"You're really gonna like them."
That's always the prompt I'm given from my wedding photography partner and mentor, Sue. Ok, I call her my partner, but I'm the second shooter keeping up the schedule with the ability to roam around as I please. She always gives me this prompt and I've enjoyed all of the couples I've had a chance to work with, albeit for only a day, so I still take her for her word.
I had to wait a little longer to get started because I bought 30 dollars worth of batteries for flashes, remotes and photography gadgets we might get to use while she took her time with the bride and bridesmaids getting ready. Sneaking in a few shots of the venue details, I moved on to meet the groom, Tyler, and his groomsmen. Everyone was chill, trying to keep chilled because the sun was fierce and covering the grounds with an 85-degree blanket.
The sun is a real worry for an outdoor wedding because it runs the risk of overexposed photos, turning it into a black and white outdoor wedding instead of a bright colorful summer one. Lucky for us, we had a huge shade tree over the road to keep the light under control and every one slightly cooler. Tyler continued being chill as we had him in the wild grasses and exploring our shots, come to find out the beautiful vines on the tree turned to be poison ivy. He was a trooper, and this was the definitive proof he was game when we washed up and gathered the guys.
One for two, Sue brought out a barrel of laughs, aka Katie the bride and her bridesmaids. The laughter was contagious as we hit our poses and each laugh had a different face. I made my stupid jokes with a smile and it felt like most people were laughing with me. If they were laughing at me, they covered it up well on the sunbaked dirt road, and I still got the end I needed while we moved through the groups.
Before showtime, the bride and groom wanted to have a first look in their duds, and they entertained and made hearts melt under the summer sun. With a "shhh" and a quick game of peek-a-boo, Tyler saw his bride and it was a moment. I could tell they loved each other having just seen them both together in that one moment.
Time to get the show on the road, and we were fortunate for more clouds than we can ask for on a bright summer wedding day. The colors were vibrant, and this was a quintessential June wedding because of it. I was able to enjoy the ceremony, the humor and sentiment blessed vows and not worry about my camera settings to some fine results.
The reception was held inside the barn named A Little Patch of Heaven. The smells of the catering mixed with the wood of the new venue for a rustic and welcoming ambiance. Their guests were jovial and animated. Until the wedding party made their grand entrance, my mind was set to the dessert table filled with handcrafted cookies and what seemed like a never-ending supply of cupcakes and my camera was set to the guests.
Grand entrances are what sets off the party, and gets my mind off of sugar. Each couple hit their pose and paraded around the barn to their seats, and we were off to a good start. This was a group that Fired Up, shout out to CMU, talking about their memories of meeting on campus, how Tyler and Katie met and how important these people are to each other. Their toasts fell in line with the vows and told more stories of these two than anyone can document with a set of pictures.
We filled our antique plates, our cups and our bellies before we finally got to the cake. With a piece to feed each other, Tyler and Katie went for the funny and shoved the cake at each other, filling some noses rather than mouths. They took center stage for their dances after cleaning up and I got my sugar rush. The laughs weren't over after the tender moments when the bride rounded up all of the single ladies to catch the bouquet and the groom flicked her garter to the bachelors.
Our end came with a blue sky and a golden sun shining over us. The land shined and looked truly like A Little Patch of Heaven. I think they were glad for a moment to relax on a couch we needed outside more than in. We caught a golden romance and took off into the sunset after one last lame joke from me, happy because the day was an absolute success!