Ah, weddings. The giddy excitement that pervades the day. The abundant beauty, the overwhelming beauty, the awe-inspiring beauty. The way the groom smiles at his bride, and the way she lights up when she sees him. The bridesmaids as they continually prove their love for the bride-friend. The groomsmen goofing off waiting for the party to start. The tearful mother of the bride. The proud father of the groom.
As a wedding photographer, I see these moments over and over and over again — they never get old – and one of my favorite parts of the wedding photography process is re-living the day half a zillion times as I cull the images, perfect the colors, and prepare the finished product. I laugh over the jokes again, I weep at the teary joy again, and I gasp in awe of the beauty again.
Culling and processing Drew & Candace’s wedding, though, was different: instead of re-living the wedding day, I was living it for the very first time.
I had been looking forward to this wedding day for months. Candace is one of the sweetest girls I have ever met; her beauty isn’t just outward (but let’s take a moment to be jealous of her hair, shall we?). And Drew? Well, not only does he know he found a gem in Candace, he’s also a first-class southern gentleman. We had so much fun at their Winston-Salem engagement shoot and as I counted down to their wedding, I was stoked for all the fun and joy and beauty.
When my appendix ruptured, I was grateful it had ruptured six weeks before their wedding so I would be sure to be well in time to fly cross-country and shoot their wedding. When I was back in the hospital the second time, I was confident this would fix the infection in plenty of time. When I went back a third time (that infection was just stubborn!), I was still convinced I could make it . . . until the surgeon came in to tell me I’d be having the most-extensive-surgery-yet the next day (this would be the third in six weeks) and only one week before I was supposed to fly, and ten days before a planned ten hour workday.
From my hospital bed, in between a pre-op flurry of activity, I started frantically sending emails and making phone calls. First to my friend Jordan at Tickle Photography — was he available? no. He referred me to Liz at Liz Grogan Photography – was she available? Yes? YES! YES! We chatted a while, drafted an agreement, made a plan. Then the hardest phone call of my career: calling the incredibly gracious Candace and telling her of the change in plans (you’re a dear, Candace…truly). I hung up, had a good cry (hey, I was canceling a weekend of fun in lieu of surgery — I deserved a cry!) and finished the countdown to surgery.
Three days after the wedding, I had the USB of files in my mailbox (USPS win!) and began the joyous process of living and reliving the wedding day. It was all there, thanks to Liz: the nervous excitement, the giddy joy, the delighted calm, the awesome beauty, the glorious love, the happy giggles, the goofy guys, the fabulous girls. Seeing it from a distance was almost as good as being there, because Liz did such an AWESOME job capturing the whole day and documenting so many extraordinary mornings.
So here they are: the photos by Liz Grogan as culled and edited by me. What a powerful day, Drew & Candace. Thank you for so graciously accepting a change in plans. Liz, thank you for doing such an incredible job. I was humbled and intimidated by the task of editing your artwork; you are an exceptional photographer. Adrianne, thank you for assisting Liz; I loved seeing the extra moments you were able to share!
I am so thankful for a community of photographers who support and encourage each other, who – even across the country – work together to make sure a wedding day can move along smoothly even when catastrophe strikes unexpectedly. What a humbling honor.
Ceremony: Triad Baptist Church
Reception: Tanglewood Park