i don't usually begin a blog with a photo, but goodness, i just felt like this one deserved it. plus this is a really great story and i didn't not want to give you a hint of what's to come after these words. now let me tell you about laura and john's wedding. so last year i received this email:
- Hello Joy... first of all, I just want to say how inspired I have been by your photography. Not only in taking pictures, but just in seeing life in a new, beautiful, breath-of-fresh-air kind of way. My best friend Laura (who happens to be my sister) is getting married in 2014, and I was wondering first of all, if you travel for weddings. We live in Rochester, New York. If you do travel, could you tell me what the price is for all of that? It may be a little far-fetched for our measly little pockets, but I’d still like to get an idea. :] Lastly, if you do not travel, or our pockets are hanging out in the Great Depression of ’13 ;] can you advise of any wedding photographers in Upstate NY that you admire? Thank you for your time and help and for sharing your beautiful work and life through something as permanent as pictures. God bless, Jocelyn
around the same time, without her knowing jocelyn had already written me, i received this email from laura:
- Hi Joy, Let me start by introducing myself, my name is Laura and I just got engaged on Thanksgiving to the man that makes my heart smile. We live in Rochester, NY and are looking to get married in the summer. I absolutely love your work, I am a photographer as well and dream of being able to do what you do. Unfortunately, you live in another state and I am sure you are booked up. So the reason I am emailing you is to see if is there any chance at all that you have anyone that you would suggest or recommend in the Upstate NY area that shares your style? Please get back to me if you do, I would appreciate it so much! If not, thank you any way for reading this and for sharing your beautiful pictures with the rest of the world so we can all be inspired! Thank you, Laura
so at this point i was interested. we had been looking for a good reason to road trip to the east coast and that maybe it could work. plus, i am a fan of a good story. so i called jocelyn first. the wedding was going to be small, intimate, beautiful, completely family focused... a big love on a small budget. i fell in love with them instantly. and long story short, her dad and jocelyn surprised laura and her fiance john with the gift of bringing me to new york.
we road tripped it to rochester, new york and bright and early on june 14th, i walked into the laura's childhood home. i was greeted with huge smiles and even bigger hugs, a welcome to the family, the laughter of children and grown ups, and just the overall feeling of being home. i wasn't provided a had-to-have shot list of photos, i wasn't even given much of a schedule. but i was given a genuine appreciation for being present and just asked to shoot whatever i felt needed to be remembered. what a gift. and i am pretty sure this is my favorite wedding i've ever photographed. i really think you can see my contentment through the images. i am going to tell you the story of the rest of the day throughout the photos down below - just hang in there, because there are more than 100 photos. ;)
this is the playhouse laura's dad built her when she was a little girl. and that is her niece there on the front step. and below, her mom putting the final touches on her dress.
she got ready in her parent's bedroom among all her lady friends, family and soon to be family. i was tucked into her mama's closet to shoot these photos below, a place i'm sure she had hid many times as a little girl dreaming of this exact day.
this photo below is on my top favorite ever list. this moment literally took my breath away. this is john. a very good man. the ceremony was at their sweet little church where the rest of the family had also been married. every detail of the wedding was simple, handmade and full of grace. i developed quite a crush on upstate new york.
the whole wedding party was incredibly fun and hilarious without being inappropriate, which is a pretty rad way to be. you might have said i was experiencing photograph euphoria. we photographed these photos at the christmas tree farm they had cut their tree down each year as children.
and then we headed to the little town of pittsford, ny. i was obsessed with it. there was a storm coming in and we only had 5 minutes before we had to head to the reception but we ran out into a field... the i was just mesmerized by their dresses flowing in the wind so i asked them to spin. it was a magical minute. this is jocelyn and laura. it's a rare gift to love someone this much. they were married on flag day. their legacy of love. i just love these two side by side. the freedom of a mature love and the giddy anticipation of a new one. jocelyn and her husband david wrote and performed the most lovely song i've ever heard for laura and john. i am doing my best to convince her to record it for the world. ;) laura's dad wrote her this card and read it to her during their first dance. it says this on the back, "no matter what happens in life, you will always be my little girl, my laura, and i couldn't possibly be happier for you in this moment. love always, dad." it was a really, really great day. i am so grateful to be asked to be present on the days that are the most savored and remembered. i will hold this one close for a long, long time.
**big thanks to my friend tiffanie perry for keeping my company on that lovely day in new york. love you.