I didn’t realize what I was getting into when Zane and MaryAnn booked me to photograph their wedding in St. Louis. Due to a lack of close proximity and their having already done engagement photos with a different photographer located in the St. Louis area, our correspondence leading up to their big day was limited to emails. Because of this, I only got to know them on a surface level prior to their wedding, and had no idea of the amount of raw love I was about to witness when I arrived to photograph the girls that morning.
One of my absolute favorite things about photographing a wedding day is how much you can learn about people solely by observing them – by watching how they interact with and look at their loved ones, how they greet the people they are meeting for the first time, and what they personally deem important as based on the way they approach their wedding. When MaryAnn walked down the aisle to Counting Crows’ ‘Colorblind’ as people throughout the room began to communally tear up, I realized I was observing a ceremony unlike I had seen before.
She and Zane began their ceremony by speaking directly to their wedding guests, reading the words they had written together prior to this day. While they noted the differences between their two families and their cultural backgrounds, they went on to describe the quality they all shared – their belief in and passion for love. They described how the importance of love had been instilled in them since they were young, as Zane explained how his mother had shown him this directly in the way she loved his father, himself, and his brothers. They explained how this value carried on throughout their lives, as they met these people dear to them who sat, eyes brimming, in the chairs in front of them. In their vows to one another that followed, they said that while their relationship hadn’t always been easy, loving each other always was.
As the evening went on and they moved into their reception, the emphasis on love and togetherness continued to permeate within the walls as their friends and family members filled the dance floor with one another, and toasted to Zane and MaryAnn, and laughed and loved and showed it fervently. As an observer, it was one of those experiences that felt much bigger than me, or much bigger than any one individual person, for that matter. This love felt weighty and important, and like something that will stay those of us lucky enough to observe it for a long, long time.