Hoover Country Club Wedding, Birmingham, AL | Eleanor Stenner

May 22, 2019

The past four years, I’ve walked a lot of life with Kelsie Baer. Overflowing dishwashers, breakups, Friday morning prayer meetings, sleepovers (mid-20-year-olds can still have them), first dates, meals on the couch and a lot of Gilmore Girls. We moved in together as roommates on the same night of graduation and I had the privilege of watching her life closely as we waddled (yes, waddled) through post-grad life together.

In Spring 2018, Kelsie, Caroline and I started meeting for prayer. We pray for six things every week – revival in our hearts, compassion for the lost, a nation, families and future families, living lives worthy of Christ and then a slew of personal requests. I knew from the beginning that we’d look back on this dedicated time and see how God used it powerfully.

After months of praying for our future families, a man named TJ appeared on the scene. I received a text and call one night with Kelsie freaking out because she was so excited/nervous for their first date. 10 days later (and after hearing a good report from the first date), I checked in on how things were going. She responded with, “We’ve been on 12 dates!!!!” I died laughing because, really, how does one go on 12 dates in 10 days? Only TJ and Kels! They were smitten from the beginning.

Their relationship progressed quickly and I’d never seen Kels so head-over-heels for someone. I distinctly remember her saying one night, “I just feel so safe. Even if we don’t get married, it’s the first time that I’ve felt completely sure that I’m safe in Christ.” Three months later with many phone calls and a sneaky scouting walk around Samford’s campus to determine his proposal location, TJ popped the question. It was pouring rain but they soaked it up (quite literally) and said yes to marriage with one another.

A few Saturdays ago, she became Kelsie Leon. And although she’s still the same Kelsie, she glows with the radiance of being loved. Nothing about her has changed – her love for the Lord, her character or her friendship – but she’s now forever-paired with a man who complements her in all the best ways.

On May 11, these two made my job ridiculously easy. First of all, they flirted the whole day so my job was basically done for me when it came to posing! Secondly, I was on double duty as primary photographer and bridesmaid, so that made it super easy to celebrate these two. Thirdly, I mean… just look at their faces. What a good lookin’ couple! All day, these two kissed, cuddled, cracked jokes, said meaningful words to those around them and swing danced like nobody’s business (I can’t wait for you to see some of these reception images). They were surrounded by close family and friends… and a grand total of 400 guests! There’s no doubt in mind that these two are well loved, respected and rightfully celebrated.

The amount of sweatiness at the end of a wedding day usually tells you how fun it was. And lemme tell ya… that was one sweaty crowd at the reception. The Leons went out with a bang after the most killer dance floor, crazy swing dancing moves and a wedding party who was all in.

But let’s be real… my favourite part of every wedding is being let into sacred moments that literally nobody else gets to see. After their first look, they read letters to each other aloud. They were long, so there was no skipping anything. And by the end of it, I probably should’ve redone my makeup because my face was wet with happy tears. Hearing their love, vision for marriage and desire for God’s glory communicated to one another was a worshipful few minutes. Kels gifted TJ with cufflinks engraved with their wedding date, and TJ gave Kels a Bible with her new name (her reaction is priceless) and a special family ring.

Kels and TJ, may you always remember these things about your wedding day: the glory of God, the affirmation of the saints, the joy of togetherness, the lightheartedness of dancing, the power of worship and the vision for a Christ-centered marriage. It’s all for God’s glory, and I’m thankful you’ve made the choice to love each other as a reflection of Christ. Congratulations!

 

(Side note: As I walked in the bridal room, I thought to myself, “It feels like my wedding because all my best friends are here!” Alas, it was Kelsie girl’s wedding day… so many of my best friends just happened to be bridesmaids, the second shooter or the coordinator 🙂 What a fun day it was to work with THE BEST team!)

Vendor Team: 

Venue: Hoover Country Club | Coordinator: Rachael Milner | Dress: Bustle | Florist: Susan Milner | Videographer: Down In Front Productions | Band: Crystal Clear | Cake: Bec’s Cakes | Bridesmaid Dresses: Lulus | Suits: The Groomsman Suit | Hair: Bethany Hooker | Makeup Artist:  Emmy Hunt Makeup | Catering + Dessert: Hoover Country Club 

 

Always gotta get a shot with me third-wheeling! Also I totally wore three outfits this day.

kelsie and tj leon hoover country club wedding