The story between Nicki and Ben is so unique and beautiful that I thought it would be best shared by them. So, before checking out a glimpse of their wedding day, read over what they shared with me:
“We’ve known each other since we were ten. Friends all the way through senior year, sharing experiences and mutual friends but never really close. Our yearbooks show some hilarious banter that shows he took me home at least once but neither of us remember it. Ben was the stud soccer player and everyone’s favorite class clown, Nicki wore glasses and was reserved and artsy. We lost touch for almost twelve years after high school graduation, not a word shared. That twelve year gap looked totally different for both of us.
Ben went on to travel all over the world and play soccer for his college and at the professional level. During that time Ben also followed the Lord closely and his life is evidenced by it with every turn he made. The Lord led him to a community in Charlotte called Grier Heights where he’s lived the last six years serving the community, especially through coaching and mentoring young men. They’ve become his close family during that time as he lives in the community. During the same time, Nicki had her son, Ethan, who is an absolute miracle.
Nicki was told by doctors to abort him because of a congenital heart defect, but he thrived his way through three open heart surgeries before he was two years old. Nicki and Ethan have prayed almost every single night to ‘have a daddy that we can live with’… And even on the sweetest days together making memories as mother and son, Ethan was smart enough to verbalize that something was just missing. Nicki’s life went from a successful career in designing purses to realizing that the Lord was calling her to lay everything down and follow Him into ministry. That looked like sports ministry to her surprise and so began the sweetest story of the Lord leading us to each other. We both fully believe we had done all that we wanted and could as a single person and Ben says that’s the neatest thing about the Lords timing, it was absolutely perfect.
We reconnected for coffee a year ago exactly and after four hours of talking we immediately knew something knew was different. More than just your ‘we have good chemistry’ stuff that people put so much weight on. The Lord was working and moving. We kept in touch a little over our busy summers and in August, Ben came to Atlanta to visit, we spent the better part of the next few days together just talking and every day since have been in communication. Not even knowing if either of them were interested, we were invited on a trip to the beach with some friends over Labor Day and Ben agreed to come. As Ben’s version of our story would say, ‘she was dating the wrong person and it was obvious to everyone, we talked a lot, she seemed really cool and pretty hot too, she invited me to the beach, I said heck yes, I missed the bus to the beach, I grabbed her hand in the car on the way to the beach, BOOM! purple bikini, we danced on the beach by moonlight, first kiss, wow, knew she was the one for me, said I love you and I’m gonna marry you three days later, then proposed less than three months later, bing bang bong, MARRIAGE!’ But really, it was the most natural and incredible experience ever.
We are God’s answer to each other’s years of prayers for a partner for life. God has proved it over and over in ways we didn’t know possible that he could confirm such things. We knew beyond all doubt that we were made for each other, life experience and all. After Ethan’s first weekend with Ben, he told Nicki, ‘Mom, he’s the one we’ve been praying for all this time! God answered our prayers! He’s our missing puzzle piece!’… God has remained faithful to us all and couldn’t be more grateful. In giving us a spouse, and a father for Ethan. He’s the most excited about getting the coolest dad ever.
We wanted a wedding that reflected our heart and thanks for the Lord giving us each other. A worship service led by friends with our favorite people was just what we prayed for and God provided yet again. Our friends and family drove from all over to witness us exchange vows, even a few buses of boys that Ben has coached and mentored over the years came to celebrate our wedding day. Ethan and Nicki will now join Ben in ministry in his community, Grier Heights. And now the adventure begins…”
Now that you have some background on their story, here are some of my favorite images from their wedding day.