Courtney & Jake booked their Lafayette wedding with me back in February and I was so excited. I love to travel for weddings (even if it's only 2 hours away). I had a gut feeling that I needed to get in town early, so we left Friday night for Lafayette worried about the weather. We made it safe and sound and checked in to our hotel room for the night.
News of flooding started trickling in and I was devastated, not only for the thousands of people who were being affected by the storms and floods, but also because Courtney & Jake's venue, Vermillionville was close to a bayou and on low ground. I prayed that night for the state of Louisiana, for the strength of it's people and I prayed that everything would turn out alright for my bride on her wedding day.
At 8:35 am Courtney called, and the second I heard her voice, I knew. The reception had been cancelled due to the flooding in Lafayette. She was heartbroken, but determined. She said "I just want to marry my best friend today". I told her I was in town and ready for whatever, so without hair and makeup artists, without a caterer, without a venue, without their band, without 150+ family and friends who couldn't be there, Courtney and Jake's close family and friends were determined to make their day happen.
I felt a huge responsibility to capture this day in a way that truly showed this couple's resilience, positive disposition, and above all, their love for one another. I set out to meet her at Jake's family's property in Lafayette where a makeshift reception was being put together. Our F150 barely made it through some high water in the streets on the way, and I remember thinking, I have no idea how they are going to pull off a wedding in this!
I arrived to the men sitting at decorated tables in the garage drinking beer and laughing together, jambalaya was ready for the reception, the house decorated from top to bottom with all of the venue decorations. Courtney was in the master bedroom having one of her bridesmaids help her with makeup and hair. I'm not sure what state I was expecting to find Courtney in, but when I got there, she was smiling and I felt a wave of relief. That smile didn't leave her face the entire day.
Words can't express what I witnessed on this day. Courtney & Jake's family came together and threw a party to remember. It felt like the day had always been planned to be this way. Before the ceremony everyone was exchanging gifts and letters, hugging and crying happy tears, we braved the waters to a beautiful ceremony down the street at the family's catholic church, then came back and partied the night away.