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meaningful wedding ceremony

There were tears at today’s wedding, and some of them were mine.

Yesterday I received a call from Heather, a bride whose wedding I’m photographing this fall, to tell me her mom Barbara had been admitted to the hospital and that she and Greg were moving the ceremony up to today so her mom could take part.

When you’re a wedding photographer you spend time with families whose members you typically meet only once. The day comes and goes and if all goes as planned there are cherished memories on the other end. It’s my responsibility to ensure the presentation of those memories, the photographs, are something the family will cherish now and in the future.

As a witness to some of life’s best moments in a variety of environments, being asked to photograph a wedding ceremony in a hospital room was a new experience. The knowledge of how important this is to the couple and to their family is profound, and I was more nervous than I’d been in some time before a wedding.

I anticipated the heightened emotional state the family would be in, and as a stranger with a camera entering the room I wanted to be as respectful and unobtrusive as I could. I was fearful about the possibility of my presence appearing callous or disrespectful to the casual observer, though I found the family and hospital staff accepting my role in line with my intent of creating something meaningful.

Heather + Greg started the day at their hotel room where I photographed them getting ready. A shout out to Crystal Vazquez & Company who was able to fill in at the last minute with hair and makeup for Heather.

Afterward I met up with them at Mercy Hospital where they conferred with the hospital Chaplain who would be performing their ceremony to go over the plan.

I met Heather’s mom Barbara and got to quickly know her a bit before photographing her. Thanks to having a semi-private room, the hospital brought in chairs for family to sit on during the ceremony. The hospital staff at Mercy were amazing. Not only did they help get the room ready for the family, they put decorations on the door, walls, and windows. They also brought in flowers and a cake.

Once things got underway, the back of the room and spilling out the door into the hallway were doctors and nurses who also wanted to observe this special event.

It was beautiful, and it was a unique honor to have been asked to play my part.

The ceremony was live streamed to family who couldn’t make it out on short notice; doctors, nurses, and family shared boxes of tissues as they were passed around; and about 20 minutes later Heather + Greg were newly married.

Barbara seemed so proud.

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