Weddings are emotional days. Before you accuse me of stating the obvious, I will make my case to just how emotional they can be… You have a couple, two separate people, who have fallen in love and decided that their individual story is not complete without including the person they fell in love with. That their two stories are going to be one story because they want to spend every step of the next part of their journey WITH each other.
That is what the first part of what a wedding day is. Now, add that each of those people has an entire family that they’re bringing along. Each person with hopes, dreams, beliefs, and vision for the couple. Que the emotions.
Wedding photography is a privilege for a number of reasons but I’ve always said that when our team shows up at an event to photograph, our number one focus is telling a story. I know that sounds cheesy (like it should be embroidered with needlepoint on something or flashed across a marketing campaign) but actually, it’s true. AND it’s not just the story of your wedding day, it’s the story of your lives. Who you are as people, who you are as a couple, who you love and who loves you. When a couple asks us to photograph their wedding, we’re documenting their love story and life journey. That all starts long before the wedding day.
My first time connecting with Julia and Matthew was chatting with the groom. This is highly unusual simply because when deciding on wedding photography, my brides tend to be the ones that connect first. I win the grooms over slowly with promises of “no cheesy posing” and bonding over great coffee. 😉 BUT, this groom is different because I’ve actually known him for a very long time. As in, pinch your cheeks, relentless teasing, I hold aunt status… that kind of known him.
By the time I talked with Julia and Matthew together, I knew he’d found his person. This couple is madly in love. You know the: we like to be together 24/7, the other person is magical… kind of love. It’s pretty much the sweetest thing ever.
But beyond all of that, as excited as they were about their wedding day, they were far more excited about spending the rest of their lives together. I love that.
Family was incredibly important to them, their friendships were important to them, the relationships that were a part of their story and included in their lives were important to them. These were the priorities they held both for their wedding day and their lives. I love that.
Many of you know (and if you do not, ask anyone on my team) that it’s not super uncommon for me to cry on a wedding day. Beautiful brides, touching family moments, father-daughter dances… it’s really a lot for me. 😉 I’m kind of a romantic (or a wimp depending on who you ask). 😉 But, it’s highly unusual for me to be a part of a wedding day that I have such a close emotional tie going into the day…
One of my favorite moments of the wedding happened when Matthew chose to have his mom walk him down the aisle, how amazing is that?!?! Could we PLEASE make this tradition more common?!?! Watching my dear friend walk her son down the aisle was a moment I’ll be forever grateful to have been a part of.
As a wedding photographer who is constantly looking at events, it’s sometimes easy to forget how deeply personal weddings are. It can slip your mind that this isn’t just “a family” or “a wedding” it’s their family, and their wedding.
I adore connecting with my brides and I almost always feel like I’ve gained a new friend when the wedding is over. I care about what’s happening in the family and how her parents are feeling on the wedding day. But this wedding brought a beautiful reminder that the Father of the Bride is actually her daddy who bounced her when she was a baby and taught her to ride a bike. And the Mother of the Groom is actually his mom who prayed for him and read him stories when he didn’t feel good.
This wedding reminded me how perfectly raw and emotional all this falling in love business is. Julia and Matthew, I’m deeply honored that you’d have me along for this incredibly important moment. It was a joy and privilege to stand alongside you as you committed to each other forever and honored your community.
Everyone else, enjoy.
P.S. A fairly large shout out to Bryan who didn’t laugh too hard at my exceptional weepy-ness. Hannah who was my emotional support person and made sure I didn’t fall off whatever I was standing on trying to get a shot. Grace (the real MVP) who may or may not have laid in gum on the ground to bounce the light so Bryan and I could get the shot and last but not least Sarah who is removing in Photoshop all the ugly crying faces I made in when I accidentally stepped in Bryan’s shots with a happy heart because she’s just. that. great. 😉
Vendor love below, including the lovely French Estate southern California wedding venue.