18 Jul Brittany and Timothy Kentucky Wedding Photography
If you have been following our blog, you know that most of the wedding posts I write follow a pretty predictable formula:
1. Start off talking about how awesome/beautiful the couple is.
2. Spend a few sentences writing about the venue, other vendors involved.
3. Wrap it up with my best wishes for the newlyweds.
The rest is photos. I want you to be able to look at an album of photos from a wedding I’ve shot and know the story of two people who have fallen in love, know the details that brought them together, and know the people who love and support them.
I love being a photographer in part because I am a lazy writer. The adage that “a picture is worth a thousand words” is true when it is a good photograph and it shows you all the nuances that even the most talented writer cannot capture. I love capturing the moments in between moments that give you a great appreciation of the story.
In the end, Brittany and Timothy’s story does fit into my blog post formula. But if you look through the pictures (especially chronologically) I’m not sure they would make sense if you hadn’t been there. On the ride home after a wedding, I like to debrief and share favorite photographs or anecdotes from the day. Instead as we were pulling away I turned to Rae and remember saying, “I really don’t know what to say.” We both knew we had experienced something special. Saying that you “just had to be there” is the excuse of bad storytellers, so here with the aide of some of my favorite photographs I will try to do justice to the story of Brittany and Timothy’s wedding day.
After making the drive up to Kentucky we found ourselves well off the beaten path. There is always a nervous/excited feeling I get as I approach a venue that I’ve never seen or shot at before. This feeling was compounded by the fact that as we approached the venue, my cell phone lost service and we missed the turnoff. Once we circled back and drove down the dirt path, the trees parted and revealed a beautiful field with their home, barns, and a perfect shaded area that was prepared for the ceremony. After taking a quick look around (and getting increasingly excited to shoot the various locations on the property) we started shooting the details and Brittany and her bridesmaids getting ready, not knowing what was in-store for us.
I took the picture of Brittany writing out her vows and then headed over to another building on the property where the guys were getting ready where I found Timothy doing exactly the same thing.
Most grooms (if asked honestly and away from their brides) could care less about having their picture taken. Usually quite a bit of coaxing is involved, but not with Timothy and his groomsmen.
It was another extremely hot day, and I think at this point the decision had already been made that the guys wouldn’t wear their jackets during the ceremony, but they obliged me and put them on for a few pictures.
Now before we go any further, I have to tell you this is just how these guys stood around. I gave them very little direction and posing. You could tell they were all great friends and loved to joke around and when you asked for the “serious face” they could just turn it on. I’m usually ecstatic if I can get one good portrait of the groom and his groomsmen, but with these guys (and all the awesome details on the property) we could have kept going for hours.
Around this time we heard the first clap of thunder. There weren’t really any rain clouds that I could see, but walking back to the house I felt a few small drops of rain. With nothing in the forecast, it seemed that the weather would simply cool down and we might get a few drops of rain, but I truly expected it to blow over before the ceremony.
Meanwhile, back at the house the girls were still finishing up hair and makeup. Brittany and the others seemed unfazed by the thunder (It was so loud it had shaken the house) and all seemed to share my belief that this would blow over in plenty of time for the ceremony. My biggest concern at this point was they were running a little behind (Fact: no bride ever gets into her dress on-time) and I knew I had gotten some great shots of the guys and already had locations picked out for where I wanted to take Brittany and her bridesmaids. I just wanted enough time to get them all in and give them time to relax before the ceremony.
It was about the time that Brittany was putting on her dress that the rain really started to come down. The way that you could hear the rain hitting the roof and the wind blowing through the trees it was starting to look like this wasn’t going to be blowing over as quickly as we thought.
Now, I have to give Brittany a lot of credit. I’ve never really had a “Bridezilla,” but I wouldn’t fault anyone for getting upset seeing the wedding of their dreams get poured on. Instead she smiled and posed looking gorgeous in her wedding dress. Unbeknownst to us at the time, Timothy and the rest of his groomsmen were out in the rain rescuing the DJ’s equipment as the tent that had been set up for the reception had blown over.
With the rain showing no signs of letting up, I tried my best to use the small bedroom we had to get Brittany as many photos with her bridesmaids as possible, all the while wondering to myself what the plan was for moving the outdoor wedding inside.
I had just finished up portraits with Brittany and each of her bridesmaids when there was a knock on the door. Knock Knock! It was the groom.
There wasn’t a contingency plan in place for the torrential downpour that was happening, and there wasn’t anywhere on the property that would shelter all the guests. So a blindfolded-Timothy discussed with Brittany what they were going to do. Now part of me was interested in the conversation because I really wanted to know what the plan was. However, as a photographer you can’t ask for better situations than this that evoke such real emotions.
It was very important to Brittany to get married at this location, even if all the guests could not attend because of the rain. So it was decided that the caterers and guests would be rerouted to a church approximately 20 minutes away, have the reception first, and then come back and have the ceremony afterwards, hoping the rain would have cleared. Thankfully Brittany and Timothy had already planned on doing a first look. So we sent Timothy out and moved all of the clothes, suitcases and makeup (most of it was thrown under the bed).
After giving Brittany and Timothy a few minutes together, the whole bridal party descended on the room. Everyone was in great spirits–even after being stuck with the boutineer pin– and we proceeded to take a few not-so-serious photos.
Before heading to the church I suggested we shoot a few photos of Brittany and Timothy in their ceremony site. At this point I really doubted anyone would want to come back from the church and have a ceremony at 9pm in the dark. I knew the space meant a lot to Brittany, so I wanted to make sure we at least got some photos of the two of them there. So we grabbed a couple of umbrellas and headed outside.
So you are probably thinking, “Hey, it doesn’t look like it is raining that hard,” and, “They aren’t even holding an umbrella in the last photo.” Well, as soon as everyone started heading to the church it started to clear up. Of course that would happen.
When we got to the church it was a pretty typical reception–except for that small detail of the ceremony not having happened yet. All of the guests had made it and just barely fit into the room where the food was setup and enjoyed a great meal together.
While on the topic of the reception, I must say that I absolutely loved this custom guestbook idea. They had sheets of scrapbook paper with their engagement photos placed in the middle. On each page they asked their guests to write things like “best date night ideas,” “married couple mistakes to avoid,” and “marriage advice in five words.”
After the bridal party finished eating, we took them back outside across the street to a place we had spotted pulling into the church to get the photos of the bridal party.
Since we weren’t able to shoot any portraits of Brittany outside by herself we took advantage of the field and got some amazing captures.
We were losing light fast and Brittany and Timothy wanted quite a few family photos so I recommended we shoot those outside before going back in and cutting the cake. Here are both of their families together throwing up their arms in happiness for the (almost) Mr. and Mrs. Pape.
Next we headed back inside and the still as-of-this-moment unmarried Brittany and Timothy cut the cake, the best man and maid of honor made their toasts, and the bouquet and garter were thrown. It was all completely backwards, but it was all completely perfect.
By this time it was 8:30pm and I had been hearing rumors that there was a classroom in the church that could be used for the ceremony (it even had their wedding colors). So I was very surprised when everyone started heading back to the homestead (the original ceremony location). On the drive back to the ceremony Rae and I brainstormed how we would light the ceremony. We had settled on a rather ambitious lighting setup, but as we pulled…you guessed it…it started raining. Again. With the rain coming down we weren’t able to set up our off camera lighting and instead Rae held an umbrella over me while I got to put my new Nikon D800 through its first real world high ISO test.
All of the guests came back from the church to witness this very special ceremony. Huddled together under their umbrellas (and several who weren’t lucky enough to have umbrellas) their family and friends filled the (wet) chairs and witnessed Brittany and Timothy exchange their vows (finally!).
As if the moment weren’t already magical enough, Marc, their DJ, had set up his equipment in the house, and after the ceremony ended, he played Brittany and Timothy’s song, My Best Friend by Tim McGraw, over the speakers and with the rain still pouring down, they had their first dance as husband and wife. All of the guests formed a semi-circle around them and by the time Brittany started dancing with her father everyone had tears running down their faces that quickly mixed with the rain. No it wasn’t what had been planned, it probably wasn’t what anyone had imagined, and yes, the dress did get wet. But it was perfect. Everyone who was there knows they witnessed something magical that night, and Brittany and Timothy’s wedding will be one that no one ever forgets.
Being a wedding photographer gives me unique access to the bride and groom on their wedding day. I am usually the first to see them in the morning when they start getting ready. I get to experience all of the emotions of the day right alongside them and then am usually the last to see them before they ride off after their exit from the reception. With my style of photography I need to be close to the action, but I want my clients to be able to forget I am there so I can truly capture the intimacy of their moments. Because of this it always means that much more when a bride and groom say thank you to me at the end of the day. To be honest what means the most to me is when a bride tells me she absolutely loves her photos or shares them all over facebook or orders a canvas print of a photo I am really proud of. But, I won’t forget how good it made me feel when Brittany and Timothy told me thank you and how much it meant to them that I had been there to capture their day, right before they rode off in their limo. I hope these photographs bring them joy and remind them of how special their wedding day was.
Epilogue: If it had not been for Brittany and Timothy’s great attitudes this day could have easily turned into a disaster. Your wedding day is like everything else in life: what you make out of it. Do your best to choose great vendors and have backup plans but in the end something will go wrong. If you are like me and you have to have everything perfect and in order work on letting go and make sure you surround yourself with positive people so that you can truly enjoy your special day. One of their priorities was photography and they worked closely with me throughout the day to adjust the timeline and work with the conditions we were given. Saying thank you is important. Standing firm on what you want is important. Brittany was the perfect example of an amazing bride who got exactly the wedding day she wanted and was grateful to everyone who worked with her to make it that way. Having a great attitude is as important as choosing a great photographer to getting great wedding photographs. This was Rae’s second time filling in for Mollie, and I was so glad to have someone I could count on to help me capture all the moments and details of the day with (and hold an umbrella over me and protect all our gear). Check out her work here I guarantee you it will inspire you. I’m so glad Brittany chose us to capture her wedding day. It was definitely a challenge, but it was a lot of fun as well.