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Virgil & Kennedy's Summer Storm Wedding

Couples wedding portrait

The unpredictability of a Kansas summer day never fails to amaze me, and I think most of the guests at Virgil and Kennedy's wedding would have said the same.

Just a few days shy of Autumn, there wasn't a cloud in the sky. Perfect conditions for an outdoor wedding at the top of a hill, looking down at a rustic barn where the reception would be held. Just The Place in Ozawkie, KS, is idyllic, and when I arrived at noon the groom's party were playing cards out in the barn while the bridal party held the upstairs bedroom at the on-site house. As with most bridal party getting-ready times, it was a flurry of activity: curling irons, hairspray, hems to be fixed. Meanwhile, the groomsmen debated how to fold their pocket squares, when to attach the boutonnieres (the correct answer is always, "later"), and whether it was time to start taking photos. It was.

A bride getting her makeup done

A bride having her dress buttoned

Groomsmen posing for a photo

First looks are one of my favorite things that happen at a wedding, and I've done more and more lately where the bride and father of the bride have one. Kennedy's dad, who had been there all day setting up and prepping food, begrudgingly took off his KU hat before photos with just a little twinkle in his eye.

A bride tapping her father on the shoulder

A bride and her father doing a first look

As the ceremony grew near, there was an almost imperceptible change to the wind. I found myself checking the weather app on my phone, but as tends to be the case when you're in Kansas, the app lies. Guests began arriving and hiking up the slight hill to the ceremony location. The path was a wide swath of green grass, mowed down with wildflowers growing on either side. Sunny skies remained, but a shelf of dark clouds was hanging out on the horizon. I wasn't the only one checking my phone.

As luck would have it, the ceremony went on just as planned. The ushers opened the double doors as each person walked down the aisle and made their way to their place, and when Kennedy came through on her father's arm, an absolute vision in white and lace, the wind caught her hair just right and made it a gentle halo around her stunning, smiling face.

As the ceremony wound down, the winds started picking up, blowing bits of flower petals and leaves across the party and their guests. Kennedy and Virgil embraced in the first kiss as husband and wife to an eruption of cheering, second-loudest only to the moment they reached the end of the aisle and he dipped her back into their second, Hollywood-style kiss. Virgil's stoic exterior broke for just a second as he wiped back tears, and at almost the exact moment the ceremony ended, the sky opened up.

Ceremony location for a wedding

A groom walking down the aisle with his mother

Flower girls and a ring bearer

The storm would bring a hard and heavy deluge of rain, followed by a hailstorm that pounded the roof of the barn to the point that you couldn't even hear the DJ over his sound system, but everyone was in great spirits. As it turned out, the barn created a wonderful backdrop for more photos, and once the storm passed, it was the perfect cool pre-Autumn evening for dancing as the stars came out, roasting marshmallows over the bonfire, and sending off two truly beautiful individuals on the rest of their journey in love.

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