Chase proposed to Jessica last year in Italy and when she said yes there on the Amalfi Coast, they never knew all that would come up before their wedding date arrived. Whew. They started planning their wedding for May 30, 2020 (see their engagement session here) and when the pandemic hit, they had to start reassessing how they wanted to proceed. In the end, they decided to go ahead with a secret backyard wedding on May 30th and reschedule their big wedding to August, thinking and hoping that things would have returned to normal by now. (Haha, we were all so hopeful back then, weren’t we?)
I was so honored to be able to photograph their secret wedding and everyone there was able to keep the marriage a secret. Jess and Chase announced it to those who were at their rehearsal last Friday night and then at the start of their ceremony on Saturday, Jessica’s brother, serving in his role as officiant, announced it to all the guests. The delighted gasp that rippled through the crowd was so fun to hear. In her toast later that night, Jessica’s best friend said, “It’s very on brand for Jessica to have not one, but two weddings to the same man…in the same year.”
Truly, Saturday was so perfect and beautiful. It had been scorching hot in the days leading up to it and then Saturday’s heat dropped by over 10 degrees to a mild and lovely low 80’s. All the stress of the pandemic, having to change wedding dates, then having to move venues, being without power for almost a week thanks to the derecho, and endless reworking of plans thanks to the ever-changing COVID-19 mandates (masks, no alcohol service after 10 PM, etc.) and yet, thank the good Lord, it was perfect. Jessica was first my friend before becoming one of my brides and so it made it extra special for me to be part of her day, to be trusted to document it, and to celebrate in every step along the way.
Jessica and Chase met back in 2009 and one of their first official dates was a concert at the Iowa State Fair. When he asked her out that night, she actually initially said no. “I thought we didn’t need a label; it was just going to be a summer fling. Whoops.” But that very same weekend, she realized he was the one. “We were supposed to go to his grandparent’s home in Missouri and I thought we should still go. We went and had a great time, however, I got a kidney stone and he had to take me to the emergency room. On the way there, I kept screaming in pain and he looked at me and said, ‘You probably have a kidney stone and if you puke from pain it’s okay.’ I claimed I wouldn’t do that, but within seconds, I threw up all over his new car.
“After 3 hours in the ER, they finally got me back to a room where they officially diagnosed me with a kidney stone. The doctor asked me who Chase was and I went with ‘my boyfriend’ to avoid any awkwardness but he went and ahead and said, ‘Oh really, that’s new.’ So it was awkward either way.
“We left the hospital with meds and went back to his grandparents. We were suppose to go to the Cardinals game the next day and I insisted I wanted to go so he took my drugged-up self to the game and I don’t remember anything but the hot dog. I realized on the way home that he was a pretty good guy and we should date, but I also realized he was the one. If I could puke all over his new car, at his grandparent’s place 7 hours from home, and he still took me to a baseball game… He’s amazing.”
As for Chase, he says he knew pretty quickly. “Pretty early on I knew it was possible. It was more of a question if she could stand me long term than the other way around. I’m pretty easy-going.” They are yin and yang. When Chase listed three things he cannot live without, he immediately said: guns, dogs, fast cars. Whereas Jessica’s answer was: batons, kiddos (my dance students), and pictures! And when I asked what they would do on a date (anywhere in the world, do anything you wanted, for any amount of money), Chase started out by saying, “Mine will be completely opposite of hers.” (He would choose to go somewhere completely secluded like a backwoods cabin in the mountains or in Canada; just be together and go fishing, hunting, hiking, boating. She would choose a trip to New Zealand or Australia and go deep sea fishing, snorkeling, holding a koala bear, seeing kangaroos, eating good food and drinking fun drinks.)
But the beauty of opposite personalities is how well they balance each other out. She describes him as hilarious (“he’s constantly making me laugh and I would love to know where he come sup with half the stuff he says.”), hardworking (“he put 100% into everything he does. He is a determined man and whatever he is working on will get done and get done correctly”), and passionate (“the things he does love, he puts time into”). Jessica adds, “I love that we are opposites because I think that is what makes us work out so well. He teaches me how to take time off and relax when all I do is run around. He shows me the positive in every situation no matter how frustrated I am.”
Chase agrees, “She’s the opposite of me. She cares what people think and she works harder for everyone even if they probably wouldn’t always work harder for her in return. She will quit, but it doesn’t take much to get her back up and going. She hasn’t quit anything for good since I’ve known her. She’s always happy and always sees the best in people.”
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Photography: Emily Crall Photography
Wedding Coordinator: Town or Country Event Design
Videography: The Creative
Florals: Wilson Avenue HyVee
Cake Artist: Scratch Cupcakery
DJ: Avery Karkosh
Makeup: 100% Pure Pro
Hair: Eden Salon & Spa
Paper Goods: Allegra
Bridal Gown: Hope’s Bridal
Suits: Men’s Wearhouse
Rentals: Unique Events
Venue & Catering: Marriott