I probably shouldn’t have…but I’m so glad that I did. Yesterday I photographed my sisters wedding and here’s how I feel about it.
I knew instantly, without a doubt in my mind or any hesitation in my heart, that I would be the one to capture my sisters day (with help of course). People often say that you shouldn’t do this for family or friends-because you should desire to be present. To me….there’s simply no greater way to be present.
Here was the challenge: I literally wore two hats this weekend. Hats I always wear on a day to day basis, but never had to on a wedding day. When I shoot weddings, I am in a zone and it’s really hard to get me out of that zone. This weekend, I couldn’t just be in that zone wearing my photography hat….I had to also wear my wife, mom, daughter and sister hat. Which made it both super fun and super challenging.
Insight: As wedding photographers, we show up to a wedding and we try to capture every element as best as we can. But this weekend, I was reminded of something super important. Sometimes what we don’t find “important” or “epic” may be just as important and epic to a bride. Every person invited means something and it was interesting for me as a photographer to remember that because then the guests sitting in the ceremony meant so much more. I saw each person that I knew, and I realized that every face was important to my sister. There were moments that I was capturing that I’ve captured for other brides-and I understood the meaning behind that moment, and it made me realize why my clients find those little unseen (candid) moments so valuable. This is why I always have a hard time cutting photos out of a collection because I struggle with whether or not it would mean something to someone. And it really really does.
The moment that I lost it: Prior to the wedding, I would imagine moments and I would cry thinking of them, but as I was capturing them it was like this intense focus to capture what I knew would make for a beautiful story. It wasn’t until I took my photographer hat off and switched to my sister hat. The moment I sat at the head table. I glanced over to see my sister and my mom singing along with the mariachi with this immense joy, and then she glanced over to her left to glance at her husband and she just had this gleam in her eyes. I realized that I was watching my little sister, the girl who created a wedding planner book with inspirations of her wedding day since she was really little, now living her wedding dream out. I was so overwhelmed with gratitude to be the one to capture the day for her.
Wedding industry: I’ve never ever been so proud to be a part of the wedding industry like I was this weekend. It’s incredible, you know, the value you see when it’s so dear and near to your heart. I watched a team of beautiful beautiful and talented people come together and make my sisters day become a reality. Delia Martinez who styled our hair and pretty much saved the day (I’ll leave details out of why she saved the day-but she did!). Maria who loved on us and listened to our desires on makeup. Courtney with Ghiladolci bakery-because desserts are everything to my sister and she made the most delicious desserts that everyone couldn’t stop raving about (but I didn’t get to try-no hard feelings-I’ll just be dreaming of the cannoli’s through my photographs). Donald with Donald and Glenn Entertainment was not your typical DJ-the interaction he created was bizarre and the way he lead people into dancing that wouldn’t typically dance made it a night to remember! Can we TACO-BOUT the taco caterers (Taco Miguelitos)…OH my bageeberz. I can never resist a good taco, but these people were just another level of DELICIOUS. Jamie and her amazing team with White Oak Florist made my sisters wedding look like a floral dream-from the beginning, my sister loved Jamie, she truly felt heard and understood and in her words, she said “I just love that beautiful beautiful woman.” Tora and Margaux who were there for me every single step of the way capturing moments and then giving me the opportunity to step away seamlessly just knew the importance of this day for my family and they truly worked so hard, I’m so grateful! Bret Dixon with XSV Impact Media who truly went above and beyond making sure that all the moments my sister would want to relive were documented! Typically I wouldn’t even mention bartenders but I have to….I am so used to bartenders at weddings being a bit more stern and serious, just getting things done-but…not Jeff Edwards and his staff. They were sincerely the kindest hardworking bartenders I’ve ever seen. Trust me, if they could smile kindly and generously give my 7 year old son a drink he requested every hour, you know they were great! The string quartet (Cattus Quartet) was part of my sisters ultimate dream-and they didn’t disappoint by creating the most magical atmosphere during ceremony! Then of course, you can’t have a hispanic wedding and not have a mariachi-and the Mariachi was so so much fun! Now….Erika and Breonna with Blazeny Wedding Designers… from the beginning they made my sister, my mom and I cry tears of relief and joy in our initial meeting. Since that moment they helped my sister gather her thoughts and ideas to create a beautiful wedding concept of her dreams. Then it was just continually doing the hard little things along the way and reminding my sister to get things accomplished within time. My mom was always so impressed and so in love with them and it was just so amazing to see my mom so relaxed throughout it all. My family is a very hands on family, we are used to doing everything ourselves, and my mom is always working morning of events finishing something and rushing to get herself ready and is typically late because of everything on her plate. Not this time! She was stunning and present and got to enjoy every second with her daughter and family and that meant the world to my sister! There were a lot of things that could’ve gone wrong, that they made absolutely go right and my sister didn’t even notice a thing because it all turned into a dream! Wedding designers are truly special people and Blazeny simply blew me away. Gabriel and the staff at La Cuesta Ranch, wow, talk about a dedicated and passionate group of people and there they are. The venue is just a ranch paradise waiting to be created into the dreamiest wedding space. The nature is what got my sister instantly. The way she looked when she walked around the venue for the first time made me absolutely certain that it was her wedding venue. It made her come alive. Since that moment Gabriel was so informative and helpful with anything and everything! You could tell he takes pride in his work and he thoroughly enjoys weddings and wedding vendors. He drove us up one of the highest points of the mountains on site with a gator that he purchased just to be able to reach higher heights with his brides and their photographers/videographers for sunset portraits. Gabriel was once a wedding photographer back in film times, and it truly shows by the way he understands photographers and the way he’s so open for creative elements. I’ve always been so grateful to be a wedding photographer, but this weekend, to be amongst such hardworking, passionate, creative people truly made my love for the wedding industry just SOAR!
I look forward to processing my sisters collection. I look forward to delivering beautiful collections I have in my queue and I look forward to finishing the year strong with my beautiful brides to be! Thank you sister, for trusting me with your day. You were breathtaking and Cameron was just so handsome and I couldn’t be more happy about spending the day through my lens with you guys!