It was actually the bride's mother who first contacted me; a friend of a client from last fall. So not only was I happy to hear about my previous client, but it was a thrill to get to meet this family through another that I had such a great time getting to meet and work with. But as often the case in Colorado in the winter months our first in person meeting was challenged by snow; but we did get to talk via the phone and start the conversation about the daughter's wedding. Although from Colorado, the bride was at the time working on a degree at North Carolina State University; come to find out the groom doing the same at Georgia Tech. So as someone who used to live in Atlanta... and whose dad and granddad also went to NC State, suddenly there was a bit of a connection already. The bride would be visiting Colorado soon after this initial conversation, giving me the opportunity to meet both the bride and her mother. Although another snowy day in Colorado, I finally got to meet both Melissa and her mom at the wedding venue, to discuss the details of the wedding day. A lot of little details were still unknown, but at least as a wedding photographer I was starting get the picture of who Melissa and Çaģlar are as a couple, a little bit of their personalities... and how I could tell their story through photos. Melissa wanted to focus on a more journalistic approach (my favorite) and just a few "formals," not taking the couple away from their party for too long as both would be in Colorado for a short visit. Melissa and her mom were still undecided on a lot of aspects, and in some ways I pointed out to them items they would want to think about. But with a wedding venue like The Briarwood Inn, it was sure to be a great day for these two to celebrate the love they have for one another. And to have their Colorado wedding on a beautiful Sunday afternoon.
Upon arriving that morning, I got to meet Çaģlar, his mom, the best man, and the rest of Melissa's family. Of course the first wedding photography shots to get are the dress and rings, so the introductions were pleasant but brief, so that Melissa and her sister could get her ready. Çaģlar and Melissa had chosen a dear friend to officiate their ceremony, so while Melissa got ready, Çaģlar and their officiant went over the last minute details of the ceremony; well, which included... which side does the boutonniere get pinned on? Where would we be without smartphones and Google? The guests arrived in an expected fashion, many obviously knowing one another by the hugs and smiles shared in greeting one another; happy to see each other and be there for the wedding. Anticipation grew at the clock counted down, and while I'm sure each the Bride & Groom may have been a little nervous, they certainly weren't showing it. One of my favorite moments was the toast in the Bridal room. The venue had sent them a bottle of Champagne. And though the sister of the bride has restaurant experience, getting that darn bottle open was proving to be a bit difficult. No stranger to the opening of wine (part of my background) I gave her the usual 'hold at 45 degrees and twits the bottle three times' directions. Nope... wasn't working. To only discover it was a screw top. Okay... maybe the nerves of anticipation were showing a bit. But the glasses got poured, and the toast was made not only with the ladies in the room, but Melissa's two dad who also joined in the pre-ceremony toast.
The wedding ceremony was personal and intimate, and you could just see the love these two had for one another in the way they looked at each other. A look I noticed in Çaģlar just about every time he looked at Melissa that day. Smiles seemed to gleam from everyone there, especially those in the Bride & Grooms immediate family. And after the ceremony everyone gathered in the dining room for the brunch-time meal. If you've never been to The Briarwood Inn; the interior is rich in wood paneling and accents with timeless chandeliers. Really the perfect place for a wedding. The couple went table to table, greeting and talking with their guests. Speeches from both Melissa's sister and Çaģlar's best man followed. The whole time, the room filled with not only the love these two had for one another, but the love that everyone at their wedding had for them. After brunch concluded the wedding reception moved back outdoors on this beautiful Colroado afternoon. And that's when my absolute favorite thing about their wedding day started happening. Even though the bride is from Colorado, she has a Columbian heritage from her mother's side. Çaģlar, from Turkey, too had a background of diverse music and dancing. And when these two came together it was really something to watch and enjoy. There were moments I really wanted to put the camera down and just watch it myself, but being the wedding photographer I had to capture it. And in going through the photos later on, it was just great to see such diversity coming together. Music sets alternated between the two cultural backgrounds, but no matter what side of the couples family the guests were... everyone got out and danced. It really was amazing to watch! For me one of the highlights of all the weddings I photographed this year.
The cake was brought out for the cutting, and as the two of them sliced through it together, I couldn't help notice something from the guest table that I had noticed and photographed earlier in the day. The sign on the table behind them reading "Love, laughter... and Cake!" After everyone got their piece of wedding cake, the dancing started back up again... and went right up to the very end of Melissa and Çaģlar's Wedding Reception. In fact even when no one else was dancing, I found them off to the side just enjoying each other's company. I am very fortunate to get to work with the people who have hired me as their Wedding Photographer, and this is one that will go down in the books as one of my favorites.
I wish these two many, many happy years together... and that they never stop dancing!!
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