Brooke & James
October 14th, 2016
One of the toughest parts about being a wedding photographer is, every once in a while, one of your closest friends is going to get married and you have to decide whether or not to put yourself out there to shoot it (If asked) or hope for an invitation to be a guest instead. Such was the case with Brooke and James' October wedding at the Farm at SummitWynds in Jefferson, Massachusetts.
I've known James, and for this rest of this blog I will refer to him as JD, from my college years and for as long as I can remember, we've joked about what his wedding would be and the hijinks he would inevitably get into.
This is the same man who wanted to bring a Money in the Bank briefcase to a friend of ours' wedding and "cash in" on me during a speech I was to give, hoping he'd be able to shock those in attendance and deliver the speech himself instead.
As such, I always pictured myself as a guest at his wedding, watching the fun from afar but when the time came and he actually told me he was getting married? Well, this was one shoot I knew would be far too fun to pass up. And I was right.
Brooke and JD had the wedding I always pictured JD would have and much, much more. It was, without question, one of the most fun times I've had behind the camera and lived up to all of our expectations and then some.
This really was, as their invitations promised it would be, the "Best Day Ever."
For Brooke and JD's big day, my coverage started with the bride-to-be, her four bridesmaids and her mom as the group got their hair and makeup done at a hotel in Worcester.
Brooke and her girls were an absolute blast from the moment I walked in and whether it was sharing funny Facebook memes with each other or breaking into spontaneous dancing when "Pony" by Ginuwine interuppted the flood of otherwise EDM music, this group of girls was set on having a great time and they didn't disappoint.
The levity continued on our way to the Farm and SummitWynds and even when the moment turned to something serious -- like Brooke and her father's first look -- the bride-to-be remained calm and relaxed. There were no nerves in this room. No. Not on this day.
I always knew Brooke would be relaxed on her wedding day as we spent the year ahead of it talking about what kind of day it would be and she never came across as a person with crazy or unrealistic plans.
JD, on the other hand, was a bit of a wildcard.
In the 14 years I've known JD, the one thing I know is true about him more than anything is he is a deeply romantic man. I often joked with him that the girl he ended up with was never going to understand how lucky she was as he would treat her like a princess everyday they're together. As such, I didn't know whether JD would be his typical funny self or super serious and nervous at the enormity of the day.
Turns out, it was a little bit of both.
JD worked his humor in nicely when it was appropriate -- like opening a huge scroll for his vows -- but by and large he was dialed in and absorbing every second of this ceremony. I could tell he'd waited years for this moment and it did not disappoint.
Following JD and Brooke's ceremony, we headed over to one of my most picturesque formal photo sessions ever.
Perfectly timed for the best weekend of the year, by far, and in a setting surrounded by gorgeous fall foliage, Brooke and JD's photos couldn't have come out better if we tried.
I especially loved all of the silliness the bride and groom had during the session as we made sure no pose (no matter how ridiculous) was left untaken in a really fun bride and groom photo session. Heck, they didn't even mind that I dragged them around the inside of a dark barn looking for the next location.
As much fun as we had during the ceremony and family photos though, the part of JD and Brooke's wedding I was looking forward to the most was, without a doubt, the reception.
JD is a huge wrestling fan and not only participated in ballroom dance in college but regularly participates in an RKO theater group now.
Brooke, meanwhile, is a fitness instructor and a well-trained dancer herself.
Combine those two and add each of their natural desire for showmanship and you're bound to get an amazing reception and it was just that.
From a custom entrance modeled after WWE Superstars Enzo and Cass to a meticulously planned first dance and separate musical numbers performances to Michael Jackson's Thriller and the Rocky Horror Picture Show's Timewarp, this reception had it all.
And that was just a small indication of how this would go.
JD and Brooke rarely left the dance floor during their reception and, if they did, it was only for a moment and only to interact with guests. At almost no point before the end of the night was the dance floor empty and it made for some really fun candid moments.
JD and Brooke's wedding was everything I hoped it would be and so much more.
From the start of bridal prep until the final song, this was a day full of so much joy and happiness that it's hard to sum up in just one blog post.
This, right here, is why I know I'll never get sick of weddings.
Seeing two people who are so clearly meant for each other finally say "I do" and tie the knot, in a moment you know each has waited a lifetime for, is tough to really put into words.
And that's why I love wedding photography.
When done right, there's nothing like the little moments you capture, especially when you know the couple will cherish them for a lifeitme, and I know deep down JD & Brooke will look back on this day fondly for the rest of their lives.
I certainly know I will.