As a wedding photographer you prepare yourself for the emotions that a wedding brings. You prepare to run around frantically with the ladies as they get ready, chill out with the boys as they get 'ready', gush tears of joy with mom as she watches her daughter say 'I do', and laugh with the crazy friends who had just a bit to drink. You prepare for this rollercoaster of emotions. What you don't prepare for is tears while editing in your PJs drinking coffee.
How can you prepare for that?! Its crazy right! Crying as I edit photos. Honestly.. I need to pull it together. As I was editing this wedding I was feeling the same joy as a sister looking at her brothers wedding photos. I was reliving the happiest day of his life. It was a surprising, overwhelming but total worth it crazy feeling. I have never had that feeling when editing. This wedding however was special. It WAS my little brother in the photos. It was his face holding back tears as Elia walked towards him. Every moment in this wedding that I had captured I finally got to experience!
It would be easy to say that as a photographer you don't get emotionally involved with your 'clients'. However, the some photographers ( *my kind of people :D* ) would tell you their 'clients' become their friends and they share the emotions of that day with the couple. This day was a great and joyous day for Elia, the bride to be. She was so excited to see Kyle and was bursting at the seems to get the day rolling. But.. there was also a softer side to her. I couldn't quite figure it out. As we started driving to the ceremony site together, Elia told me of her Grandmothers passing. She told me of her something old and blue that she was wearing in her honor. Tears began early this morning as she explained it was originally meant to be something borrowed. My heart felt for Elia but I truly believe the ones we love will always be with us. I was happy to be able to share this time with Elia before the wedding. There was a peace between us as we talked about her Grandma and her love for her. Her voice rang with a longing to have the same type of marriage her grandparents had. The ones that last a lifetime. Where the souls become one. Like the binding of a knot.
I'll admit taking on the wedding of someone so important to me was scary. I wanted everything to be perfect for Kyle and Elia. I am so happy I did because I was privileged to see all their big moments from this day. Such as their 'first look'.
I remember holding my camera thinking "DO NOT CRY! PHOTOGRAPHERS CAN'T CRY!" as I led Kyle down the hallway to touch hands with Elia for their 'first look'. As I held his hand and led him to the door frame I peaked in to make sure Elia was ready. As they reached for each other the room feel silent. Elia burst into laughter, happiness, tears and shaking all in moments. Kyle mimicking her emotions pressed his head to the door trying to hold it together. He squeezed her hand tight but gently. No words were needed. They had each other and that was all they needed to get through this day.. OMG I'm crying again. UGH. Ok I can write this I swear!
I thought to myself.. wow it will be miracle if I don't start weeping during the vows. The time came and everyone was getting ready to watch the wedding party gracefully make their way down the aisle. The wind howled and the bridesmaids dressed dances, hair blew in awkward directions and guests held onto their chairs as to not be blown away.
Savea, the flower girl was tremendous. Not only did she prance down the aisle but she took throwing flowers seriously. At the very end as she stopped and realized her moment was over she looked to her basket with one final glance! Her eyes lit up as she noticed the remain flowers, she grasped them firmly and threw them while twirling. Not a single person didn't join in to laugh as Savea made sure she left her footprint on the day.
Elia was finally up. She walked slowly with her parents holding her up as she glided closer to Kyle, who by all means was doing everything in his power not to let waterfalls stream down his checks. The pause came and hugs grew long and tight as families handed off their little boy and girl to be wed. The vows shared by Kyle and Elia were true, sincere and everlasting; a honest reflection of their love for one another. Hands shaking each took turns reading their crumpled up notebook paper aloud to each other. Truly a breathtaking ceremony and not a dry eye on the course.
The real tears however came at the reception. Elia's Sister, Laura, started her Matron of Honor speech with classic stories of being a big sister and helping her little sister grow. She stated how proud she was of her and how happy she was she met Kyle. Then she started to talk about when she knew Kyle was meant for Elia. It was the day they lost their Grandma. The day she knew Kyle loved Elia's family as family. The day she knew Kyle would support Elia through the hardest times. The day came full circle with tears, memories, and love for the ones we had lost along the way. Kyle, one of the kindest and most caring souls I had ever met, had a tendency to support those through their hard times. No matter how near or far, he has always been there for the people he loved. Kyle's best man, Luke, knew this to be true. Having served our Nation, Kyle was the one person he could count on. I too had went through some of those fun adolescent years. I'd like to say Kyle kept me out of trouble but most the time, we were in it together! Regardless of the circumstances, it was apparent that Kyle held his closest friends near and dear, and Elia is no exception to this rule.
For those of you who don't know. Kyle is not my biological brother. He IS however a brother in every sense of the word/definition.
I noticed I have started writing a NOVEL.. so I feel I should wrap this up. Maybe its because I love so many moments about this day or maybe its just the people that make the memories but I could write forever about this wedding.
I'll close with this. As my night ended and I joined my brother and new sister in their celebration I will never forget the feeling of arms wrapped around my shoulders. Us all together in a circle, arms tangled and draped upon each other singing Piano Man at the top of our lungs. Those moments never fade! We may have spilled a few drinks, sang off key and danced like lunatics but we were, correction, ARE family! I wouldn't have it any other way.