I photographed my first wedding this afternoon, behind a small split-level on the Southern end of Washington County, just off a busy highway. The groom worked in a bank and I met him while applying for a loan a few years ago, and he had just gotten divorced and I was just getting divorced and somehow we both started talking about the divorce and we both ended up in tears, sitting at his desk, right in his office. A good man, a nice man. Earlier this year, he decided to marry again, a woman he loved dearly named Mary and he asked me if I would photograph the wedding.
I don't do weddings, I said, and I couldn't take money from a friend, but he said Mary had read my books and loved the blog and my photographs and it would mean a lot to them both if I took the photos. So I agreed, and I drove out into the next county. It was a small and informal gather – the bride's brother is an ordained minister and he performed the ceremony. Bob was in a tux and Mary a gown, everyone else in shorts and sandals. I was a bit anxious about whether I could do this properly so I hauled every lens I owned, my tripod and all my equipment.
I ran back and forth for an hour and took a million photographs of Bob, Mary, all of their relatives. I hope I caught their great love for one another, and their strong connection to family. I am very glad I accepted this assignment. One many came up to me, and Bob introduced me as a "famous author." The man, an old farmer, growled to his wife in a whisper, "well if he's so famous, why is he here?" I couldn't stop laughing. It was a great question.
The bride's mother did recognize me and told me the story of her Lab dying (14 years) in great detail. I heard about her two pugs, too. I was very grateful to be a wedding photographer. It was a simple ceremony, brief and to the point. But it was also a celebration of great love, second chances. I was very glad to be there.