On September 21, 2019, I had my favorite wedding so far – Hannah and Josh.
In January, they asked me to do their engagement photos, and I was blown away. They braved the bitter cold of Michigan winter in early January 2018 for our session, and got absolutely adorable photos. Come to think of it, they may be the reason why I jumped back into shooting candid portraits. Which likely lead me into weddings. So, thanks for that, you two! Anyway, more about their wedding.
I don’t know what it was about the day, but everything just felt right the entire time. From the venue decorations to the way the light streamed into the building to the energy you could feel gently tiptoeing its way around the community center, peeking into rooms every now and again. Waves of excitement and nervousness flushed over Hannah, then over Emily, then the rest of the bridal party. Every once in a while, the energy would ebb away to a focused quiet – and flow back as a mild panic. You know, fairly typical of any milestone in a person’s life.
Hannah & Josh’s wedding felt even more right than the other weddings I had been at. It just FELT like everything was exactly where it needed to be, like everything was on schedule, like the weather was just the way we needed it for photos – I’m sure it had to have felt different for the two of them, but from an outsider’s perspective, it really seemed like things came together.
Before the wedding, Hannah emailed me a list of photos as well as a general timeline of the day. First of all, SCORE!! Hannah is prepared for just about anything, so of course she would be the best bride ever and make sure that her photographers would be prepared too. Then, we caught up on the phone a week before – grad school was going well, but was tiring, you know, like grad school does – and life had changed a whole hell of a lot for both of us.
Fast forward to the day of their wedding – I arrive at the salon, we catch up on small talk, we hang with the bridesmaids a bit, and we head over to the venue to snack and slowly start preparing for the wonderful events of the day. As everyone was snacking, I took the opportunity to explore the venue and try to collect detail shots so I wouldn’t have to navigate around people to collect the photos later.
Along with the wonder and excitement that comes with getting ready with your friends, there’s the thrill of the reveal. Hannah, her bridespeople, and her mom came outside for a couple of bridal portraits – and then, for her dad’s first look. We set Hannah up right outside the venue, just around the corner of the front door so Dad would have to come outside to see his daughter in the elegant lacy splendor of her wedding dress. As he came outside, he stopped. (And somewhat humorously, he stood there until Hannah’s mom and sister pushed him toward her.) The look on his face as he hugged Hannah almost made me cry – you could see all the love he had for her in his face. Truthfully, it was one of the highlights of Hannah’s wedding.
The ceremony was dreamy. They were backlit, surrounded by a slight hazy light that made everything dreamy. Watching as they read their vows to each other, laughing along at the jokes they wrote just for each other, and then seeing the excitement when the officiant says “you may now kiss the bride” – all of it, spectacular. Beautiful. Wonderful. (And it was quick!)
Before the reception, we slipped out to a nearby vineyard for couples portraits. Notably my favorite part of a wedding, it’s also great for couples to take some time away from everyone else and appreciate each other on their big day. Now, I knew Hannah from college, so I also knew several other people at the wedding as well. Hannah invited me to put down my camera and told me to photograph at my leisure and enjoy the reception as I wanted. First of all, MUCH APPRECIATED. I ate so much food. Second of all, it was spectacular to spend some time with some of my college buddies that I haven’t seen in a while! I still got photos of each of the fun events like the first dance, bouquet toss, garter toss, and cake cutting, but I was also able to just chill and shove ridiculous amounts of vegetables into my face, which was great. It was an absolutely fantastic reception to both photograph and enjoy; quite literally the perfect end to an awesome day.
If you’re interested in seeing more photos from Hannah & Josh’s wedding, keep an eye on my Facebook page! The highlights of the day will be posted there as soon as all the photos are complete. It really was a phenomenal day, and I think it shows in their faces.
Weddings in general have this feeling you can’t explain. There’s some kind of dramatic element in the pomp and circumstance – a story drawing you through the day, one that tells tales of love, friendship, and togetherness. I’m compelled to capture the awe and wonder of the day using as many of the elements that I know, using only the people, places, and things relevant to the couple. It might be something in the social energy. It might be the overflowing love.
As an extrovert, I love getting to hang out with people and watch them light up with excitement – especially new people. As an empath, I share the emotional highs that they have when great things are happening. Stick me into the middle of a crowd full of excitement and loving energy, and I’ll immediately get a social contact high. But what I love most about weddings is being able to serve others, not just by helping make sure they have great photos of themselves on a day that’s special to them, but to help them with the little things, like buttoning up the bride’s dress most of the way so her mom can finish buttoning the dress without wearing out her fingers, or keeping track of the rings while the best man chases the groom around and helps him get ready.
Within the last two months, this gal has photographed 6 weddings. While each event has been unique and distinguishable from the last, I know there is so much more to see and experience at weddings that will slowly make them seem all so much more similar to each other, until you look at the people. There’s so much variance when working with people! With people, you will constantly be adapting and learning – doing something isn’t fun unless there’s something to challenge you anyway, right?
I have a personal goal to start traveling throughout the US – it’d be cool to get to all 50 states by the time I’m 25, but I might have to aim for doing that by the time I’m 30. The best way to help is to refer me to your out of state friends! I’ll travel for weddings, engagements, and just about any other photography work. (Seriously. Will travel for photos, or something like that.)
Lately, it’s been impossible to not feel the support everyone has been pushing my way. Thank you so much for sharing my stuff with others, talking about it with friends, or even liking it so I know you’ve seen it. THANK. YOU. It really means the world to me to be able to have the support of so many people in following something that is emotionally and creatively fulfilling.
If you know of someone who’s been looking for a photographer for something, they can contact me through here. I honestly cannot thank you enough for your support, everyone. Thank you.