It Takes A Village
CHECK OUT ALL THE VENDORS/FRIENDS THAT CAME TOGETHER TO MAKE THIS WEDDING BEAUTIFUL
Photographer: Me @ Fully Alive Photography
Planner: Me @ Fully Alive Events
Portrait Venue: Washington Park Botanical Garden
Church: Destiny 217
Florist: KW Event Design
Hair: Eco Chic Salon
Makeup: Libby (yes- she’s a makeup artist!)
Cake-Cupcakes: Three Twigs Bakery
Officiant: Tommy & David Lee
Lead Musician: Lexie Hooper
Sound/Admin: Aaron Dearman & Joey Simms
Dessert /Decor/Coordinators: Lizzy Staton, Stacy Smith Carter, Ariel Dearman, Amy Denney, Ashley Febus
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