When Jenni and Timmy Gibson married last month, they wanted their three young children to play very special roles in the ceremony. While most kids need to be wrangled by their parents (considering the risk of a ring bearer gone rogue or the likelihood of a flower girl temper tantrum), the couple’s precocious 6-year-old daughter, Lexi, got emotional for a different reason.
Photographer Missie Lafrenz captured the little one scrunching her face and crying as she watched her mother walk down the aisle to meet her dad. The powerful image went viral after it was shared by the couple on Love What Matters alongside the backstory. “That pure emotion on Lexi’s Face is proof how important it was to her for her mommy and daddy to finally get married after all these years,” the couple wrote. “This was something well worth waiting for because I couldn’t imagine my wedding day without my children to share it with. Lexi is seriously an old soul.”
Lafrenz, who documented the occasion, tells The Knot that little Lexi’s love for her parents was evident even that morning. “I could tell when I showed up that day, how important this was to the kids,” she recalls. “The two older girls were in awe of their mom and just kept hugging her.” The girls, including oldest daughter Riley, 8, stood in front of the bridesmaids as they watched the bride make her grand entrance. At one point, another little pal even comforted Riley and Lexi.
The couple’s story is slightly more complex, though still beautiful. They first met when they were teenagers and Jenni ended up welcoming their oldest daughter when she was 17. After a long on-again, off-again relationship, the bride welcomed her son with another ex, whom she claims wanted nothing to do with the child. That’s when Timmy stepped in to lend his support, and they fell in love—again.
“When Timmy asked me to marry him, I knew this would be the best thing for our family because our kids were all at great ages to be a part of something so special to us,” the bride added on Love What Matters. “We planned our wedding for a year and there wasn’t a time when Lexi wasn’t there helping me. She was there to tell me the flowers I wanted were beautiful, to crying with my mom when seeing me in the dress I picked out. She was so excited about her mom and dad’s wedding she actually had a countdown.”
“I only heard the whispers of everyone saying, ‘Look at Lex,’” the bride recalled of the wedding ceremony. ‘I knew she cried during the ceremony, but I didn’t know exactly why. When I got a sneak peek of my wedding photos, there was this beautiful picture of Lexi crying big, beautiful tears as we said ‘I do.’ After wiping my tears I asked her, ‘Lexi, why were you crying in this picture?’ She responded, ‘Mom, it was because everything was just so beautiful.’”
Lafrenz says touching moments like Lexi’s real life reaction make wedding documentation worthwhile. “My job as the wedding photographer is to capture all those details that the bride misses… and Jenni would have missed this moment if I didn’t capture it,” she concludes. “It was a innocent, sweet, organic moment coming from a little girl who was just as involved in the wedding as her mom. And I just love the raw emotion coming from her—even though it took everything in me not to pick her up and hug her!”
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