These two have a true love story in their back pockets and the wedding that culminated in these gorgeous images from Lexia Frank Photography was a labor of love in and of itself. After reading their story, I can’t imagine anyone not wanting to put all their efforts into making a day as special as these two – to celebrate these two. You absolutely must read their story, but don’t be surprised if you sit in the gallery for days, totally in awe!
From the photographer … Julie and Jason are so very special to me, and have an incredible story of true love. Together since college, Julie and Jason spent many years long distance, while Julie pursued her career in dance in LA and Jason finished up Law School in Milwaukee. once they were finally united in Los Angeles, Jason took his California bar exam (and passed!) while suffering some pretty serious headaches and dizziness. Examinations proved the worst: a giant cancerous brain tumor. Thankfully, he survived- thrived really- after many rounds of chemo and radiation, and lots of physical therapy to help regain motor and speech skills. One day last year Jason proposed to Julie- she had stuck by his side and helped him through surgeries, physical therapy, and acclimating back to regular life.
Their wedding was done on a seriously extreme budget due to the extensive bills associated with such a situation, and proved to be a labor of love from all family members and friends. Many services, like photography and videography, and some of the decor were donated. I lent an artists hand in hand-lettering the chalkboard signs, and Julie, herself, made the bridal bouquets and boutonnieres from scraps of fabric and wire wisks. But those weren’t the only unique details about her wedding. They decided to forgo a traditional cake for a dessert bar of doughnuts from their favorite independent local doughnut shop in Madison- Greenbush Doughnuts (they have almost a cult following in Madison). Julie found her wedding dress at a local vintage store in LA, for just $180 and the bridal party was given free-reign to choose the dress of their choice, within a few guidelines. Finally, favors of classic Mix Tape CDs were given to guests – mixes of both Julie and Jason’s favorite tunes- in hand-made little envelopes.
From the bride … The day after Christmas his neurologist finally ordered an MRI. After reading the scan he called Jason and told him to go right to the hospital, that they knew we were coming. We found out at the ER that night that Jason’s “vertigo” was actually a cancerous tumor the size of a lemon growing in his brain. Two surgeries immediately followed, along with chemo and radiation. Because the tumor was on his cerebellum, our body’s coordination center, Jason’s speech, balance and vision were effected. It would be a long road of speech and physical therapy as well as monthly rounds of chemo for a year. I was never in a rush to get married. I didn’t need a ring to know what we had was real. Plus we were broke. But going through all of this together made me wonder, “What are we waiting for?”
On Sept 25th, 2011, about eight months since Jason’s surgery, he proposed. It was at the Hollywood Bowl, a beautiful concert venue tucked inside the hollywood hills. I thought this was just a sweet date night Jason had planned for us. He bought the tickets and packed an elaborate picnic. We were in our seats waiting for the show to start and Jason asked the man in front of us to take a picture of us. He snapped the shot, we looked at it and approved, but then Jason asked him to take another. I thought that was weird because the picture looked fine. Instead of smiling for the camera, Jason got down on his knee, pulled a little red ring box out of his pocket and asked me to marry him. And our camera man snapped pictures of the whole thing. It was perfect.
START EARLY!: Even the simplest DIY projects can get tricky or take forever, so begin them early enough to allow enough time to finish or to go a different direction if needed. And this is coming from a seasoned procrastinator, so if I say start early, I truly mean it. Because of all the preparation we had done we were able to go with the flow and have a great time. Of course not everything went according to plan, but since we had put so much work into everything we could easily solve the problem, brush it off and party on.
MAKE YOUR OWN RULES: It’s easy to get caught up in what you think you “should” be doing at your wedding that it becomes more like an equation than a reflection of you and your fiancé. At the end of the day, it’s a celebration of you two and your love. We did things the way we wanted to, not the way someone told us to.
CONSULT WITH AN EXPERT: Just because you consult with an expert doesn’t mean you have to do exactly what they say. But a wedding coordinator or a friend who works in the industry probably has a lot more experience at weddings than you do. It’s helpful to run ideas by them to see if, logistically, they make sense. For instance, we wanted our wedding to feel like a big party, so we didn’t want to tell guests where to sit. We figured then we didn’t need table numbers, place cards, etc. so we’d be saving money too. But after talking to our videographer (my good friend) she advised me not to. She said in theory it sounds like a great idea, but then you end up with an empty chair here and there and guests split up or standing for dinner. So we heeded her advice and made table numbers and just wrote out seating assignments on big chalkboards. That still eliminated the need for place cards, but gave each guest a place to park themselves for the night.
Photography: Lexia Frank Photography | Cinematography: One Fine Day Productions | Flowers: The bride | Event Planning: Erica Hoke, Century Barn Coordinator | Ceremony Location: Century Barn | Reception Location: Century Barn | Invitations: Brendan Loughrey | Shoes: Sole Society | Dress: Shareen Vintage | Vintage Rental: A La Crate | Catering: Underground Food Collective