It's pretty late for me to be starting a blog post. Maybe it's the quiet of a still home, or the fact that as I sit in my office with light music in the background I know that Gavin is fast asleep just a few steps down the hall and Melissa is on the other end of the house getting some much needed rest. In reality I know that I need to get to bed soon myself but knowing that I haven't shared the story of this trip to St. Louis and what it meant to our company has me up.
I'm blessed to live a life so full of things that I love. A great home, a beautiful wife and little boy (and one on the way) along with this company made up completely of some of my very closest friends. This wedding in St. Louis marked the first time we were able to travel as a complete production out of state for a wedding. If you've kept up with us for awhile you've undoubtedly noticed that adding Dave (and videography) into our team was a huge step. Our clients love what he does and how he meshes with our momentum on a wedding day and working along side him has been a blast. So to steal him away from his busy traveling season, and align with our busy traveling season was a complete treat. In fact the only member of our team not on this shoot was Melissa and as much as we hated not having her with a camera in her hands (the guys are all completely intimidated by her attention to detail and all around perfectionist approach) she was right down the road with some of our close friends and all the kids having her own party. My point is simple, this lined up from the get go to be a beautiful wedding and we were so excited to have a couple who were willing to hear us down to a T with what we needed from them to pull off some magic. Want to know the secret to amazing wedding photos? I'll spill the beans completely here -
1. Hire a wedding photographer who LOVES people and doesn't get easily flustered.
2. Trust that wedding photographer to find, provoke, and explore all the emotions wrapped up in the day.
3. Give that photographer plenty of time to let the art of simple moments develop without forcing it.
THAT'S IT. Now here's the kicker - because so many photographers get into this lifestyle not knowing where it will take them often they don't even know the answers to these questions. BUT for us STL was exactly that wedding. Alyssa and I spoke numerous times about the plan for the day. The idea of spending the time it would take to get to the right locations at the right time for light was something she totally understood and when I told her that I wouldn't know exactly where we were going until about 12 hours before the wedding she was willing to trust me that I had a plan. And so the story of Alyssa + Zeid's wedding begins!
We started shooting as an entire team (two photographers and two videographers) around noon. Just in time to catch the tail end of the girls getting dolled up as well as spend some time getting to know the family that was around. This little speckle of time is so important because it starts the whole story, BUT it also establishes our relationships with the bride on the big day! Walking into a stressed room is a recipe for disaster and so we always arrive when there's plenty of time and nothing to rush. These little moments are magic watching a girl transform into a bride and it wasn't long before we had all the girls ready to go play. Alyssa's bridesmaids were perfect for us. Nothing staged or drawn out. You'll rarely see us with lighting or reflectors at a wedding because we're focused on moments. The girl's shoot was just a fun walk with plenty of time to laugh and joke and before they knew it had started, it had finished just in time for Alyssa to spend a few minutes alone with Zeid.
If you spend about 30 seconds around these two you'll start to feel their joy for life. Zeid is a big personality. This guy is a loud laugher, a big hugger, and a huge smiler. He's sarcastic and witty and then all at once gentle and kind to Alyssa. She's a small girl anyway but watching the way she wraps herself up in him makes her look tiny and they have a comfort together that's all too rare. Alyssa on the other hand is a touch reserved. I wouldn't say quiet but maybe a little shy at first and though she trusted me completely to be a part of such huge moments knowing that she was so out of control in these moments with the two of them together was a huge step for her. 45 minutes of time together as a couple in love just a few hours before she would walk down the aisle to him and here's the kicker : they didn't see each other once. They didn't utter a word, or peek for a second. There was nothing lost in that moment she made her way to Zeid during the ceremony but because they hired photographers who love people - care about them personally - and who they trust they let us walk them through one of the most rare experiences they'll ever have together. 45 minutes of intimate, emotional, real moments not watered down by sight or sound. If you ever have the opportunity to see us do this with a couple it's pretty intense. And though I direct every little breath and movement to make sure there's not a slip - it's not long before the moments of silence take longer and longer to get past. Incredibly beautiful and fleeting and all captured forever and then just as quickly as it starts - we sent Alyssa off to the Chapel and it was off to hang out with the fellas with Zeid.
The ceremony was short and sweet but everybody in the room was important to these two and there was hardly a dry eye in the place. By the time they kissed the sniffles in the room were drowned out by applause and then we wisped them off again for another set of photos together. I could go on forever about this wedding but I don't want to water down the images and the moments so I'll wrap up this story by saying simply : thank you - to Alyssa + Zeid for giving us the chance to watch, enjoy, and capture every element of such a special day. We're so blessed to say that this whole story was a gift from us to you and one that we hope you two can cherish for a lifetime.