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Love, Courage, and Chiefs: Shelley & John’s Journey Together

In the heart of Chief’s country, amidst a sea of red and gold, a love story unfolded that would touch the heart of every person it reached. Shelley and John, two souls who found each other later in life, discovered a teenage-like love that blossomed swiftly and deeply. Their love was celebrated daily, from their first Valentine’s Day at Jimm’s Steakhouse & Pub to an anniversary that turned into a beautiful proposal.

Their connection is about the simple joys—binge-watching crime shows, cheering on The Kansas City Chiefs, and dreaming of a future together. But fate wrote a challenging chapter for them. John, a fighter with a spirit as fierce as the players he idolizes, is the longest-living LVAD patient. His battle with Congestive Heart Failure brought them to Barnes-Jewish Hospital in St. Louis in December, where Shelley stood by him, taking the time off work.  She spent 6 weeks sleeping in the hospital recliner, her unwavering love the beacon guiding them through their darkest times.

With the future so unknown, The hospital staff arranged for them to get married there. Amid the beeps and whispers of the hospital, they exchanged vows, a testament to their unyielding bond in the face of uncertainty. After 6 weeks, They were finally able to return home. A “Just Married” sign painted upon their door, greeted them, a bittersweet reminder of the joys and sorrows interwoven in their life together.

It has been in my heart to make sure they were able to get some photos together. Sadly, John was quickly transitioned to hospice end-of-life care shortly after returning to Springfield. I had the honor of capturing their love in the comfort of their home, where Chief’s pride adorns every corner. In a space transformed by necessity, their living room has been replaced with a hospital bed. Shelley is still sleeping in a recliner- not wanting to leave his side. The newlyweds greeted me with smiles when I arrived, both proudly wearing their Patrick Mahomes jerseys. I know that this is not what they imagined for their wedding photos, but I know in my heart they will be cherished just as much. John struggled to be fully with us in the moment, but one thing was clear–their love for one another was still shining through more than ever.

Shelley, ever-present by John’s side, now faces the unimaginable task of saying goodbye far too soon. John’s heart failure continues to progress and they are not sure how much time he has left. Instead of being excited at changing her name and the typical joys of newlywed bliss-Shelley is put in the position of planning her new husband’s funeral. This is where you come in. John and Shelley’s journey is a testament to love’s power and resilience, but they need our support. They face mounting medical and living expenses, and without the safety net of life insurance, the road ahead is daunting. Let’s rally for them, Chiefs Kingdom, and all who believe in love’s triumph. Any contribution to their GoFundMe will ease Shelley’s burden and allow her to cherish the time they have left without the shadow of financial worry. If it moves you, please reach out with a helping hand. Let’s give back to John and Shelley the same joy and strength they’ve shared with us.

https://gofund.me/4362d352

Your generosity can turn a story of love into a legacy of compassion. Together, we can ensure that this chapter of their love story, though heartbreaking, is filled with the community’s warmth and support.

Lots of Love,
Jessica

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    Amelia + Stephanie’s New Years Eve Wedding | Hotel Vandivort, Springfield MO

    New Year’s Eve is a time of reflection, resolutions, and fresh beginnings. For Amelia and Stephanie, it was a day that radiated love, warmth, and the promise of a beautiful journey ahead. Their intimate wedding at Hotel Vandivort in downtown Springfield, Missouri, was a testament to their unwavering commitment to each other. These ladies show up for one another in an enviable way. It is what everyone is searching for when they look for somebody to spend their life with. Their devotion to one another is unparalleled.

    The day began in the heart of the hotel, where both brides shared the excitement and anticipation of the day ahead. Together in the master suite, amidst the buzz of preparation, they found joy in each other’s company. With laughter and shared moments, they eased into the day, getting ready side by side, making the hours leading up to the ceremony a cherished part of their wedding story.

    The chilly Winter air bit upon us as we headed outside for a few quick portraits. Against the backdrop of the day’s fading light, their love and happiness shone brightly, captured in photographs that would forever memorialize their special day.

    The evening began to unfold in the Cornerstone Room, where an intimate dinner awaited. Surrounded by cherished friends and family who had been an integral part of their journey, they dined, sharing stories and making memories that added even more depth to this beautiful occasion.

    Following dinner, everyone moved upstairs to the hotel’s ballroom for the wedding ceremony. The vows exchanged between Amelia and Stephanie were deeply heartfelt, filled with emotion that echoed through the room. The couple chose a sand unity ceremony, symbolizing the blending of their lives and the unbreakable bond they were forming.

    The celebration continued as everyone made their way to Hotel Vandivort’s Vantage Rooftop Bar for cocktail hour. The dimly lit atmosphere was charged with warmth and laughter, creating an ambiance that perfectly complemented the joyous occasion. After sharing a few drinks with their loved ones, it was time to return to the ballroom, where the evening transitioned into a lively celebration. Everyone cheered excitedly as Amelia & Stephanie entered the ballroom hand in hand. Then they shared their first dance as newlyweds. Many toasts were shared, filled with heartfelt sentiments that underscored the love and admiration everyone held for the newlyweds. Amelia and Stephanie basked in the love of their closest friends and family, cherishing every moment as they embraced the new year and a new chapter together. Their New Year’s Eve wedding at Hotel Vandivort was more than a celebration; it was a testament to the enduring power of love, the strength found in unity, and the beauty of starting a new journey hand-in-hand with your favorite person.

    Stephanie & Amelia, Thank You for sharing such a magical day with us. I am so glad we could end our 2023 wedding season with such a perfect couple.

    Lots of Love,
    Jessica

    Accommodations | Hotel Vandivort
    Bar & Catering | Hotel Vandivort
    Hair Artistry | Kat Goodwin, Luxe Salon 417
    Makeup Artistry | Airbrush by Andie LLC
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      John + Dustin | Greenhouse Two Rivers Wedding, Highlandville MO