A Wedding for the Whole Neighborhood

Today, I am feeling especially inspired to write about a wedding that truly warmed my heart.

The Browns were married 15 years before this ceremony, but for their anniversary they decided to have the wedding they always wanted but never got the chance to get.

It was a wedding full of joy, with kids and grandkids, friends and community members – everyone came out to celebrate on a cruise down the Hudson.

There are two moments that stick out in my memory: the toasts and the dancing.

It seemed like everyone had something to say as a toast for the couple. Some from family, from sisters and friends. But what I remember the most where the neighborhood kids who consistently said “You are the reason I believe in love and know what true partnership can be. You inspire me to be better.” That has always warmed my heart, knowing that these two people became pillars of inspiration for a community of kids figuring out what life is about.

However, the dancing impressed me more. After the toasts and dinner, this cruise became a full dance party that never stopped. I think of myself as someone who can dance for a long time, someone with a lot of energy… but this wedding danced me under the table. Even when I left the wedding at 11PM, they were all still planning on meeting up at the house for more dancing and celebrating. That much joy cannot be contained.

So, on this rainy day, it is truly lovely to remember the vibrant energy that The Browns had on their beautiful wedding day.

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An Ocean Side Wedding

Not too long ago, I photographed a wedding that was ocean themed. With summer around the corner, I’ve been thinking about that wedding more and more.

What I valued the most from Beth and Steve’s wedding was what they prioritized. They wanted their wedding to have everyone they loved in it. They wanted each to have something special present. They wanted their wedding to be shared in their joy.

Their vows made me silently cry behind my camera lens – both talking about the mutual love and honest communication they have with each other. That gets me, ya know? Seeing two people not only madly in love with each other, but also holding the highest respect for one another and truly holding space for a healthy relationship to blossom and grow.

It’s true, I tear up at most weddings. The love I feel and the pure joy I can capture on wedding days makes my heart happy and hopeful for the world. But with the weather changing from spring to summer, and the desire to be near the ocean growing in my soul, I keep thinking about how the ocean made Beth and Steve happy, and so they made sure it was present on their special day.

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A Small Gathering

It’s been a crazy week in the world of Shannon, which leaves me thinking mostly of small and intimate moments. Ones that are uncomplicated and leave you feeling simply loved and deeply cared for.

It reminds me of Jay and Kris, two loving and warm souls who I photographed not too long ago.

They share a business, they share a life and they are intensely invested in their community. They are present with people and want to share moments with strangers. I have always felt acknowledged when around them.

They got married on a quiet Saturday evening. She in a vintage blush dress, he in a suit and tie. Both with the biggest smiles on their faces.

We met in one of their favorite restaurants, about 25 people who were there simply to celebrate and enjoy. It was about connecting and being present with one another. I barely convinced them to step out and get some portraits of the two of them because all they wanted to do was drink and laugh and eat good food with the ones they care about the most.

Don’t get me wrong – I love a good big wedding. With the cake and the sparklers and the cute napkins and the thoughtful seating arrangement, but there are days when the world feels too big and the complexities of life feel too confusing. And it’s those days that I feel drawn to these intimate and connecting and grounding moments like Kris and Jay’s wedding.

To all that feel a little overwhelmed in their lives, remember to take a breath and connect with what makes you feel the most like you.

A Wedding Made of Many Hands

I often think of when Donna and Glenn got married. 

A wedding full of generosity and love. One with many cakes made by many hands. One with thank you gifts for people contributing rather than wedding gifts. Everything was significant, everything was special. Everything was created with love. 

Their flowers, maps of places they had been or wanted to go, folded and adorned with buttons of a mother recently passed. Things like this were everywhere, filled the weekend with a feeling of being present and part of something bigger. 

Their rings, made by a friend to be the path of the river that they got engaged on. A special moment and a unique symbol of the love and adventure that Donna and Glenn have together. 

It was a wedding that I think of a lot, as a reminder that we are made of many and have so much love to share. 

 

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