‘A wedding is like a box of chocolates….you never know what you’re going to get’ just my variation on that famous quote from the Forrest Gump movie. I’ve often thought so to myself since I started to photograph weddings. It starts with receiving an email or a call from a stranger asking ‘are you available on …..? or ‘please send me information on your wedding packages’, then progress through a booking process as appropriate via phone, email, Skype, face to face consultation or some combination of all and look forward to the wedding date coming around. I do a pre-wedding meeting where possible close to the wedding date also. The purpose of all this is to gather the pertinent information such as type of ceremony, who is involved, assess timelines etc. and get to know a little more about the couple and their specific wedding plans.
On Thursday last I had the pleasure of providing my wedding photography services to Mary & Steve. As above it started with an early morning email briefly outlining some requirements. In the subsequent exchange it transpired Mary was in Virginia planning her destination wedding to Ireland to marry Steve in Trim, Co. Meath with 50+ of their family & friends making the trip. Information was exchanged, a booking made and we arrange to meet in person over Christmas on their pre-wedding visit to Dublin. With my schedule and their schedule it was a brief enough meeting concentrating on the high level elements. I have attended weddings in the states in the past and follow a number of US wedding photographers etc. online and was looking forward to what might transpire. As with all my weddings I consider it a privilege to be selected to document the couple’s wedding day. When the day itself arrives to a certain degree it’s a leap into the unknown, a mix of tension, nervousness, excitement (me that is, not to mention the wedding party), deep breath, knock at the door and go from there, immerse yourself and work hard.
One of the aspects I like about being a wedding photographer is it that it give’s you in varying ways a small glimpse into the live’s of your clients (before, during & after), the people around them, what they mean to them, their personalities, their interactions etc. So it was last Thursday, I very quickly got the feeling that this was going to be a something a little special to be part off. A reasonably sized group but yet closely knit group of friends & family of different ages, cultures, backgrounds and geographical locations had converged in Dublin & Trim for an adventure and to coin another phrase ‘the craic’.
There are very few weddings that doesn’t have these elements and nothing to do with the venue, the number of guests, the budget etc. but for me this had a sprinkling of something extra that just struck a chord. Maybe it was just trying to imagine the logistics & volume of baggage that must have been involved (some members of the group had or are having extended holidays in Ireland & Europe before or after Thursday) or the level of detail that went into it. Maybe it was the small deviations from a typical Irish wedding including the attire of the bridal party – ten in total and their complete involvement throughout, the ‘no photos at the ceremony’ request to guests (which was adhered to) but free rein for social media posting otherwise, the Bridesman, the ‘First Look with Mary’s father, Her father’s outfit change, the travel theme and more. For me it’s always the people that makes a good wedding, great. From the 1st moment until I dragged myself away the openness and friendliness of this group was evident. In fairness I have experienced this at many of my weddings but I think overall the camaraderie displayed between Mary, Steve and their guests stood out more than usual, signified by the ad-hoc hand-tying ceremony performed by all the bridal party during our main photo session at Trim Castle.
Thankfully I did manage to meet-up with Mary & Steve again briefly on Saturday morning before heading onward to their honeymoon in Spain. They gave me this lovely memento that was part of their wedding decor and added a personal inscription on it, before having seen an image. I’m looking forward to further contacts in the coming weeks and months as I complete their images and orders and hope it will go beyond that.
I also have a new batch of Facebook connections from the group and I’m looking forward to trawling through the image postings of their trips to Ireland and their mementoes of a special day. I hope to do another post of images from the day when ready, thanks for reading.