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Dani and Jordan’s wedding was packed. Packed with love, joy, fun. Packed with emotion and family. Packed with so many of the things that make for a killer wedding. It’s easy to look at the surface of a wedding, through the images, and decide whether it was “a good wedding” or not. There’s an entire industry built on that idea. I’ve had the privilege of seeing hundreds of weddings, and the most important component to a great wedding has nothing to do with Pinterest, a curated look, or being on-trend. It’s not perfect weather, perfect details, or the perfect dress. It’s love. A love that is so deep that it starts to feel like the word doesn’t quite do justice to what you have. Saying love made their wedding amazing might sound trite, but sometimes a cliche is cliche because it’s true and universal. If you want everything to be as perfect as possible, make a plan and go get it! Your wedding can be anything you want it to be, just pack it with love and have fun with all of the pieces.
I’ve known these (not) kids since they were in high school. I’ve photographed both of them before, individually, and watching them grow together as a couple is a reminder of what it was like to be young and in love. It’s been over 20 years since I married my wife, over 11 since we had kids, and sometimes the early 20’s feel like another lifetime ago. One of the things I appreciate about photographing weddings is witnessing these moments that almost feel like flashbacks to my own earlier days. This isn’t meant to say that marriage is better when you’re young. Marriage is just as good, if not better, and deeper than it ever was when in my early 20’s. It’s just fun to see youthful bliss, for the same reasons that sentiment can find its way to you through a yearbook, an old song, or a movie. Nostalgia is powerful, and if you let it, it might just help you practice gratitude. High five to the kids who keep us all young.
Clouds, cows, and a lot of emotion. That’s what I remember most from this wedding, despite there being no shortage of memorable pieces. Pulling off a surprise guest for the bride, guests wheeled in on flatbeds, keg stands a plenty. If I had to choose a single image as the tentpole for this wedding, it would be the couple on hay bails in the clouds. If I was pressed to select one moment… it would be the groom, Logan, taking his hat off, tears in his eyes, as he watched Deshea walk down the aisle. All the feels. An old school classiness that you just don’t see that often. It defined this wedding for me.
That brings up a couple points I think are worth mentioning. First, if you’re a bride or groom planning a wedding, deciding between a first look and waiting for the ceremony can be tough. It’s much more practical to take portraits before the ceremony, after a first look, but that may not be the way you’ve always pictured your day. Waiting for the ceremony still holds a sentimental place in the hearts of many people. Which is right? Which is better? It really depends on what is most important to you, and the constraints you have on your time. If you don’t have 1-2 hours to spare on portraits after the ceremony, do a first look. If you have always dreamed of seeing each other for the first time down the aisle, there’s your answer. Just know that I’ve seen plenty of wedding with an emotional reaction to a first look AND walking down the aisle (ahem, this one). You won’t lose anything if you find you really need to do portraits beforehand. I really believe that.
Secondly, have the wedding that is right for you. Chateaus, forests, or hay-bails. Elopement or 500 person event. Find the thing that makes you happy, and do that thing. You can make a field classy, and you can dirty up the dancefloor of the priciest ballroom with some Ludacris. Marry the right person, plan the wedding that suits you.
I could never do these two justice by writing a few paragraphs. Knowing Sydney since she was in high school, discussing life and photography with Aaron for 5 1/2 years… there’s too much ground to cover. I have so must respect and love for these two, the way they live their lives, and the creativity they bring into the world. I wanted to show their story as simply as possible, no color, no extra words or hashtags. Just an old fashioned love story. Here’s to a hundred more anniversaries.