One of my favorite FAVORITE parts of a wedding day is the ceremony. The ceremony is where the promise is made. Everything that comes before leads up to this moment. And everything that comes after is in celebration of it. Because it is the pivital moment that is framed in this way, you can feel the energy surrounding it.
As mentioned in my bio, I've cried at many a ceremony. The ones that really get me are the personal ones. Ones where the couple obviously took time to put their personalities and even a bit of the story of their relationship into it. One of my favorite ceremonies of all time was Kindra & Michael's. They were married last April on Coronado Island and if you've been reading my blog since then, I'm sure you remember them. Since shooting their wedding, these two have become dear friends, but at the time, I knew them no more than my other clients with whom my only interaction has been an initial client meeting, engagement shoot and dinner afterwards. I knew they were cool in an obvious way but I was unprepared to get sucked into their awesomeness like I did when their friends read their story during the ceremony.
Kindra is a story-teller by trade. She's SO entertaining. She crafted the stories that were read during their ceremony and I can't believe how special they made it. I'm going to include them here in their entirety along with a few photos from their ceremony to help you visualize the scene:
When I Saw You -- the story according to Kindra
I can't say that I believe in love at first sight, at least not for me. For me, love takes longer. For me, love takes a week or two.
I remember when I first saw Michael. I walked into the job interview and he looked up from his desk and only slightly nodded his head when introduced. If it had been love at first sight, it would have happened in that moment. However, in THAT moment I thought to myself... Well, THAT will make the job a little more interesting.
However, HE seemed to have no interest in ME. THIS guy wouldn't so much as TALK to me, much less respond to my skillful flirtations.
With my powers rendered useless, I had nothing more to do than to resort to "getting-to-know-him." I got to know how smart he was. I got to know that he could read books, and liked it. I got to know that he was very passionate about his work, about his family, about his character. I got to know that he was a factory of good ideas. And I quickly learned how inspiring it was to truly meet your match. I got to know all of these things...in just a few short weeks.
Unfortunately, it took Michael a bit longer. For four LOOOOONG months I did everything in my power to convince him that I was perfect for him, but to no avail.
And then, on one Arizona July night, after I had all but given up, Michael unexpectedly kissed me. And in THAT moment, I saw love clearly for the first time.
When I First Saw You--the story according to Michael
I do not believe in love at first sight, at least not for me. For me, love takes longer. For me, love takes a lot of time...evaluation...analysis.
I remember when I first saw Kindra. She walked into the job interview in a tornado of enthusiasm...I barely looked up from my desk. It only took that moment to know her game -- that she could have anyone she wanted -- I knew that to win her I must be a contrarian. In that moment I thought to myself... I would have to make this girl sweat if I was to win her.
I had heard of her type before. The only way to hook this particular fish was to give her lots of line...so she wouldn't even realize that the fight was on. I decided to seem to have no interest in her. So I didn't even TALK to her for the first few days at the office, much less respond to her flirtations, albeit, quite skillful.
With my will-power strong, I had nothing more to do than to "get-to-know-her." I got to know how fun sweet and pure she was. I got to know that she left a trail of love in her wake. I got to know that she was very passionate about her storytelling, about her stagecraft, about her family. I got to know that she was the brilliant communicator I was not. And I quickly learned how inspiring it was to truly meet your match. I got to know all of these things all the while she never knew what I was really thinking...all in a few short months.
Because I knew what all was at stake, her working for the family company and all, it took me four months to act. Though I had felt this way since nearly the moment I first saw her.
One Arizona July night I finally did what I had been waiting so long to do... I kissed her for the first time.
And then two more stories were shared--again from both Kindra & Michael's perspective--about the proposal:
Once I Knew You--the story according to Kindra
Because I had known I would marry Michael just moments after meeting him, waiting for him to ask me to do so was torture. He told me he would propose on Saturday -- though he never told me WHICH Saturday. Every Saturday morning I would wake up and remind him that it was indeed Saturday...again.
On Saturday, March 15th, Michael and I were in our favorite vacation spot, Encinitas, CA. On this Saturday morning Michael suggested, before I could even THINK of what day it was, that we run on the beach... A run we would often take, nothing new or out of the ordinary.
I tied on my tennies and bounded down the shoreline. Strangely, Michael was lagging...simply sauntering along the beach. This began to annoy me...WHAT afterall, could he be doing? Then, to top it off, he complained of something in his shoe. As he bent down...on one knee...to get it out, I was still completely oblivious to the fact that it was Saturday...much less the Saturday I had been waiting for.
There he was, knee in the sand and a ring held in his fingers. When he asked, I of course said yes.
With Michael, these are the things I know to be true:
I will always be respected. I will always be cherished. I will always be precious.
With Michael I will always be challenged to be better, even when I think I'm good enough.
I know that I will always have someone who loves me for exactly who I am.
With Michael I know that, though it may not always be with words, I will know that I am loved every single day.
This is a glorious day that I will rejoice and be glad in, and together I know there will be many more.
Once I Knew You--the story according to Michael
When my grandfather was rebuilding a beautiful sailboat, people used to come by and ask when his masterpiece would be finished. He would reply enthusiastically, "Monday!" Every week the same people would come by and he would tell them "It'll be done Monday!" I told Kindra I would propose on Saturday -- the eventual Saturday. Every Saturday morning she would wake up and remind me that it was indeed Saturday. Every Saturday morning I would tell her it was only a week till Saturday....this went on for months.
On Saturday, March 15th, Kindra and I were in our favorite vacation spot, Encinitas, CA. I was sure that Kindra's intuition would sniff me out, so after effectively overwhelming her with other concerns - on this Saturday morning - I suggested that we run on the beach...A run we would often take, nothing new or out of the ordinary.
I tied on my tennies and sauntered down the shoreline. Kindra had a lot on her mind...by my design...and was charging way ahead of me. As she sailed ahead in her Red Shorts, I slowed way down, threw the anchor out...and stopped. Kindra stopped, turned, and began to question my fitness...I made something up about a rock in my shoe to buy me some time while I remembered where I had put the ring. I'll never forget that look on her face when she realized what day it was.
With Kindra, these are the things I know to be true:
I will always be respected. I will always be admired. I will always be supported.
With Kindra I will always be challenged to push my pace in life.
I know that I will always have someone who loves me for exactly who I am.
With Kindra I know that I will be told every day that I am loved in a bunch of colorful ways.
This a glorious day that I will rejoice and be glad in, and together I know there will be many more. And for me, love took only a week.
It never fails. Even after all this time, whenever I read them again, I get sucked in and teary-eyed. People who attended their ceremony still talk about the stories as being the best part. And when Kindra and Michael look back on the day, they agree.
Another ceremony I loved recently was Jon & Joan's. They read their own story to each other and really personalized their vows. It reminded me of Michael & Kindra's wedding. Turns out Joan is a long-time blog reader of mine and got the idea from Kindra & Michael's wedding! I love that she was inspired and went for it! It's great when brides and grooms take the initiative to put their personalities into their ceremony. But maybe you're a bride and are reading this and like me, wouldn't have a clue of how to start to create something so beautiful.
I got together with Kindra last week for lunch and told her how she had inspired Joan to personalize her ceremony and we instantaneouly had the same thought: Kindra should offer her story-crafting services to other brides who are planning their ceremonies!
Remember the unbelievably touching story that Kindra wrote about my nephews to help raise awareness for Autism? She put that together just from some notes she took on a napkin while having dinner with my sister and I. She has an uncanny knack for crafting a bunch of random details about people into powerful stories.
Regardless of whether you contact Kindra for help or do the work yourself, I encourage you to make your ceremony personal. And if you also hire me to shoot your wedding, make sure to warn me so I can pack tissues.