Weddings are always memorable not only for the families but the photographer, some more so than others!!!
I was hired by a woman whose son was getting married 8 months down the road. She was from my area but now living three hours away. The wedding would be in her hometown overlooking Lake Michigan. We became good friends and spoke many times on the phone and met several times to plan the wedding photography. Everything was coordinated with the bride and groom as well as she and we left no stone unturned. What I did not know was the woman who hired me, mother of the groom, was dying of cancer and passed away a week before the wedding. Her son called 5 days before the wedding to tell me the news. Weddings are supposed to be emotional and joyful but this event had a very sad edge to it that was unshakeable. It still is. Oddly enough, the groom, her son, works for the cigarette industry.
Memorable Moment #2
It was going to be an August wedding on the beach. Because of the location, it was very casual and I was told I could wear shorts and short-sleeved dress shirt. I love the sun, the sand and the water but this day was HOT beyond description! It was sweltering!! It was 100-degrees and I was working by normal focused pace, doing what I love to do. I must have gone through a bottle of suntan lotion, three bottles of water and I was totally drenched by the time we finished photos on the beach. What I needed were five people carrying fans to cool me off and a constant umbrella to shade me!! They were, and are, a lovely couple and it was a joy to work with them but the day itself, I will never forget the heat. Luckily, time allowed that I could race home and take a shower before the reception.
this lovely couple wanted their wedding outside on the 17th of October. In Michigan, the month of October can be “iffy.” It could be the “last gasp of summer” or begin to feel like winter. On this day, it was a little rainy, a lot windy and a whole lotta cold. Nevertheless, she got her wish of a wedding outdoors, overlooking Lake Michigan. It really was pretty. I remember giving my coat to a guest in a dress and no coat at all. She wore my leather jacket to stay warm and I survived. It was still a beautiful wedding and she was happy. What else matters????
The wedding was held in my favorite location. It’s a magnificently restored building in St. Joseph and the natural light through the windows that make photography a breeze. A moment happened that I’ve not seen before or since: the groom was marrying a woman with a 6-year old daughter. Prior to being introduced as husband and wife, the groom got down on his knees to ask the daughter if he could marry her mother. Luckily, the little girl said “yes.” I was not aware that he was going to ask her. Caught off-guard, I still captured the moment (at this point, breathe a sigh of relief).
go back to “Memorable Moment #1: the same night as the wedding, I began to download images onto an external hard drive. Have you ever had a moment when you realized your hard drive is dying and there is nothing you can do? I didn’t even have time to back up the images. I found a great computer wizard who found every image on the dead hard drive and $700 later (and a new hard drive) I had every image taken at their wedding. They were happy……I was relieved!!!! In case you’re wondering, now I keep files on multiple hard drives (BIG sigh of relief—part two!!)
I’ve been the photographer at weddings where the bride hated to be photographed (“So WHY did you hire me? Why am I here???”), I’ve photographed weddings where the mother of the bride said, “don’t photograph me!” (what the heck does one say to that???? Ok, I won’t). I’ve been the second shooter at a wedding where the primary photographer spent THREE hours photographing the couple on their wedding day. I wanted to scream, “would you let them enjoy their day!!!” but I just followed my orders and shut my mouth. That one incident alone has told me what NOT to do in photographing a wedding. Respect their time, their guests and their day. Luckily, I’ve not worked with the photographer since.
For me, weddings are a beautiful, exciting, joyful day. I’m lucky enough to capture those moments and do what I love. Every wedding has a moment that stays with me forever. Almost always good, sometimes strange, always memorable.