Wedding ceremonies are complicated occasions. For many women, this one day is the culmination of years of dreams and imagining perfection. It's an expensive day for many couples and their families, and that stress adds to the complication. This weekend I carried the lens bag and other equipment as my friend Christa shot a wedding in Indianapolis. I got the microscopic view of just what a unique, pressure-filled role Christa fulfills. She is paid to capture every moment for the couple and for posterity. A narrative is born as the camera clicks away. As I learned this weekend, performing this function well is just another piece of her artistry.
My daughter and I were subjects for Christa's art when she documented our fashion session this winter for my 4040 list. From my own experience, I knew that the bride and groom were in good hands, but I was blown away when I witnessed Christa operate in wedding mode.
The Wedding Day is comprised of 12-15 hours of preparation, ceremony, and celebration. In between those highlight moments, there are a host of variables that in the wrong dose can make wedding chaos: missed timelines, family dynamics, guests' experience, overheated and antsy groomsmen and ushers, camera-shy grooms, too many drinks poured. Christa juggled all of those scenarios and more.
The linen-tuxedoed St. Bernard dog-baby of the couple got separation anxiety at the slightest hint that it was time to leave the wedding party. It took the groom and dog handler minutes to wrangle the dog back to the car. Wedding photos without a groom are generally discouraged, so we waited as precious minutes leading to the scheduled start time of the reception ticked away—time that needed to be devoted the couple's portraits.
Christa takes her responsibility as the documenter of All Things Important seriously. She also has a knack for putting nervous brides at ease. Before the ceremony, the mother of the bride arrived late. She was distracted and disheveled from the last-minute preparations. She was agitated and hesitant about being ready to stand in front of the camera at the scheduled time. Christa nimbly changed her plans, got the shots she wanted, and helped calm the mother and settle her into the task of getting her hair and make-up done.
“The great thing is, the wedding doesn't start until you are ready,” she reminded the bride. Later as we waited for the groom to return, Christa coached the bride that a few minutes late to the reception was not the end of the world. “You have nothing to apologize for on your wedding day,” Christa comforted the bride as she apologized for the delays and other details. As Christa said these words, and repeated similar ones throughout the day and evening, I watched the bride's shoulders relax and her beautiful smile return.
Christa's artistry was on display again and again. I watched Christa do all of these things AND take photos. I know this couple will love the photos and moments Christa captured long after the hangovers fade and the honeymoon is over.