I've known Jackie for many years now. She is the second oldest in the Ballam family of seven. Our families spent much of our childhood together - swimming and schooling and worshipping alongside each other, numerous trips to the Ballam cabin in Strawberry, learning to fish, playing charades, dancing to country music, and generally having the time of our kid lives.
As we all approached high school, the Ballams moved to their cabin in the mountains, and we saw a lot less of them over the years. Still, it was always an instant joy to see them when they came to town, and to hear more of what they were up to. Horses and western boots and a series of rabbits and instruments entered the picture. I'm fairly certain they could have had a family band. The Ballams were always the fun people - the family you knew really, truly loved each other, and genuinely enjoyed their time together.
We've all grown up now. Keeping in touch and seeing one another from time to time. It's amazing how those bonds of community and faith hold strong over the years. I watched Jackie + Austin's romance unfold from afar, over the mediums of social media and her sister's predictions of a wedding in the near future. They courted long distance - Austin going through schooling abroad and at West Point, Jackie going to school and continuing to love on her horse here at home in Phoenix, AZ. They had scattered time together here and there, and every moment was held precious because of the distance. They waited so very long for this day. It was truly such an honor to be asked to document these memories for them.
Jackie + Austin are the kind of couple that immediately seem complimentary. Her gracious and blithe charm, his quiet steadiness, the same face they share whenever they laugh - noses crinkled, smiling eyes. Their wedding day was sweet and simple in every good sense of the word. Beautiful sunflowers filling bouquets and gracing the pews of the church. Stained glass windows spilling puddles of light onto the ceremony below. Jackie and her bridal party wore cowgirl boots and line danced while they waited to walk down the aisle. Austin and his attendants watched calmly and cooly for their signal to start the show. The pews were full; soft piano music filled the air, and Jackie + Austin finally made their vows to a lifetime of love. Together.
Truly, there is very little I can put into words to sum up the beauty of Jackie + Austin and their wedding day. Their families and friends so full of joy, so glad to see this day finally come. The church and reception hall full to bursting with a tribe of people come to bless and support, whether their ties to the couple went back decades or mere months. Those vows that are so meaningful on the wedding day, but become ingrained deeper with each passing day and with every new trial and joy. The way a newly married man and woman hold each other beneath the wind and trees and dying day. The way love pervades distance and time and leaves only hope in its wake. Nothing can so fully capture an experience with honesty and emotion like a film. And so, why don't you just see for yourself?