Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Complimenting something that's ACTUALLY important!

The people. The vows. The setting. The food. The music. The details.

Usually one of these things stands out more than the rest at any given wedding and that's usually what my photography clings to. I look for what makes me feel and see beauty and I try to convey how a wedding felt using photographs of that particular part to underscore how a day came together. I gave a lot of thought to what I really remember and saw at this wedding. I think most people would have said the same thing who attended - the most remarkable part about this wedding was the details. The flowers ... the  clothes... the carefully chosen props and lovingly crafted decor... that unbelievable ceiling.

If that sounds kind of superficial to single out the physical aspects of a wedding over the love and vows exchanged - I'll explain why it's not. Never have I ever done a wedding where I saw more of the love reflected and symbolized in each tiny detail as I did in this one. Two families from two countries came together to turn this young couple's day into an amazing representation of love and commitment. Not just a show of "pinterest" details, but full of well thought out, painstakingly created symbols of who each family is and what they bring to this marriage. Every time someone saw me turning a piece of furniture into the light or posing a bouquet for an image they told me something amazing about it. Who thought of it, created it, what each flower represented, how God and family and love was woven into each crevice of this wedding.

To start - Skylar and his family are from Saskatchewan Canada. They are farmers. They brought wheat all the way from their land  to incorporate into the decorating. It was worked into the bouquets, boutonnieres, and table arrangements. Lydia is from Arizona so she picked succulents as her representative bloom. Skylar's sister and mom picked berries in Canada and made hundreds of beautiful jars of jam for guests. They used corrugated metal in their reception formed into grain silo shapes. They used Lydia's parent's antiques. Lydia's mom and sisters collected hundreds of yards of fabric and draped the ceiling with beautiful color and her Dad hunted down low watt bulbs to light the room with. I'm only describing the beginning of what transpired to make this wedding happen.

All of this to say this: when I looked at the details at this wedding I saw much more than "something pretty". I saw two AMAZING families who had come together and worked really hard to make something beautiful. I saw one family receiving a new member into their presence with joy and elation and another sending their loved one far away - but with such grace and unselfish love that on several occasions a big knot formed in my throat and I welled up thinking how my Mom and Dad kissed me goodbye and sent their little Canadian daughter off to Arizona with the same selfless sentiments.

A week after the wedding Skylar's mom wrote me a note after seeing a preview of the pictures. She told me how wonderful she thought the pictures were and encouraged me to nurture and continue using my gift. We exchanged a few texts about how I didn't want to let my career rob my time with my kids and in response she said something that was profound. Not profound because it's an unusual thing to say - but profound because I see in her family the results of actually "walking the walk" and not "talking the talk". She said the most important task you will ever have is raising your children and in particular giving them the gift of receiving Jesus.

I can post a photo on Facebook and get dozens of comments on how nice it is. People often say "it's not fair.. you're so talented". It's easy to see something like a photo and say "great" or not "great". But here's the thing... in the grand scheme of things taking a nice photo is about the most irrelevant thing one can be good at. Being a great parent? Near the top. Children can often let it go by unnoticed, unappreciated and unacknowledged and you're not likely to get nice comments where people point out your particularly great methods of child rearing. I think it's SO important that these people know what a great job they've done of parenting. So here goes:

To both the Hansons and the Wallaces. Kudos. You have raised a superb bunch of kids. I was blown away by every one of them. Each of them are funny, vivacious, spunky and adventurous. Yet they love you guys, are unashamed of their upbringing and all have a grounded and balanced love for God and a passionate relationship with Jesus. I hope I can be half as good a parent as you all are. I hope I get to shoot more weddings in your family in the future. :) And Bruce... man... one more of  those poems for your daughters and I'll be reduced to sobbing. Really. :)

Here is part one of the pics.

Their awesome portraits at the Granite Dells and that crazy reception coming soon.


  1. So wonderfully done Sarah!
    Beautiful shots! Your work always puts me in awe. This was definitely a very beautiful wedding and you captured very precious moments! Excellent job! -Lydia D

  2. THESE ARE AMAZING!!! WOW!! Great job Sarah!! Oh it was such a beautiful wedding! And my sista was such a gorgeous bride.... Love love love these pictures! :))



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