I shot my final wedding of the year last weekend, and I’m feeling sentimental. The challenge of running a small business, finding time for family, the ever-impossible quest for a work-life balance, putting pressure on myself to capture each wedding day perfectly & creatively, being there for my clients as a friend and professional, and throwing my heart and soul into my craft even on days that I feel drained and tired… whew. It’s hard not to look back and feel incredibly proud AND incredibly grateful (and maybe a little sleepy). This has been a year of pushing myself, and it has been a year of tremendous growth and reward.
I cannot begin to put into words how thankful I am for the couples who welcomed me into their lives and their families and who trusted me with photographing the biggest day of their lives thus far. I was treated with such love and such warmth, when in reality, I’m just this semi-awkward stranger showing up to follow them around and get involved in the intimate details of their wedding day. I tell them when to kiss, how to hold each other, and in the case of the bride, I often tell her not to grab her own boobs while being zipped into her wedding dress. Haha. Maybe it was my growing baby bump that became more and more obvious with each wedding I shot (yes, I was pregnant for ALL of my weddings this year), or maybe it was just the sincere kindness of my clients, but I was offered food, a place to sit, help with my bags, and hugs and smiles at every wedding I photographed. One bride even saved the last lamb shank for me and hand-fed it to me as I stood in line for dinner. 🙂 To be treated like a friend and not just the hired help – it made this job even more special.
I’d be lying if I said there weren’t some Friday nights or Saturday mornings where I had to drink an extra cup of coffee and turn on some Rocky tunes to get pumped up and talk myself IN to going to work for the weekend. When I kiss my son and husband goodbye for the day, it definitely feels like I’m going to my job. But it’s easy to forget during the rush and excitement of the day that I’m technically working; I get caught up in the laughter and I bond with the families and I cry during the speeches, and then I’m like – Yeah, this job kicks ass.
And I know what a HUGE job it is. The trust that my clients put in my hands to capture a day, a moment, a kiss that cannot and will not be repeated or recreated – to say it’s a big deal is such a gross understatement. I get it… more than I wish that I did, really… because despite spending a large part of the money budgeted for my own wedding on photography, I ended up with few photos that I love or cherish. There just weren’t pictures of me and my bridesmaids, very few from our reception or first dance, barely any of us with our family and friends. It broke my heart. And there was nothing I could do about it.
From a bride who didn’t end up with a single, not one, bridal portrait of herself from her wedding day… I can say that it is one of the things that matters most to me now as a photographer. Do I want a photo of myself in my wedding dress so that I can print it on a six foot canvas and hang it above the fireplace? No, probably not. Haha. I mean, maybe we could hang it in the basement playroom? No? Okay, fine. But there’s something about photographing a bride on her wedding day, just her. To capture how absolutely radiant and happy and stunning my brides are, and to be able to show that to them and know they will have it as a reminder of their own beauty and the love they felt that day.. for years to come. That, my friends, is such a gift. It is one of the most important parts of my job – capturing the smiles, the hand holding, the moments of quiet, the laughter, the love of the day and preserving those memories for my couples so that they can relive their day, over and over again. It is a gift to get to do that as my job. And I am SO so SO thankful for the fun & flirty, sweet & sassy, lovely & light-hearted, bold & beautiful brides that stood in front of my camera this year.
Here’s to you, ladies! Each one of you was gorgeous and radiated a confident beauty that left me speechless at times. Way to rock those dresses and bring the spunk and find ways to laugh off the stresses of the wedding day. May 2016 bring many bright and wonderful things your way. Hooray for marital bliss! 🙂