Sometimes it is a little bit overwhelming. Walking into a room full of people. People that you don’t know. And you’re expected to blend in like you’re family… like you’ve known them for years. But that’s not what happened when I walked into Britni & Brandon’s hotel rooms on their wedding day. In fact, it went a little bit like this:
I started the day at Brandon’s suite. He hugged me, like I would be expected to be hugged by my brother. Because Brandon has that ability. He has the ability to make you love him in a split second. He can captivate a room with his words, and he can make you feel like you’re the most important person in the room. Quickly, Janelle and I gathered Brandon’s details and got to work, but never in any of those minutes that we were in his suite did it feel like work. His groomsmen drank beers and laughed together. They offered me a beer. Sadly, I declined. And then as quickly as we came in, it was time for us to leave to get to the girls room. I’m skipping ahead a step here, but later in the day… during the first look… Brandon told Britni that he almost changed his tie at the last minute. But he didn’t because he knew that I had already photographed the paisley ties as part of his details. So he stayed in the paisley. To accommodate me. On **his** wedding day. And, that didn’t surprise me at all… because that’s the kind of guy Brandon is…
Feeling like we were walking on cloud nine… Janelle and I headed to Britni’s room. As we entered the room we were met with Britni’s smiling face immediately. We saw Taylor, her sister, who I had met earlier in the year at the engagement session, and I saw Roxie in the makeup chair. Roxie is Britni’s endearing mother. It felt like I was walking into a reunion of dear friends. So much excitement, and so much love filled the room that I could have just plopped onto the couch and grabbed a glass of champagne to toast such an amazing day… but what was even more exciting was that I got to create images for Britni that she would cherish for her entire life. Images that her children would laugh at when they were teenagers because Mom and Dad’s hair/dress/clothes were so out of date… and images that those same children will run their fingers over in adoration when they were older. Giving Britni these photos… after she has showered me with so many gifts through the year… means everything to me. Err’thing.
The most important thing that I can feel on a wedding day is trust. Faith in what I do, and faith in knowing that my couples trust what I do. Because with this trust comes freedom. And with freedom comes beautiful imagery. Imagery that is comfortable, and feels good. So when I saw Britni standing at the foot of the bed before we started getting her dressed, she didn’t hesitate one minute when I asked her to quickly look down her right shoulder. She knew the look I wanted, and she didn’t falter for one minute to give it to me. She trusted me.
Janelle took these two images of Britni behind her veil. They are the first moments of Britni seeing herself as a bride, and the emotion that Janelle captures is beautiful!! Amelia C. & Company did such an amazing job with Britni’s hair and makeup. There really is a moment each day when the bride truly feels like the gravity of the day is hitting her… it makes it even more amazing when you have an extremely talented glam team!
The image below is Janelle’s too. When I’m discussing my second shooter’s job to couples, their first inclination is to think that two photographers equals twice the amount of photos, and two people in different locations. But that isn’t how I like to do things at all. In fact, I rarely ever ask Janelle to leave my side. I joke with her often about the fact that I set them up and she knocks them down. I am choreographing the day, the shot, the moments… and I photograph how they unfold from a pulled back perspective… but she documents the details of those moments. She gets the moments between the moments.
After we finished up with the detail photographs, and the getting ready process, it was time for us to head to Springs Preserve for Britni and Brandon’s first look! B&B aren’t too traditional. They are laid back, and loving. They are emotional and endearing. So, it didn’t surprise me at all that they decided to do a first look. And it didn’t surprise me that Brandon cried, because… well, Brandon got choked up when he was getting dressed earlier in the day. But what did surprise me was the overwhelming emotion from Britni. Cool as a cucumber, Britni. I have about a hundred photographs of how amazing their first look really was, but this one photo below sums it up perfectly.
Look closely at Britni’s bouquet. The girls over at Scheme Events meticulously planned and designed a Mexican chic wedding for these two, but there is a genius yet subtle addition to Britni’s bouquet by Catherine at Layers of Lovely… yes, that’s right, there are green chili’s in her bouquet… and they also adorned several of the table arrangements as well! Catherine is seriously a genius.
Speaking of genius brains. Rissa from Scheme worked for so long to nail down each and every detail of this wedding. One of my favorite elements was the Mexican papel picado. Janelle and I had a field day shooting through this lacey paper throughout the entire night!
So, when the entire day had gone so beautifully, and I had been showing the newlyweds photographs of the day… further instilling trust in them that their wedding had been documented meticulously… I was able to make a quick decision about the lighting of their reception. Kevin from LED Unplugged had done an amazing job of hanging bistro lights along with the papel picado over the reception dance floor. There was also marquee letters above the heads of the head table which gave off a bit of light as well. I went to Britni and Brandon right after their grand entrance and asked them if they’d be okay with me shooting without a flash. I didn’t even have to explain my thought process. They simply hugged me, and said… “do what you do.” And with that, my heart almost exploded. Their reception photos are very true to exactly the way the night looked… beautiful, softly lit and romantic. A summer night under the stars and twinkling lights.
Mr. & Mrs. Hart. There seriously aren’t words. You have spoiled me, and you have set the bar for my future couples so incredibly high. The trust you gave me in photographing your wedding day felt both liberating and suffocating at times. You trusted me fully, which scared me to death that I wouldn’t produce beautiful photos, and I wouldn’t have anyone to blame…. but it also allowed me to, in your words, ‘just do what I do’. And I did. And I can’t thank you enough for giving me that freedom. The friendship that we have created over the last year or so is near and dear to my heart. The words you offered your guests during your reception exemplified exactly the type of people you are… you expected a handful of guests, and yet… you filled an entire courtyard with people who love and adore you. People who traveled hundred and hundreds of miles to witness the most important day of your lives. You truly are amazing. Thank you for allowing me to be a part of your lives.
Wedding Design & Coordination: Scheme Events
Photography: J. Anne Photography
Florals: Layers of Lovely
Linens and Rentals: RSVP Party Rentals and Creative Coverings
Lighting: LED Unplugged
Hair and Makeup: Amelia C. & Company
DJ: Harry O. Productions
Officiant: Casual Elegance