A Hospital Chapel Wedding for Dear Friends – Maryland Wedding Photographer
Kelsey & Jp Tie The Knot in Hagerstown, MD
A red notification popped up on my Facebook messenger on a Tuesday morning. It was an old friend asking if I was available for some last-minute nuptials for a mutual friend at the local hospital chapel the following day. The bride’s Father, Brad, experienced some health scares that led to his hospitalization, so Kelsey and Jp decided it was best to bump their original April wedding date up juuuust a bit. (No worries, big party in April still to come!)
Brad was my youth pastor growing up and I have such distinct memories of his goofy, silly self going out of his way to make a bunch of moody teenagers laugh and ultimately, lead them to Jesus. I happily obliged to be there for a man that meant so much to me and I know to so many other people over the years. I shot Kelsey a text, “See you tomorrow!” and charged up my batteries. Kelsey was just a young babe when I first knew her, blonde hair and blue eyes toddling around in her backyard with her big brothers and doggo in the backyard of a home next to our church. So when she greeted me with a grateful heart at the hospital, “It’s so great to meet you! Thank you for being here”, it struck me that while she didn’t really know me, I knew her. 😊
Not your typical wedding venue, we made do with the patient advocate room for “our bridal suite”. Kelsey’s Aunts helped her slip into her dress and she applied her makeup without a mirror. A quick rear-facing camera phone check and she was ready to walk down the aisle. The hospital staff were so kind and helpful ensuring Brad was well cared for and making the day come together for Kelsey and Jp. They even baked mini dessert cakes so they could have a cake cutting together–the sweetest! We captured bride and groom portraits in the hospital courtyard right outside the chapel. Wind-blown and snuggled up together, smiling faces happily gleaned out the windows from all directions above us as I can imagine it’s not everyday you see a bride and groom waltzing around the hospital.
God’s hand was truly in every aspect of Jp and Kelsey’s special day. I was surrounded by so many familiar faces that day. Shoutout to my *hospital day-of coordinators*, Aleah & Lauren, both Registered Nurses I know personally who happened to be caring for Brad and his family that day. Truly a full circle moment when Aleah told Kelsey I had also helped photograph her bridal portraits a few years back. Lauren grew up in the same church as my hubby and her family have been friends of ours for a long time. Such an A+ team and I’m thankful for ya’ll.
A well-dressed Father of the bride was wheeled in to the chapel for his first look of his baby girl. A quiet gaze and smile from her Dad as he brought her close. Cardiac leads and oxygen tubing didn’t stop him from standing up to hug and kiss his girl if even just for a moment. Not a dry eye was found in the chapel that day. A simple ceremony surrounded by their families, who drove from far and wide to be there in just a day. A day full of the light of Christ, joy-filled and bittersweet tears. Some days my job is extra special.
Post-ceremony, Kelsey and her Dad shared a few minutes sitting side by side for their father-daughter dance, holding each other close and taking in the lyrics of their song “Cinderella” by Steven Curtis Chapman. Hands were held and promises were made for a real father-daughter dance in April.
She spins and she sways to whatever song playsWithout a care in the world And I’m sitting here wearing The weight of the world on my shoulders
So I will dance with CinderellaWhile she is here in my arms ‘Cause I know something the prince never knew Oh-oh-oh-oh, I will dance with Cinderella I don’t want to miss even one song ‘Cause all too soon the clock will strike midnight And she’ll be gone.
Steven Curtis Chapman
Before heading back to his room to rest, we took some family portraits. Brad suddenly clutched his chest, causing Nurse Lauren’s eyes to widen and stance to ready…only to burst into laughter and fill the air with his light-hearted spirit while causing everyone else to nervously tell him to, “Knock it off, man!”. If you know Brad, you know this was perfectly on par for him. I snagged another hug on his way out and he told me, “Your prayers are worth their weight in gold, so keep them coming”.
Kelsey, I wish you and Jp a long, enduring marriage filled with the spirit of Christ until you’re wrinkly and gray, Old Mother Hubbard. 😉 All praise be to God for bringing together these people on this day.