The Wedding Photographer

melanie reyes photographySeven years ago, when my husband changed careers, we moved across country. Being pregnant for the third time in three years made for an added adjustment which lead me to the place where I desperately needed a hobby. That “hobby” quickly spiraled into something that became not only my career but a life-giving source. Photographing weddings in particular has become my passion, it fills me with energy and joy and hope.

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Whether I’m photographing my own four children or a wedding I always try to keep a long term perspective. I am passionate and amazed at the power of a photograph. I love how a photo leaves its mark on history.

In a wedding, this translates to my excitement in capturing stories of the wedding day. If you’ve been married you know how much of a whirlwind the wedding day can be. I am a photographer to preserve those stories. It might be the groom who insisted upon bow ties (they are in style!) but didn’t check to see if anyone attending the wedding knew how to tie one (it took HOURS to try, use YouTube to learn, and finally find someone that could) or the bride who ended up at the church without a crochet hook just 45 minutes before the wedding with a hundred buttons to be hooked all the way down her back.boganPreviews_009

I will tell you the most meaningful and heartfelt weddings have been those weddings where the bride and groom fully understand and have experienced how powerful a photograph can be in its place in history.

Two of my favorite weddings: one that was moved up months earlier because a bride’s mother was on the brink of losing her battle with cancer – and another wedding where the bride lost a brother just months before she walked down the aisle. The people gathered for those celebrations got it. They, like me, saw how photographs played their part in history.

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To me that’s what’s so powerful about a wedding. It’s the pressure of capturing a once in a lifetime event. It’s the power of preserving the memory of the tears in your eyes as you say your vows, of your father giving you away and dancing one last dance with you, of your sisters and brothers and mothers standing by your side. Capturing you with a grandparent that might not make the next family wedding or your new spouse overcome with joy. This week, I met with a bride who booked a wedding for next year, telling me how she will be married in the same church her grandmother and mother got married in – THAT is what I love. That is something to capture and celebrate – grandmother, mother and daughter together in that church saying “I do.”

boganPreviews_035For me the key in successfully photographing the true emotion and feelings expressed on the wedding day depends on one thing – my own personal connection to those people. I don’t want to book a wedding, not speak to them for the next year and then show up at their wedding to follow them around for the day as a stranger. I want to know my clients. I want to know the bride and groom as a couple, to capture them as friends, to celebrate this amazing day as someone who (along with friends and family) is cheering them on in the steps they are taking. People make your wedding. The joy and excitement that your family and friends share makes your wedding individual and unique. And THAT is truly worth capturing well.

LaBelle_Prep_051113_039So, it is true. I cry. I cry at most weddings. My favorite captures throughout the day are: the father seeing his daughter for the first time, the groom seeing his beloved… The look on the couples’ faces as they come down the aisle as Mr and Mrs, the speeches (oh. How I love the speeches), and the first dances.

 

Thanks to my sister for inviting me! I love being able to share the joy my work brings to my life. 🙂

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Melanie Reyes is Bethanne’s beautiful and talented sister. She hails from Ann Arbor, Michigan. You can find out more about her work online…

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About Beth Rhodes

Beth jumps into life with both feet...or head first. Impulsive and spontaneous to a T, she joined Passionate Critters and never looked back. She loves writing and reading, which made this wonderful group of woman a perfect match for her.

What Could Possibly Go Wrong…?

I may be being less than romantic here, but I decided to take a look at fictional weddings that don’t go quite as planned. There’s a whole load of preparation goes into the happy day and consequently a lot can go wrong. Accidents happen, natural disasters, or maybe even deliberate sabotage. Occasionally, the bride or groom don’t even make it to the ceremony. They don’t turn up either by accident or design—perhaps they’ve gone to the wrong church, or the car’s broken down, they’ve been kidnapped or just changed their minds.

But my favorite potential for disaster has to be when the minister speaks that sentence…

First, I am required to ask anyone present who knows a reason why these persons may not lawfully marry, to declare it now…

Aren’t you always holding your breath waiting for someone in the congregation to jump up and declare? The one that leaps into my mind is the almost wedding scene from Jane Eyre…so sad!

“The marriage cannot go on. I declare an impediment…Mr Rochester is a married man.”

And while not everyone has a mad wife locked in the attic, there are a whole array of other impediments that could come to light…

Then of course we have those people who change their minds at the last minute:

N, will you take N to be your wife? Will you love her, comfort her, honour her and protect her and forsaking all others be faithful to her as long as you both shall live?

Er…No.

How about Four weddings and a Funeral when Hugh Grant’s character is about to marry Duckface? They get as far as the altar, but in the end he can’t go through with it. And anyone remember Private Benjamin? That was definitely an example of where saying ‘no’ was the right thing to do. But more often, if the wedding doesn’t take place, it’s not a good thing. One of the saddest for me was Zander and Anya’s wedding from Buffy, when Zander changes his mind. Anya ends up walking down the aisle alone in tears – aww!

And things can still go wrong after the vows have been said.

Those whom God has joined together let no one put asunder.

 The internet seems to have been awash with reactions to the recent wedding on Game of Thrones (which I haven’t yet seen!). By all accounts, the “red wedding” is pretty horrific and very rarely, even in fiction, do we come across quite such a drastic end to the celebrations.

And I’ll leave you with my all-time favorite wedding disaster—Donna’s almost wedding in Dr. Who. She was so indignant, but then she didn’t realize that she’d only narrowly missed being married to some guy who planned to feed her to a giant alien spider…

What are your favorite fictional wedding disasters? Let me know and all comments will be entered in the monthly draw to win an Amazon gift card.

 

About Nina Croft

Nina Croft grew up in the north of England. After training as an accountant, she spent four years working as a volunteer in Zambia which left her with a love of the sun and a dislike of 9-5 work. She then spent a number of years mixing travel (whenever possible) with work (whenever necessary) but has now settled down to a life of writing and picking almonds on a remote farm in the mountains of southern Spain. Nina writes all types of romance often mixed with elements of the paranormal and science fiction.

Ever After

One of my favorite rainy day movies is Drew Barrymore’s play on Cinderella, Ever After.  An unexpected love weaves a tale of star-crossed lovers that struggle through to that almighty HEA.  The much sought Happily-Ever-After.  But I’d never looked at the movie from the wedding/marriage perspective.  Ok, I admit it.  I’m weird.  I wasn’t a dreamy little girl that played wedding with my Barbie’s.  My own environment didn’t encourage the dreams that many may have of planning the perfect wedding.  I’ve never been one to want the spotlight.  I’ll often avoid situations to keep that from happening.  I didn’t cut out pictures, or wish for the princess style flowing white gown.  I’m not, and never have been, a girly-girl.  Oh, don’t get me wrong.  I love me some bling but I don’t wear it often.  I’m a flip-flops and t-shirt kinda gal.  Ya know…jeans and boots during the winter.  So I’d never put much into the thought of what my dream wedding might be.  My wedding turned out to be more about sharing that special moment with friends and family than the little details so many stress over.  I didn’t even try on my wedding dress until the day I walked down the aisle.  Or grassy hill I should say.  My idea of the perfect wedding?  It’s not about the fashion, the flowers, the filet mignon…it’s the meaning behind the vows.  The wedding was all about sharing our commitment with friends and family.

I met my husband through friends when he first moved to town almost thirteen years ago.  I was a single mom that worked full-time and had returned to college.  I had my hands full and a handsome cowboy, that was younger than me, didn’t fit in that schedule except when my son wasn’t home.  But the cowboy was persistent and refused to give up.  When it came time for us to talk about a ceremony…it was all about a simple, close friends and family get together only.  That was the plan until my mother got ahold of the planning.  Her and her posse.  They may have taken over but they were also good about looking at who we were as a couple.  A western style wedding was the only true way to go.

And everything that could go wrong almost did.  I couldn’t find a western style wedding gown but did at the last second.  It was a little loose so I ordered a size smaller thinking I’d diet.  Ha.  If you know how much I like to cook and feed my cowboys…you’d be laughing too.  So as I was getting dressed…I wondered if I’d even be able to zip it up considering I’d never tried it on.  It fit perfectly.  My husband went to pick up his black, western cut tux jacket he was going to wear with jeans, boots, and his black cowboy hat, and it was the wrong size.  He and his friends went on a wild goose chase trying to find the shop that had his size in stock.  They ended up going the wrong direction and barely made it back…we’re talking 30 minutes to spare.  I dropped one of the decorations on the groom’s cake and we had to make repairs as guests were walking in.  The DJ responsible for the music showed up and had forgotten to bring the cd’s we requested.  So we were digging cd’s out of our vehicles 30 minutes before the ceremony began.  We chose to get married at a cabin on the lake with the ceremony in late June…in the typical Oklahoma heat.  The boats and jet ski noise in the background were an added plus.

And then there was the fact that I hate being in the spotlight.  I stepped out of the building to walk down the lawn to my groom…and realized a hundred plus people were standing up and staring at me.  I was walking in heels…in the grass…in a long, full dress.  I can barely remember the ceremony itself but I survived, after I took off my crinoline slip and heels, and we have a wonderful, funny story about our wedding that people still talk about.  We had barbeque and a full bar.  We had our friends and family.  We had great music and people stripping on the dance floor.  And I tear up thinking about how much it all meant to me…then and now.  It was all I could dream of and more.

About Chelle Sandell

Contemporary western romance author, Chelle Sandell, was born and raised in southern Oklahoma but has mostly traded her cowboy boots in for flip-flops. That is unless her cowboy feels the occasional need to go boot scootin' across a dance floor. A foodie at heart, leaning toward the sweet treats, you can find her in the kitchen experimenting on her family and friends. She lives out in the country with her very own cowboy, rowdy boys, Hank & Lilly (blue heeler cowdogs), rescue kitties, and a hungry opossum that loves to sneak up at night to eat the cat food on the back porch.

Wedding Reads

file000353140187Happy June!

I love that we here at the Heart-Shaped Glasses blog picked “weddings” as this month’s theme.

I happen to be a June bride! In fact, my anniversary is tomorrow…

(just sayin’)

As a reader and writer, I think “weddings” make the perfect backdrop for a romance. Who doesn’t like a wedding? Neurotic brides, beautiful dresses, love, romantic proposals, jealousy, friendship, crazy families, stress—there are so many interesting facets to them.

Now, put all those things in a fiction book and you can really have a lot of fun as a writer!

My next book I plan to write will incorporate a wedding. My heroine’s mother is getting remarried—to my heroine’s ex boyfriend’s father! Needless to say, the wedding will be a perfect opportunity to bring my hero and heroine back together again (whether they like it or not) 🙂

Do you like to stories that involve weddings too?

Well, here’s a rundown of some of my favorite wedding reads:

**Something Borrowed by Emily Giffin  (one groom but the best friend has the hots for him–chick-lit)

**I Do, but I Don’t by Cara Lockwood (about the crazy mishaps of a wedding planner–chick-lit)

**Save the Date by Tamara Summers   (YA book about a girl who has four sisters planning weddings–really fun!)

**Picture Perfect by Janice Thompson (about a wedding photographer and the competition she falls for)

**The Brides Quartet Series by Nora Roberts (I especially love this one! All four books were very romantic as the characters created weddings for other people)

Ah, so much drama to be had! I hope you get to check out some of these books this month for yourself. And if you’re a writer, I hope our theme inspires your own wedding story!

Are you a June bride? Do you have a favorite fictional wedding read?

**Also, don’t forget all commenters this month have a chance of winning our $5 Amazon GC Giveaway!

About Jennifer Shirk

Jennifer Shirk is a USA Today bestselling sweet romance author for Montlake and Entangled Publishing who also happens to be a mom, pharmacist, Red Sox fan, P90x grad, and overall nice person. 🙂

Say No to the (Cookie-Cutter) Wedding

cookiecutterMy wedding was disastrous, mostly because I just wanted to be married. And we were very broke. My dress was horrifically ugly, my husband drank a six-pack of beer before (I told him then this was not grounds for taking it back), the decorations and cake were a wedding gift from friends who knew we’d never pull it off otherwise. But, I didn’t choose any of it. As the years go by, I realize how not me (or him) it was. I threaten often to renew our vows in an Elvis impersonator ceremony, in Vegas. Maybe this explains my passion for great weddings.

My cousin recently remarried the love of her life. It’s a long story (and not mine, so I won’t tell it), but romance novel worthy. Here’s the thing: it was nothing like a wedding. Nothing. At least not the fairy tale our society and commercial industries spend billions perpetuating.

I hate that we’re raised, as girls, dreaming of this cookie-cutter experience. Every wedding should be individual. That’s my single voice in a chorus of millions saying different.

I’m leaving you with my favorite wedding video. It never fails to make me smile. Because weddings should speak of who the couple is, what their lives have been, and what they hope it will be.


Jill & Kevin’s Wedding Entrance Dance

Don’t forget that every comment this month will be entered to win a $5 Amazon Gift Card from the talented Jennifer Shirk! What’s your great wedding story? I really, really want to know. Feed my wedding story addiction.

About Lori Sizemore

Lover of nail polish, pens, her Kindle, and fresh coffee. She likes romance filled with messy, real characters and lots of snarky banter. Reading was (and still is!) her BFF; when she discovered writing she fell in love. Come for the snark. Stay for the story.

Wedding Dresses

Yesterday was my 12th wedding anniversary. Happy anniversary, Kevin!

I loved our church wedding, and I still like the simple wedding dress I chose.

Wedding Photo

One of the fun things about writing romance novels is getting to create fictional love stories, proposals, and weddings. It’s like getting to plan a wedding without the stress and without the budget. Wedding dresses make appearances in a couple of my books. I love watching shows about brides choosing their dress, and I enjoy shopping online for them for my stories.

The dress below had a large role in my book Canyon Crossing. I loved how sweet and romantic it is.

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A book I recently finished writing, The Wedding Chapel, features this wedding dress in the opening scene. I wanted the bride to be in a sea of tulle.

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Describe your dream wedding dress. Or if you’re married, what did your wedding dress look like?

 

About Julie Jarnagin

Julie Jarnagin is a multi-published author of inspirational romance. She grew up in a small Oklahoma town where her family farmed and ranched. These days she lives in a not-so-big city with her amazing husband and two young sons who tolerate all her nerdy quirks. Julie earned a B.A. in Journalism / Professional Writing from the University of Oklahoma and is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers. www.JulieJarnagin.com

  • OUR LATEST BUZZ!

    The first two books in the Cupid's Cafe series release in June by Lori Sizemore and Landra Graf *** Lori Sizemore's Infamous released on December 14. *** Julie Jarnagin's Cowgirl in the Kitchen is available now. *** Bethanne Strasser LETTERS FROM HOME from Entangled Publishing is available now! *** Nina Croft's latest books, Her Fantasy Husband, a hot contemporary romance from Entangled's Brazen line, and The Order Boxed Set, a compilation of the three full length novels, plus a new novella, exclusive to the boxed set, both released in April 2016 *** Debora Dennis's holiday novella, CUPCAKES & CUPID is available.