Every wedding is different and special. No doubt about it. Every time two people make such a simultaneously heavy and joyful promise to one another, it’s a pretty epic thing.
But some weddings are… more.
More groundbreaking. More exciting. More emotional. More unique in the fact that, not too long ago, they couldn’t have taken place. Christina and Wendi are my first brides to tie the knot, and I will never forget their incredible wedding. It will be with me forever as one of the most beautiful celebrations I’ve had the honor of documenting. It was so full of love, not just from the brides, but from their wonderful families and friends. You could feel it. Really feel it. I literally got chills when they read their vows to each other. Their words reminded me very much of the truths I’ve learned in my own marriage, probably because they’ve been together for fourteen years – about the same length of time that my husband and I have. The vows were incredibly accurate descriptions of what love and marriage really are and really should be. I wish I would have written down their vows so I could read them when I need a little reminder about what my role as a wife is (but I was kinda busy at the moment with a couple cameras in my hands). The one part I didn’t need to write down, because I’ll remember it forever, was when Christina ended her vows to Wendi by saying “I’ve seen the best of you. I’ve seen the worst of you. And I choose both.”
Love is a choice to put someone else – and all of their dreams and needs – ahead of yourself. Love is a promise to never give up. Love is forgiveness and grace, and recognizing that they’re needed most when they seem to be deserved the least. Love is creating and celebrating joy daily. Love is building a life full of incredible experiences with your best friend and soul mate. Love exists abundantly beyond boundaries and expectations. It’s that simple, and that complex. And on this perfect summer evening at The Stanley Event Space, Christina and Wendi embraced all of that simplicity and complexity, said “I do” to forever, and wrapped a big old party around it.
Congratulations to these beautiful women – my new friends – as their love story continues to be written and celebrated.
You know those little moments when you realize that everything is going your way, and although you’re supposed to remain calm, in your mind, you’re dancing and squealing like a small child because of all the perfection? That was my constant mental state during Rachel and Aaron’s epic wedding a few weeks ago. I had been looking forward to their wedding day because (1) they are awesome people that I totally adore, (2) their engagement session was so much fun, and (3) they booked one of the best venues in the area, especially for an autumn wedding. They had obviously put lots of time and love into each detail of their day, and it came together beautifully.
Beyond that, they trusted me. It’s such a crucial element in a successful photography session or wedding. They let me take control during formal photos. They let me try new things. They let me work, and they let me rest (they let me drink some of their phenomenal beer, too). They understood that my job was to document their day, their friends and family, and their wonderful celebration as they joined their lives together.
It was any photographer’s dream wedding, and it was the absolute perfect way for me to end my 2014 wedding season.
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I have absolutely loved getting to know Angie and Chris over the past year: from our initial meeting to our engagement photo session, planning the schedule for their day, and even the calls and emails along the way. Every encounter I’ve had with them has left me with a renewed sense of joy. They are not simply happy to be together — they are elated and fulfilled in each other’s presence. They have been made for one another. They are a beautiful couple; a stunning example of destiny.
One of the many things that I loved about their wedding day is that it wasn’t work for me. Instead, it was like hanging out with good friends on their wedding day with a camera in my hands. It was delightful. And that feeling is what energizes me. But I won’t make this about me. This is about them. This is about their happiness in experiencing a day that they’ve awaited for so long. This is about drinking Guinness. This is about close friends and family, a promise, a beautiful dress and some rings, a happy young lady named Bre, and a fantastic celebration. This is the day that Angie and Chris said “I do.”
This day was made possible for me because of Jennifer from The Stanley Event Space. Major thanks to her and all of The Stanley staff for everything that they do.
I must also thank my good friend and very talented photographer sidekick, Matthew Taylor, for creating many of the images in this post. We always have fun shooting weddings together, and this was without a doubt one of our best. Go team!