Monday, May 28, 2012

Jenni & Bobby Wedding::: Columbia, SC





Tackle Me With Love

I slid a tissue in my pocket before I headed out the door. After a couple years in business as a wedding photographer I now know full well how to prepare for a wedding, as I also knew that for this particular wedding it would be necessary to carry one with me. You see, this wasn't just another wedding, this was a wedding I had talked about for years. I had dreamed and joked about this wedding. The bride was then obviously not just another bride. The bride was Jenni, and not just any Jenni... it was my cousin Jenni. The Jenni I went lobster fishing with when I was 15. The Jenni I got car-sick with after watching Jumanji in the middle of a road-trip through the mountains in Massachusetts.  The Jenni I watched two full seasons of Grey's Anatomy with in my aunt's basement through a course of two days, only stopping for bathroom breaks and to grab more snacks. I wrote a song for her 3 years ago as she battled through some difficult changes in her life. That girl. That bride. So this wasn't just another wedding, this was pretty much the wedding.

To make things even better, my amazing photographer friend James drove down from Virginia to come second shoot with me. If you're in the Richmond area definitely check out 88LoveStories for all your photo needs! 

Of course, nothing normal happens in my life. As James and I got out the door in the early morning to meet with the girls at Pia's Salon, we hit downtown Columbia on a beautiful Saturday morning only to find that every street remotely close to the salon was cut off due to the Providence Hospital's annual "Heart&Sole" 5k race. Trying desperately to find a place to park and feeling super bad about running late, we eventually found a place a couple blocks away. We met with the girls at the salon, only to find out they were running late for their appointment too, due to the same race. The environment was pretty relaxed, beautiful girls patiently waiting for their turn to get their hair and makeup done. Only to look even more beautiful.



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After a great time snapping pictures and hanging out, we headed to the University Of South Carolina where Jenni and her fiancé Bobby would be tying the knot. USC holds a special place in their hearts, since they both went to school there. In fact, from the color palette to the invitations, everything about this wedding was USC themed. I always appreciate a fun wedding like that, mostly because it's pretty much a given that shooting will be a little extra fun.

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The violinist started playing as the ushers brought in the grandparents and parents of the bride and groom. Soon enough, the bridesmaids were excitedly walking down the aisle. Then came Sarah, 5 years-old and already taking the world as her own.  The adorable flower girl walked ever-so-slowly down the aisle. Consciously being extremely careful about how she threw the petals on the floor. Almost as if she didn't want to hurt them. When she walked up to Bobby, he casually smiled and full of pride gave his daughter a high-five while whispering that she'd done a great job. Then the anticipation reached its peak as everyone stood for Jenni's big entrance. From across the room you could already see how she glowed as she walked down the aisle. In fact, everyone was glowing. You could hear guests and bridesmaids alike tearing up as she approached Bobby. So confidently and yet having such a fun time with it. Just being herself. Seeing her dad give her away with tears in his eyes was a beautiful thing, even though days before he complained that he "doesn't cry pretty." Then Jenni and Bobby finally met at the altar. As the pastor bowed his head down to bestow a prayer of blessing for their new life together,  I could hardly hear the words being spoken over all the sniffing going on around me. I even had to fight back the tears myself.


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The ceremony wasn't overly long, but it covered everything that needed to be said and done within a respectful period of time. Once outside James and I quickly covered the formal shots, just before heading to the reception at the Williams-Brice Stadium, home of the USC Gamecocks. Yes, the reception was actually at the football stadium. Definitely the most creative and fun venue I've ever shot at. Obviously now my favorite venue to shoot at!

Throughout the reception everyone was incredibly relaxed, fun, and just being themselves. Bobby and Jenni made ridiculous faces for the camera, and came up with original dance moves. Southerners to their very core, the buffet included delicious BBQ chicken and they drank out of jelly jars. The cake-topper was a bride kissing a frog sporting a tux, and the centerpieces included football themes. The red-velvet cake deserves a special sentence all to itself, so here it is.




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We snuck out once the eating, dancing, and cake-cutting was over. James, Jenni, Bobby, and I were escorted down to the field to take a couple photos down there. I could have spent a couple hours coming up with different ideas and putting them to good use. Then we went back to the reception hall and it was a festival of fun photo booth pictures, the "Diggory shuffle", and crazy cousin pictures.




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I took a moment to soak it all in, then I noticed something. I saw that everybody so genuinely happy to see these two finally together as husband and wife. I took a deep breath. We celebrated for hours and it was still the general concensus that the wedding ended way too soon. Everyone packed up and got ready to go back to many different part of the country. But I know that when they got their suitcases ready that night, they carried one extra thing home. The knowledge that they had witnessed something so pure, so beautiful, so unconventional. They had witnessed a love that has grown and overcome adversity and fought it's way through. They had witnessed the very thing that we all aspire to having one day and desperately hope to hold on to. And for this very thing, at the bottom of my heart I know that all I honestly have left to say is this: Congratulations Jenni&Bobby!


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3 comments:

  1. Absolutly amazing. "Gurú", you're simply the best! My best wishes for the coupleS!!

    ReplyDelete
  2. wow :) You sure do write a great story!

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  3. WONDERFUL and BEAUTIFUL and CREATIVE and (did I say) BEAUTIFUL!! :) Loved the photos and the narrative!!

    ReplyDelete