It’s not often I get to shoot an engagement session at the same location as the wedding, but when your family owns the property and there’s no other brides competing for your date, you can do whatever you want. I met Jordan and Danielle for their engagement session last fall at Jordan’s parents’ house, the red brick colonial with the perfectly trimmed lawn at the bottom of the hill. The house at the top of that hill belongs to his grandparents, and before we started our session, Danielle waved to the house and mentioned that’s where the ceremony would be. I didn’t think it would be any different than any other backyard wedding, something quaint and sweet, but I’d also never been to the top of the hill.
THE VIEW. Just pulling into their driveway is deceiving, you have to walk down into the basement, greet the bride and her beautiful maids, then walk out the back door and turn left. Open your eyes nice and wide and wonder how this could possibly be my Maryland that stretched for miles and miles. The sky was electric blue, the mountains seemed to have given up on competing with the clouds and let them have all the glory. I scanned my memory to see if there was ever any venue I’d been to that offered a view that like and my mind drew a blank. This was something else.
I know it’s ho-hum to talk about the weather, but can I bore you for just a second? Because if you were outside this past Saturday for even a moment or two, surely you noticed the high of 75, the cool, steady breeze, the billowing white clouds and cerulean sky. And maybe you thought, “Hey, this would be a great day for a wedding!” because yes, yes it was. And so there was a wedding, a kiss, a promise for forever, we did some pictures and drove down the big hill to the white tent set up and filled with music and guests - but then there were the dances.
When my I did the special dances at my own wedding, first with my Dad and then with Justin, I felt so aware. Aware of all the eyes on me, of everyone watching, feeling like the song that sounded so perfect three months ago suddenly felt too long and I wanted it to end so I could get off the dance floor. Sometimes, I can see the distraction in their eyes - it’s such a busy day and with so many people watching, it can be hard to get into the moment.
Danielle danced with her Dad, tears streaming down her beautiful cheeks with him whispering things I can’t believe I got to be close enough to hear (job perks!). Everyone was watching, sure, but really, it was just the two of them. When Jordan and his sweet mama took their turn below the twinkle lights, it was raw maternal emotion. She didn’t care about the camera or the guests or her makeup, she cried and hugged and Jordan smiled and let her feel her feelings. That Jordan. He is a peach.
I’d like to take a moment now and embrace my inner pack mule - I have to give a shoutout to the food. I eat a lot of wedding food ya’ll, but at Danielle and Jordan’s, I piled up my plate like it was my last meal. There was beef barbecue with a tangle of juicy coleslaw on top, baked beans that made me wish for seconds and you guys, I don’t even like baked beans, cheesy potatoes (I die) and crunchy broccoli slaw, all of which I swished down with sweet tea. By the grace of God I was able to get out of my seat for a slice of their vanilla wedding cake topped with a pile of a crunchy praline that might as well be manna from the heavens. Bless you, bride and groom, for feeding your photographer so well.
Thank you both for having me part of your incredible wedding day - you are two very loved people and it was a joy to document your first day of forever.