I went to Illinois State University (ISU - GO REDBIRDS :D) for my undergrad degree. I loved it there. I grew so much at ISU, met some crazy cool humans, aaaaand took a Civic Engagement class with a professor named Jennifer. She turned out to be the singularly best professor I'd have at ISU, and she taught me so much more than anything I could have learned in a textbook.
During that class, my mother was diagnosed with cancer. It's an understatement to say this was a tough semester. Jennifer showed love and compassion towards me and my situation every single time we interacted. This made a lasting impact on me - so much that, when I was debating whether to take a final interview for a corporate sales job in downtown Chicago (a career-starter straight out of the textbook), I called her on a Sunday night at 9PM freaking out because taking the interview would mean missing Homecoming Week, and I didn't want to miss a week that was so hugely important to me in my senior year. She was always there with love and compassion. And yes, I had no shame calling my professor at 9PM on a Sunday. :P
Jennifer encouraged me to stay, and fully experience my final homecoming season at ISU. She knew it meant a lot to me - and Jennifer being Jennifer, she led me in the way of choosing greater joy and fullness. It made sense that she gave me this advice: she always leads with integrity and heart - it's who she is, down to the core.
Fast forward 6 years, and we've stayed in touch, post-ISU. Jennifer still gets phone calls and texts from me, asking advice about community activism, relationship chats, and excitement about my latest fitness goals. :D
And, six months ago, Jennifer asked me to photograph her wedding. Of course, of course, I said yes. This was the first full wedding we'd ever done as The Fort Co. Photography - an enormous milestone, and one made all the more meaningful because of the role Jennifer's played in my life thus far.
Jennifer + James' day was focused around "choosing love" ... and wow, it was surely that. Every single human who attended this wedding was filled with such a unique, bright spirit. The celebration took place (lived, really) at Jennifer's home - filled with beautiful details, incredible food and this special, amazing energy that we will never forget. Our first wedding as The Fort Co. was a success - and here is a snapshot of what we experienced on James + Jennifer's big day! Choose Love!