Today is Walt and my two-year anniversary. On October 10, 2009 we had a lovely backyard wedding at my in-law’s house. It was bigger than I originally wanted it to be, it was on a budget, and since I’ve started photographing weddings I’ve seen a lot of weddings that are prettier and more put-together than ours, but I wouldn’t change any of it. I loved our wedding so much.
Sure, we could have ordered more cupcakes (we thought we over-ordered, but everybody enjoyed them so much that I ate only one that night, when I had planned on snagging at least three!), or I could have prepared for the chilly weather by bringing a wrap, but that’s all water under the bridge. Everything went well and my sister, who did a tipsy back-handspring on the lawn during her toast, didn’t break her neck so I’d say the wedding went off without a hitch.
One of the things that I had a tiny back-of-the-mind worry about, in the days leading up to the wedding, was that I’d be so wrapped up in the day that I’d forget something important. I pushed the thought out of my mind by telling myself, “If I forget anything, there will be photos of it.” But thinking back, there were two instances where our wedding photographer was not anywhere near me during our wedding day, documenting what was happening with me — and I’m absolutely happy about that.
Let me set the scene for you: it was a cloudy, slightly chilly day in October. My bridesmaids and I chattered away as we got ready. Our photographer was there, snapping every moment — here’s the concealer, here’s the fake eyelash, here are my shoes. Click-click-click. Everything was overwhelming and we were all happy and a little nervous about what was to come. Walt and I did a first look and took some photos. The knots in my stomach loosened as I felt less anxious about standing in front of the wedding tree dressed as a bride. Guests started to show up and the girls and I took the initiative to hide.
And so, we hid. My memory now:
My bridesmaids and aunt sat quietly in my in-laws’ guest bedroom, looking out the window blinds at the people arriving. The light was off in the room so it was dark, and it felt as though everything there was in greyscale except for my bridesmaids’ teal dresses, which were muted in the darkness. I lay down on the guest bed and parted my hair around the pillow so my curls wouldn’t get flattened, and silently contemplated the last of my singledom. As far as I know, there are no photos of this moment, but I remember that I felt absolutely at peace with my decision to marry Walt, and loved knowing that the ladies I grew up with and loved like sisters were all in the same room as me and were there for me.
Right after the ceremony and our family formals, Walt and I rushed into the same guest room so I could change into my reception dress. He helped me tie the bow on the back of that Betsey three times before it was just right. No photographer there, either, but I will always remember how we were grinning at each other and then how terrible he was at tying that sash.
These moments are so vivid, so quiet, and just so personal that I don’t think I would have liked remembering it the way that anyone else would have portrayed it — that is, if our photographer was there and took a photo of it, it would be from her angle, where she was standing, how she was thinking at the time. As they are now in my memory, they are untouched by any other influence, and replayed as often as I want, just as they were.
And because of that, I usually give my couples a moment to breathe and be alone, and I encourage them to be without me for a short moment. Fifteen minutes, maybe. Just go off alone, just the two of you — take a deep breath, laugh, hold each other, and know that you did it. You are married. And you will make your own special memory of that moment, untarnished by anybody else’s presence, and hold that memory in your mind always.
The things that are important to you will stay with you. Everything else that is a part of the wedding-day blur, like the way your cake looked, the newness of your wedding shoes, the things that you may miss — that’s what we are there for.
I suppose an entry isn’t an entry without a photo, so here is one of us taken by Nessa K, two years ago.