Joe and Andrea first came into my life through a shared love for basketball. I initially met them as my little sister’s coaches when she was in middle school. Next, I knew them as assistant coaches to my dad as he took on coaching seventh and eighth graders that year while my sister made the transition from middle school to high school. It was then that I came to know them as more than just coaches, and even though my own middle and high school experience looked different from my siblings’ on the basketball court, I developed an immense respect for these two who clearly invested so much into each one of their “kids.” They continued to be a constant presence in my sister's life and many other young athletes’ lives despite having no obligation to them once the chapter of middle school basketball had closed. I’d head over to the high school after work for a game and find Joe and Andrea sitting next to my parents in the bleachers — there to support the many high schoolers whose lives they had been a part of since such a young age. Over the years, I’ve seen them at family functions, holidays, birthdays, and graduations, again just showing their support as former coaches, role models, and friends.
The days of high school basketball have come to an end for my family, and my little sister is now well into college. Despite everyone’s lives looking a little different than they did back then, Joe and Andrea have stayed connected to my parents through this shared passion for basketball and coaching. Joe is now coaching high school in Memphis but still helps my dad with those sixth, seventh, and eighth graders on the side, while Andrea has stayed with her middle school girls that she loves so much. It was probably in the same gym and the same set of bleachers that I first met them all those years ago that Andrea sat down next to my mom again over the summer and shared the news of their engagement. Obviously in need of a wedding photographer, that’s when their life and my own life crossed paths again.
As a coach, it's awesome to talk about teamwork, but I think when you exemplify it off the court, the field, the track, etc. that's when you earn the respect of your athletes. Likewise, perhaps the same principle applies to marriage. It's easy to talk about, to say what you should do, but a little bit harder to live out. I've never known Joe and Andrea as anything but a team, and I’d venture to say their approach to marriage is pretty similar to their approach on the basketball court. I have no doubt that their large guest count was a consequence of the respect they’ve earned and their influence on so many people over time. Their wedding day was filled with touches of rose gold and navy along with a little University of Tennessee spirit and lots of love and lifelong friendships. The Mississippi River Delta gave us the most perfect sunset, and I don't think we could have had a more perfect day to watch these two say their “I Do's.”
Words and photos by Kaitlyn Stoddard-Carter
Kaitlyn Stoddard-Carter is a photographer living in Memphis, TN, but is willing to travel anywhere her clients will take her. Before she began her career in photography, Kaitlyn traveled internationally dabbling in the modeling/fashion industry working with some of the world's largest modeling agencies. It was these adventures that inspired her to find beauty amidst imperfection as it relates to culture, art, education, self health against eating disorders, and the corresponding psychology. Kaitlyn's travels have taken her to photograph in Europe, Africa, South America, and the American Southwest, in addition to the South, where her photographic and research work is focused. When she is not behind the lens, Kaitlyn can be found with her husband Sean, riding her "Desi Horse" (who is more like a large lap dog), running with her dog, Grimm (who is more like a "bear-wolf"), decorating for Christmas in July, or tending to her girl-band of chickens, "LP and The Gang."