Joy Got Married, Y'all.

Our Joy Joy got married.

 We call her our Joy, because, well, she is.
I mean, not technically and all.
But she's family to us. 
Truly family.

We met in Indonesia when she was in the 7th grade 
and I was her teacher.
That was a long time ago.
20 years to be exact.

And then, I found my way back to Chicago.
And years later, she found her way here, too.
And so began the many times she lived with us,
either for weeks at a time, or months at a time,
or when she was wandering back and forth to Papua, Indonesia.

The longest stint she stayed with us was when Jackson was a newborn,
and I can't even begin to tell you how much help she was over those 6 months.
I think she's the reason I still have a slight bit of sanity.
And to this day, 
she and Jackson have a special bond.
It's beautiful, really.
She is Auntie Joy Joy to him and I love seeing them together.
 Side note: After the ceremony, Jackson said to Stephan,
"YEAH, now you're my real Uncle." 
Precious, right?

And Joy's crazy about our Maddie, too.
And Maddie's now as tall as Joy.
Where does time go?
 Side story: 
Poor Joy.
You see, Maddie was our, how shall I say it, EARLY riser.
It about killed me.
So when she was wide awake at 5:30am, she would go find 
Auntie Joy Joy to see if she'd want to go catch butterflies.
Or play sidewalk chalk.
Or bake.
Or read.
Or anything really.
And more often than not, 
Auntie Joy Joy would play with Maddie.
At O'dark o'clock in the morn.

 So you can imagine our delight when she wanted 
Jackson and Maddie to 
be in her wedding party.
Truly an honour.
They were both over the moon.

SO ...
The kids and I road tripped last Wednesday, from Chicago to Alabama.
With a pit stop at my Aunt and Uncle's home in Nashville.
I love road trips.
I really really do.
And I love the South.
I was called Honey and Suger and Doll and Baby Doll,
all in a span of 6 days.
Only in the South.
So, on to the good stuff.
The weekend in photos.

As you'll soon see, Joy lived up to her name.
She was absolutely overflowing with JOY.
It oozed.
It simply melted my heart to be behind the lens,
capturing the obvious love that Stephan and Joy have for each other.
It's remarkable really.
And what they both deserve.

But I'm getting ahead of myself!
Let's back up to the day BEFORE the wedding.
When the bride says,
 "Wanna meet me at sunrise at my garden to cut
all the fresh flowers for the wedding?" 
you know it's going 
to be a 

 A photographer's DREAM.
A flower lover's dream.
My dream worlds colliding.
The lighting was magical and spectacular
all rolled into one!
Doesn't this picture above seem like Italy? 
The red dirt and the fog and the light jumbled up.
Joy's dear dear childhood friend Angela was in from Canada.
I LOVE Angela.
And her oldest sister Justina was in from Ohio.
And I LOVE Justina.

 There was laughter.
 And beauty.

 And the groom to the rescue with coffee for his bride.
He's a keeper!
 I'm not sure I saw one ounce of stress in Joy.
The entire weekend.
It was amazing. 
She just went with the flow.
This picture below? That was her look the entire weekend.
Filled with happiness.

 I think every day should start with zinnia picking.
It melts away the stress and brings along the happy.


 Heart you, Joybells!
 Don't you want to just jump into this image and start cutting flowers?

 Is she cute or what?

There's not much in the world that is happier than a bucket full of zinnias!
 The rest of the day was spent setting up for the reception out 
at the little white country church in the middle of nowhere.
And I do mean, in the middle of nowhere, Alabama.
It was beautiful.
And peaceful.
And the absolute PERFECT place for Joy and Stephan to get married.

Rehearsal dinner was before the rehearsal itself,
and was delicious and at Stephan's mother's home
in the country.
Which means it was absolutely delightful.
Can I tell you I love Southern hospitality.
We from the North could learn a thing or two from
the kindness and openness and loveliness of those in the South.
And I'm so not kidding.
Father and sister of the bride! 
Heart them.
My Maddie doing Auntie Joy Joy's hair.
Love both these girls! 
Oh yes I do!

 Auntie Joy Joy with her Jackson.
 Joy with her love.
 Great food.
Great people.
Great love for the bride and groom.
And lastly, rehearsal that night was a riot.
True to "Bergstrazer" form, 
Dennis, the father-of-the-bride, showed up an hour or so late,
because, well, Fred Heier convinced him they needed to stop for coffee. 
 So why wouldn't they? I mean, really.
It makes perfect sense.
And the mother-of-the-bride never did show up to rehearsal.
She did an INCREDIBLE amount of work for the wedding,
so last I heard, she was stopping to get floral tape or the like,
to finish creating all the bouquets.
So we'll let it slide that she didn't show to the rehearsal. 
Gotta love this family.
Absolutely LOVE!
So that's a wrap for Friday of the wedding weekend extravaganza.

But for now, I'll leave you with a couple photos from the wedding day itself.

 Joy with her nephew Callen. 
I am telling you!

Stephan's fantastic family.
 And the Bergstrazer family.
 And I leave you with Dennis and his girls.
 Stay tuned for more Wedding Day images and thoughts!


Irja MK said…
Just beautiful Alysa! What a fun celebration!
Alysa said…
You would have loved it, Adrian!!! Miss you.
Alysa said…
Rach, it was such a beautifully happy day. Joy was beaming from ear-to-ear. Wish you could have crossed the ocean to be there! Hugs to you!

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