If there’s one thing that’s wildly clear as we near the end of 2020, it’s that this year has not only been unlike any other, but also that none of us could have come close to imagining this experience. This was my tenth year of photographing weddings, and yet I could never have pictured so much of what I’ve witnessed as a photographer in the months since March. And despite that, so many couples found new ways to do things – they came up with a Plan B and C as they replanned their entire wedding days, they wore masks in their wedding garb at the altar, they placed large containers of hand sanitizer where they would normally place flowers. They took what they had seen and known about weddings in the past and they blew it all up, and they replaced it with something different and thoughtful and safe, and they found ways to get married despite a pandemic, and they’ve often left me entirely in awe by doing so with such grace and joy.
Jamie and Matt knew they wanted to get married on their original wedding date this fall regardless of the state of the pandemic, so they postponed their reception and decided to move forward with a more intimate version of their ceremony. It was drizzling as I pulled up to Jamie’s parents’ home in Naperville that day, though you wouldn’t have known it based on the giant smile plastered across Jamie’s face. I walked into the living room to see Jamie, her mom, and her sister-in-law as they all hung out and had hair and makeup done, calmly chatting and laughing together as I noticed photos of Jamie as a child strung across the doorway nearby. Jamie’s dress hung upstairs in her childhood bedroom, and her dad and brothers were milling around and hanging in the family room just off the kitchen. She excitedly got into her dress upstairs, and when she came down, her brothers exclaimed (and as a fellow girl with three brothers, this made my heart fill right the heck up) and snapped photos on their phones of their sister in her dress. They grabbed umbrellas and climbed into the bus that was waiting for them and made their way to the church for Jamie to marry Matt.
The ceremony was beautiful and perfect, and I swear you could see Jamie and Matt’s smiles consistently despite the masks. They FaceTimed with Matt’s grandpa immediately after the ceremony (who was proudly wearing a “wedding crasher” shirt and holding up an applause sign, to everyone’s delight) then greeted their guests outside as everyone cheered and snapped pictures and congratulated them, then they grabbed their umbrellas once again and made their way to a nearby forest preserve for some photos with their families. The rain soon let up upon our arrival, so they were able to hang out and chat and have drinks and snap pics with me sans umbrellas, and I honestly had so much fun spending time amidst their quick-witted jokes and close-knit family banter. They finished the day with a private dinner with the small group of friends and family that was able to join for the ceremony. It was such a fun, laid back afternoon, and I felt so lucky to not only get to be the photographer capturing it, but to know that I get another excuse to hang out with this crew all over again next year, too.