Many moons later, it’s Morgan and Amanda’s Big Day!
The location? A gorgeous catholic retreat set on 50 acres of lakes, streams, and woods in Lutz, Florida called the Bethany Center. Full of rocking chairs on porches that look over the lake, the Bethany Center was already decorated for Christmas, even though the temperatures outside reminded us that winters in paradise are in the high 80’s until later January.
There was only one hiccup this entire day to speak of, the second camera body I rented didn’t arrive at the UPS store (20 minutes from the Brides location) until I was already AT the bridal suite. Luckily, my mom was around and UPS let her pick up my package and she brought it to me. Yay for moms! If you’re a photographer and you’ve rented gear in the last two years I’ll give you one guess which company almost ruined the day.
I could give you a play-by-play of the day but none of that compares to the real story of the day, well from my perspective, obviously the main story was a WEDDING! Anyway, we were doing M+A’s engagement shoot we opted to do it in their backyard because of how beautiful it was. We only traveled to the front yard to get a “walking on the road” photo, where we we blessed to have some company watching us from the baptist church across the street: a grey-haired couple of Sandhill cranes. They’re very common here, and yes, they do look like something out of the prehistoric era. Never in my wildest dreams did I think we’d get another visit from a Crane couple at their wedding, but sure enough, behind the tabernacle who shows up peeking into the window but a curious pair of cranes to witness this blessed union! I was FREAKING OUT! And I mean FREAKING OUT! Listen, I get my lashes done because I’m a cryer, I cry at every wedding and not having to wear mascara makes me look much more put-together. Mascara running down my face at a wedding would draw attention to me, I can just imagine a wedding guest “Oh no, the photographer is crying, OMG is she ok? Um, she looks kind of insane. Oh look they’re about to kiss!” 🤦♀️ During my panic the hour-long traditional catholic ceremony was still happening, so I had plenty of time to capture the Cranes, cry about their meaning, and refocus on the ceremony. What a treat! What a cool omen, if you put any weight behind things like this.
The Bethany center is a retreat for the the Franciscan dioceses of St. Petersburg so they had on-site catering, and truth be told, that chef put his FOOT in that food! He’s probably used to cooking for Jesuit men retreats full of growing, always starrrrving teenage boys. And I’m glad he had the practice because the food was phenomenal. In sync with how perfect the day was, the band was equally as incredible. I mean, is there anything better than live music? I’ll just say it, as someone who has been to HUNDREDS of wedding, live music is FAR superior to a DJ. ( my DJ friends are going to rip me a new one for that statement.)
It’s wedding’s like these, that remind me why I do weddings. To be allowed into all the moments of their day, and to be trusted to tell their story through my art feels so special.