You know Sarah. My faithful friend for years, steadfast assistant, and mom to clever little Bob and Lydia, my blog-famous young friends. Well, Sarah married John, who I could only best describe as a great man. Strong in his quiet and polite demeanor, but transformed into a fairy princess on Lydia’s whim. John is the man that brings Starbucks to Sarah poolside. John fishes the dead raccoon out of the pool and buries it before the initial screams even stop. He’s almost stealth in his tender care of Sarah, honey-doing things that have yet to be listed. Nobody deserves a great man more than Sarah, who has given so endlessly.
As Sarah and Lydia dolled up, her dress hung from my living room window. So odd to photograph the same, but so different, process in my own home. Being the photographer typically places you in the center of the wedding, invisible, with the most perfect place to watch the intimate moments of the best day ever, for someone, unfold. That experience, I have treasured over one hundred and fifty times. Being so close, however, changes everything. Knowing the bride is one thing, loving the bride is another. The warmth of family gathering, the words of the vows, are amplified. The hours of editing are always fond hours of remember. This editing was reliving. Small and simple ceremonies, heavy on the emotion and light on the pomp, are always my favorite. To care deeply for everyone at the center of that experience only makes it my favorite-est.
After we finished the portraits, I was lucky enough to sneak my own.
The rings, both family heirlooms, are perfect with detail and age. I could have photographed them forever.
When Sarah told me she didn’t intend to walk down the aisle, I was perplexed. I have photographed plenty of couples before they exchanged vows, but they always part just before the ceremony, and start from there. The iconic down the aisle photograph is always among my favorites, and the idea of no aisle seemed absurd to me at first. When we walked in the room together, however, I let my traditional attachments go. Before the ceremony began, their families laughed and talked, huddled in the cleared center of the living room floor. When ceremony time arrived, they all stepped back, sat on the sofa, chairs, stood gathered. Only John, Sarah, Bob and Lydia remained in the center with the pastor. The moment didn’t need dramatic music and a slowly paced journey to center attention. Eyes were glued, silence fell, and with each vow spoken, smiles broadened. Even Lydia lifting the bouquets up and down like weights couldn’t break the rhythm.
Afterwards, the group closed, every guest at the wedding, to share a photo with Sarah and John, newly wed.