SEBASTIÁN + KATIE || EVANSTON, ILLINOIS

What are the essential components of a wedding? Poll the audience, and it usually comes back to the essentials: some pretty dang dapper threads, carefully curated accessories and blossoms for bursts of color, rings as symbolic as the ceremony that ties two loves in to one entity, and some sort of a feast to mark the occasion.

While these things may be what pops readily in to most minds when they think of nuptials, they pale in comparison to the greatest thread that binds and brings together on a wedding – family. Whether by blood or by choice, the people who lift up and laugh with and love a couple on this momentous day are what truly make a wedding special.

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True, a wedding is technically about the I-Do's between just two, but if you stop and think about it, a wedding is celebration that is full to the brim of the many various relationships cultivated through highs and lows, over great distances and times and generations.

I am beyond honored to count myself as part of the family that got to rejoice with Sebastián and Katie on this beautiful day. It's not often that I get to hop on a plane with my momma and my partner to both celebrate and photograph a wedding, and it’s even rarer that I get the incredibly strong perspective and appreciation for family and community that this event impressed upon me.

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As with every snapshot, there was so much to be told beyond just what was happening on this day. In my retelling, two great chapters should be touched upon before I present a host of photographs.

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The first is both the love and the loss of Katie’s late father, the most rad Reverend Richard Adams. A prolific writer, musician, and a man most dedicated to outreach programs, I had the great pleasure of meeting him in 2016. He threw out fabulously punny jokes and showed off his art collection despite fiercely battling terminal lung cancer. Rev. Adams died in early 2017 and was interred at St. Augustine’s Church where Sebastián and Katie were married, but his presence on this day would be indelible no matter the proximity.

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The second is one that’s enormous to even comprehend, let alone write about. It’s certainly strange to condense such a devastating experience for many in to just a few sentences, but Sebastián’s relatives and friends in Puerto Rico experienced incredible loss in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria last year. Because of such limited reaction and assistance through the government, S&K made the choice to use their wedding savings to provide the most basic of necessities like batteries and flashlight and baby formula for their extended community.

It’s heartening to say that so much of their family - from work, from church, from near and from far - eagerly pitched in to this homegrown aid effort last year, and it’s even cooler to see things come full circle with donations of flowers and food and drink and setup and cleanup and venue and all sorts of special elements to this day.

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And maybe I’m just partial because I’ve glimpsed a lot more of Katie and Sebastián’s story than with most clients I work with, but I think the smiles were just a little bigger, the hugs lingered a little longer, and the laughter rang out all the louder because of the wildly winding path that everyone walked to get to this day. Thank you guys, sososo much for letting me capture this precious and joyful chapter of your story, and congratulations, felicitaciones, and much love to my dear friends! -MEJ

SEE MORE OF SEBASTIÁN + KATIE’S DAY HERE