It’s a huge honor when one of your close friends hires you for their wedding. It’s another notable feat when another professional photographer hires you. In this case, it’s a combination scenario, which is why I was crying through many parts of this wedding, and this post will be more emotional than my enneagram eight self is comfortable with.
Many people in the wedding industry shoot weddings to gain followers, likes, features, publications, awards, etc. While that can be valuable, that’s not what I’m about. I am here to serve my clients fully, to scratch below the surface, to tell their story fully and authentically; to build relationships that don’t end after your wedding day is over.
If you know the Graves-Shepherd family, you love them. I was initiated into the inner circle over a homemade dinner back in the before COVID times. We took a 5-hour each way road trip for their engagement session and drank moonshine together in a hotel pool (again, in the before times). The wedding day was full of love and laughter with a very close-knit community they curated over the years. After I finished photographing on their wedding day, Julie, Meredith’s mom, made sure I always had a drink in my hand by the bonfire (at a safe social distance, obvs).
But, we didn’t get to this day easily.
I was supposed to photograph Meredith and Trevor’s wedding in Blue River, Colorado, on July 9, 2019 – their second set wedding date. I’ll let Meredith’s words speak for themselves: https://www.meredithgravesphotography.com/blog-posts/2019/7/1/update
So, the third wedding date is the charm? Wedding date #3 happened FOR REAL on October 17, 2020.
It was a beautiful backyard affair, with a ceremony under the oak tree that supplied the wood for Trevor’s wedding ring. Trevor and his groomsmen were treated to fresh haircuts that morning while they were getting ready. Just before the ceremony, Meredith took a shot with her dad’s fraternity brothers of the last bottle of Maker’s Mark he ever bought. The brothers walked her down the aisle, two of her dad’s best friends officiated the ceremony with the notes they wrote on paper plates. Trevor refurbished a family mirror and had “Shepherd, October 17, 2020” scripted on it as a welcome sign. Meredith stopped up the hill to visit her grandma, so she could see her in her wedding dress. Many of the details for the reception were homemade with the intention of being used again for dinner parties in the future. So many special touches went into planning a wedding that had every intention of feeling good for their friends in attendance.
In a conversation I had with Meredith recently, she mentioned how many emotions she was feeling going into the day, but she felt happiness looking back at the pictures. My response to her, “I think it’s beautiful because your wedding was filled with complex emotions, but the happiness is what tied it all together. Everyone there, myself included, is very invested in you and your family and you could feel it in the air. It wasn’t for show. So many weddings are for appearances. Yours acknowledged the inevitable pain and loss and healing that come with love and commitment, and that is beautiful and worth celebrating in and of itself.“
I’ll let parts of their vows, which had absolutely EVERYONE in tears, speak for themselves:
“We’ve come a long way, haven’t we? I guess the third time really is the charm. I can remember back to when we first started dating that this really is my soulmate, and I would do whatever it takes to weather the storm – and we’ve had a lot to weather. But through it all, it’s truly shown that we can make it as long as we have each other.” – part of Trevor’s vows to Meredith.
“When I think about us, the one thing that hasn’t changed about you at all is the fact that you have loved me without fail since we were kids. As children, we were told that we wouldn’t last, that we were too young and that relationships were fleeting. But you were different. The way you loved me confused me at times because I wasn’t sure how someone so young could love me with a love that seemed much more assured and wise than we were at 14. So as far as vows go, I promise to try and love you with the same love that you have shown me since we were kids. There is a line from our first dance song that says, ‘when sorrow holds you in its arms of clay, it’s raindrops that fall from your eyes, your smile is the sun come to earth for a day, you brighten my blackest of skies.’ No one can doubt that we’ve been in the arms of sorrow, but your smile does brighten my blackest of skies.” – part of Meredith’s vows to Trevor.
Meredith and Trevor, I am so grateful to know both of you, and I am so excited to be a part of this journey with you.
Play hard, party hard, love a lot and live a large life.
Hair & Makeup: @paradisellckc