It's easy to look at wedding photos and think that an amazing wedding is about having the perfect stuff. Brides are supposed to be beautiful. Rings, dresses, shoes, venue, chair decorations, flowers, antique hair pieces...it all has to be just so for the onlookers to feel like they're not just at a party. They're at a wedding.
As a photographer I am guilty of perpetuating this myth. Pretty things typically abound at weddings, and as a documentarian, I should and do take photos of those things. Unsurprisingly, editors at bridal magazines demand such photos in order for a piece to be useful to their readers. Other brides aren't looking for ideas on how to build a life with their husband, celebrate with their families, bask in the glow of all of the wonderful people in their life, and make memories that they'll share with their children one day. Calligraphy fonts, colors, A-line vs. fit-to flare dresses. These are the stock and trade of the wedding industry. The thing is, for me, a good love story is just so much more inspiring.
I wish we could all be inspired by Mike and Stephanie's love. By their love for eachother, by their kindness, by the way they each treat their family and friends, by the way they steal glances and grin like kids and seem to be secretly communicating when no words are exchanged. All this is even more intense when you realize that they're both in the Military in different STATES and they'll have to live mostly apart for the next few YEARS.
What's crazy is...they're also both super attractive and this wedding was GORGEOUS. They had a small group of family and close friends gather informally at Red Rock Canyon Open Space in Colorado Springs. There were no chairs, no music and no bridal party. They actually left it to ME to make the final decision on the exact spot for the ceremony within the park. (Which was thrilling, because the light was absolutely PERFECT as you can see in the ceremony shots which are my very favorite of any wedding ever).
Beautiful as it was, Mike and Stephanie could have gotten married in gym clothes in a parking lot and it still would have been one of the loveliest ceremonies I've ever been to. I wish that everyone can see what I saw when I was getting to know them--their love. Barring that, these photos will have to do.