You guys! I’ve been terrible at blogging! I thought I had come up with the most genius system of prepping my blogs, but instead I now have a back-log of geniusly prepped blogs, just waiting patiently to make their debut… ugh. Sorry.
But! Every single blog that I have waiting is pretty special to me, and this one is no different. In fact, this one might be at the top of the List of Very Special To Me, but of course I don’t like to play favorites. My involvement with this wedding started when I received this email from Ryan, over a year before their wedding: “On our eight hour drive home from Tahoe Amy and I had a long conversation. The kind we tend to have while Lyla sleeps in the back seat on long road trips. Our story is somewhat backwards in that I started considering us a family years ago, but we are not yet married. We have arrived at a place where we can start planning our wedding and celebrate the three of us. We are thinking August or September of next year, but have no date set. We are just starting our planning. One thing we do know. We want you and only you to photograph our wedding.”
Ryan later told me that Amy chose me to be their wedding photographer upon reading Madeline’s adoption story… which meant to me that this wedding would be everything that I could hope for, because I knew that our core values aligned. We all had the same belief that a wedding isn’t about the wedding, but it’s about the marriage, and about celebrating your life with your family & with your closest friends.
So one of the funnest thing about Amy & Ryan’s wedding (yes, i know that funnest isn’t a word… so sue me), was that they rented this GIANT house in the mountains above Sundance, and of the 42 people who attended their wedding, I think like 30 of them stayed in the house. I may have that number wrong, but you get the picture. The house was the heart of the wedding. All weekend long, it was abuzz with activity in preparation for the wedding, with food being cooked, decorations being unpacked & set out, decisions being made about where to have the wedding, and I think even when the ceremony would be held. Music was being practiced, people were coming & going, children were running everywhere. It was nuts. And it was pure bliss.
And then my very favorite part about their wedding day, was when Amy asked me to photograph Lyla helping Ryan get ready for the day, which is a normal daily ritual for them. Lyla helped Ryan prep his shaving cream & put it on his face, and then talked to him while he shaved; all the while, Amy was in the background also getting ready for their day. I took a photo of their shoes together around the same time, because the significance of their shoes placed side by side was not lost on me. Here was this family, who had come together in a “backwards” sort of way, and they were together, against all odds. Their shoes were waiting for them to walk out & make their grand entrance into the world, as a family, officially.
What came next, was a ceremony that I’ll never forget. Amy’s brother married them, and then they opened up the floor to any & all guests who wanted to share something with them. I had honestly never seen that before at a wedding. I’d seen open mic during reception toasts (which, side note, can often have a very unexpectedly horrific outcome!)… but I’d never seen a ceremony that went as long as was possible for everyone to stand up, share their stories of how & why they loved these people with everyone else, and then be able to give hugs to the couple as they stood up there receiving such gifts of kindness. Gifts of kindness, by way of people openly sharing their favorite stories about them and giving them words of love & advice. It was incredible. This is a very weird thing to say… but honestly the only time I’ve ever seen such an open outpouring of love like that was at a funeral. So it was amazing to hear so many people say such wonderful things to the people they love, while they could still enjoy it and on such an important day. It was incredible, seriously.
From there! I will tell you that the very next day I had the worst hangover of my whole entire life! I do not lie. From there, it was full celebration mode. Food, drinks, music, togetherness. The climax of the evening was when their close friends payed several songs for them in the living room, on guitar & cello, with everyone gathered around. There was a lightness in the atmosphere, because at this time everyone’s shoes had been kicked off, their nice clothes had given way to warm weather comfies, and everyone had full bellies & their spirits filled. Everyone in that room was celebrating love. There was also a reverence in the room, with that feeling that every laugh could easily turn into tears… and in turn those tears of joy would explode into a house full of laughter.
So that’s how I will remember this wedding. A wedding of equal parts tears & laughter, with a house full of people in love, celebrating a family in love.
Congratulations again, Amy & Ryan, on your marriage & on all the exciting things that are already happening because of it. You two. Your three… You FOUR! Are The Best!!! And I’m so thankful to have been there during this sweet chapter in your story.