Anticipation is a mix of so many things. Nerves, certainly, but also joy, a little bit of slo-mo and some butterflies in your belly. I can feel it from where I stand. The bride is staying out of sight as the others are watching the guests arrive, their conversation light and intimate.
It’s a dusty August day at Camp Colton, a place of many tall trees… birds and chipmunks live there. This little space is set aside from the main event cabin, a quiet place for the women to get ready. I’m standing in the back of the room watching the light play on all of the parts of the scene, knowing it will be a moment maybe forgotten later. There are lots of big parts in a wedding day but it’s the little bits that enrich the history. I push the shutter button quietly so as not to break the spell.
I’m never sure if the players are aware of what’s ahead on a day like this. The general format is similar but each one has it’s own special arc of emotions. The entire crowd will play their parts and her own butterflies will calm as the daylight fades into the party. For now, walking through that sunlit door, she is about to join him in an entirely new journey. Sure, it starts with a wedding but a marriage is what is being born here.
SW Portland has a lovely secret garden in an old, elegant neighborhood. I will not identify it here because it is a somewhat untrammeled space with neighbors who might like to keep it that way. On an early September afternoon, I had the pleasure of working with Sara and Kathleen and their wonderfully attentive crowd of family and friends. Anyone peeking into that garden was seeing a sumptuous feast and a lot of relaxed, friendly conversations… a perfect combination.
As the day moved towards twilight, the toasting glasses waved in the softer light. At any wedding, you can gauge the deep friendships as you listen to the little gasps and laughing during the toasts, especially with an open mic. This couple has earned the love of their people and it was great to witness that.
At the end of the day, #LoveWins is not just a hashtag. It is an abiding truth and no one should have the desire or the power to interfere.
Miles is nine. His mom was getting married and he was to have a tuxedo for the very important job as a member of the wedding. His excitement ran high that April afternoon, including wanting to get dressed many hours too early… when it was time, his mom steered him through the special buttons and the always cool cuff links. His tux fit very well… something that doesn’t always happen with the young guys. He wore it with style and confidence… the very definition of élan. He wore it like he was born to it.
The day started to roll and this kid, the only one at the wedding, was the epitome of a perfect guest. I was happy to watch him engage with everyone like a grownup… he kept up his end in a way that I would love to see more often.
During the toasts, his was solid and emotional and heartfelt enough to bring some tears around the room. Later, as the dancing ramped up, he was invited to run a song with a stint at the dj’s table… happy as could be, disco lights vibrating all around him.
Spring Fever is turned up high at my house and most everyone I know is wondering when the Vernal Lady will make her usually spectacular appearance here in the Pacific Northwest. We have had two months in a row of record breaking rain… even my die-hard pluviophile friends are beginning to crack. Today is no exception. It is pouring as I write… but there were geese flying northwest over my back deck this morning so maybe it’s almost time. ;0)
So, in hopes of spreading a little cheer, I am posting a photograph from a past Spring wedding… Jenkin’s Estate has this lovely teahouse behind the elegant main house and on this fresh April day, everyone was happy to be standing in the early sun watching two wonderful people make it real.
Are you planning a wedding? Have you taken into account all of the possible flavors of weather you might encounter? I ask because, lately, our tried and true local weather has become less predictable. Portland’s longtime favorite wedding month of August is now likely to bake you right out of your mind. Maybe it’s time to move some of these events over into the shoulder seasons of early Summer or late Fall or to at least consider venues with indoor/outdoor options.
Oops, gotta run… sun is out now and I have a little yard work to do before it rains again! ;0)
Anna and her wife, Elizabeth, came to pick up their wedding album today. The cover, a rich teal blue leather, will really fit in with their art filled house. These two worked closely with me to plan their book… the hardest part was the choosing of the images to use. From there, the layouts went through a few revisions before we were all satisfied. As they opened the album, I was very pleased to see the reactions across my table. In a much earlier meeting, I remember them saying that even though the images look nice on a computer screen, it’s not the same as sitting next to your love on a comfortable couch… turning the pages together.
Some photographers do everything for you in the design process. They choose the images and put it all together and serve it up… maybe not super personal but easy and ready to go. I’m sure that can be a good thing in many ways but I prefer to tailor the album to fit my couples. I’m always pleasantly surprised to see that some of my quirkier shots were included… images that really caught something emotionally true in their crowd. If a wedding album can make you laugh and cry and remember wonderful things, then I have done a good job.
This couple was groovin’ from a seated position… the baby, almost due, probably enjoyed the dance! ;0)
Cassondra and Reece had set up a space for a DIY PhotoBooth in the yard behind the reception hall. He had a nice little Nikon with a remote control… it was going to be on a tripod in front of a beachy backdrop. There were silly props galore! Considering that the crowd was full of extroverts, the stage was set!.
After the ceremony on the beach, the guests came in waves as the shuttle dropped them off. Pretty much everyone made a beeline for the beer taps on the back deck. Reece had made several different types of beer… he must be pretty darn good at it… there were lots of smiles and no complaints.
Besides the PhotoBooth and the beer, DIY ruled the day from the decorations to the food… maybe the only things not made or brought by a participant were the plates and glasses. It gave the whole day a very personal feel and that is always a win.
So, this silly picture made me happy. I was waiting for their camera to be set up and these crazy-wonderful bridesmaids started to goof around in front of the backdrop. I got to catch this instead of leaving it to the luck of the remote.
Weddings are a lot of fun if the ingredients are right!
Everybody’s got at least one, right? Well, how about the To-Do List on your wedding day?
You have seen the lists in every bridal magazine out there and you have dutifully kept a running notebook to keep your list manageable, right? Are you with me so far? On the day of your wedding there are some things that should have been done just to keep you from tipping over into insanity. The vows should be written and transcribed into whatever format you plan to use… doesn’t matter if it’s a nice paper on a fancy clipboard or a Kindle. What matters is not having to do it at the last minute. Stress is not a good thing on a wedding day and every little bit of non-stress is wonderful.
In the week before, your To-Do List should have clipped the tags off of any clothing… it should have taken care of manicures and pedicures. It should have figured out the seating chart and it should have packed your necklace and earrings in a place where you can actually find them. And don’t forget the socks, belts and ties on that list. Lots of the little stuff on the list will take up a great deal of time and energy if it goes sideways on your wedding day.
It’s a mid October evening at the lovely Zenith Vineyard… Oregon is stellar this time of year and so very easy to look at!
The cocktail hour is coming to an end behind me as the guests make their way from the big porch into dinner… I turned to take in the moon rising over the ceremony site, to take a deep, cool breath before the next half of the day gets rolling.
I stayed to take this picture because they are all inside and missing it. A very important part of wedding photography is to catch all the parts. Many couples don’t realize how much they will miss on that special day … their focus is going to be on their guests. Pretty much a wall of people all day between them and many little vignettes that they won’t see unless the photographer is paying attention.
All of your vendors are important… they are going to make the day look nice and make sure it runs right. The food will be great and the music will be over the top if you have done your homework, right? So plan your perfect day, hire the professionals so that you don’t have to worry about every little thing… dance like you mean it and trust that it will all work out. ;0)
There is a dictionary app on my iPhone and every day, a new word. Some are pretty easy but some of them are so unusual that they stop me in my tracks. Yesterday, the word was paranymph. On hearing the definition, I was astounded to think that I had not heard it before… the simple definition is “A groomsman or a bridesmaid.”!
I can think of many interesting couples who would have loved calling their people paranymphs… it has a forest spirit, steampunk thing about it that would be perfect here in the wilds of the Great Pacific Northwest. These particular paranymphs were having a grand laugh during the group photos at Abigail’s Garden and, considering that the wedding had a Harry Potter theme running through it, they should have known about this word.
Paranymph can be traced to the Greek paránymphos meaning literally “person beside the bride.” It entered English in the mid-1500s.
Maybe we can revive the word and run with it? There might be ancient authors smiling somewhere in the mists. ;0)
It’s great when people are relaxed and having fun during the wedding day… it makes my job much easier.
Let’s make pictures that make you happy!
On a very hot day on top of a very tall building there is a man waiting to see his bride for the first time… let’s call it hope rising. The anticipation is all consuming. The elevator door keeps opening but so far she hasn’t been the one to step into view. In the background, a photographer is watching the emotions run across his face… he is pacing and messing with his tie… he is smiling a lot… he is nervous. He is ready.
Meanwhile, she is rising, carrying flowers and the same sense of beginning. When the door opens, she looks to the photographer and asks quietly which way to go… to the left, she steps lightly into his view.
The photographer catches the beginnings and steps back some to give them a little time… the day will be long and full of intimate and joyous moments… time enough to stay closer.
The first time you see each other on your wedding day can be kind of a fragile thing. Imagine the difference between a private meeting and the very public alternative. From what I have seen, it’s really hard to find the balance when the aisle walk is the first time… talk to your photographer about it, ok?