Three weeks ago, I flew out to Ohio for a best friend's brother's wedding. And it was perhaps my favorite backyard wedding of all time. Let me tell you a little bit about what makes these two and their wedding so near and dear to my heart...
Eleven years ago, I met Ellis' sister, Martha, while living in Northern Ireland. Since then, both she and I have had weddings and children of our own, but we've always managed to visit each other at least once per year. I've been to Ohio 6 times in the last 8 years (the first trip was actually for Martha's own wedding << this link unlocks the door to my humble beginnings as a photographer, so beware of drastic camera angles and vignettes for days), and this time might have been one of my all time favorites. Not only is this family a sort of 2nd family to me, but witnessing the labor of love that brought Ellis & Ashley's wedding to life was the kind of magic that makes you believe in humanity again. The whole thing took place at Ellis' childhood home and began with an intimate ceremony surrounded by their family and closest friends. After their ceremony and some photos, the entire family got to work like a hive of bees - setting tables, cooking dinner, making cake (yes, my friend Martha made that 3-tiered geode wedding cake THAT DAY). A few hours later, the rest of the wedding guests arrived for dinner and more celebration.
I still remember the day Carolyn first texted me photos while she was trying on wedding dresses. I remember the overwhelming sense of love and thoughtfulness I felt when she sent the first care package while I was pregnant (a box full of my favorite treats, #cheezits&sourpatchkids), and the second package right before Phoenix was born (the cutest fox romper and matching burp cloths, #deathbycuteness), and then a box of cookies 2 weeks before her wedding (from her favorite bakery in Soho, #isthisreallife?).
For 18 months, we have emailed back and forth about wedding planning and life. Last weekend, I finally got to hug these guys in REAL LIFE. And their wedding was everything we dreamed it to be - Carolyn's dress was a masterpiece, their families practically adopted me as their own, their vows were beautifully written, their celebration mode was on point, and their love was ridiculously photogenic.
I could blubber on forever about how much I have come to adore this pair. But instead, I invite you to relive their wedding day me with...
Before their wedding day, I had only met Adam & Victoria through modern technology and a computer screen. It's always a little strange showing up to someone's wedding having never given them a hug or high five (and to be honest, it rarely happens). BUT, there wasn't a single moment on their wedding day that I felt like a stranger. There's something to be said for kindred spirits. I was instantly smitten with the way Victoria melted into Adam's arms, the way his entire face smiled when he beheld his bride. Not to mention, they are so photogenic it should be illegal.
Ever wondered what it would be like to attend a wedding in a sauna? I hadn't. But I now know nonetheless.
Despite high temperatures and humidity unfamiliar to most California natives, Cesar and Carly threw the fanciest party her parents' backyard will ever see.
I knew going into Rahul & Alexia's wedding that I was in for some serious feels. You see, the day after I met up with them for their engagement shoot, Alexia's family suffered the unexpected, tragic, and life-altering loss of her sister. I had connected with these two on a really incredible level, so this news hit me hard (as my family has been through a similar hell in the last couple years). Fast forward 4 months to their wedding day, where emotion and family ties ran thick and Natalia's spirit roamed free. She flaunted her style through the bridesmaids, who wore her headbands. She clearly touched a great many lives, as proven through Alexia's vows which didn't leave a dry eye in the place (including my own).
Marriage is a great many things. You don't know what "for better or worse" means until you've held each other through the "worse". And witnessing the intense and divine love these two have for one another reminded me what true marriage looks like -- all while they had been married for less than 24 hours.
Rahul & Alexia partook of two different wedding ceremonies - complete with wardrobe changes, sacred Indian rituals, and a 1st timer who nailed her officiant debut. I could probably write a novel on how inspired I am by this couple. But I will stop and let the pictures do the talking.