Lee & Derek
Such an unusual place for a wedding!
FINALLY!! Many of the people here did not believe that this day would ever come (myself and Lee included)
We were wrong:
I'm still playing with the new beta textures from Totally Rad. They're not available yet, but I will let you know as soon as they are!
Veil + Windy day = Awesome:
Yeah, they're cute:
They had a big wedding and knew that unless they had dinner on their own, there would be no dinner at all. So during cocktail hour, they had a private dinner in the theater so they could spend the entire reception mingling and talking with their guests:
Here they are with Caleb, Lee's nephew. So sweet!
Note to brides and grooms: The best way to get the party started is to get out there on the dance floor yourselves and have a good time!
And to keep it going, have late night snacks of White Castle and cotton candy:
Lee & Derek, I am SO SO happy for you. You are such an amazing example of what love can overcome, and your relationship is so awesome to watch. Thanks for letting me be a part of your day!!
Thanks to Matt Paddack for this photo, and for shooting with me!
When I was 24 I had a tough year. I was just out of college, and suddenly in my first year of having my photography business all on my own instead of working for someone else as I'd done for the previous four years. I was in the midst of heartbreak, shuffling ambitions, and friends getting married only to move away, and I felt, for the most part, completely without any kind of stability in my life.
I remember having a particularly bad week, and realizing that I needed to make some kind of change in my life, meet new people, or just find some kind of way to be happy in general! That was the week I met Lee.
Lee was also in a transitional year. Although she was from Chicago, she was living in North Carolina where she'd gotten a job a year earlier that while lucrative, was a soul-sucking abyss. She ended up working for my dad, and loved the job, but needed a roommate to cover the extra expenses of her town home. My dad had the idea to introduce us to one another, and it was instantly like we'd been friends for years.
I found out that Lee had a boyfriend, Derek, and that they were dating long distance (and had been doing so for several years already). Derek got a job in Tampa that year, so the long distance relationship had no end in sight. Lee was reluctant to leave the life she was building in North Carolina until they were certain that Derek would be staying in Tampa. It was not an easy time for either of them.
Lee thought a lot about Derek and their future. While she never questioned that he was the person for her, she had an almost infuriating desire to do things the right way and make absolutely sure that their relationship was one that would be forever. They traveled back and forth, from Chicago, to Raleigh, to Tampa, and many other places, making sure that while they were always a primary part of one anothers' lives, that they really took the time to grow themselves as individuals and live fully instead of just killing time until they were together again.
Lee and I would talk a lot about relationships and where our lives might go. She said one day, "I just feel that I am always happy when I'm with Derek. No matter where we are, I'm just always happy when I'm with him". It wasn't long after that she moved to Tampa. I would tell her, "You're crazy! You're moving to Tampa just to DATE??" But Lee always knew what she was doing.
By that time, they'd already been together for about 5 years, but it had been three years since they lived in the same city. Lee wanted to spend at least a year making absolutely sure that their lives still matched up and worked together on a day to day basis. They took separate apartments and worked hard on their relationship for the next year (or was it two years?), dating like a regular couple, instead of rushing. Lee developed her own life and friendships, and Derek excelled in his career. They realized that not only had nothing changed in their years of living apart, but that they were truly a team of two, complete individuals who were meant to be together always. They are best friends.
A few months later, Lee and Derek got engaged, and here is their wedding:
This photo is first, because it was so heavily influenced by me. I told Lee that red and blue was a perfectly acceptable and FABULOUS color combination. Obviously I was right:
Lee on her way to go have her first look with Derek:
My beautiful friend:
Derek is such a funny, nice, happy guy:
Here we go...
This series is to die for! Such a great moment:
I love this one:
The day I met Lee and came to see her place (which I eventually shared with her), I asked if she had a boyfriend. She said, "Yes, would you like to meet him?" She said, "This is Ryan, he's four." Four year old Ryan has grown up quite a bit, but I see why she was so smitten with him!
Another little ring bearer--I adore these shots of him:
They were married in this gorgeous old theater--isn't it incredible?
Walking down the aisle with dad:
These two might be my favorites of the day: