Updated: Apr 27, 2021
Their hashtag was supposed to be #batesdayever. But as they got closer and closer to their wedding day, things kept happening that were increasingly putting their wedding in jeopardy. Vendors were having to cancel due to COVID and scheduling conflicts, and an outdoor service brought up the possibility of rain coming in the middle of their big day. Other couples might have buckled under the pressure or changed their date to accommodate the changes...but not these two. Their determination and their excitement to get married kept the wedding on track, and by the time the reception had begun, their new hashtag was (quite appropriately) #batesriseabove!
We had the honor of meeting Courtney and Matt back in the summer when we met up in Kalamazoo for their engagement shoot! Our engagement shoots are some of our most important times with couples, because since we got to meet and hang out at the engagement shoot, on the wedding day, both Matt and Courtney smiled with a huge "Hey!" when they first saw us! Josh spent the first part of the day hanging out with Matt and his guys while Andrea captured all of Courtney's beautiful details. Courtney's grandpa stole the show though before the wedding, as Courtney wanted a special "first look" with not only her bridesmaids, but also her grandpa. The joy on his face lit up the entire room!
Their wedding venue, the American 1 Event Center had just recently gone under renovations and it wound up being the perfect place to host due to its flexibility with an outdoor ceremony and "under-the-tent" reception area! The Bridal party, dressed to the nine's, were dropped off at the center in groups; first the girls, then the guys, to make sure that Matt did not see Courtney before she walked down the aisle with her grandpa.
Instead of reciting the regular vows, Matt and Courtney decided to write their vows for each other; and once they had finished and everyone had dried the tears from their eye, we were pretty sure they made the right choice. These two awesome people truly love each other and their vows so eloquently conveyed that. However, their love doesn't just end with them, but it also extends out to the rest of their families, as we got to see both sides of the Bates and the Curtis families celebrate as Matt and Courtney shared their first kiss and many more at the reception!
Matt and Courtney, if 2020 has taught us anything, it is how to stand strong when the going gets tough. Even though you both are such strong people on your own, we cannot imagine how much stronger you two will be together, now that you can depend on each other instead of just yourself. Remember to trust each other and lean into what makes you both unique. We cannot wait to see what you both do as the Bates! - J&A
All photos are property of Josh and Andrea Photography LLC.