I think one of the things that bothers me the most about being a photographer is hearing the horror stories. They start out simple enough “I’ve been married before and my photographer…”, “My best friend’s photographer was so awful…”, and even “She never got a single photo from her wedding because her photographer…”. It breaks my heart, it infuriates me, and I just get so upset that ANYONE would do anything to ruin on of the most important days of your life.
Every now and then, I become friends with a bride after the wedding. It’s rare, but it happens. One of my more notable friendships has over 1,000 miles of distance between us. She is my California bride for who I flew out alone to San Francisco, drove through terrifying twisty roads alongside of cliffs at night to get to, and ended up becoming her best friend.
It is uplifting to see massive crowds gather to celebrate a marriage. It is exciting to see all the friends and family. However, this wedding was different. It was an elopement. With only her friend and her son (and her amazing dog!) present, she and her sweetheart said “I do” above the rocky shores of Northern California. I was one of 5 people to witness her vows, his tearful vows (which only made me adore him more), and congratulate them on becoming husband and wife.
One of five people. I had flown across the country to do this one thing. It meant everything for me to make sure that I was ready for my flight, had backup gear, came completely prepared, and was ready to capture every moment. To this day, the thought of how important this was to her (she had NEVER met me before this) and her fiancé at the time still weighs on me. Their vows were only heard by 5 others. I can’t help, but feel honored and privileged.
My couples trust me. So if I ever seem nervous, amped on coffee, or a little overly excited, it is because I have spent so long looking forward to your wedding. The importance of my role in it does not escape me. And I am never going to be one of those horror stories someone tells another bride.