Mariza and Van are getting married in late August at the beautiful San Miguel Mission. Van absolutely adores Mariza…in that super sweet genuine way. Sometimes I wondered if they remembered I was there because they were so lost in enjoying each other. Van surprised Mariza with some AMAZING cupcakes from one of their favorite bakeries. They gave me one…best cupcake I’ve ever had! By the time the day was done, I felt like I had spent the afternoon with close friends laughing, telling stories, and enjoying the beauty of SLO. Looking forward to seeing these two again soon.
There’s a lot I need to say about this wedding, so bear with me. I know photos are where it’s at, but this was a special one. This was my sister’s wedding.
Yes, I shot it. I never would have expected that – I always figured that if someone close to me got married, I’d want to not have to worry about the photography and be able to just enjoy the wedding. But it quickly became apparent that that simply wasn’t going to happen.
I love photography. Shooting weddings fulfills me. The more I thought about it, the more I wanted to be my sister’s photographer. But I couldn’t shake the feeling that I’d be doing something wrong by shooting the wedding of someone so close to me – like I’d miss the day or something. From the start, they wanted someone who “shot like me”, so whether my style was what they were looking for wasn’t an issue. I recommended a few of my trusted photographer friends to them, thinking I’d hand off the photography side and just “enjoy the wedding”.
But one day I realized I couldn’t do that. I wanted to experience her wedding, and I wanted to be her photographer. There wasn’t any other way, really. I wanted to shoot it, and I wanted to shoot it with all of the heart and strength and creativity I could find within myself. I ran the idea by Kristen and Joe, and they were thrilled.
I can’t even explain to you how significant the wedding day was. I was surrounded by many of my closest friends, and certainly by my dear family. Watching my dad walk my sister down the aisle through my viewfinder, and seeing Joe fighting tears, almost undid me. It was monumental. More significance than I’ve ever experienced doing what I do, and by far.
My son Cameron was a ring bearer. My girl Lillian was a flower girl. I watched them make a long walk towards the aisle, seeing Cameron monitor his walking speed so as to not overwhelm little Lillian. He cared about her. When she sat down right in the middle of the aisle, Cameron covered his mouth with his hands and burst into laughter. Lillian did the same, and then got up and grabbed Cameron’s hand, and they ran to my beautiful wife at the front of the aisle.
I danced with my wife, I danced with my son, and I danced with my sister and new brother.
I can’t explain what it was like to be their photographer really – it was heavy in a lot of ways. I care a lot about what I do. I care deeply about making photos that people love, and all I wanted on that day was to make photos that my sister and Joe and my family loved.
It wasn’t easy – it was pretty stressful at times, in fact. But the whole day, wrapped up in a big ball of joy+stress+tears+excitement+laughter+dancing+preparation, was a significant life event.
It was one of those things that you can’t really describe in whole, and can only feel in your chest.
MANY thanks to my associate Kelsey, who shot when I couldn’t, and made it so I could relax at the reception.
Marc is from Ireland, so are his closet friends and family who flew all the way out to San Fran for his wedding. Michelle is just as fun and sweet as they come; she takes after her mom who everyone calls “Carebear” because she’s so kind.
Speech time found me unable to hold my camera steady from laughing at Michelle’s sister who packed a seriously hilarious punch in her maid of honor roast… er umm speech. Right before their first dance, Michelle’s sister informs me to “be ready” for song #3 and the surprise flash mob she had organized. Yeah, you read that right, FLASH MOB. Ya’ll might not know me, but it was on my bucket list to witness a flash mob. Well, I did and it was EPIC. I’ll be hard pressed to see a dance floor that packed any time soon.