As a photographer, I try to keep myself healthy (I considered writing tip-top shape, but I'd be lying because I've smashed two sugar cookies while thinking of this intro). I enjoy having the ability to balance, crouch, and move as I please when I'm working, so I do work to preserve that ability. However, health can take a different turn on a moment's notice and I woke up on Luke and Rachel's wedding day dealing with the repercussions with severe allergies. I felt fatigued and as a professional, I worked to reach into my own energy reserves to get back to my level but also knew when to take a breath and stay hydrated for the points in the day I could not. No one else can assess your capabilities better than you, no matter what you're doing, so treat yourself well.
We had an earlier start than usual with a tighter schedule during the hours where the sun burns hottest and brightest: 10 a.m.-2 p.m. St. Vincent de Paul Parish in Shepherd has this well-landscaped courtyard with enough benches and tree cover to shoot and not have to worry about overexposure. Our work with Luke and his groomsmen was quick and efficient, hitting our marks so the guys didn't roast in their tuxes and the August late-morning heat. Then we shot down to the public library to catch Rachel and her bridesmaids getting ready for another good look at the day and catch a few pre-portrait portraits.
With plenty of time until the ladies were ready, I saw this as an opportunity to catch my breath and Sue was incredibly understanding while she collected detail shots. A few beats later, I rejoined her to finish getting details and setting up for the rest of the pre-wedding portraits. When Rachel arrived, we were close to showtime on the ceremony, so we needed to have a good place on hand that was less exposed by the sun, but also provided enough cover to minimize the number of arriving guest saw her. Easy work.
I can count the number of full Catholic weddings I've done on one hand, but the unifying element between them was how involved they are with the family, bridal party, and guests. I take the fly on the wall approach for these because there are so many moving parts and action to the ceremony that parts of the event can be a blink and you've missed it. A thought to keep if you're reading this and planning a wedding: see if you can invest in a second photographer to ensure every moment is caught. There's nothing more we want to do while shooting is to capture everything you've taken the time and spent the money to achieve. We're there to make sure your wedding day doesn't get lost in time.
I'm a sucker for a good moment during a wedding ceremony (moment is a vague term and simply put, you'll know it when you see it). Luke and Rachel gave their guest ribbons in their colors for guest to wave them out after the ceremony ended. It was fleeting and we could only get it right once and it was fantastic.
Wrapping up with the last of the portraits, we jetted up to Nelson Park in Mt. Pleasant to work with the whole bridal party and capture some romantics. Some of the group approached the waterfall with their gifted tumblers, and I knew we needed those for some shots before taking the bride and groom off on their own. The best ideas come off the cuff, especially when we started moving through the park and it wouldn't be the last time of the night.
Full disclosure, whenever you see a wedding movie or episodes of any given TV show, the bride and groom are probably late because of the photographer, even when we're tight to the schedule. It's helpful so we can be to each venue before the stars of the show arrive and catch all of the necessary details and set up for the grand entrances. I paid special attention to the cupcakes and counted down the minutes until I could shove one of those in my face, whole (I got the strawberry lemonade and the carrot cake when we got our food, they were glorious).
The reception venue had the perfect lighting when I sat up at the front door for the grand entrance. Typically, the lighting tends to be low for that intimate reception mood, but this was bright enough so I could keep my camera on burst mode like I was working a triathlon. The grand entrance comes with surprises from everyone who walks through the door, and Luke and Rachel were all surprises, to which I thank them. It makes the day all the richer.
Their wedding toasts were loaded with memories and laughs about fishing trips and childhood adventures before we sat down to a terrific meal. Going through the reception motions, I dropped to the dance floor when the DJ turned the lights down. Romance and emotion abound in the first dances and surprised with some more emotion when Rachel brought her mom out for a dance, as well.
Time ticked away as we stole the bride and groom away for a few more romantic shots down on Broadway street. The light was right, the setting was colorful, and we even met one of Rachel's dance students as she took her senior portraits. When the 200 East Broadway clock struck 7:07 p.m. we shot our last shots and returned them to the warmth of their party with some departing words. "Don't forget my awful marriage advice and thank you for riding with Uber." I'll say the day was five stars.