Lauren + Jay Seal the Deal

Saturday, May 19, dawned beautiful and bright, clouds dotted over the skyline and sunshine weighing down on the mountains and valley of the Salt Lake Valley here in Utah. It was a special day in that it was not only the date of the Royal Wedding of Harry & Meghan (The Duke and Duchess of Sussex), but it was the date of the wedding of two people who love Jesus very much. 


It's not every day in Utah that I get to photograph and experience a protestant Christian wedding, so when I first met with Lauren and Jay for their consultation and learned that they were Christians attending a church plant in SLC no less, I was ecstatic. Finding like minded people in an area less than 3% Christian is like striking gold, and it was so nice to be able to speak openly about fears and hopes for our future as church planters here in Utah. Lauren and Jay both glowed with not only a love for each other, but a passion to share the gospel of Christ with those attending their wedding. It was just another mission field for them. 


When Lauren arrived, Jay sent over a precious gift of beautiful earrings and a matching necklace with a sweet note detailing his affection for her since one of their first dates. Lauren graciously smiled reading the note and giggled to her bridesmaids about it in wonder and awe. Then it was time to get dressed. Lauren's mother helped her into her delicate lace wedding dress, perfect for her small frame and petite structure and she was the picture of beauty. Everyone was amazed at how incredibly gorgeous she looked especially once the veil was on! 


Jay also seemed to glow surrounded by his groomsmen who joked with one another, but in the end surrounded each other with arms and prayers. It was heartwarming to see men so clearly loving one another and proud for Jay to have this day finally arrive. 

Lauren and Jay opted out of a first look, and instead chose a 'first touch' for photos but all the while keeping their eyes or backs to one another. Jay was adament he wanted to see Lauren for the first time as she walked down the aisle, and I was happy to accomodate them. I knew he would have a great reaction!

Finally, it was time for the ceremony. Louland Falls, the venue chosen by Lauren and Jay for their big day, is set up on a mountainside overlooking parts of the valley and it is just gorgeous. Blue skies, warm sun, and smiling faces shown as people took their seats, and the wedding procession began. 

Can we talk about this handsome groom's reaction for a moment? There are so many things that go into making a wedding memorable and beautiful, and a crying groom the moment he sees his beautiful bride is definitely one. Jay's happy tears were such a picture of Christ's love for his Church, the bridegroom and bride finally joined together. And Lauren was radiant, all grace and poise, as she walked the aisle to finally hold Jay's hands in hers. 

The ceremony was insanely sweet, detailing first date moments, how they knew they were meant for one another, and the way that God was so sovereign over their relationship from the bio's on their tinder profiles, to the way they chose their venue and vendors for the wedding. 

With formalities over, Lauren and Jay led the wedding party and guests to the outdoor seating area for a blessing over the food. Guests took little time to get in line for the delicious catering and dinner provided, while the bride and groom sat secluded with family for a meal themselves. 

Once they'd finished eating, I stole the newlyweds away for a few isolated photo opportunities and Louland Falls did not disappoint. Waterfalls, red rocks, gurgling streams, and twinkle lights provided a backdrop of a photographer's dream, and the humble couple were so sweet and willing to climb step after step on the trail in heels and dress shoes so that we could snap these memories permanently into existence. 

As we headed back down to the reception area, guests greeted the pair as they came into view and it was officially time for toasts. Heartfelt congratulations, wise advice, walks down memory lane, and tears were shed by the Father of the Bride, Best Man, and Maid of Honor and guests happily toasted to their love and good health. 

Cake and dancing were next! Jay pulled his bride close for a prayer and slow dance to Reckless Love by Cory Asbury, a tearjerking song about the reckless love of God, how he pursues us even in the midst of our sin. It was such a beautiful moment, these two people joined together by the grace of God, realizing their brokenness and inability to do anything without Him. Eventually, Lauren and Jay broke off to dance with father and mother and guests watched with smiles on their faces as they all danced together. 

But the party was just starting. Once the formal dancing ended, guests were invited onto the floor to dance together and it didn't take long for everyone to let loose and have a great time!

Eventually, all good things must come to an end, but this is just the start of Lauren and Jay's love story. I pray that you guys continue to look to God and His Word as an example of how to love one another, teaching and preaching the gospel to one another each day so that you can and will rise up from the valleys that will come. Congratulations you two! "Place me like a seal over your heart, like a seal on your arm; for love is as strong as death, its jealousy unyielding as the grave. It burns like blazing fire, like a mighty flame." -Song of Solomon 8:6