Taylor + Isabel / Love + REI Wedding in Fairbanks, Alaska / by Jessica Lawson

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Isabel is the most REI bride I’ve ever had. Her wedding shoes were white Chacos. Her gifts to her bridesmaids were Hydroflasks bought with her groom’s REI discount. She effortlessly tromped in a birch forrest on her wedding day — dress and veil included. And if all of that wasn’t enough, her and her groom, Taylor, spent days before their wedding showing some non-Alaskans Denali National Park.

However, trendy outdoor products aside, what made Taylor + Isabel’s day so special is their three-fold love — for God first, for each other, and for their people. That might seem like a statement you would hear about everything wedding … no. I can’t say I see that at every Christian wedding. Not that I’m trying to knock other couples, but I want to convey that this wedding was in fact special. It’s worthy of that word.

Taylor is the Children’s Pastor of their church and it was truly a church family affair. These two met at this church, fell in love with each other at this church, and got married at this church. Isabel has served in the Children’s ministry since first got involved and evidence of this being a God match for amazing ministry partners can be seen towards the end of their reception. (Towards the end of the blog.)

Fun Fact! I met Isabel back in 2012 at a small Christian camp off the island of Kodiak. She was a junior in high school and it was my first summer working as a camp counselor. That week of camp Isabel ended up accepting Jesus as her Lord and Savior which was amazing to get to talk with her and become friends walking through our faith journeys together, near and far. (Side note: I’m not from Alaska… at least not yet ;) )
Isabel was then in my cabin the next year — Cabin Joy!! — honestly, one of my favorite cabins I ever had. And then the next year she was a counselor alongside me. It’s been such a sweet thing to watch her grow up spiritually and now become such a force to be reckoned with for the kingdom of God.

Anywho! Wedding Day!

Their preceremony prayer was located at the exact spot where they first met. Tears were free flowing all day from everyone close to them. Cameron even said, “The photo’s from the grand entrance are some of the sweetest we have taken.”

Taylor and Isabel have been LOVED by God, each other, and others to the degree that they were unapologetically themselves. They did not choose wedding traditions because they had to, they choose their wedding day around who they are.

After the ceremony the couple shared an amazing meal with their closest family and friends — the rest of the guests were invited to a reception later in the day. For dinner, they served bacon rapped jalapeno poppers and corn chowder. Taylor insisted that Jan (name check me, Norris’) from their church cook the food. He said after he tried her cooking years ago, he asked her if she would cook his wedding day meal. She did! And she did it with such joy. Isabel’s stand-in and spiritual dad cut holes into a garbage bag so she wouldn’t get her dress dirty. It was awesome.

Taylor and Isabel hosted their reception at a ski lodge. We went off into the forest while the guests played yard games and while friends from their church set up the reception. Frolicking in a forrest of Alaskan birch with your tribe of people is absolutely necessary from now on.

Their reception held lots of laughs, lots of dancing, and lots of tears. These are some lovingly loved people and I think it’s time I set you loose to see their day. Thanks for the read. And thank you Isabel and Taylor. It was such an honor documenting you being yourselves.

Jess + Cam


If You’re Getting Married at Your Church:

Not all churches are designed with the perfect backdrops in mind for wedding photos. We scouted out the church with Taylor (the Groom) days before the wedding to see what kind of lighting we were dealing with, what kind of backgrounds, etc. It might not seem like that when you’re saving hundreds if not thousands of dollars on a venue but if you have a pro photographer they will definitely know what to use and what to avoid. Since women typically have more things to document with getting ready we switch the rooms that the guys were originally going to use. The guys would not have used that awesome barn door except for like maybe 1-2 shots. We also like to attend rehearsals for churches so we can see the lighting. One time at a church wedding, we scouted it out the day of, saw it was all good, the lighting was rough, but thats okay. Until during the ceremony they turned on this AWFUL projector that projected over the bride and groom. They were literally 5 different colors in every photo. Praise God for black and white converters.

In short, if you want to save some money and get married at your church (which praise God you have great values for how to start your marriage), consider losing fluorescent lighting. Consider going offsite for some of the bride and groom portraits, or your bridal party photos. And lastly, consider choosing meaningful spots at church for meaningful moments. Oh and maybe consider giving us a call. ;) We love marriage. And we love the Church. Cheers! Happy planning!