Michael + Cristal An Intimate Backyard Ceremony | Sparks Glencoe, Maryland

Oh, friends. This blog post is close to my heart for so many reasons. I am excited to share all of the beautiful images from Michael and Cristal’s wedding day…but this post is so much more than that.

I met Cristal in March at the Creative at Heart Conference. We happened to sit next to each other at lunch, hit it off and immediately began chatting about collaboration possibilities. She was beautiful, so darn sweet and had the most ADORABLE brand for her calligraphy business…she was just too cute!!! We chatted for about an hour and then followed up the conference with emailing back and forth to collaborate on some fun projects. But then, Cristal started emailing me about her engagement that she knew was coming up soon and she wanted me to be her wedding photographer, too!! AH! I was so thrilled and over-the-moon excited for her, I couldn’t wait to chat more details!

But, after a few weeks of chatting, the unexpected happened and grief struck her family. Her finance’s father had been diagnosed with lung cancer in February, but had been doing so much better and everyone thought that all was well. But then, in April, he took a turn for the worse and doctor’s discovered the cancer had spread and that he had two brain tumors. After a surgery to remove the tumors, the doctors only gave Michael’s father 4-8 months to live. Michael proposed to Cristal in the hospital room at his father’s bed side, and they planned a beautiful backyard ceremony to happen as soon as possible so that his father could be a part of the big day.  But, God had a different plan and Michael’s father went on to be in Heaven the week before the wedding ceremony was scheduled to go on.

When I received the email…I was heartbroken. But Michael and Cristal blew me away with their grace and love and joy. They were devastated and grieving, but they wanted to continue on with the wedding ceremony. They wanted to celebrate his life, have a day filled with immeasurable joy and honor their marriage on a beautiful day surrounded by their closest friends and family. A yellow rose sat in the place Michael’s father would have been sitting…and I know he was smiling down from Heaven as they exchanged the most beautiful vows and dedicated their lives to one another.

I have been using the word joyful a lot lately…but I can’t think of another word to better describe the atmosphere on Cristal and Michael’s big day. It was an emotional, beautiful, incredible wedding day that could not have been a more joyful, life-giving celebration. Enjoy some of my favorites from their amazing backyard ceremony! Michael and Cristal: I adore you both and feel so blessed to have been a part of your big day!

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Cristal designed all of the paper goods herself….SO gorgeous!

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I ADORE these three!!!

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MARRIED!!!!

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So much love and so much joy…I just can’t get enough of these two!

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These sunset portraits…ah! SO many favorites!!!

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LOVE these cupcakes!!! So darn cute!

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Thank you to the incredible vendor team that made this day happen:

Hair and Makeup: MG Hair & Makeup

DJ & Videographer: Monachetti Weddings

Caterer: Friendly Farm 

Desserts: Starry Night Bakery

Bartending: Never Thirsty 

Calligraphy: Sweetie Jacks

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POSTED

June 15, 2016

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hi, y'all!

I'm Hope Taylor, an international Senior Portrait and Wedding Photographer based in Charleston, SC. I'm also an educator, international speaker, and the host of multiple sold-out workshops each year!

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