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  • Writer's pictureDoodle Fly Photography

Heather & Stephen’s Wedding

Heather and Stephen have a special kind of love.  The kind of love that started with a spark across the realms of time and space.  The kind of love that can defeat any and all barriers. Here is their Wedding Story:

Heather is an Office Manager.  Heather has 2 beautiful daughters, Rylynn is 8 years old and Kendyl  7 years old.

Stephen is a Middle School History Teacher.

Heather tells us how their story began:

“The secret is out…to the surprise of many we actually met online. I sent the first message to Stephen. It was a simple “Hi :-)” But it lead to an immediate reply. After messaging each other for awhile online, we exchanged numbers and began texting.”

The fires of love all begin with a spark.  It is not easy to make that leap of faith.  We all look for a signal.  A sign .  Heather and Stephen decided to take a chance on each other.

“Our relationship took a big leap when we spent six hours on the phone talking about EVERYTHING. We discussed our past, our hopes for the future and what we wanted out of this crazy thing called life. Stephen finally asked me out on a date. Without hesitation I said yes, but boy was I in for a surprise!”

The couple was ready to take the steps from internet into reality.  Heather and Stephen decided that they owed it to themselves and to love itself to see if this was in fact real. Stephen had planned their first date on the beach.  They both had very different visions of what a beach date meant:

Heather explained:  “Every girl loves a nice walk on the pier and a pretty sunset…However Stephen had something else in mind. He picked me up from my house and when we arrived he placed a large blanket down on the sand with a bag. He then asked me if I was going take off my sun dress..(Ummm…What??? )   I guess we had two completely different ideas of what a beach date included.”

Stephen  wore swim trunks. Stephens vision was a fun-in-the-sun beach day filled with laughter, splashes and sun.  Heather was ready  for sunset walk  on the beach and long conversation.

“Let’s just say we still laugh about what he said and the look that I gave him when he said it. We ended our date with dinner at Red Robin where Stephen had a Burnin’ Love Burger to match his burnin’ legs from walking and chafing in swim trunks. Despite all of the awkward mix-ups we had an amazing time. That day was the beginning of our forever.”

Heather and Stephen’s relationship began.  Not only did their friendship grow, but their love for each other as well.  Love that stems from  friendship is the strongest kind of love.  It is not only based on admiration, but friendship that is the glue that will hold their love together, forever.  They learned to take part in each others hobbies and interest.

“We enjoy each other no matter what we are doing. We both are Disney fans. We love family and friends. And…Stephen has turned Heather into Tampa Bay Rays baseball fan. Heather loves to decorate and does crafty DYI things (Pintrest Freak) and Stephen is a Sports Fanatic. It’s a known fact that if there is a deal to be found Heather will find it.  Ballin’ on a budget folks!”

We met Stephen and Heather in Starbucks in Cape Coral while they were planning their wedding for November 7, 2015.  They walked in with a binder filled with every single detail planned for their big day.  They were both very serious.  Asked all the right questions.  They were determined to get the perfect wedding captured perfectly.  Every Moment was planned.   Every detail carefully looked over.  They even had Maps of their venue and color coded tabs for each section of their big day!  We both thought “This couple Means BUSINESS!”

I first witnessed their lighter side when I asked them about the proposal. I watched Heather smile so big that it looked as if her cheeks hurt!  Stephen told us the story with this proud demeanor.  He knew he pulled off the biggest surprise that Heather would never forget.

“I knew after a while that Heather was the woman with whom I wanted to spend the rest of my life. After searching, and searching … and searching for the perfect ring for her, I finally found one that I knew she would love. I only had three more steps; plan out how I would pop the question, ask her parents for permission, and actually build up the courage to do it. After much thought, I decided where better to propose than the happiest place on earth. I had it planned out, I just needed to figure out how to get away from her and the girls in order to ask her parents.”

Stephen planned his proposal carefully.  He wanted Heather to be surprised.  This is not an easy task when a couple is a close as these two.  They do EVERYTHING together.  Stephen had to make sure he could pull this off, without letting Heather and her girls in on the plan.

“Two days before our first Disney trip together, I went to the grocery store to pick up things for dinner. I kept one of the items in my car so I had an excuse to go back. I left and headed to her parent’s house. After a few questions from her mom and dad to ensure that I knew what it entailed, they agreed. Two down, one to go. When we arrived in Orlando on Friday night, I took her the Cheesecake Factory, a restaurant that she had always wanted to try, but never had. The hardest part was keeping the ring hidden from Heather. We shared a hotel room and even had clothes in each other’s bag. I eventually had to hide it under the couch in the hotel room until we left and headed to Magic Kingdom in the morning.”

Now, He has the ring, he has her parents blessing… all that is left is to strum up the courage to ask his love to spend forever with him.

“When I woke up the next day, my nerves hit me like a truck. When we got to the park, I immediately told her that I wanted to go to the right side of the castle (I wouldn’t have been able to handle the nerves most of the day). When we got to the Cinderella’s Wishing Well I took her phone and said I wanted to get a picture. While she was standing by the well, I asked a random couple walking by if they would take a picture. I acted like I was showing them how to work the phone, but I was actually telling them what I planned on doing and that I wanted pictures and a video (I had to stop the female from squealing.) As we posed for a picture, I took out a few coins to throw in the Wishing Well. After Heather made her wish and threw her coins in, I pulled the ring from my pocket and got down on one knee. Heather looked so shocked. I could tell she was happy because she NEVER cries. After everything, all that was left was to call family and friends. Little did Heather know, everyone already knew. They were waiting to see if she said yes!”

I received a phone call the day after our first coffee meeting.  Stephen was so very polite and told me that he and Heather felt that they found the right Wedding Photographer with Doodle Fly Photography.  I noticed that he was so very polite.  He addressed me as “ma’am” and made sure to add his “Please” and “Thank You’s” ever second he could.  He added that he and Heather had a long talk after our meeting.

“I wanted to let you know that we not only LOVE your work, but our final decision was made because we can see how passionate you both are about your work.  You both clearly love what you do, and it shows.  We would be honored if you would be our wedding photographers!”

We were touched.  They obviously did their homework and had interviewed countless wedding photographers (as we can see by their binder).  They made their decision based on our work and  price but also our passion, which is sometimes overlooked.  We were obviously taking note of this couple, but it was such a nice change to see that they were also taking note of us.

Soon after signing with Doodle Fly Photography, we scheduled their Engagement Session at Koreshan Historic State Park.  We scheduled their session for a Morning shoot because of all of the afternoon rain. This is where we got to see the REAL Heather and Stephen.

The Engagement Session:

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Every person is different from one another.  It is the couples that learn from each others differences and create something from their own strengths and weaknesses that  truly make it.  To shed some light on their personalities, we asked Heather and Stephen  to share some of their pet peeves about each other.  This is what they said:

“Heather is never early and almost late ALWAYS! She is too neat.” Stephen doesn’t see messes that I see. He can look right a mess and literally not see what I see. He is terrible at hearing me on the phone. He says, “Huh,” constantly!!!

Plans Change:

They had a Beautiful Country wedding planned for November 7, 2015.

Late September,  a few weeks from their original wedding date, I received a call from Heather and Stephen .  They told me that Heather’s father was diagnosed with cancer and they were going to have to postpone the wedding.  This was such a trying time for this couple.  They were so ready to being their new lives together as a family.

We then received word that the couple had planned a new more intimate wedding with just close family and friends at a family members home in Punta Gorda.  The new date that they chose was also Heather’s Birthday, February 27, 2016.

Wedding Day:


When we saw Stephen, he was nervous, yet his usual joking self.  He teared up as he read letters that Heather’s daughters wrote to him.


We took Stephen and his groomsmen outside to take their photos.  This was a group of guys that not only “Get” Stephen, but obviously have the same sense of humor.  We are pretty sure that this could only mean that Stephen had the influence here. #gallery-1208-3 { margin: auto; } #gallery-1208-3 .gallery-item { float: left; margin-top: 10px; text-align: center; width: 33%; } #gallery-1208-3 img { border: 2px solid #cfcfcf; } #gallery-1208-3 .gallery-caption { margin-left: 0; } /* see gallery_shortcode() in wp-includes/media.php */

Heather, on the other hand  was all business. She was directing the ladies from her position of the makeup chair.  She politely gave instructions for the smallest of details.

This DIY Country wedding was planned as if it were constructed by the planner of the stars.


We took a moment to take photos with Rylynn  and  Kendyl before the ceremony.  I asked the girls what they thought of Stephen.

Rylynn said “He is really nice.  We like Stephen a lot.  He makes us laugh.  He is really silly too. Kendyl replied: “Yes, REALLY SILLY!” I asked  “What would we call Stephen after today?” Rylynn answered :”Well, he will now be our Stepdad, so Probably Dad. Kendyl chimed in “Yeah, probably Dad.”

I captured the girls being happy little girls, twirling, laughing, as if not a care in the world.  but somehow I knew that they understood what today was all about.  I knew that they understood that today was the day that their family comes together.

The Ceremony:


Heather walked down the aisle with her girls by her side. Rylynn and Kendyl stood by her side during the ceremony not only as witness of their love for their mother, but as acceptance of their new family with Stephen as a whole.

The highlight of the ceremony took place when Stephen got down on one knee and Vowed to each of Heather’s daughters to be a part of their lives forever.  Stephen made it clear how this moment is not one of just Stephen and Heather, but one of their family becoming whole, which is a task Stephen takes very seriously.  Kendyl could not contain her emotions, while Rylynn smiled happily at Stephens proposal to be there for these girls forever more. #gallery-1208-4 { margin: auto; } #gallery-1208-4 .gallery-item { float: left; margin-top: 10px; text-align: center; width: 33%; } #gallery-1208-4 img { border: 2px solid #cfcfcf; } #gallery-1208-4 .gallery-caption { margin-left: 0; } /* see gallery_shortcode() in wp-includes/media.php */

Even as photographers, we could not keep from tearing up at this beautiful moment.  (wiping tears from our camera)

The ceremony was beautiful.  Stephen & Heather were surrounded by their Friends, Family, and God in this beautiful country ranch.


The Reception:


The most joyous moment was when Stephen wheeled Heather’s dad out to the dance floor to have his dance with his daughter.  Heather’s father stopped and stood up from the confines of his chair and insisted on dancing with daughter on her wedding day.


Heather could not keep her tears from falling.  She had planned one wedding, then changed everything because her father was diagnosed with cancer.  The fear of not knowing if he would make it to this day were all washed away when he stood from that chair.   All of those emotions came to a head as she finally was able to dance with her Daddy on her wedding day.

The rest of the reception was filled with lots of fun, smiles, high spirits and love, which pretty much summarizes Heather and Stephens love.

The Honeymoon:

We decided to take a road trip up through Tennessee and North Carolina. Our first stop was Memphis, TN. where I lived for a few years. We spent three days, seeing Beale Street, Graceland, Sun Studios, the Peabody Hotel, and enjoying the company of my best friend, Nathan. We then drove across the state to Gatlinburg, TN. While there, we enjoyed the typical tourist activities. We experienced the Titanic Museum where we were given identities of actual passengers; she was a rich, first-class passenger and survived. I was a poor, third-class passenger and died… go figure. We also were able to spend our last day at Dollywood; I had never been. It rained that day, but it was still a fun time. We wrapped up our trip in North Carolina with Heather’s best friend Valerie. We spent three days enjoying the mountain scenery. Heather was able to finally see where Valerie lived for the first time. We tried to hike on the mountain, but Heather was used to the Florida weather and lost feeling in her toes … and nose … and hands. The hike soon became a short walk. Even though Heather was a bit cold, we still stayed on the mountain until dinner. The trip ended much too soon, but we had to get back to reality. We missed our little ones that were back at home.

Final Thoughts:

Some people wait a lifetime to find the kind of love that I have found. I truly married my best friend. He loves me at my best and more importantly loves me at my worst. He has accepted my children as his own, and makes me a better person. This past year I almost lost my father. It was one of the most difficult things I dealt with personally and privately. We battled Cancer as a family and it was an experience I can’t find words for. I didn’t know if my dad would see my happily ever after. I didn’t know if I would get to dance with him. But with the power of prayer, faith, and family my special day was absolutely perfect. My dad was able to see me marry my other half and he got up from his wheelchair and danced with me. It was perfect. A day I will never forget. A moment I will cherish forever.
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