Jake and Stephanie’s Beauteous Backyard Wedding (by Josh & Kelley)

In June, Kelley and I (Josh) had the awesome pleasure of photographing my cousin Jessica’s wedding. Fast forward a few months and now I get to introduce you to yet another one of my favorite people in the world: Stephanie!

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Stephanie is Jessica’s younger sister. We all grew up together, running amuck in the far away land of Missouri. In case you missed the awesome throwback photo of all of us from Jessica’s post, here it is:

That’s Steph on the left, me in the middle, and Jess on the right. We could talk all day about my awesome hair and abnormally large ears, but Stephanie is the star today.

Steph is one of those people that you would think only exist as the protagonist in a Jane Austin novel. She’s insanely intelligent, but she never lets her brain speak louder than her heart. She has countless friends and an overflowing social calendar, but will stop the world from spinning to help a single person who needs her.

Oh, and that guy? He’s Jake. The groom. The first time I met Jake, I put him through my own personal acid test by asking myself the same question I always ask when my cousins introduce a boy: is this the type of guy I want to play horseshoes with every Easter and Thanksgiving for the rest of my life? (That’s pretty much how our family works, so it’s an important question!)

With Jake, I decided in the affirmative right away. He has an unmatchable energy and enthusiasm for… well… everything! I’ve never seen the man when he wasn’t bubbling with excitement. Just look at him waiting to see his bride for the first time on their wedding day!



Jake and Steph are an absolutely perfect match. I’m not sure Kelley and I have ever seen two people so thoroughly happy through every single moment of their wedding day. Wedding day stress? Not a hint of it was anywhere in sight.

In fact, the entire day was remarkably relaxed for a wedding. Jake and Steph wanted nothing to do with the typical wedding stress or formality. For their venue, they chose a huge backyard in Tempe, where they invited their guests to bring their favorite drinks and sit on the ground.


True to how Jake and Steph live their lives, the ceremony was heavily focused away from them and towards God. As soon as the bride made it down the aisle, it was time to stop everything and sing a few worship songs. And before any vows were spoken, communion was taken by all.

The relaxed theme stayed through to the reception, where guests dined at custom-built tables made for ground-seated guests, and told stories around fire pits. How great is that?


Obviously, the combined magnetism of Jake and Steph meant that it was a well-attended affair. In fact, when faced with the proposition of choosing their closest friends to be in the wedding party, they chose almost twenty people!





Right after the wedding ceremony, Kelley and I took a stroll around the block with the newly-married couple.



They were both so happy and excited. Jake literally yelled out to everyone we passed, “This is my wife! I’m married!”


While our little post-ceremony walk provided a nice break for them to consider the awesomeness of what just happened, Jake and Steph couldn’t wait to get back to their friends. Dancing, fireside singing, and all manner of joviality followed.




Jake and Steph, we wish you a lifetime of happy years together. We were truly honored to play a small role in your big day, and firmly insist on many, many game nights and coffee shop double dates with us in the future.


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