Today, after a spell of not feeling inspired to share much, I feel the need to share a small fragment of the beautiful wedding story of Nadine and Jesse, at Kitty Coleman in the Comox Valley on July 15 2015.
I began receiving wedding inquiries from Nadine in June 2015, asking about availability and pricing for a wedding her fiancé and her were planning for Fall of 2016, on Vancouver Island. We were back and forth about dates, and then I didn't hear from her for a while. This happens often and I thought nothing of it. Then July 9 2015 I received an email from Nadines mom... letting me know that Nadines dad had become incredibly ill and they didn't know how much longer they had with him. My heart sank. She asked if I could photograph a small wedding they were planning/hoping to pull off within a week. I shuffled my schedule and we set on July 15 2015, 7 days later.
To say I was nervous was an understatement. I knew very little of the details, to be honest I didn't feel it was right to ask. I knew he had terminal cancer and was in Hospice Care, was very ill and would be in a wheelchair. I knew that it would be insanely hard for Nadine and her family to be going through this, but was so inspired by the beauty of what they were doing. The simple beauty of it all. Love. Showing love. Sharing love. Displaying love. Courageously. Beautifully, with their whole hearts. She wanted her dad to see her get married, to have the chance to walk his daughter down the isle (even if that was in a wheelchair). It would be emotional. I knew I couldn't bawl my eyes out the whole time. I was certain that couldn't do much good. So, I gathered up my own courage nervously, had a fews tears on the way to meet them, but then pulled it together... then I photographed Nadine and Jesses beautiful and heartfelt wedding with as much love as I possibly knew how. After we finished I hugged Nadine and Jesse and thanked them for trusting me with such a beautiful day. She said "we weren't doing this without you."
I got into the car and burst into tears. Pressure! I hoped I had captured it all with a bit of grace. (If you've seen me in action I can be a bit unpredictable i.e. hopping into lakes, the ocean, balancing on cliffs, on tops of cars etc) I hoped I had remained composed a little on the outside at least, and more than anything, I hoped I caught a bit of what Nadine's had hoped for.
Nadine has such a beautiful way with words and along with their images I wanted to share a few of her words. I have also read and re-read the following email from her. I feel so deeply honoured and moved that Jesse and Nadine put their trust in me. What an incredible, courageous, beautiful and special couple. I wish these two, a lifetime of joy and love together. They deserve all the beauty, all the love. ox
It is nearly impossible to put into words how thankful we are. You were so much more than just a photographer for Jesse and I on our wedding day. There isn’t a single photo that wasn't brimming with love. If you were at all intimidated by the tender circumstances, it did not show in the least. Your intuition shines bright in your work, as if we had a lifelong friend photographing our wedding. No small detail went unnoticed. Your effortless nature in capturing every candid moment has given my family and I photos we will cherish for a lifetime.
Although my father's journey was coming to an end, you still managed to capture the last of the sparkle in his eyes. A man usually so boisterous, vibrant and full of life, I was so worried that his illness was all that would show in our photos. Instead, it was his infinite love and pride for his family that shined through. During my father's final weeks in hospice, I will always remember laying with him while looking at your wedding photos and having him smile and say "I like that one" to all of them.
It's been incredibly heartwarming to see the reaction from friends and strangers alike in response to the photos of my father and I. It is not every day you meet someone who has tapped their potential in a way that not only brings such unbelievable joy to so many people, but also encourages immense self-reflection. Jesse, myself and my family thank you for what you have done for us. But perhaps most importantly, thank you for what you have done for my father. In such a tremendously sad time in my life, I am deeply consoled in knowing that one day I will share these photos of my father so full of love at my wedding with my children, so they can experience all of his love that day too.
Thank you from the bottom of our hearts for the truly timeless gift you have shared with my family.
May we all be able to love a little harder, breathe a little deeper and feel a little more. Love is magic. ox