The Story Behind the Picture | Jamie May Photography


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The Story Behind the Picture

(mostly written by White Dress Events with some editing by Jamie May)


It all started with Jamie May Photography and White Dress Events planning a style photo session with Felt Mansion. They started by hunting for a real couple who deserved a day of pampering.

Well, we didn’t have to search too far to meet John and Tracey Weatherwax.  John and Tracey have such a beautiful and inspiring love story.  They had  just celebrated their 20th wedding anniversary and NEVER had a real wedding.  Their story goes a bit like this:  John and Tracey met right after they graduated from high school.  John was headed off to the Army and Tracey was off to college but they fell in love quickly.  They spent a lot of time writing letters back and forth and it was in one of those letters that John first told Tracey he wanted to marry her.  After several months, John got his assignment with the Army and it was taking him to Germany.  He of course did not want to leave Tracey behind so he put on his best suit and some cologne, got down on one knee and asked her to marry him…on a payphone! She said yes.  They were married in a civil service with only her dad and sister as witnesses.  They always said that one day they would have a wedding.  Well many things happened over the next 20 years that kept pushing that dream off.  They spent a few years in Germany, and then headed back to the US all while Tracey was trying to finish college.  Finally they decided to begin their family and unfortunately discovered that they were unable to have children.  Of course this was heartbreaking for both of them but they always believed that there was a bigger plan for them.  John and Tracey decided that they would adopt and became an instant family of five when they adopted their three sons…all at once! You can imagine that with three busy boys, that dream of a wedding was put on the back burner for a really long time.


Jamie May Photography and White Dress Events knew that this photo shoot would give them the wedding photos they never had and they were so thrilled to be asked!  Then we got to thinking, why not give them the wedding they never had!  We shared our idea with John (of course I was going to need some help) and asked what he thought about surprising Tracey with a vow renewal ceremony.  John was delighted, so the planning began.  Just a few family members were invited along with their pastor, Doug Bytwerk of First Baptist Church of Spring Lake, who would perform the ceremony. All the while, the details were kept from Tracey who still thought she was the bride in a photo shoot.  We took Tracey dress shopping and she was able to have the experience of trying on gowns and being a bride.  All the vendors who were on board for the photo shoot were even more excited about this project when we shared with them the turn of events.  A surprise vow renewal…how fun!

Here is the video to see the LIVE footage: Video link:   Guarantee to bring chills!!


We shared our story and photographs with Style Me Pretty and their response was, as follows, “We’re big fans of all parties in the wedding category, including a fabulous inspiration shoot. But what you are about to see is something that warmed my heart like no other soiree has ever done. White Dress Events and Jamie May Photography set out to pull together a gorgeous shoot, inspired by the 1920′s – already a good start. But when they found a very deserving couple (a must read, see below) to act as models, they turned the whole shindig around and threw this lovely bride a surprise vow renewal. September’s Bride gussied her up right, and her husband of twenty years couldn’t stop smiling. You won’t be able to either, after one look here.”


Overall, it was a wonderful success with all involved. I am so proud of our local vendors here in West Michigan. So thankful to be a part!



The local wedding vendors were.


Event Coordination & Styling – White Dress Events

Floral Design & Styling – Eastern Floral of Grand Haven

Photography – Jamie May Photography

Venue – Felt Mansion

Stationary – Jamie Lynne Creative

Videographer – Inspiration Video

Wedding Gown, Accessories & Groom’s Attire – September’s Bride

Additional Accessories – What A Gem Jewelry Boutique

Hair & Makeup – Carrie Whiting, Flawlessly Finished Event Artists

Cakes – Second Floor Bakery

Rentals – The Rental Company

Vintage Rentals – Refunction Junktion Vintage Rentals

Models – Real Couple: Tracey & John Weatherwax





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