As a team, we want to give you a glimpse into the things that we see as we capture. In the next few months you will begin to see not just more of the projects that we work on, but who we are and the things that drive us to do life together as a community. You will continue to see images that tell stories of the people that we work with. Our desire is that you get to know us a bit more along the way.
Toasts. At times they are a memorable piece of a wedding reception. A moment when tears flow as lifelong friends honor the bride and groom with stories that the people closest to them know by heart. Other times the guests erupt in laughter as anecdotes from childhood are reminisced. Then there are times where a toast expresses the heartbeat of the couple and articulates who they are. And so it was with Sara and Joel.
Jeremy and I had known Joel for the last several years, and were excited about the opportunity to capture the wedding of a friend. We knew that both Joel and Sara had prayed and waited for each other, and you could feel the anticipation rise as the day began.
Sara was captivating, surrounded by her family and closest friends. Joel and his groomsmen were carefree and relaxed. They were out throwing football back and forth on the road in front of Joel’s house when I climbed out of the truck to unpack my cameras. As I captured images of the guys getting ready I enjoyed listening to these lifelong friends prepare to celebrate. Joel pulled me aside after he had finished tying his tie, and made sure to tell me that he wanted Jeremy and I to enjoy the day as we worked. This is a perfect example of Joel’s heart, and his approach to life.
The ceremony took place in the back yard of the Bird-in-Hand farm where Joel had grown up. It was a joy to see the look in Sara’s eyes as the pastor spoke. Gazing up at this man who she was about to marry, she smiled. She was home. Two became one that day, on land that had been a part of Joel’s family for generations.
The reception was designed to focus on relationship. There were back yard games and canoes filled with cold drinks. The decorations were simple, and an ice cream truck fit perfectly in the meadow outside of the tent. There were a few words spoken, and then the guests and bride and groom did what they do best. They spent time sharing life with each other. Connecting hearts, telling stories, laughing together. No rush. This was a celebration.
The speech which defined the hearts of Joel and Sara best came from Joel’s brother. He started with a few stories about some of Joel’s habits, and had his parents and close friends laughing in no time. Then he began to speak about Joel’s work ethic, honoring him for his craftsmanship. Joel is a craftsman by trade. He works with his hands, spending days turning ancient pieces of lumber into heirlooms. The part of the speech that defined who Joel and Sara are came with the description of Joel’s willingness to stop and catch up with anyone who drops by his workshop. Not because he isn’t busy with a list of things to do. Not because his business isn’t growing, but because he values relationship. Even more than that, he values people, and he chooses these things above others. After a congratulations to Sara for her choice in a husband, the speeches were over and the night moved on, but that toast stuck in my mind as I watched the reception unfold around us.
A few hours later after lots of ice cream, a gorgeous sunset and a sparkler exit, we packed up our gear and headed for the truck. We walked away from that wedding with a stronger sense of what drives Joel and Sara, and what brought them together. An obvious attraction to each other and a clear understanding that they value the same things. Relationship. Time with each other. Working hard, but also creating space. Their friends know and understand that the toast that night was right on target. It expressed who Joel is, and what his life with Sara will be about.
Great job guys! It was an honor to be a part of your day. Thank you for inviting us to experience who you are, and we hope you enjoy these images.
-Mark Buckwalter (Studio Manager, Second Shooter)