This post will be a lot more personal than the others you've read from me.
This post is a bout a person I cherish and love with all of my heart.
When I was old enough to understand the role of brides maids I always wanted to be one.
Unfortunately for me!
I've only been in a few weddings, mostly for family members.
Fortunately for me!
Being a wedding photographer allows me the opportunity to participate in weddings!
Being the photographer is certainly not the same as being in the wedding party.
From the professional aspect, I only have a few appointments to get to know someone enough to take their perfect wedding pictures!
This time was a little different for me.
I took my best friends wedding pictures, while being a brides maid.
This was one of the best experiences I've had within my photography endeavors and one of the sweetest weddings I've been to! Alena has been an amazingly wonderful friend to me, even throughout her (too many) personal experiences with pain and loss. I never would have guessed that our hours talking on the phone would turn into years of being friends.
I have admires some one more than I admire her.
& this is where it's going to get really sappy!!
I met Alena at a particularly trying time in life; High School.
It was awful. I was having friend drama and felt totally alone.
It was perfect timing, we both just wanted to have a reliable & loyal friend.
I like to say that we fell into each others lives at just the right time for each other.
Neither of us looked at each other expecting to start a life changing friendship when we sat together in theater class. Honestly, she was sitting alone and I just thought she was so cute & so nice. She was so edgy and cool, not like the other people I had been hanging out with. She was (& still is!) a little spitfire with an infectious laugh. All I knew was that I loved every minute I spent with her during class breaks and on those long summer weekends.
I couldn't have asked for a better friend.
It seems like it was only a couple years ago we became best friends!
From year to year, through the dark times in my life to the happiest, she has stuck by my side and I have stuck by hers, always. Her friendship has been a light in my life.
I don't even know how to express how grateful I am to have kept her friendship!
Our paths have had so many different adventures!
My favorite adventure has been being friends with you.
Taking pictures of you has been so much fun!
Thank you for letting me capture your sparkling smile and your adorable family.
I see your beauty & I am glad to be able to show you what I see in your gorgeous eyes.
So far the best photo shoot I've done with you, is your wedding day!!
Before I get into the cute wedding pictures, I've got to share some of the super cheesy pictures I took along the way! Between her bachelorette party, setting up the wedding decorations, and driving her to her wedding, I've got some really good pictures saved!
Anyone that knows Alena will agree that she is one of the kindest and most loving people they will ever met. When she told me she was getting married I was so excited that I called dibs on taking her wedding pictures! The countdown to the big day went really quick, which meant she was really stressed. And you know what happens when you're stressed, everything goes wrong. Luckily not everything went wrong, and the things that did go wrong were manageable.
We have to start with the bridal party!
The lovely brides maids helped make, buy, and set up the wedding decor, fixed Alena's hair, lent her make up, put on her dress, and watched the baby!
While the groomsmen did all the heavy lifting and were supportive & helped keep Alena from freaking out even more than she already was. Everyone in the wedding party was amazingly helpful and beyond excited to celebrate & party with Mr. & Mrs. Bates!
Throughout the wedding day morning, while most of the brides maids and some of the groomsmen were at the venue setting up, I showed up and there wasn't a lot for me to do. Alena was pretty calm, but that might have been because it was still early in the day, and I was way too busy photographing her baby to hear her stress out
I really can't help it though, I adore this little munchkin!
Before we knew it, it was 2:00 in the afternoon & we were all stressing out!
Alena had to get ready and I had to take pictures of her getting ready!
The brides maids met to get dressed for the occasion & all of a sudden girls were running around putting on their dresses & shoes & lipstick! We were yelling asking who had highlighter for the bride, who had which necklace for the maid of honor, and if the baby was ready! With all this happening I asked Alena if it had hit her yet, if she had that moment where she felt her stomach drop because she was about to get married to her high school sweet heart!
She kind of laughed and kept putting on her make up.
When she was in her dress & ready to go we got in my car & headed to the park!
It was wedding time!
The girls had gotten to the park on time & Joey was running late, so Alena was freaking out.
I know, typical.
With literally minutes before she was about to say I Do, it happened. She stopped pacing, took a deep breath looked around and I knew that was her moment. I couldn't help it, I laughed and told her, there it is! She looked at me with excitement hidden behind the shock in he eyes & we both smiled for a split second, until she got annoyed at her fiance for being late. I thought it was funny, but she was one more piece of bad news away from going home!
The day was warm,
The wind had stopped,
The groom arrived!
The sun had come out,
The guests were waiting,
The music started,
The bride looked beautiful.
Once Joey arrived all there was left to worry about was walking down the isle!
The level of stress calmed down as we waited for the guest of honor to arrive.
Once everyone was seated, it started!
I looked silly walking down the isle with my camera hidden behind my bouquet & I probably looked even stranger when I kept walking and circled back around to take pictures of Alena being walked down the isle by her brothers.
As Alena made her first appearance in her stunning white wedding dress Joey was beaming.
My friendship with Joey is a new one. I have only known him for a couple of years, but the amount of love and appreciation I saw in his eyes and smile on his wedding day made me tear up. From the time I've spent with him I've seen that he is a respectful man who loves Alena, Ace, & Luna with everything he has.
Their relationship is so sweet and silly and kind and one that I hope to have with someone one day. This was such a wonderful experience to be able to capture for me.