Some weeks ago, I received a call from my friend Marc. He asked me if I would be willing to take photographs at his wedding rehearsal and ceremony, as I would already be attending. I welcomed the opportunity and told him I would. The Friday before last, I made the drive down to Williamsburg, pleasant enough considering the traffic nightmare that often plagues at least 10 miles of I-95. Somehow, I arrived on time for the rehearsal, hungry after a lunch consisting of several handfuls of trail mix.
Three of the groomsmen were already good friends of mine from Virginia Tech, so I was happy to spend the evening with them. The others, Marc's brother and friend from high school, are great guys as well, and it was hilarious to see all five of them together, enjoying the whole event. They'd already had a great time at the bachelor party, continually laughing at whatever memories the phrases "But what if I don't have any pants?" and "It tastes so good!" inspired.
The rehearsal went well, so it was off to a wonderful neighborhood club for the rehearsal dinner. By this time, I was considered part of the bridal party - something I hadn't expected! We all sat together at dinner with a few of the bridesmaids, catching up with old friends and getting to know new ones. Marc's father gave a wonderful welcome as we gathered and finished our meal. Soon it was time for dancing, into which Marc's Italian relatives threw themselves passionately, as did most of us in the bridal party.
The next morning brought a quick breakfast with friends who would be attending the ceremony, and then I was off to the church at 11:00 for preparation and documentary-style photography. I met the main wedding photographer, who, upon my asking if I could help at all, said, "Just make sure you stay behind me." I suppose I could have been offended by what seemed to be a dismissal, but the man knew what he was doing. So instead, I figured amusement was a better reaction!
The groomsmen got ready, making sure to play with Duplo blocks and dinosaurs before it became time to greet the wedding guests as they arrived. I stood in the lobby, greeting friends I hadn't seen in some time, taking a few photos of the proceedings.
The ceremony itself was beautiful. We sang Come Thou Fount and Be Thou my Vision, Marc and Marlana exchanged their vows, the pastor spoke well of marriage and the picture it paints of Christ's love for His church through a husband's love for his wife. I could sense the presence of God in that room - nearly hear Him smile and say this is good.
A reception afterwards, in the lobby. Delicious cupcakes for all. Wonderful conversations and many photographs. The bride and groom cut the smallest wedding cake I had ever seen and were soon off to a second, more intimate reception.
I joined the groomsmen as we drove to New Town, a recent mixed commercial and residential development in Williamsburg. The reception was held in the wonderful Legacy Hall. Seeing as we somehow managed to arrive early, we decided to quickly run to Target to get supplies for decorating the newly-married couple's car. After several conversations with elderly female shoppers commenting on our rugged handsomeness, we obtained some balloons, streamers, and beef jerky (why have breath mints when you can have beef jerky?), and returned to Legacy Hall.
After a delicious dinner, Austin gave a wonderful speech as best man; the bride's father spoke as well. Marc and Marlana had their first dance together, and then the floor was opened up to the rest of the guests, at which point the groomsmen suspiciously disappeared to decorate the getaway vehicle.
Soon after returning to the hall, the dancing came to an end and it was time to see the bride and groom off. We gathered outside, armed with small bubble-making devices. Marc and Marlana exited the hall to our cheers and drove off to whatever secret location they were headed to.
It was a joy to spend the weekend with close friends of mine, and see Marc and Marlana get married. I've been to several weddings over my lifetime, and every so often of these ceremonies is not simply special, but also holy. This was one such ceremony, with such a focus on the God who created marriage, such a picture of sacrificial love between two people. It was clear that Marc and Marlana desire to put Christ at the center of their marriage, to honor Him in the way they will live together. They are blessed and will continue to be so!
I am so thankful for the opportunity to take photos during the course of the wedding events. Congratulations to Marc and Marlana!