If you’ve been following the blog for some time, you may remember a stunning Country Club of Virginia wedding from last summer in Richmond, VA. The gorgeous bride, Lauren, wore a custom Paolo Sebastian gown, and her dapper groom, Peebles, looked dashing in his fresh leather oxfords and black tuxedo. The entire day was picture perfect from beginning to end and I know these two had a blast with their friends and family — so much fun that the evening carried over into a mini rave after party!
Like most wedding days, we found ourselves a bit behind schedule as hair and makeup took longer than expected. To keep things on track, one of the vendor’s suggested we do the traditional “bridesmaid robe photo” without one of the girls, Heather, to keep things moving along while she finished up her makeup. Lauren kindly, but simply refused; she made it known how meaningful it was to have Heather there all the way from Hawaii and didn’t want anyone missing. Heather, in her sweet and carefree spirit, graciously opted to just hop in the photo sans makeup so we could keep things on track.
With all the ups and downs we experience on any given wedding day, this moment may ordinarily seem insignificant, but I’ve thought about that exchange quite a bit over the past year as it’s weighed heavily on my mind. See, Lauren’s beautiful bridesmaid, Heather, and her boyfriend, Gerrit, were lost in a tragic accident mere weeks after their wedding. That weekend was the last time Lauren ever saw her and those special memories from that day are imprinted forever in her mind. Those are some of the last photos they have with one another and I am beyond grateful to Lauren for standing up for what was important to her so that Heather could be included in her photos.
To be honest, I wasn’t sure I would ever write this post. I didn’t know if it was my place, but with the blessing of Lauren, we both agreed it would be a great way to honor one of her closest friends. But as photographers, we often preach about how photography is one of the most important aspects of a wedding day. After all, the cake gets eaten, the flowers wilt, and sparklers fade, and what you’re left with are just your memories and the photos. So let’s remember to keep focusing on what matters — our clients and their families. Sure, cute accessories and pretty flowers make for lovely photos, but it’s the emotion and the meaning behind them that is what leaves our mark on the lives of these people we are so lucky to serve.
My thoughts are, and always have been, with Lauren and the families of Heather & Gerrit.