Or you could be Lara & Todd and have the most beautiful, perfect wedding day ever.
(Many thanks to the ever fabulous Jessica Klick from One17Photography for having me along as a second shooter for such a gorgeous wedding. Best tag-team ever. High five!)
Now before we get rolling here, allow me to give a brief dissertation about what I'll generically refer to as The Pinterest Bride. (Not to be confused with this.) Pinterest is a wicked thing. It showcases the best of the best from millions of weddings and generally leaves brides feeling horribly inadequate about how to achieve her dream wedding. I mean, really, just think of how all your guests would judge you for not handcrafting each and every centerpiece out of heirloom tree bark. I kid!
So when I arrived for the wedding and asked Lara what her day would look like, she just smiled and said, "Pinterest." I cooed a little and said something about what great ideas are out there, but inside I was a little worried. Sometimes the Pinterest Fairies get the best of brides and they end up with something that looks like the clearance rack of a craft store. Just sayin'.
But not this. Lara pulled it off. And I can prove it because I scoped out her Pinterest boards and did a quick comparison and sure enough - she turned all those darling DIYs into a real wedding. Her wedding. The result was a gorgeous day of gray and orange with a little vintage flair and homey handkerchiefs and just the most beautiful early fall day you could ever imagine.
Lara & Todd had a huge wedding party - eight attendants each - and I don't know about the guys, but the girls were just darling. Sometimes large bridal parties make me a bit nervous from a logistical point of view - it's a lot to wrangle in on a wedding day. Lara's girls were premium bridesmaids. They were kind, helpful, sweet, and spent the morning twirling each others hair, locating Lara's chapstick, and making sure their dear friend had the best wedding day possible.
The girls came from everywhere to be with their friend on her special day- Florida on a red-eye flight, all the way down the coast from Maine. If I didn't know any better, I'd say she handpicked the most gorgeous bridesmaids she could find.
While I was shooting, one of the girls walked up to me with misty eyes and said, "I've known Lara forever. We met on the playground when we were kids. I have a picture of us on the slide from that day." Love!
And the children. Oh my goodness. Adorable children everywhere. Little girls begging for sparkly lipgloss. Little boys in suspenders chasing each other through the open field. Everyone below hairspray-height gagging from the non-stop fumes. They were all such good sports. (And Lara decked them all out in brand new Toms - adorbs.)
Getting into a wedding gown: it takes a village, people! (Now I have YMCA in my head. Dangit.)
Such lovely, happy girls.
Let me tell you something that Lara taught me - I am a bad wife. I know this because Lara had Todd's wedding band handmade from wood and deer antler. I bought Justin's at JC Penney. What an awesome idea!
Lara is probably the only person I've ever known who looks so high-fashion getting out of the car. I usually drop the diaper bag and spill my coffee getting out of the car. She's so glamorous.
Lara & Todd opted to have a First Look - a.k.a. Seeing Each Other Before the Ceremony. Now I know this goes against the grain of believing it's bad luck to see the bride beforehand, but it is such a special time for the almost husband and wife. There's no pressure to get to the reception, we can do some portraits, but best of all - the two of them get to savor a few precious minutes together to soak up the joy and relax a bit before showtime. Lara & Todd's First Look was adorable - he was swooning over his bride and I was meeeeeeeelting.
During the ceremony, both Lara & Todd said they looked forward to starting a family together. Looking at these next few shots, I think they might have the most gorgeous children ever.
And these two were so very thoughtful. They bought special gifts for their parents - orange neckties for their fathers and handwritten notes and handkerchiefs for their mama's. I love nothing more than a choked-up mama on her child's wedding day. Such joy.
And did I forget to tell you about the dog? And how the bride didn't let a white wedding gown stop her from loving on her precious pooch? I loved that about Lara - she was taking it all in stride. Easy breezy. I wish I could've brought Kona to our wedding but...no, nevermind. I hate Kona.
Hellooooooooooo, delicious autumn light!
This part gave me goosies (as J-Lo would say). Todd & Lara's parents circled around them to ask God's blessing and favor on their lives. I can't think of a more precious and meaningful gift a parent can give to their child on such an important day. I love weddings. I love family. Sniff::sniff.
And they are MARRIED.
Congratulations, Mr. & Mrs. Knepper. I'm so grateful I got to be a part of your beautiful wedding day and I wish you every happiness through all your years together.