It was a steamy June afternoon at the historic Museum grounds of Audubon State Park where Jon & Samantha took their vows. Dispite the heat, their mid-summer Wedding was flawless! Samantha was stunning in a strapless, lace-covered gown and crowsnest hairpiece. Jon beamed as he watched his radiant bride decend from the century-old ediface, to the stone steps, and finally down the garden path on her father's arm. They made promises, laughed, poured sand to symbolize their new unity, laughed some more, and were met by cheers from their friends and family as they were declared husband and wife before God and the "great state of Kentucky"! The ceremony was short and sweet, and nothing less than perfect.
After the ceremony we had a wonderful time wandering around the museum's gardens making photos of the two of them (and their wedding party). I felt like the luckiest photographer in the world to have so much time to spend with a bride and groom! There was so much laughter my cheeks and stomach hurt! The reception was held in the old courthouse in Evansville, a place with plenty of it's own history and charm.
Perhaps the highlight of the night was the couple's first dance! A swing number choreographed by the Bride herself. Samantha is a dancer by trade, so her natural talent and grace combined with Jon's sense of humor and upbeat personality made for the best swing dance routine I think I've ever seen! They tore up that dance floor! Jon's lifts were really quite impressive for a "non-dancer". Honestly, it was awesome! It was the absolute best way to finish up the perfect wedding day. I couldn't have been happier for the two of them. Best Wishes, you two.
I'll leave you with this... A little behind the scenes action of my second shooter Chastity and me. It's not often that I show up in any of the images. ;) (Can you spot me in the image on the left? Hint, I'm the one standing in the flowerbed! haha!) I kind of love that we both snapped this at the exact same moment from opposite angles.
Wes and Briana are two of the sweetest people I've ever met. They are giddy in love which makes them super fun to be around, but also fun to photograph. There is no substitute for true emotions when working with a couple! They are kind, and happy, easy-going, adventurous, and romantic (oh, so romantic!), and there is a genuine Christ-centeredness about them that just rubs off on those around them. When photographing their engagement last Summer I was immediately impressed to see the way Wes has such a gentleness about him with Bri. I adore the way they look at each other with such tenderness. Ah, young love! So, I was really really excited to photograph their wedding day. I knew going into it, that we'd have a great time working together. And although the day wasn't without a few hang-ups (more on that in a second), overall it was a great day! The ceremony was so touching (I cried. twice.) and God-honoring, and the reception was celebratory and fun.
Wedding photography is not for the feint-hearted, my friends. You have to be organized, comfortable bossing people around, know how to delegate, think on your feet, and literally stand on your feet for 10 or more hours. It's kind of my favorite! Like an all-day adrenaline rush. :) And since nothing can be perfect, if I didn't mention the minor set-backs I'd be remiss.
So the morning of the wedding I got a text from the Bride - it seems the night before, one of her teeth had been knocked out! You read that correctly, a tooth KNOCKED OUT. The night before her wedding. I would have died! It's literally my worst nightmare! I can hardly think of anything more horrible which doesn't involve death. Thankfully, she was able to have it fixed at an emergency dentist appointment on Saturday morning.
Then, as they were getting ready, the bridesmaids were using a steamer on their dresses. Somehow the heat from the steamer set off the central alarm system of the church. We're not talking smoke detector here. We're talking a blood-curdling screech that makes you want to cry and flashing lights all over the building. And nobody knew how to turn it off. Again, thankfully, I knew who to call (my Dad) to get instructions on how to open the alarm panel and disarm it. But not before I got knocked over by one of the groomsmen and nearly had a toe broken by someone else. Fact: people act stupid when alarms are sounding. :)
Then the Bride arrived at the church an hour late because her hair took longer than planned, which of course delayed things. We were scheduled to start shooting at noon. We actually started Bridal portraits at 1:45. No bueno. But we managed to get the men ready sooner and do some of their photos first so at least we got most of the planned shots.
However, we thought all was not lost because Wes and Bri planned to do the majority of their photos and the wedding party photos at the reception venue outdoors. So we presumed we'd get the rest of the shots then. Oh... but no. We drove to the reception with sunny blue skies. Then strangely, out of the clear blue (literally) a thunderstorm randomly popped up directly over the venue. As I got out of my car, it started pouring. And it didn't stop raining for 20 minutes. Incidentally, those were the only 20 minutes we had to do outside photos. So when it finally slowed to a drizzle we rushed to grab 1 pose of the wedding party (we were already super late to the reception), and then I gave myself 10 minutes to work with the Bride & Groom alone. Talk about stressful! That was worst part, in my opinion, having so many ideas and have NO time to work. I'm happy to say we did capture a few really beautiful photos despite it all.
It's funny, to hear all the things that went wrong you'd think I'm crazy to chose to do wedding photography at all. Too much stress, too many bad things can happen. But that's just it. It's exciting and beautiful! There are also so many things that went right. And so many reasons that I love it. And I think I'm just crazy enough to want to do it again and again. :)
Congratulations to the newlyweds, on your marriage, and a beautiful wedding day! Thank you for trusting me capture your special moments!
Follow this link to see more of Wes & Briana's Wedding Album on Facebook.
Sarah Gutierrez: Wife, Homeschooling Mom, Christian, Photographer