Friday, December 2, 2016

Emma and Stephan's wedding- a non-traditional wedding

Emma and Stephan traveled into St. Francisville for their wedding because most of Emma's family is from this area. We did not meet in person before the wedding, but we had a few phone conferences and some pinterest viewing together so that I could get a grip on what style they were looking for on their wedding images. What they wanted was a little bit different than my usual. Normally, on wedding day, I am constantly switching between being a journalist, then a portrait photographer, and then back to a journalist. Emma and Stephan wanted nearly all truly candid pictures. They wanted me to be a journalist during all except the family portraits. They didn't do any posed wedding party pictures, only a very few posed family pictures, and a few guided, not really posed, portraits of the two of them. The rest were just me capturing what they really did.

Now here's a disclaimer to this type of super-jounalistic photography coverage. For this to be a success, two things need to happen.
1. The couple really needs to be the type who tends to hang out together! Some receptions, the bride (or groom) is on the dance floor, while the other is with buddies outside. Emma and Stephan spent some time apart, but more often, they were together and having fun.

2. Something needs to actually be happening. Getting candid pictures of people sitting at a table eating can only go so far. Emma and Stephan danced, visited, jumped around to groups of friends, and had a picnic for the guided section of their couple's portraits.

From the beginning, things were super casual. Emma got ready across the street from the church at her Aunt Owen's house. No one was rushing, no one was stressed (that I could tell anyway), and Bob the dog came in and out as he pleased. People were laughing and having fun. Family was free to come in and relax.

Emma's dress was perfect for her- a loose fitting, non-dragging, party dress in a peachy color. There was a skirt overlay for the ceremony, and then she took it off for the reception.

The little girls had time to go and twirl in their dresses out in the street. I told one of them that she looked like a dragon princess in her outfit.

Now, normally, I'm used to the bride being all stressed out and waiting at the door of the church about 30 minutes before ceremony. At 12:50, 10 minutes before the 1:00 ceremony, Emma was hugging her friend and saying "All my dreams of not being at the church on time didn't come true! I'm not late!" To which I muttered "well, you're not there yet..." And Emma looked at me like this. :)

I decided to walk my smart-mouthed self on over to the church after that, and keep my mouth shut while getting ready for ceremony. Guests were seated, and others were gathering outside, including Bob, the dog, who almost came inside the doors.

Emma was crying from the moment she walked in the door, and I'm pretty sure Stephan had a little eye-leaking as well. I was very excited that the weather was perfect, and they decided to leave the doors open on the church during ceremony, letting in so much more light than would've been available otherwise. It was an open-door ceremony, with fresh air coming in.

Once we arrived at the reception, we set out a blanket, got them some food and drink, and they enjoyed a picnic on the lawn before going inside. The only casualty was Emma's shoes- they encountered a little dog poop on the lawn, but she was a trooper. :)

The food was gourmet-good. That's better than just good, y'all. It was fabulous, and displayed beautifully. Most of it was made in a joint effort by the bride's mom and her friends!

There was no rush for anything at the reception, no timeline, no DJ, no fuss. Everyone chilled on the lawn (did I mention the weather was beautiful?) and just enjoyed the company, wine, and food to the sounds of Emma and Stephan's homemade playlist on their computer.

The old dog hung out as well, right in the middle of the walkway, and became best friends with the kids who petted him all over.

Families played ball on the lawn. Others played tennis on the courts. Some sat on the chairs or the swing just watching the sunset. Even Emma tried her hand at some tennis.

This group of men were all in a fraternity together at one point, and they sang Emma the fraternity sweetheart song.

A few hours in, some toasts were said, and once again, the couple's eyes got a little misty.

As the sun was setting and the super moon was rising beyond the pond, Emma's uncle took his golf cart to the brush pile across the pond, and lit it up for a stunning display. I'd say that was even better than fireworks.

As my photography time was ending, we finished out the pictures with a group photo of the people who were still there, a pretty picture of the couple, and I left. But I doubt many of the others did- this was more than a wedding- this was a family gathering, and no one was in a hurry to go.

Thank you, Emma and Stephan, for letting me capture your tears, your laughter, your family, and a small piece of your big life.

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