I looked out the window at the fields racing by while pop punk music blasted over the speakers. With five of us squashed into a sedan, the journey had been an amusing one. We had giggled and danced and recorded goofy videos and Facetimed with far-away friends. We were traveling from St. Louis to the small town of Vincennes, Indiana for our friend's wedding.
We were excited. It was a day of celebration. Ben had met this fantastic girl and despite living hundreds of miles apart, they had fallen madly in love. It was the beginning of a new chapter in the story of our lives together. I was readily anticipating the days events. Here are a few of my favorite moments from their day.
Haley's maid of honor was her sister, Laura. The moment I laid eyes on her, I could see the love, adoration and respect between these two. Laura was one of my favorite people to watch throughout the day because her face was always radiant and full of joy; she could not hide her delight! When Haley began to put her dress on, I glanced over at Laura.
"Will you come help to?"
"Me?" She asked, her face lighting up.
Laura's eyes filled with tears as she and her mother laced Haley's dress up in the back. A golden moment that I will remember.
I have known the groom for a couple of years. He became like a brother to me. It came as a surprise when he feel head over heels for Haley, but seeing the two of them together just makes sense.
I headed over to the house where the groom and his groomsmen were getting ready. I walked into the kitchen to find them going to town on some Jimmy Johns and lasagna. I knew these guys. I had spent time at the lake, around campfires, at countless late-night stops at Denny's with them. Watching them stand by their friend on his wedding day filled me with cheer.
Ben wandered into the kitchen in his dress shirt, tie and basketball shorts. His trousers were in his hands.
"They got wrinkled in the case... I'm going to have to iron them!"
There was no iron in the house, sending one of the groomsmen on a quest for the instrument. He returned promptly, triumphantly holding the iron in his hands.
Ben, holding his trousers in one hand and the iron in the other called out, "Does anybody know how to Iron?"
"You've got to be joking!" I shouted back. I glanced around the room at the surprised stares and realized this was no joking matter. I went into the kitchen, and with the help of Eli, we ironed the grooms trousers out on the kitchen counter. I'm no professional, but there were no burnt bits and no holes. The groom looked sharp in his suit. Let's just go ahead and chalk up that sharpness to my ironing job. I should add that to my services, "Videographer that will iron any last-minute clothing items you may require on your wedding day!"
The Father of the Bride
Man, oh man. I don't usually get the chance to get to know the families very well. I'm involved in their lives for one or two very important days. We laugh, we smile, we celebrate! It doesn't leave a lot of room for in-depth conversation.
After the ceremony, I ended up slightly stranded for a ride to the reception. The Father of the Bride, Kurt, saw my situation and immediately offered me a lift. We got all of my equipment in his car and set off for the reception.
Kurt was one of these people that asked great questions. Not only that, he listened intently and actively. There's a difference in the way people listen to you. Some people half listen and kind of respond to what you said. Some people don't listen at all and just wait for you to finish speaking so they can say what they have been thinking about while you were talking.
Not the case with Kurt. In the twenty minute drive to the reception, he transported me back to my travels and had me reliving some of my most treasured memories from my Motherland (England.)
Kurt also gave one of the most heart-felt, darling speeches that I have ever heard at a wedding. He told the fairytale of a Princess and the Prince she falls in love with. Being the big fan of storytelling that I am, I relished this moment. Haley's face as she listened to the story her Father told was priceless.
At almost every one of my weddings, I try to pull the bride and groom aside by themselves. I want to get them on film, in their full-on wedding outfit delivering a message to their soon-to-be husband or wife. I think that message in that moment is just priceless; a moment that in a year, twenty years or fifty years can transport them immediately back to their wedding day, and the feelings of wonder, excitement and delight that their wedding day holds.
It was a bit difficult getting these two on their own. They were surrounded by loving, adoring family and friends that just wanted to love on them and admire them. But I got it!
I managed to film Ben while he was putting his tie on. Being his normal goofy self, he talked about his several failed attempts at putting on his tie. He moved on to talk to Haley about how excited he was. Suddenly, something shifted. He turned away from the camera bashfully. When he turned back, his eyes were full of tears. This was a golden moment for sure.
Haley and I snuck away to the deck behind her parents house to record a message. I looked at this beautiful woman in front of me. The woman who had welcomed so many people into her home that day. The lady who hadn't turned into a bridezilla when her shoes went missing. The lady who had made everyone feel at ease. Who listened to what everyone had to say. Who wasn't afraid of being goofy and laughing with her friends. She stood before me in a stunning dress with the biggest smile on her face. I was overcome with joy for her in this moment knowing that in a few minutes, she would be walking down an aisle towards the love of her life. This moment sparked thankfulness in me. Thankfulness that we each have a story. Thankfulness that despite all the crazy things going on in this world, despite the heartbreak and the danger, humans are still daring enough to love. As Haley spoke to Ben in the message, she gave me hope. She inspired me, sparked something within me.
Perhaps watching their video will do the same for you. I can't wait to share it with you!