Last week I was asked to photograph an "emergency" wedding ceremony. After exchanging text messages I spoke with the bride for two minutes, just enough time for her to tell me that her father was about to die from brain cancer, and that "they were trying to make something beautiful out of tragedy." Natalie's words echoed in my ears as I drove out to Elgin the next day. She met me at the front door of her childhood home, where her father lay dying and her family swirled about making preparations for her wedding. Natalie was truly glowing as she happily prepared to marry her love, Mitchell. After changing into the simple white dress she had gotten that morning, she snuggled up next to her father Larry and held his hand tight. She whispered "Daddy, I'm getting married!" before exchanging vows with Mitchell in the living room. Just a couple hours after the ceremony, Larry passed peacefully surrounded by his family.
As I was taking pictures, my heart and mind felt fogged with emotion. Once I finished my job I said goodbye but was stopped by their officiant on my way out. He gripped my hand and said:
May God bless you,
What you do
What you record
What you give to us
Those words were like a sweet gift from God, and I will always carry them with me. For Natalie and Mitchell, and for every couple that invites me to document their wedding, I pray that these photographs would be a blessing to them and their families.
Congratulations, Natalie and Mitchell, wishing you love and peace as you hold each other close in the days, months and years to come.
To see all of Natalie and Mitchell's wedding photos, click here