Back in November of 2012, I started volunteering at a local Pregnancy Center.
My very first client was a 17 year-old girl named Jessie.
She had dark brown hair, big eyes and was so petite that she didn't look the least bit pregnant.
And unlike most of the girls I would work with at the Pregnancy Center, she was blessed with a good support network made up of her boyfriend, Nate, her mom, her sisters, and her boyfriend's family as well.
Nate was a 16 year-old, dark-headed farm-boy that came to almost every appointment with Jessie and always had his arm around her.
And they were both quiet.
So quiet that I worried they didn't like me.
We spent an hour together every Wednesday and as the weeks and the months passed by, they became less quiet, and I became less nervous, and Jessie and I began to hug each time we saw each other, and we started feeling comfortable enough to talk about the struggles ahead of them due to their age, and we began to laugh and share stories, and I found myself thinking about them and how they were doing during the rest of the week, and even though I sound like a total moron when I pray, I gained the confidence to start praying with them as well.
And one day, they showed up with a gift (a hand-made clock that Nate made) and a thank-you card for me.
The girls and I even got to attend Jessie's baby-shower.
And I walked through the halls of the hospital and up to their room the day after their son was born with a smile so big my face hurt.
And this weekend, I was honored to photograph Nate & Jessie getting married out in a field behind his parent's house.
And during the reception, as the sun was getting low in the sky and the guests sat on hay bales, stuffing themselves with hamburgers and watermelon while listening to the D.J. play country music, and a group of little boys played football out in the field, and another group of little girls were dancing on a dance floor made out of plywood, and people walked around, greeting one another with cans of beer in their hands and John Deer hats on their heads, I found myself wiping tears out of my eyes and off of the viewfinder of my camera while Nate's dad gave a speech and said, "I'm a rich man."
And right then and there, I felt rich too.
And with Nate & Jessie's permission, I get to share some of my favorite photos of theirs over the next few days...
More to come...