I met Jeanne a few years ago at a Women’s Retreat for Bayside Church. Have you ever heard someone tell their story and you feel like it is you? That was Jeanne for me. After she spoke, I emailed her and we soon met for coffee. A friendship and mentorship began that day…such a special women!! Jeanne showed me so much love and wanted to get to know me better. Every time I sit and talk with her I want to be a better person, she loves the Lord and shows it in all she does…truly inspires me!
Jeanne is also my biggest fan and always shows her support for my business on Facebook. Oh how it warms my heart to see comments on my pictures from her! If you know Jeanne you know what I am talking about!! And if you know Jeanne you know about her love for her family! Not a minute of conversation would go by without her mentioning her son Victor and his girlfriend (soon to be fiancé) Crystal. It was no secret that I would be the one to photograph there, one day wedding — not because I was a friend but because she truly loved what I did.
Today I sit after several months off my blog. I have known this blog was coming and kept sitting down to write it but just did not have the right words to say. Last week I attended a memorial service for one of my amazing brides. Most of you that know me are aware that I photographed Crystal and Victor’s amazing wedding in June. Crystal went to meet the Lord while on her honeymoon in the Bahamas. I have had a really hard time knowing how to blog about someone so amazing…and how to show her true beauty and love for life. Then I was glad that where my writing skills lack, you will see it in her smile and her twinkle in her eyes. Thankfully I can take a photo!!
Last year on the 4th of July I received a text which I knew it was coming J “ get ready, I just got engaged”…I felt honored that she would text me soon after Victor proposed…pictures were a priorty to her!! Crystal had already told me “when I get engaged you will HAVE to shoot my wedding”. What an honor! Now she was engaged, I was on the books, and we set the date for engagement portraits in Apple Hill. We had so much fun talking about wedding plans and sharing stories of our men and their sports, and eating candy apples! I grew to just love Crystal over the next year as she planned her wedding. I would go to Bible study and hear Jeanne, her soon-to-be mother-in-law, beam with joy over their upcoming marriage. I got to hang out with Crystal while we put together her “save the dates” and selected pictures for her invites…not sure I have seen that much excitement over my pictures before and it made me feel very special!! Soon I found out that is just how she was –that she made everyone around her feel incredible. What a gift that is!!
When the wedding day came closer, everyone knew rain was on its way. Crystal called me and asked “what should I do?” Oh how I wished I could say not to worry and to have it outside as I knew that was her dream…but 90% chance of rain. I told her she needed to have a backup plan. Then we brainstormed about pictures and decided to get everyone RAINBOOTS and UMBRELLAS!!! Rain or shine this was to be the cutest, most fantastic rainy day ever!!
I walked in the door on the wedding day to her original wedding location and there was a long line of rain boots lining the floor…I smiled!! Crystal ran over, hugged me tight and said loud, “I am getting married today!!!!” Her excitement made my heart race with creative ideas!! I never knew that day that I would be taking some of the last photos she would be in.
The day was seamless. We went to Bushnell Gardens in Granite Bay and did wedding party shots. They were so kind to let us escape the rain and use their amazing backdrops!! They even announced congratulations over the speaker which made everyone smile ad cheer. Then off to the church where we shot a very gorgeous INSIDE wedding day. It was perfect and Crystal was very happy despite the change in location…she just wanted to be a “MRS.” more than anything to Victor! It was a dream day, with so many people smiling and helping make it perfect! Victor and Crystal showed so much love and personality!
I had written a blog after the wedding and planned to post it the night I received the news that Crystal had an accident and died on her honeymoon. I was on a walk in my neighborhood and my husband drove to find me, he found me already deep in prayer…I don’t often go on walks to clear my head but that night I had. I felt confused when I saw him drive up to me. When he told me the news I didn’t believe it. It was a mistake and I truly believed it was. He told me of the many phone calls he had received while I was gone. I rushed home to get to the bottom of what he said and soon found out that it was reality. I didn’t sleep that night…I couldn’t. I just could not believe what I heard. I lay in bed awake crying for more hours than I believe I have ever cried. I didn’t know Crystal well, but I fell in love with her personality and heart. Her love for life and love for Victor was just incredible. I have never unexpectedly lost a close family member and I have never lost a client. I have been amazingly blessed to have not suffered the feeling of someone close to me dying. My heart ached for Victor, and for my dear friend Jeanne, and of course anyone who knew and loved Crystal.
As I wedding photographer, I love my couples and I pray for them and pray that I can capture their story in a way that shows THEM. After getting past the hurt, the anger, the shock of all that happened, I thank the LORD!! I thank him for choosing me to capture Victor and Crystal’s story, for choosing me to be touched by her kind heart, and for the honor that it was to witness the LOVE that Victor and Crystal shared.
Here is a peek into the amazing love story of Crystal and Victor.