Monday, June 13, 2011

Wounded Soldier Surprises His Wife With A Wedding

When Karen of RSVP Events contacted me and asked if I would be willing to volunteer my services as Jude and Kristine's wedding photographer, I answered her question with an immediate and resounding "Yes!"  It wasn't about the publicity or the media attention surrounding the event.  It was, for me, a very small way to give back to a soldier who has sacrificed so much for our country.  

While deployed in Iraq in 2006, SGT Jude Recendez lost his legs after an IED struck his vehicle.  (You can read about his story HERE.)  When he returned to the United States, he spent 11 months in treatment at Walter Reed Army Medical Center.  He and Kristine, who have now been together for 11 years, had tried to plan their dream wedding while still living in California.  But because of Jude's recovery and becoming busy with life in general, their plans for a dream wedding never materialized.  So a couple of years ago they took a trip to the courthouse and and were married by a Justice of the Peace.  

A few months ago, Jude learned that he would receive a specially adapted home through Homes For Our Troops, a non-profit organization committed to helping those who have selflessly given to our country.  Recipients are allowed to request celebrities or other guests for a special appearance during the Key Ceremony, but Jude's request was to surprise his wife with the wedding they never had.  So this past Saturday, Jude and Kristine renewed their vows on the front lawn of their new home.

Jude and Kristine's escorts to their new home...

I would also like to say a special "Thank You!" to Stacey of Your Life Photography.  When I was searching for a 2nd photographer, Stacey's enthusiasm over this event was overwhelming, and I knew without question that I wanted her to shoot alongside me.  A few of the images in this post are hers....

Many special speakers were present during the Key Ceremony, among them SMA Chandler.

Jude and Kristine get to see their finished home for the first time...

As they were taken on a tour of their new home, Kristine had no idea that her wedding dress was hanging in their master bedroom, and that Jude would surprise her with a proposal as soon as they entered the room.

Jude had practiced getting down on one knee with his prosthetic legs.  At first Kristine thought he was falling, but once she realized what was happening she broke out into tears.

Hair and make-up stylists were waiting in the master bathroom, quickly getting Kristine ready after Jude's proposal.  Karen and her team were busy outside, flipping the tent and garage into a reception area!

The Old Guard made a special appearance for the Arch of Sabres.

Many thanks to Amanda of Anthomatic Florals for providing the flowers (in Kristine's favorite color yellow) for the wedding.

During his speech, Kristine's father remarked that he used to worry about Kris and Jude out here on the east coast while he was still living in California.  But he feels he can now rest easy thanks to the new home provided by Homes For Our Troops.

Dear Jude and Kristine - Words cannot express the honor and gratitude I feel in getting to share your special day with you.  The love you have for each other is evident in your hugs, your smiles, and the way you look after each other.  Jude, thank you from the bottom of my heart for your selfless service to our country, and Kristine, thank you for supporting our country as the wife of a Soldier.

Read more about the event and wedding HERE and watch the Channel 9 news coverage HERE!
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  1. Those are GREAT shots. You definately have the eye. S-Forry

  2. Laurie, This is beautiful! I Love your work, and hope that I can work with you someday!

  3. Stephanie AscariJune 13, 2011 at 2:29 PM

    This is so beautiful!

  4. MY GOODNESS...there is so much to be thankful for!! HEALTH, home, and it all being documented!!
    i loved this story! perfect ending, perfect beginning.

  5. beautiful, laurie! what an amazing and heartwarming story.

  6. Laurie, What a wonderful event to be a part of. Congratulations to Kirstine and Jude on such a fabulous day. Thank you for your service to our country.

  7. truly amazing. you captured the moments beautifully & the story brought tears to my eyes!

  8. Thank you so much for your beautiful photographs. Although I got to donate wedding cookies, I wasn't able to be there because of a previous scheduled event. Your photos captured it all.

    Kimberly McDonald

  9. I'm in awe!!!! Thank you Laurie for capturing every emotion. I will never forget this day, and your beautiful photographs will be a lasting keep sake for them..... forever!

    thank you so much
    Nancy Kearney
    Blue Star Mom

  10. Nice to meet you at the Key Ceremony Laurie!

    These photos are amazing, you are very talented. Thank you so much for volunteering for this important project.

    I hope you do not mind, but I am sharing this blog all over Facebook and via email!

    Dawn Teixeira
    Homes for Our Troops

  11. What an awesome gift of love! Great photos and a story that ends... Happily ever after!!!!!

  12. Totally tearing up over here Laurie! What a wonderful (and romantic) wedding! You've photographed it beautifully for them! :)

  13. Wow, thank you all so, so much for the comments! It was an honor to be a part of their day!

    Kimberly - I have a photo of those! Once I have the gallery up, I'll be sure to give you a link so you can see it!

    Nancy - Thank you to all the Blue Star Moms who were the driving force in make this possible!!

    Dawn - Absolutely! Please feel free to share Jude and Kristine's story!!

  14. Fantastic story Laurie, great shots!

  15. Oh Laurie, I had to fight tears when I read this at work yesterday! This is the best story and I felt like I was there through your post. I know I'm in no place to thank you for doing this, but thank you for doing this, and thank you for sharing.

  16. Beautiful pictures of an amazing day. Thank you Laurie!

  17. AWESOME! Jude and Kris will be able to relive this glorious day each time they look at these pictures as we all will. Thank you for sharing your talent for this special occasion. T.J.Sumners

  18. Great job Laurie! Thank you so much for adding so much to Jude & Kristine's day and capturing the moments!
    Doreen Lewis
    Homes for our Troops


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