Meg and Andy both awoke before the sun came up on the morning of their wedding. The girl from Illinois and the boy from Texas awoke in separate rooms on separate floors within a friend’s beach house in Florida as they prepared to marry one another at sunrise on the beach nearby while surrounded by their family and friends.
In her wedding vows, Meg explained that when she decided to go on The World Race a few years ago, an eleven month international mission trip, the last thing she was looking to do was meet a guy. But sometimes, the best things happen to us when we don’t plan or expect them – these things have a way of finding us, even if we aren’t trying to find them.
Their ceremony was full of everything that means the most to Andy and Meg – it was full of prayer, and the involvement of their loved ones, and singing, and intimacy, and so much love. The rest of the day was spent in a similar fashion: everyone had breakfast together, and then went to the beach or hung out at the house. It was relaxed, laid back, and full of conversation and happiness – it was perfectly Meg and Andy. The beach house was brimming with life throughout the late afternoon, as everyone began preparing for the backyard reception. Their loved ones were decorating tables, lighting candles, preparing the chicken for dinner, putting together a salad, frosting the cake – I’ve heard the phrase ‘a labor of love’ many times in the past, but never have I seen and understood it so clearly in life as I did while watching Meg and Andy’s family and friends bring their dream wedding together.
Since returning home from their wedding weekend in Florida, I’ve found myself thinking often about how to describe the feeling I experienced while shooting this wedding. While photographing weddings, I often feel like I’m in on something that I’m incredibly lucky to be in the company of at all – like I’m witnessing something big and raw and monumental, and I get overwhelmed with a strange sense of gratitude that I am even getting the chance to be involved in that moment somehow. On Andy and Meg’s wedding day, I felt that most strongly when I realized how these people – this family from Texas, this other family from Illinois, and these friends from all over, both old and new – all came together, and not only spent so much time in each other’s company, but in the end, had a way of becoming one big family. I know this because I felt it, too – by the end of the day, I felt like I had spent the entire day surrounded by my own loved ones. There were moments when I forgot I was working because this familial love was emanating from every single person there, and I was lucky enough to not just photograph it, but to experience it, too.
To the Grants, the Whites, all of Meg and Andy’s friends, and of course, Meg and Andy – thank you. For being the wonderful people you are, for being such a joy to photograph, and for so naturally making me, and each other, feel like family.