It was three weeks out from our accident, and Melody was still in and out of the doctor's office. The Sunday before this wedding, after a weekend of doing nothing more than editing photos, she woke up in a great deal of pain, her shoulders and neck twisted up. She could barely move without wincing. I made her stay in bed all day and her mom made the trek down from Tuolumne to help out.
The very next day I took her to the doctor's office again. To give you an idea of how bad it was, upon leaving the doctor's office, a little old lady in her 70's said to the doctor, "She looks worse than I did."
Prescription: Another week off of work and NO photography.
Melody is anything if not stubborn, and she very nearly insisted on going anyway but I wouldn't have it. As important to her as every wedding is, the doctor's words echoed in her head, "Do you want to be able to pick up your son ever again?"
It was time to call upon our peers again, and this time Heather Marshall came to our aid even though she had a bridal shower to throw for her sister the very next day. We are truly blessed to be surrounded by so many caring and giving people.
So off we went, Heather and I, to photograph a gorgeous wedding at The River Mill in French Camp, and what a day it was. The winds that would blow Aaron Draper and I around a week later when I assisted him with one of his weddings were all but non-existent. The skies were clear, but the sun did not beat down on us. The grounds were green with spring, flowers in bloom. It was the perfect day for a wedding. It is one of those gambles that every bride and groom makes when planning a spring wedding; in this case it paid off in spades.
At The River Mill we got into the hi-jinks of making photographs.
Here we see Brianna and Lauren, Co-Maids of Honor, battling it out with their bouquets. These girls were too much fun and filled with great ideas. At one point I even turned to Lauren and asked, "Well, what do you think we should do next?"
|Valerie's dad hamming it up for Heather's camera. Heather Marshall|
|Lauren with the photo bomb. Heather Marshall|
Heather did me a great service by staying with the guys and getting their shots done while I remained with Valerie to take a few more bridals and set up for the not-quite first look. My favorite part was when Valerie, so overcome with the emotion of the day and being so close to Kevin yet kept apart from him, actually tried to hug him through the door. Sweetest thing ever.
Kevin trying hard to keep the composure that he had just barely regained moments before.
I love putting these next two shots together. Heather's shot of dad trying to keep his composure placed back-to-back with my shot of Valerie's expression. These shots happened just seconds apart and are the reason that I love always having two photographers at a wedding: that other perspective.
Back story. Valerie's parents, who have been married 35 amazing years, have a hand gesture that they give to the other when they want to say everything without saying a word. But it doesn't have the kind of meaning that I'm sure springs to mind. It means, "I love you infinity." They passed it on to their children, and now Kevin, who is clearly a real part of her family, uses it as well. So at the end of his vows, that is exactly what Kevin gestured to Valerie. It had everyone in tears and was truly one of the sweetest moments I've had the pleasure of photographing. While I did capture the first kiss, I felt this was a far more appropriate shot to encapsulate the ceremony.
|Girls being girls and guys being guys.|
Whenever possible, I try to give the bride and groom a moment alone. I might give a few directions, but for the most part I just want them to breathe after the insanity of family pictures. In this shot I've told Kevin to play with Valerie's fingers. As any guy would, he thought it was ridiculous and yet it made for a completely genuine expression.
While these two are clearly beautiful on the outside, it was so wonderful to see the amount of caring and empathy inside each of them that made them genuinely beautiful people, not just pretty faces. Thank you again for trusting us to capture your day, and thank you to Heather who was invaluable.
And for those wanting an update on Melody, she's getting a lot better. Regular visits with the chiropractor and not being allowed to do anything strenuous has helped her a great deal. Expect to see more photographs from my lovely wife soon.