Every time I drive home after shooting a wedding, I always end up reflecting on the day as a whole. For me, this is the first time I have met most of these people. It may only have been the second or third time that I have met the couple. But all the while, I’ve been there. I’ve been there to witness a milestone…a moment…a brand new beginning between two beautiful families.
And when I leave, there is always something in particular that stands out to me from that day. Something that – as a relative outsider, looking in – makes each wedding distinctive from the others. Sometimes, it’s the cultural traditions that take place…sometimes, it’s the story of how two people met…and most often, it’s something as subtle as a feeling.
But on this day…for this wedding…it was none of these things.
It wasn’t a tradition that I had never experienced before…it wasn’t a truly unique story of two people finding each other in this world…and there was absolutely nothing subtle about it.
Katelyn and Jake’s wedding ended up unfolding a little bit differently than originally intended. For nearly a year, they had planned to bring their family and friends together on a beautiful piece of property for an outdoor ceremony and BBQ. They cared about celebrating and sharing that celebration with the people who supported their relationship along the way.
And when they woke up on the morning of their wedding…that is exactly what awaited them.
What they couldn’t have planned for, however, was the nearly six hours of torrential storms that tore through the region at the very same time. Storms that caused their ceremony to be delayed…their reception to be flooded…and a little piece of their hearts to be broken. Because on this day, there would be no waiting it out and picking up where they left off. The storms would come. The storms would stay. And the storms would change everything.
Well, almost everything.
The storms couldn’t change Katelyn and Jake. It couldn’t change who they were and who they loved.
And this is what I remember most while driving away from their wedding on that cold and stormy day. I remember how much this amazing couple thought only of their guests; their comfort…their safety…their needs. They cared about keeping them close and keeping them happy. They cared about keeping them dry and keeping them warm. They cared about their people…not about their things.
Admittedly, this is one of the most challenging weddings I’ve ever photographed. All of us – from the vendors to the guests to the incredibly brave couple – found ourselves in nearly impossible circumstances. And yet, it will forever remain one of my most favourite as well. Because it was also one of the most beautiful weddings I’ve ever photographed.
The weather may have tried to define how this wedding would ultimately be remembered. But in the end, a marriage defined what it would always be.
Because marriage can be full of unexpected storms. And if you’re really lucky…you’ll have a bunch of people to stand in six inches of water with you while it all happens…