The first time I met Caitlin and Jacob was at Heroes Coffee as we discussed what it would be like if they hired Shipman Photography for their Ballroom At I Street wedding in Bentonville, AR. I remember being so excited about their dreams for the day, but even more so about the ease of simply being around them. From the moment they sat down it was like having coffee with old friends. Even as I was learning all about them for the first time, they share this comforting presence that makes you feel like you’ve known them for a long time. Caitlin and Jacob feel like a safe space, and that’s not something I think I could quite put into words until I saw it in action on their wedding day.
Typically, a bridal suite during prep time on a wedding day can be a huge mixed bag of emotions. From nerves and anxiety, to a sort of numbness from being rushed from one prep step to another, to a full on high from excitement. But walking into the bridal suite at the Ballroom At I Street was like walking into calm. And through the calm there was such a peaceful joy.
It’s rare that hair and makeup are done when I arrive, honestly it’s typically the part of the day that runs the latest. But NWA Occasions had planned for the perfect amount of time and it was a huge part of helping the day start off without feeling rushed. But the calm atmosphere went past everything being on time – it was about the people. It was about the pure joy that radiated from and over Caitlin and Jacob. It was about their friends and family who encouraged, built up, and rained smiles and happy tears over them from start to finish.
Caitlin really wanted to make the day special so she decided to surprise Jacob with their dog Ginger in a tutu. I loved that Caitlin made a special moment out of seeing Ginger for the first time herself, but then when Jacob turned around expecting to see his bride but saw their dog dressed up to celebrate instead – it was just the cutest thing and such a moment of release. A moment to break the nerves that build up before the first look, where Caitlin could remind Jacob of their love and life together by the surprise presence of their dog. When I asked Caitlin to give me some words on their big day, she said mentioned that “being able to reflect on this and see my hub’s tears of joy is perfection!”
The sweetness didn’t stop there either. In the downtime before the ceremony, Caitlin’s girls took her to the bridal suite and showered her yet again with their love and encouragement. I don’t know what the letters they wrote said, but I know that the love was palpable in the room. When I say Caitlin and Jacob are a safe space, this is what I mean. They have an air about them that allows their friends to be completely themselves and wholly present in the moments. And their friends want the same for them.
After a ceremony full of smiles, giggles, and a few tears – Jacob and Caitlin were once again surrounded by their friends in a barrage of love. There may not have been any outward tension or anxiety throughout the preparations, but the flood of relief after a ceremony is always there. Everything – all the dates, all the I love you’s, all the wedding planning – had been leading up to the I do’s and now the real celebration can begin. Often times it’s just the bride and groom that feel these things, but for Caitlin and Jacob it was their whole bridal party. Yet another nod to the circle of trust and friendship they have surrounded themselves with.
“My husband and I can’t emphasize enough how great Morgan was on our wedding day! They captured every moment magically, which was great and so appreciated because honestly the entire day was a blur- a bright, beautiful blur.
In our first meeting, we expressed our desire to have our photos reflect the bright, airy, candid quality of our special day and she did just that with perfection.
We love being able to look back on our wedding day and revisit all of the individual moments Morgan captured. Our album is always within arm’s reach to show off her work!”– Caitlin Hartmeier