to be remembered

My 2017 wedding season just wrapped up, and I've been busy talking with bride's planning next year's events. And autumn just started, and this time of year always makes me reflective.

I've spent a lot of time thinking about the great honor of getting to capture a wedding in one of the only tangible ways we have available. To try to make and find images that will speak the truth of the day for generations to come. It's not something I take lightly.

I love memories. I love their fuzzy edges and their rock hard centers that punch you in the guts. The way they leave you teary-eyed and grateful and angry that time passes so damn quickly.

And I love that I have made a job of collecting them for other people. I love that I get to look and listen and feel, and then, I get to give them back so that in years a white-haired old woman will pull out a dusty old album to show to her great-granddaughter as that young woman plans her own future. I like to think what that woman with the trembly hands and voice might say. The bits she will recall as she looks back on pictures of that handful of hours she planned for, saved for, hoped for.

Chances are, I won't be remembered. And while my ego is no small force, that realization doesn't sting. I'm happy to think that something I have made will be cherished for so long. It makes me feel brighter, fuller, richer.

Nikki and Reid's wedding was thoughtful. They wove generations through it, getting married in the house her grandfather built, under the same trees he sought shade under. Each detail was executed by their own hands or the hands of those they love: the food, the blankets their friends lounged on, the wooden tables, their rings. And it was done with such unwavering confidence, or rather, maybe unwavering competence. A union between two people who within moments of knowing, you feel certain that they could do almost anything. And how beautiful that they have chosen to do whatever it is that they will with each other.  

That great-granddaughter who will sit by Nikki many years from now will know her grandparents loved each other well. And she will know that her grandmother was strong and smart and capable of complete independence, but that she wanted to do life with an extra handsome physicist. 
 

Washington, DC Backyard Wedding

I often joke that if I had to plan a wedding tomorrow, I would just have it at the North Beach Fire Department.  I would vow not to look at Pinterest and nothing would be cool or cute or pretty.  I would spend the money on a booze and a band and lots of cheap, delicious food. 

Because the more weddings I go to, the harder it would be to plan something without freezing up. There are so many choices, and people do it so well. How could I compete?

Despite the fact that I try to pretend I'm not, I am so deeply competitive that I do everything in my power to avoid competition for fear of losing. Hence, the firehouse wedding. Everyone would know I hadn't really tried. I would get some irony points. It would be fun. I win by the rules I have set in the game I created.

But it certainly would not be envy inducing, which is exactly what Judith and Ryan's wedding was. Their wedding in a lifelong family friend's backyard was perfectly styled with poufs and Moroccan rugs and ornate lamps with just a hint of patina.  The vows they wrote to each other were powerful, funny, and moving. The beautiful food was served by an army of equally beautiful staff. The DJ was somehow cool and accessible. 

For a woman who claimed she never wanted a wedding, she sure put on a wedding that would win in Wedding Wars, if such a reality TV show exists. The Flower Guy and the dress-up tent would have have been enough to sway any judge who had not made up her mind.

 

DJ Les Talusan with L&O Creative

Susan Gage Caterers

Decor by all her ladies.

 

this is love // a bohemian wedding on the river

The things that matter most aren't the things you can order on Amazon or search Pinterest for some DIY version you can make your own.

Yes, Christie and Jason's wedding was beautiful. Yes, each one of those details was perfectly executed. Their wedding had style. The geode table numbers. The bits of rosemary on each plate setting. The ferns at the end of the pews they made themselves. They were the sorts of details I would want to include in my own wedding if I was doing it again today.  I would want a flower crown and wild, rebellious bouquets. 

But the things that made their wedding their wedding are the things no one else can replicate. The twelve nephews runnings around in suspenders and bowties. The way her grandparents looked at each other as they occupied the dance floor alone as winners of the anniversary dance. The sound of Jason's radiant sister's voice as they walked down the isle. Those are the things I will remember of that day on the Potomac River when the sun never quite came out but the storms never came either.