Last weekend was one of the best ever. Seriously. I got so much quality time with my family and friends- something that I treasure so much since we’re all living all over the place. A few of my lovely bridesmaids threw me an amazing bridal shower on Saturday and, naturally, I had to a bajillion pictures, mostly because my friends are freaking beautiful. Like all of them could be models in my opinion. Anywho! I’ll start with their uber clever pun (my married name will be Payne), which had me doubled over laughing when I first saw it….
Funfetti dip. Changed my life.
One of their games involved me eating about 3940 of these each time I got a question wrong. As you can imagine, I talk pretty cute with a mouth full of mints.
And so the front-yard photo shoot begins!
Oh goodness, do I love these two! Kelsey (left) flew all the way down from Pittsburgh to make this little party happen. She is without a doubt one of the most loyal and patient friends I have. We met the first day of college and she has been right by my side with wisdom and support through thick and thin. She is a beautiful example of faithfulness and is one of those friends I know I’ll be calling when I’m 70.
If I had to choose a word to describe Paige (right), it would be “effortless.” She has a natural beauty, both inside and out, that you can’t help but be drawn to. She is 100% herself, and I love her for it. This girl will dance when she wants to, sing when she wants to and eat when she wants to. Sometimes vegan, sometimes not. Her authenticity is something I’ve always admired, and I’m so grateful for the many, many times she’s spoken truth to me. Life partners forever, Paigey.
Oh goodness, do Rachel and I have some stories together. We’ve lived in Italy together, laughed hysterically about fish-shaped cake molds and finished our first marathon together. Also, this girl is straight weird. There’s no other way to put it. Who else do you know has seasons of only eating such foods as freezie pops, wontons and meringues? But Rachel is without a doubt one of the easiest people in the world to love. She gives so much of her heart to others, and it’s the coolest thing to hear her talk about her love for her Savior. She’s getting ready to spend a year in Uganda with IJM, and if you feel led to support this awesome, awesome girl, you can do so here!
I honestly can’t remember how I met Alison, but praise God that I did because this girl is incredible. One of my favorite things about Alison is how much she loves people and how thoughtfully and beautifully she expresses that love. I’ll never forget the fall of our senior year, she gave me a map of Baltimore after I talked told her about Brendan getting into med school at the University of Maryland and the potential of a long-distance relationship. Her note with the map said quite simply that just like this map will show you the way around a new town, so will God guide you through a new season. Now that’s a friend you don’t let go of.
Ok, bombshell alert with these two above. (Sorry, they’re both already taken) Caroline, oh goodness, where do I begin? I met Caroline through Brendan when we started dating, but I feel like I’ve known this girl for ages. She is a fiercely loyal friend who has been such a beautiful example of faithfulness and service. I’ve loved seeing her grow through her first year of marriage and am so excited to be almost (by one day!) anniversary buddies! I’m also really excited about the day that our kids marry each other because that would just be the best. EVER.
Blair is just one of the coolest people ever. She’s lived in Birmingham and Charleston and has a rich appreciation for her Southern heritage. Please read her blog or google her or something because she is an incredible writer. Seriously. Everything she writes is just perfection and always makes me hungry. Blair also ran my first marathon with me and Rach! She’s one of those friends who motivates and encourages, two things I’ve been so grateful for. Blair, you are just wonderful.
Oh Jordan, you are so lovely. This is girl is so warm and welcoming. She has loved me when I am hard to love and is someone who always makes me feel like my jokes are funny even when they’re not. Jordan was my roomie sophomore year – everyone understands that you actually know someone when you share a 10×10-foot space with them. Despite knowing me and some of my annoying/habits, Jordan has always been a dear friend. She also married a super awesome dude this summer and now we’re neighbors. CAN YOU SAY HAPPY??
Katy! Oh Charlie, you are one of my oldest friends. Katy has known me since I had braces and didn’t fully understand how to dress myself properly. She is (and probably always will be) way more fashionable than me. Katy can somehow manage to make everything an adventure. Go to the grocery store with Katy, and you’ll meet a woman who talks to you for an hour about how her son wrote a book. Go to Europe with Katy and you will literally have too many stories to tell. We’ve explored everywhere from DC to Chicago to Charleston to Europe together and some of my silliest memories are with this girl.
Alyssa (right) makes me feel so loved. (I’m realizing that a lot of my friends have that ability and it makes me happy) She is super weird, beautiful, kind , weird, hungry, affirming, loyal and weird. Can’t stress the weirdness enough, but I’ll choose to leave photographic evidence out of this. Just trust me that she has the ability to make her face do the strangest things. I love Alyssa for so many reasons, one being that she is so great to talk to. She has selflessly heard me yammer on and on about anything from photography to this cute boy, Brendan, I have a crush on.
Shanaynay! Shannon is my running buddy, my bookworm and my provider all things baked. I love Shannon because she speaks her mind and knows what she believes. She is one of the most thoughtful people I know and on multiple occasions, she’s written me encouraging notes at the exact moment I needed them most. She is a treasure and I am so blessed to call her my friend. I had the privilege of photographing the moment Shannon became a fiancee, and I love sharing this sweet season of engagement with such an awesome, down-to-earth girl!
Chelsea is one of the most honest and motivated people I’ve ever met. She’ll also think I’m being ridiculous when I point out that she’s a total babe in these pictures. Gentlemen, she’s moving to Africa. Sorry. Anyway, Chelsea is a girl who I know will always be honest with me. She was the first person to read this post and has been so encouraging and truthful during the many changes I’ve experienced over the last year. This girl also loves Jesus like no other person I know. Seriously, find someone who says that they spent their day with Jesus and you’re probably talking about Chels. She adores her Lord and has a heart for bringing justice to his people. Chelsea is going to Zambia for year with IJM like Rachel, so if you want to support her, you can do so here!
This here is my mama! She’s the best, guys, really. She is the silliest, most beautiful and sacrificial woman I know. I’m pretty sure my great love for chocolate, avocado and hot tea came from her. She always gives the best advice and has a wealth of other mom powers that I hope are also hereditary. She has been one of my biggest cheerleaders with photography and has shown me what it looks like to be a loving and godly wife by the way she treats and loves my dad. Best example ever. Love you mama!
My family to be! I lucked out in a lot of ways with Brendan. Not only do I get a totally hunky husband on June 1st, but I also get two sisters, two brothers and a pair of in-laws that I will always look forward to visiting! What a win! Mama Sue and Emily (yes, I’m taking her maiden name – Emily 2.0 is how I’m known around the Payne household) are so wonderful, and there aren’t enough words to describe how welcoming they (and the rest of the Payne clan) have been to me. Since the first day I met them, I’ve felt at ease and comfortable. They’ve made me feel like family, and I’m so blessed to be loved and supported by such incredible people. I know part of why Brendan loves me so well is because his family showed him how to.
I also couldn’t say all the mushy stuff without throwing in this gem below. Katy and I are beautiful, what can say?