I’ve shot a handful of beach weddings, that each time I’d shot, I’d sworn, that they, were the most beautiful beach weddings, ever.
But yesterday, this one.
It took the cake.
The bride had booked me, based on my candor.
The first time, a bride had used that word. .
that I can remember.
(that specific word)
isn’t something a lot of brides look for in photos.
& I of all people, get that.
I’d like a much better representation of my own self, physically and overall, in my images. . than I am in real life.
Which means I’m not looking for honesty,
I’m looking for better, little white lies. . .
that make me look, slightly better, than I may actually be.
Jennifer and I hadn’t met prior to her yesterday. . .
So I was certainly nervous, much like a blind date, to show up, and shoot a bride, and be able to tell her story, within moments of meeting her. . .
But she made it so easy.
The twist, to this beautiful beach day, was that these two had been married, for exactly one year, as of yesterday. . .
and I was curious, as to . . .why now. . .she wanted the ceremony and the reception. . .and the images. . .
But it all slowly unfolded. . .
as it always does.
Her groom seemed nervous, his dry sense of humor had me questioning whether he hated me, photos, or. . .both of us, equally.
As we waited for his bride, for their first look, he told me. . .
that this wasn’t really his thing.
all of these people, many of which he’d never met. .
the dressing up, the photos. . .
“we’ve been married a year. . . I mean. . .”
but then he said it
“but I love my wife.
I’d do anything for my wife”
and instantly, I understood who he was. .
at least enough to write about him. .
and to novel their day, together.
he wasn’t a mean guy.
and I don’t think he hated me.
he was just going along, with whatever it was, she wanted.
much like her sister.
and her manolo heels, that I knew she’d had no prior intention of walking around a dusty fort in. . . . or climbing up rock walls in. .
but she’d do it.
for her sister.
I started to realize, that, no one, was here, against there own wills, of course>>
but they were all, truthfully here,
to help give “Jenny” as her sister called her,
the day that she’d wanted.
Their ceremony, was by far, the loveliest beach ceremony, I’d ever attended.
Behind the ceremony site, a massive sandbar sat, and hundred of seagulls were continuing to circle, feasting as the emerald waves washed over and over, the white sand bar. . . that tempted everyone to walk out to it. . .and then on it. .
it looked like you could walk right to the end of the ocean on that sandbar. . . and the weather, would have been perfect, to do so. . .
The sun was warm, and bright, but the cool winds of March kept everyone more than comfortable. . .
I’d wished secretly she’d hired a videographer, to capture all of the sounds, and life, that photography keeps a secret.
Afterwards, we headed to their reception, where their closest friends and family (less than 50 folks) had traveled from all over, to be with them. They sat down to a family styled seating arrangement, where everyone, was essentially together, at one massive table. .
Jennifer stood up, to make a final toast, and through tear filled eyes, and a shaking, but well projected voice, she said a little something, like this. . .
Thank you, from the bottom of my heart, for being here.
Everyone who is here, at this table, you are my family.
This, is my family.
[The tears were flowing, and everyone cried along with her, agreeing, that they were, essentially. one]
she continued. . .
I didn’t want to miss the opportunity to host an occasion, to have all of you together, at one time, in one place, that had it not been for this evening, we may not have been. . . together.
she ended. . .
and everyone dried their eyes with their dinner napkins. .
The military, and chasing her life dreams, had led her to meet all kinds of people, in all kinds of places.
And in fact, they had all come back, from wherever they’d been. .
to meet her, here.
to celebrate with her.
Even if it was, a year after, she actually married.
I read over the guest book, before we left.
Her guest list, had not even filled up the first page, of a book . .
with dozens of more lines, for hundreds more
names and sentiments. .
but a few lines down, it read > > >
“always wanted this for you” – dad
and I got a little teary-eyed too.
It was the perfect day, with a small, but just as mighty group of people, who were all there, to celebrate Jennifer + Derek, people, who were truly happy to have had, somewhere to be that evening, with someone(s) they loved, and cared about.
I told Jennifer that her toast, was one of the most genuine toasts, I’d ever heard. And I meant it.
Just re-reading what I wrote above, I’m really selling it short.
But I knew, how thankful she was, to not be celebrated, herself.
But to have those that she loved most, there to celebrate with her.
And even more, to have married a man, (for the second time) who could have cared less, about all this jazz. . .
but who willingly would put on a suit, wait for her, at the end of the aisle, and do it, all over again,
the way he knew she wanted. . .
just because, much like her dad, and everyone else in that room. . .
he wanted, whatever she wanted. . .
and that was this.
all, of this.
it was beautiful.
I was so honored, to have been there.
here are a few of my favorite shots, from their perfect pensacola beach wedding ceremony and palafox house reception
all my love,
PENSACOLA BEACH WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHER [JENNIFER + DEREK ARE MARRIED] BY JORDAN BURCH PHOTOGRAPHY