You might want to be sitting down for this one, because this wedding day has quite a story! I was first introduced to the bride, Danielle, through her mother, Ginger. She described her daughter as a strong woman and a free spirit who was having trouble finding the right photographer. I was naturally intrigued by this description, so I reached out to Danielle.
In the course of our emails and phone calls, I discovered she had been on quite a journey. When she was in high school, her dream was "to be a famous bull-rider and travel the United States and the rodeo road." Not one to sit on her dreams, she went for it, saying, "That was short lived, but it was fun while I tried."
Always up for an adventure, Danielle's work history included time as a wild land firefighter and emergency medical technician for a fire department. Unfortunately, Danielle's adventurous streak was cut short when she was involved in a terrible car accident and sustained a severe injury to her ankle. After numerous surgeries, she regained the use of her leg, but was left with ongoing pain and reduced abilities. Not one to sit idle, she shifted her focus, went to school, and opened her own business.
Danielle never thought she would settle down and get married, but that was before she met Ryan. They were introduced through friends, and she didn't think much of Ryan at first. But then they had a long conversation one night after going to the county fair, and they've been inseparable ever since. Danielle describes their relationship as Ryan "coming over one day with a gym bag and never leaving again".
Once they set up house together, their shared compassion for neglected animals led to rescuing four dogs, one cat, two donkeys, and a mule. With so many four-legged kids at home, they started to talk about having a human baby too, but doctors said it would be impossible for Danielle have children due to her injuries from the accident.
Ryan and Danielle began looking into adopting a child, and were told they would have better chances of being chosen as parents if they were married. And that is how Danielle, who never planned to be a bride, found herself planning a full-blown country wedding for a date three months away.
Danielle said that the country vibe of her wedding day was rooted way back in her childhood. She explained, "My dad is giving me away by driving me down a lane in my late Grandpa's restored 1955 Chevy truck. I remember as a child helping Grandpa turn wrenches on that thing." When it came to finding a wedding venue, she felt the rustic, antique look of the barn at White Creek Acres was the right fit. "I love the whole country rustic antique theme, and not because its trendy but because I've been an old soul since I was young. I was a hippie and boho long, long ago."
The rustic setting was also a perfect fit for including the couple's four rescued dogs, Ruby, Wyatt, Billy, and George. The dogs, sporting their own wedding attire and monogrammed leashes, were walked down the aisle by the children of friends and family. (I *might* have included more photos of dogs than people in this blog post, but I think it's ok because Danielle asked for "Lots and lots of dog pics!" And, seriously, how cute are those dogs and kids?)
Anyways, back to the main story of this post--Danielle and Ryan's desire to have a child. When I first talked to Danielle, they had already applied to adopt a child and were hoping to announce their adoption at the wedding. I was so excited to capture the surprise on everyone's faces at the big news! But then something miraculous happened: against all odds, Danielle became pregnant! The plans to announce an adoption turned into plans to announce their pregnancy, for the first time, to their extended family and friends during their wedding reception.
While this news could not have been more welcome, the pregnancy also brought a lot of difficulties for Danielle as she suffered from hyperemesis (the crazy pregnancy sickness that Princess Kate had). Needless to say, her mom had to take over a lot of the wedding planning and we had to keep photos and exertion of any kind to a minimum on the wedding day.
Despite all the difficulties of Danielle's health, the photos of she and Ryan announcing their pregnancy and receiving the joyous support of family and friends are some of my all-time favorites. Moments like these are once in a lifetime, and I'm so grateful that I got to capture them.
Danielle and Ryan (and Ginger too!), thanks so much for including me in your incredible story! I am so glad to know that your little boy will be able to see how much he was loved before he was even born.