Ambrey was heartbroken. Photos meant more to her than she could express. She wanted her First Look pictures outdoors-- pictures with old, stone, "vintagey" backdrops and lots of shade trees.
Oh, yes, and within fifteen minutes of the church, at most.
They called half a dozen venues.
The answer? No.
Six times no equals no.
But then God intervened.
The seventh place was a mansion built more than 200 years ago, high on a hill, overlooking a pastoral setting, canopied in trees. Knowing very little else about the place or the people in charge of it (owner? curator? tenant?), Ambrey didn't have much to go on. Beaten down with stress and with six negatives in a row, she summoned courage and help from God. Then, she picked up the phone and called to inquire about having their First Look pictures taken there. The woman on the other end of the phone answered with an exuberant "Yes! We would love that! In fact, we have been praying about starting a business, making our place a wedding venue. Would you and the groom be willing to have your photos used in our first advertisement?"
Ambrey got off the phone, crying. Tears of joy. Sheer relief. Deep gratitude for God's kindness.
Her mother, also a woman of prayer and great faith, could barely contain herself.
Pros of their first choice:
old stone mill, some shade trees, five minutes from the church
Cons: no air conditioning, not many flowers, picnic benches for seating (if they weren't taken or birdypooped on ), soggy and rough terrain (being in the valley after many rains), maybe a bathroom but definitely Porta-Potties, open to the public--and in the case of wedding day itself, there would now be a Civil War re-enactment taking place.
Pros of their "last minute" place:
old stone mansion overlooking a lush valley, lots of sprawling oak trees, six minutes from the church, paved parking lot, smooth stone pathways leading to the home, level ground with short-cropped grass, a pretty bathroom, padded chairs in an ice-cold, air-conditioned chapel to keep cool guys cool...
and their flowers cool, too.
This place even had a piano for someone's entertainment. He could play away his junior-groomsman jitters. Music is in his blood.
But wait! There's more! Look at them thar pillers! Pillars that match your bridal bouquet and pillows that match your mom's dress!
Not to mention flourishing ferns,
and cascading castle-ivy. (By the way, I adore the picture above. The ringbearer kept reaching for Steve's hand but Steve had been looking elsewhere. Wonder where? Hmm. I finally got his attention. "Steve. He wants to hold your hand." (Little guy was overwhelmed and Steve has a calming, fatherly way about him.)
After all those answers to prayers for a few simple pleasures--trees, stones, history-- God gave us so much more.
So very much more. He had prepared a place for us that was ours for the asking.
None. Not even a pretend war.
How amazing is God that He answers prayers on every level.
He is a loving Heavenly Father, who delights in blessing his children with more than they can ask for or even imagine.