"I carry your heart (I carry it in my heart)."— ee cummings
I'm going to be completely honest here. I've done this a time or two. The truth is that after this many years of going to weddings at times it gets hard to tell the story in a new way. I see so many love stories and spend most of my life in so many unique places that you'd think there's an endless amount of creativity but from time to time I'm at a loss of words of where to point out that a couple really did make the day their own. This wedding couldn't possibly have been the opposite of that case.
From the moment I met with Clair and Zann I was blown away by their personalities and their love for each other. Clair is 100%. I know you're thinking 100% what, but I really meant to write it just like that. She's 100%. 100% whatever she's doing right then. She's an all in kind of person and her big smile and loud laugh tends to fill up a room in a hurry unless it's just her and Zann. I clearly remember after their engagement shoot people commenting on how serious their photos were and how NOT serious Clair and Zann usually are. The thing here is that I get the chance to see people usually in a pretty stripped down version of themselves. When all of the emotions and pressure and stress of months and months of planning come to a head a person is usually just an exaggerated version of who they really are and what I saw in Clair and Zann during their engagement shoot perfectly echoed itself on the wedding day. Both of these amazing people are loud and funny. They both enjoy life and love to have a constant sarcastic banter with pretty much anybody around them and yet - when it's JUST the two of them things are different. Clair relaxes. Her quick wit and funny charm is very much still there, it's just not on display. Zann's award winning smile isn't in the spotlight. These two have found a place with eachother that's incredibly deep and very personal and I can honestly say that having a camera on them in those moments was something pretty special to me.
The morning of this wedding was hilarious. Putting this group of past brides, future brides, and friends of ours in one room and calling them all bridesmaids was a recipe for a dance party. 90's hip hop up loud and full bottles of orange juice sitting next to empty bottles of champagne started the day off exactly how I had hoped. All of the wedding party from this wedding was amazing. So funny and so involved in the fun, but at the same time completely prompt and super responsive to whatever Clair and Zann needed. By the time we wrapped up a windy, gorgeous bridesmaid shoot I was easily more anxious than either Clair or Zann for what would come next.
If you follow me at all you know I love a few things about a wedding day. I love imperfection. The way hair blows in the wind, or tears roll down a cheek. The way veil's blow, grooms tense up, and flower girls cry on their way down the aisle are the things I live for on a wedding day. I love imperfection because I love the reality of it. The way an organic moment can be an actual memory without needing to be sculpted or refined is exactly why I got into photography in the first place. More than imperfection I love emotion. There's something facinating to me about the way we feel in a moment. Those feelings that flush through us and take over when we're expecting and when we're not. This wedding was full of emotion and by far the most packed few moments was as Clair walked up behind Zann. We don't advertise our "no-look" sessions a lot. Honestly these days about half of what we actually admit to doing we end up finding somebody else copying just a few days later. But these no-look sessions are an incredible way to spend some time with the bride and groom and still catch that awe and surprise on her way down the aisle. There's so much planning and logistics that goes into these few moments but to spend 30 minutes with Clair and Zann together and them never once see or talk to each other is incredible. Emotion flies up somewhere in the atmosphere during these entire sessions as we ask our couples not to focus on the photos, or on me, but also not to be distracted by looks and chatter. We ask them to be completely in a moment but not see it. To be completely vulnerable with the one person who knows how they feel next to them but not express it. After about 30 minutes and a few little location changes we seperated Clair and Zann again and gave Clair some down time and Zann a few minutes to hang out with his boys.
The ceremony was unbelievable. It almost always is after a no-look session but Zann's reaction as Clair made her way down the long aisle was pure happiness. He's not the type of guy to fall into buckets of his own tears, but he didn't try for a second to cover up his joy and it was powerful. About 12 minutes after she walked down the aisle, they walked back together. This ceremony was fast and to the point but for one simple reason. These two have already commited everything to each other and this day was as much about the celebration as it was about the details. So as we ran into see the reception we had no doubt that it would be incredible. The decor, design, lighting, and even the food was perfect. From the first note the band played the dancefloor was packed and I am almost positive neither Clair or Zann ate a single bite except for the cake they shoved in eachother's mouths. This entire day was perfect - not a single moment out of place. Such a blessing to see so many familiar faces on the dance floor as we all celebrated along side them and so cool to know that we're a part of these special memories. A HUGE thanks to Clair and Zann for trusting us with such a big task!