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{Hitched} Hayley & Josh in Excelsior Springs

Hey there, hi there, ho there! I am so pumped to unveil this wedding for a few different reasons. The most superficial one is I have ALWAYS ALWAYS ALWAYS wanted a wedding with a grey & yellow color palette. And I am a fan of bird cage veils. CHECK AND CHECK on this one!

The deal is even sweeter because of the couple. Hayley & Josh are besties with a past Darbi G. couple as well as good pals of Neil’s and mine….Abby & Justin. So I have had the pleasure of hanging out with these two in the past. Hayley is at first reserved, whereas Josh is immediately a jokester. But put the two together, and Hayley’s sweet and fun personality shines. And she’s got amazingly good taste as a DIY bride as you’ll soon see.

The two met 11 years ago while working at a movie theater in Columbia, Mo., where they went to college. (GO, MIZZOU!!!) They were friends at first, but somewhat parted ways a few years later when they moved to different locations after they graduated. But in late 2005, they met up again at a concert in CoMo and sparks flew. Long distance was no obstacle for them and soon, Josh moved to St. Joseph to be closer to the girl he fell in love with.

Last December, Josh upped the ante on their relationship. Here is the proposal in his words…but in 3rd person. As you can see, he’s a witty one, that Josh. 😉

Hayley and Josh were in Mexico during the winter of 2011 to celebrate Hayley’s (24th) 30th birthday with four of their friends.  They were getting ready to meet everyone at the outdoor lobster house for dinner.  As soon as he was ready to leave, Josh smoothly strolled outside onto the patio to enjoy the beautiful weather.  Not long after, Hayley finished applying her makeup and joined Josh outside with the only expectation being that of a fresh and tasty lobster dinner.  Josh turned and looked at her and began speaking beautiful words only the two of them could understand, as they were words of love, or in Spanish… but really love and in English…

 During this magnificent expression of words, Josh began to kneel and Hayley exclaimed, “Be careful and don’t hurt yourself!”, because there was an aisle of gravel below his knees.  Except for a slight laugh, he was not deterred from his mission that was about to conclude.  As their stomach’s harmonized in the background like a school of singing dolphins, Josh placed the ring onto Hayley’s finger, and they sealed the deal with a kiss and an embrace.  At this point, they were ready to go eat, and they shut the patio door behind them, only to realize that the front door was closed and locked with the keys still in the suite.  But don’t worry, the room did not remain locked forever (Josh had the lock romantically sawed off and replaced, so as to not ruin the evening).  The two enjoyed their lobster dinner with friends, one loud scream, a couple of gasps, one clap, and a crazy firey alcoholic dessert coffee drink.


Today, they still live in St. Jo, working at the same company but doing very different things. Hayley is saving lives of animals as she helps produce vaccines for our furry friends. Josh is in sales, but he is pursuing a paralegal degree.

So let’s chat about their wedding. Their GREY & YELLOW wedding. The setting was marvelous. I’d always heard about THE ELMS in Excelsior Springs being amazing following their renovations in recent years. The hotel is rich with history (one that includes TWO FIRES in its early years, and enough spirit and perseverance in the small town to see to it that a THIRD hotel was built.) The current facade has stood tall since 1912 and is glorious and charming and allegedly haunted with friendly ghosts. 😉 Unfortunately for those seeking a thrill of the spiritual nature, the ghosts didn’t get invitations to the wedding, and they were polite enough to not crash the event.

For being a mid-November wedding, Hayley & Josh were treated to unseasonable warmth, which only egged on the good cheer from the boisterous wedding party. Good light followed us wherever we went. Ali Gripp and I were smitten with the setting and the decorations and the people!! WOOT.

A few special touches that stood out:

  • Hayley’s shoes. And Josh’s shoes. They embraced the bold sunny hue and their feet were so very cheerful looking. 😉
  • The ring bearer and flower girl were styling and smiling all day. and they  hammed it up for the camera. It was also fun seeing the ringbearer-turned-usher who had starred at Abby & Justin’s wedding and now had a different role for Hayley & Josh. 🙂
  • Most of the decorations were hung by the guys! They did such a good job. Even if a few of the paper balls were less-than-round…(and one fell on my head!) hahaha
  • Their ceremony was officiated by one of their good friends who had never done one before. He nailed it… Tyson was exuberant, personal and charismatic in  his presentation of the couple. Instead of lighting a unity candle, the two did something I’ve never seen before. There was a wooden box on a table during the ceremony that was home to a bottle of wine. The ringbearers brandished two cups and love letters that the bride and groom had written to one another. Hayley & Josh placed the goods into the box, and locked it…to be opened on their first anniversary! How cool is that!? Gives me chills.
  • On a somewhat comical note, before the ceremony, Hayley and I were chatting about how things were going smoothly but she was a bit nervous that trend wouldn’t continue. I told her that even things that go wrong somehow work out. As an example, I relayed how at Neil’s and my own wedding, our minister got deathly ill 2 hours before we got married. I had written the ceremony and on top of being concerned for his health, I was flustered beyond belief that we’d have to find someone else who could pull off the non-textbook affair. Another minister showed up, and amazingly, he did SUCH a great job filling in that no one was the wiser. Well… nothing DID go wrong for Hayley & Josh, but in a slightly ironic twist… another wedding that was at the Elms experienced the same thing Neil and I did: their officiant didn’t show. So guess what… Tyson played hero and padded his officiating resumé even more as he took on the 2nd wedding ever, right after the 1st. Applause!
  • The centerpieces on the tables were jars of cookies. That’s right. YUMMY COOKIES. 600 total were made for the wedding…and they were made by Josh’s mom!!! The peanut butter chocolate ones were quite possibly the tastiest cookies I’ve ever had. Props to her for her  hard work!!!
  • Flavored popcorn was provided for guests to snack on as the night wore on. Cheddar, BBQ and pumpkin pie flavors, at that!
  • The whole day was so perfectly lovely….warm…embracing…and inviting. I hope these images do it justice….

Hayley & Josh–here’s to your first holiday season as husband and wife…and here’s to a just as warm, embracing and lovely ever after! Xo


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  • Rebecca - I love the pair of vertical black and white portraits of her sitting by the window. Lovely! Also, the one of them post-ceremony where she’s grabbing his tie and they’re about to kiss…beautiful light and great moment!ReplyCancel

  • Josh Renaud - You did an incredible job as always. I have never seen the quality of shots and the product look as amazing as you have done with all of your pictures, not just ours. However, I do have a personal attachment and affinity for ours… Again, you do a wonderful job, and you are a blast to work with – both professional and a lot of fun! Thank you (and Ali!) for capturing all of these moments on camera and making them even more unforgetable for us!ReplyCancel

  • Abby - Ditto to everything Josh said. I teared up a little at the first glance picture where Hayley is crying, what a beautiful moment! And Elliot is so adorable! Also, thank you for reminding me how beautiful I am when I cry 🙂 Love You!ReplyCancel

  • Debera Renaud - Your work is the very best I have ever seen, Darbi, and your talent shows in every photo. Viewing these, you truly captured every magical moment of Hayley and Josh’s wedding, and I cannot thank you enough. Can’t wait to see all of them now! And Hayley warned me I’d need a kleenex to view these, but I wish she would’ve said to grab the whole box!
    Debbie Renaud (Mother of the Groom)
    P.S. I was ever so pleased with the engagement photos you took of Hayley & Josh that I over-ordered to my husband’s dismay. I probably shouldn’t share these with him! 🙂ReplyCancel

  • Kate B - What a stunning bride! You took some amazing portraits of her and some great post-wedding b&g shots. Lucky couple!!ReplyCancel

  • Bethany - Ugh, gorgeous and playful all in one! AMAZING!ReplyCancel