Happy Memorial Day weekend - and all my thanks and gratefulness who have served our country to preserve our freedom.
This year, the Trinity Formal landed on Memorial Day weekend. That seems like it would be a risky move in terms of getting everyone to attend, but there were 33 couples present, which seems like a very good turn out. For us, Memorial Day weekend has most recently been a laid back affair at either the Schillings home or ours. These last two years, Traig and Michael have been off bear hunting, so Michele and the girls came down to join us. And, even though I guard this time with just family very selfishly, we went ahead and agreed to give up four hours on Saturday evening to continue this tradition of taking their Formal portraits. And, of course, we were very glad we did.
This is my favorite venue so far. It's owned by the grandparents of a Trinity alum - in fact, she recently got married here. She was kind enough to extend use of the property to these current residents of the house owned by First Baptist of all girls. The interior of the barn was gorgeous- and the property was just as phenomenal.
An overview shot of the exterior of the barn.
We were just able to get the two Formal coordinator's, Emily and Ashley's pictures taken when the bus pulled up bringing the rest of the crew. As is tradition, the girls ask the guys to this event in elaborately creative ways, and the residents usually don't know the destination. They were told, however, that this would be a little bit more formal than year's past (which I love) - so the dresses were a lot longer this time around.
Our best group shot in the six consecutive years we've been doing this. BEAUTIFUL people!
And such lovely ladies!
Then the individual couples' photography began. The couples each had a 3 minute time slot, but unfortunately, it was thrown way off because the group photo was never taken into consideration as far as time. That always make it a little tense - knowing Ashley was hopeful to have everyone completed before the 7pm dinner. We did our best though - and for couples with fun ideas, we threw out the time limit and tried to accommodate.
For the most part, I stood by John's side, suggesting poses, or rounding up the next in line. But, occasionally, I looked around for shots with the long lens on the older camera. This was one of those.
I loved this girl's dress - and her hair was in a great updo - I'm pretty sure Mikayla would want to duplicate that exact look if given the chance!
Ah precious Danielle - your laugh is so uplifting!
The girl on the left in this picture is Lindsey Bills. She was the girls' Harlow counselor for Mid School Camp - known as Sunny D - such an aptly chosen name based on her disposition. She is a REMARKABLE young woman that was diagnosed the day before Thanksgiving with Lymphoma. She courageously endured 8 rounds of every-other-week chemotherapy and believed all she had left was radiation treatment, when she found another lump. Sure enough, this cancer is aggressive, so she is now going through another round of higher intensity and frequency chemo. This week, many of her friends in the house gathered as her head was shaved. She is a LIGHT to all who know her and I'm positive the extent of the impact her response to this adversity will not be fully known until Heaven. She's a survivor and we all know will come through victorious. Shortly after this pic was taken, her friend took her home as the chemo was messing with her stomach - but what a testimony that she took such an effort to make it out here with her sisters from the house.
Another dress and "look" I loved-
Ah, Jacob Jacobson and Ali Mertz. Sigh. When we first met Jacob, we declared him to be one of the best "future catches" among the young men we had met. How perfectly fitting, then, that it would be Ali Mertz, daughter of Dave Mertz, director of Camp Harlow, that would claim his heart. They've been dating since the fall and I couldn't be happier for the two of them. What a special couple.
I loved that this gal wore cowboy boots - so perfect with the tractor!
This young man is an officer in the Marines - as well as the brother to our dear Amanda from TNL. Keith has been dating Erika for a couple of years now, and while their future might be a little murky with specifics given the status of his future deployment and her grad school, there's no doubt to any of us that they will make it work.
What a radiant couple!
These two were a hoot! Sam is a favorite of ours, and his date, Alia, was thoroughly enjoying his infectious humor and "life"....
This is Ashley, with her date, Daniel - that did the "lion's share" of work to make this Formal the best we've been a part of so far...
This couple is Matthew and Tiffany - known better to us as Kahuna and Flamingo from Camp Harlow. Another couple that will probably "go the distance" - they were here just to assist in serving the meal and whatever else needs to be done. How great is that?
Yay for Cully to finally make it to a Trinity Formal - in his senior year, no less. His presence was due to the (creative and on stage at the Talent Show) invite by the other, younger, Mertz daughter, Natalie. She's a freshman this year. Just friends at this point.... ;)
Needless to say, we didn't complete the pictures before dinner was served, but it really wasn't an issue as we just snagged a couple at a time - I love how this barn looked with all the lights.
This is the gal, Rita, that owns this property and was so generous to extend it to the group. Emily and Ashley to her right and left were the organizers of this event and they did such an outstanding job.
We had two quick shots taken of us right before we left - and they happened to turn out not so bad. =)
As is also the tradition, John was able to edit and upload all of the pictures before he went to sleep, so the girls would be able to see them upon waking up. We hope they are happy with them - for sure, it's a special honor to be asked to do this and preserve these memories on their behalf.