Oh this wedding. Let’s start out by saying I’m a sucker for weddings. I am, I’m a closet romantic I think. There is something so special about seeing what a bride loves, what she planned for, what she cared about enough to incorporate on her special day. I. Love. It. They are all different, all unique. A wedding hopefully reflects who the bride and groom are as a couple and who they want to become, together. It’s a beautiful moment.
I have to say though, this wedding may be one of my very favorites, ever. There was something that was just beyond perfect about every moment of this day. The bride was as beautiful as she was relaxed. Her day was about the covenant she was making in marriage. It was about her precious moments with her sisters and family. It was about memories far more than an event or a show. It was a flow from beginning to end. I just cannot say enough about how wonderful it was.
Although the bride and groom live in southern California and not in Florida, I was privileged to do their engagement portraits while I was in So. Cal doing another wedding earlier in the year. I love doing engagement images before a wedding specifically to get to know the groom well from behind the camera. The guys are typically a little stiff as we get started, so it’s really special when I’ve already worked with them and they fall in naturally on their wedding day. They also chose to do a first look before their ceremony. It’s certainly a personal choice, but I am always thrilled when the couple makes this choice. It gives us time to really play and get beautiful images that I know the couple will treasure forever. The bride gave her soon to be groom a letter she’d written before she’d ever even met him, about her future husband, and what she wanted in the man she would marry. It was a beautiful thing to watch unfold. I felt so privileged to be standing near by capturing the way they looked at each other.
Another highlight was their wedding party. I’m afraid I’m at a loss for words. Actually, I will admit that doing the groomsmen and groom is usually one of my highlights from a wedding day anyway. Once you get them alone without the pressure of the girls around they usually turn into 5 year old’s in tuxes. This becomes extremely entertaining as my second photographer and I are usually standing right there capturing all of this madness. But with this group it wasn’t just the guys! Both the groomsmen and the bridesmaids were just amazing people who obviously loved the bride and groom and were just full of life and joy. This completely shows through in the images. The groomsmen looked at me at one point and said ‘may we climb that tree over there’, um, yes, yes you may.
One of the most amazing things about this wedding for me was that it had the look of a very high end wedding, and yet a lot of it was actually DIY and being blessed by friends and family. I LOVE that. I cannot tell you how beautiful this venue was. It was called Hidden Oaks, and it had a very missional old look to it. It was quite literally ‘hidden’ in the midst of a huge city and once you were inside you felt as though you were in a countryside all alone. Their ceremony was outside, under a grove of trees that was just majestic. And the reception was on the other side of the venue, under the never-ending lights for a beautiful night time event. All the small details of the event were just beautiful and most of them were hand made by friends or family. Extremely well done.
The bride and groom were also very concerned with their guests’ enjoyment of their big day, even to the point of waiting to eat until they had greeted all their guests as they were getting food! It was neat to watch from the planning and scheduling of the day what their priorities were and how they chose servant-hood even when the moment was ‘all about them’ and had every right to be so. My favorite moment in the ceremony was when they did a foot washing of each other. Symbolizing servant-hood and choosing it as their ‘first act’ of marriage. This moment was beautiful; it was special. And extremely funny when they walked over to the foot washing bowl only to notice that there were gold fish smuggled into the water. The groom’s immediate reaction was to look to his best man, (his brother) who promised he had nothing to do with it, although he added that he’d wished he’d thought of it. It turned out to be the groom’s mother! How can you not love a family like that. Such a great day.
One special thanks goes to Angie Whitaker who helped me in my search for the perfect first look location. It can be a little challenging location scouting from across the country and I’m also so blessed that the photography community really is such a community with people who are always ready to help each other out. And also Bryan Hudson of Bryan Hudson Photography who second shoot for me on this wedding. It was a DREAM to work with Bryan. He’s a fantastic person and photographer and it was another element that made a very long day a very fun one. Bryan, I can’t wait to work with you again!
One last thing. I am more than aware I have blogged far too many images here. Please forgive me. I was so privileged to be apart of this beautiful day. I just couldn’t narrow it down anymore!