My oldest brother married Anna's sister, five kids ago, but even before that, we were friends, penpals, and fellow schemers and teasers of our respective falling-in-love siblings. If you think about the kindest, least condescending, most brown-eyed selfless lady you can think of, and she might be almost as great as Anna. We crushed hard on Christian Bale back in the day, she introduced me to Shrek, we rode an atv and a bareback horse at her grandparents property, we've gotten to love nieces and nephews together, talk about everything under the sun, and lately, have big fat coffee dates mostly talking about God and marriage and this particular Josiah guy.
Incidentally, who I've known for years as well. Since I was about twelve, I got to spend amazing days in his family's home, "helping" his mama, but mostly being outrageously blessed and encouraged by his entire, overflowing-with-life family. I got to witness & photograph two of his last three siblings be born (including the seventh boy in a row, and then the first-ever girl!). His mom, as one of the most influential and wisest women in my life, was one of my bridesmaids.
These two super hard-working, dedicated, and others-serving people together was totally unexpected, but seemed so perfect from the beginning. They had a long, hard, journey, and it included giving each other to God, a lot of waiting, a lot of long distance. Josiah pursuing his hardest, and waiting, and providing, and Anna praying, and being hardcore wooed by this real-deal guy.
It was an honor to get to bear witness to their relationship, and in between stuffing my feelings so I could do my JOB, it was weepy-wonderful to see all of it culminate in their wedding. Surrounded by so many people who have been unendingly encouraged and loved by them individually and together, vowing to love each other forever. Each wedding makes me believe in marriage and weddings in a whole new way.
Perfectly in time for their outdoor wedding in Anna's family's yard, a vicious and unprecedented heat wave stormed in. (Ironically, when Anna's sister married my brother the same week in June, it was also a freak early 100 degree day). Probably our hottest wedding to date, but it just made the ice cream (and fans, and spray bottles...) even more relevant.