Tuesday, June 7, 2016

I have a new niece!

While I don't write often anymore - I still try to mark the major celebratory moments in life here - and someday maybe I'll find time to return here regularly...but for now - a wonderful celebration to share....the wedding of my nephew Taylor to his beautiful bride, Jessica.

Please meet the newest member of the family - my niece, Jessica.

Jessica married my nephew Taylor this past Saturday in a beautiful ceremony (that dodged some seriously bad weather in Wayne County) at Jess's family's farm. We, of course, got a wonderful "cousin" picture (or as I like to think of them - "my kids").  This is the first time we've ever gotten everyone in a single picture on the same day!

I had the privilege of helping photograph their wedding (and their engagement) so while I don't have a complete set of wedding photos (for example, I didn't take shots of the bridal party getting ready or on their own), I have a solid 1008 shots that I'm currently going through.

Here are a couple of my favorite shots from their engagement shoot too...

I'll keep most of the wedding photos for the happy couple to see first, but I already put a few out on Facebook and want to share a couple of others that are about the special memories of that day.

These two kids decided they were having their wedding outdoors - at Jess's family's farm.  There is a beautiful barn on the property and loads of beautiful green space so it was a perfect setting for an outdoor wedding...except that this day in June in Indiana chose to be pretty rainy (and later in the evening, downright dangerous as a tornado hit just a little ways from here...no worries, everyone was safe).  As mom, dad, and I pulled in about 45 minutes before the ceremony with a light rain falling, dad summarized their determination to be married outside..."If it's not raining any harder than this they will get married outside."  In fact, the rain let up almost perfectly timed with the ceremony.  Everyone started with their umbrellas up, but by the end of the ceremony most of the umbrellas had come down. As you can see below - Lauren didn't care if she got wet as long as Uncle and Kylee were entertaining her.

And I will obviously interrupt this wedding post for another pic of Lauren...no place better to aim your camera to check settings than this beautiful face!  Her nana had to stay home with her brother, Lucas, who was running a fever so Lauren made the best of it and enjoyed having so many people who love and adore her all to herself.

Back to Taylor and Jessica...the kids and their families made most of the decorations.  This shot gives a nice overview to the casual theme (which, by the way, I personally love - if I ever do get married - these two may get the privilege of helping design my wedding).

This guy...my dad and Taylor's - and now Jessica's - Grandpa...performed their wedding ceremony. Yes, we did the whole "register over the Internet to be a pastor thing" and I'm so happy we did.  What a beautiful memory.  He came up with a cool idea to have the best man flip a coin to figure out who said their vows first...on his own...without Pinterest!

As we waited for the rain to stop so we could begin the ceremony I looked across the tent and noticed Taylor just hanging out (sitting on a cooler) below the window - the window right next to where I'd been shooting pics of Jessica just a few minutes before - but on the other side of the wall - her looking out - probably worrying about whether or not the rain would stop long enough to get their much wanted ceremony outdoors.  What I loved about the picture below (as from a photography standpoint, it's not that great of a photo) was that Taylor was holding the box with their rings in it. I watched him play with the box in his hands...turning it, opening it... While I'm sure it was partly because he wanted to make sure they stayed safe and they had them for the wedding - and partly because all the anxiety and nerves associated with a wedding were coming to a head, I also watched him absently playing with the box, checking on the rings, all the while all the people who love and care about he and Jessica milled about right around him and his beautiful bride waited on the other side of the wall.  In those moments - Taylor seemed oblivious to it all - just waiting to become a husband.

I walked up to Taylor and interrupted is reverie.  Taylor asked me as I worked to try to set up a shot of Jess standing just above him in the window (a shot that just wouldn't work because of glare) - why she got to see him but he didn't get to see her.  I remember hearing this love in his voice at that moment - just this desire to be with his girl.  These two have such a sweet friendship and love for one another - in that moment - in the sound of his voice - I heard years of emotion and joy.

So, so many more shots that I will share eventually either on Facebook or Flickr or both, but for now, I'll add in one more shot that is, thus far, my favorite non bride and groom shot.  After this, I'm not posting any more wedding shots until the kids see them (okay - that's probably not true because I see new ones I love about every 5 minutes while I'm working on them and it's hard to wait to post them).

Their flower girl was adorable and full of energy - and this shot of her absconding with Jess's bouquet just made me giggle.  I added a little extra processing to make her sequins and her boots stand out.  Doesn't she just look like she's running away to get married herself?

So, congratulations Taylor and Jess.  I can hardly wait to go through your pictures with you!  Here is to the brightest and most love filled future imaginable!

Photographer note: about 1/3 of the way through processing the shots, I decided that most of the shots were getting about the same effects applied to them (and I'd been using a Preset in Lightroom and then adjusting, so here is a free Lightroom Preset, appropriately named, A Wedding for Taylor and Jessica, that incorporates all the settings I used for about the last 2/3 of the photos. It's what I used to process the picture that opened this post.  I'd love to know if you find it useful.)

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