“Should’ve Been Me” sounded from my phone at exactly 8 am yesterday morning. Josh and I drowsily scooped ourselves out of bed to scuttle over to Panera for an early morning date before a long day of work for both of us. I was due for a wedding in Milwaukee and Josh was due for a gig… somewhere ;).
I ordered their Steel Cut Oatmeal, which is delightful, and Josh got a cup of hazelnut coffee. To my surprise, I met Mark, my Cornerstone boss, just one table over and exchanged brief cordials before resuming our respective conversations – he with a client and me with my beloved. I couldn’t help but wonder if he was wondering why I was hanging out at Panera with Josh when I was doing a wedding that afternoon.
Ok, a moment of brief explanation: Cornerstone Photography is a wedding photography company that I do some contract work for in addition to the work I do with my own business a Sunshine Moment, yesterday’s wedding so happened to be a Cornerstone occurrence.
I parted with Josh to have plenty of time to get to my first location for the wedding day, “Ann’s House,” yet, somehow, I was dreadfully late… go figure. But at the same time this provided my first glimpse of how fantastic this day was going to be. When I arrived Donna was bundle of calm – a better setting for her would have been for her to be sitting on a dock dangling her toes in tepid lake water with a cup of steaming coffee in hand with the sun just peeking over and onto the glass-like water. The sight before me was that same girl but instead of that peaceful setting she was that peaceful setting – even though she was in the middle of a party of gossamer, make-up and hair clips.
Onward into the day, after taking care of bridal detail at the house I headed to the ceremony site, St. Anthony Catholic Church. After a brief search I found the groom, William, and he proceeded to explain the ceremony to me because they were taking the traditional Latin Catholic Mass approach.
Just before the ceremony I watched the bride tearfully embrace her sister. The tears were for great joy at the sight of her stunning younger sister and for their belated mother. Donna had her mother’s broach pinned to her bouquet so it not only was stunning but so sentimental.
The ceremony opened with an angelic cantor singing from the balcony. His voice reverberated off the ornate vaulted ceilings and penetrated my heart. When Donna entered the aisle I really had to contain myself. The beauty of the space, the sound, and the bride before me was almost too much to handle. Yes, even after dozens of weddings, the bride entering the room still usually sets me emotionally out of balance but even if it wasn’t a common occurrence this wedding day still would have shaken me. I felt I was so undeserving to be surrounded by such beauty and purity.
Dipping back into the early church was an incredible journey. I’ve mentioned the breathtaking beauty of the space and of the bride and the penetrating music but there also was this smell that was other-worldly. I had intended on asking the bishop what the scent was… frankincense… myrrh… but I forgot to. All I know is it too was heavenly!
For the evening festivities the scene was Audubon Nature Center. This gorgeous plethora of fall colors wrapped up in the blissful quiet lakescape of Lake Michigan. I got started on bridal party pictures straight away. I had the girls lined up with the faint lakescape in the very background, tall trees with pretty leaves in the nearer background, and the full spectrum of floral color just behind them. After a few more stops I dismissed the bridal party and hopped on some sort of golf cart, mini car contraption and we made for the lakeshore.
The evening was filled with familiar and unfamiliar festivities. They had the first dance though in a formal waltz, the toasts all normally and extraordinarily wonderful, the food ordinarily delightful and free but also full of veggies (stuffed portobello mushroom, parsnip puree, and roasted asparagus) – the vegetarian dream. The bride and groom closed their time with me in a contra dance. It was my first experience with one and I thought it was such a cool way to share a dance with the friends you hold most dear!
I walked out of the reception hall so refreshed and full of life and excited to get home and see my husband but the intensely captivating silence that surrounded me as soon as I walked out the door beckoned me to sit on my car and moon-gaze for a dreamy twenty minutes. When my twenty minutes were up the quiet was a bussle with distant party noise, street traffic, rustling leaves, and a hooting owl – my senses were peaked and my quiet time was over.
I’ve said it before but I’ll say it again, I love that every new wedding brings new life to me in a new and different way every time. I do love my job 🙂