Fifteen days before Christmas Eve, one of my oldest and dearest friends and her then-boyfriend asked me to photograph their SURPRISE wedding. Hannah and Ben had been dating for years, living together forever and already owned a house together. The obvious next step was to get married but a surprise wedding? She assured me it was ok to say no to the holiday request; I don't think I could have felt more honored.
Hannah and I go way back. We met at figure skating lessons in elementary school, skated competitively through high school and then stayed in touch during college. We didn't attend any of the same schools yet always knew what was going on in each other's lives. These days we don't talk weekly or even monthly but we always pick right back up where we left off.
We spent Christmas Eve afternoon holed up in the Daniel Stone Inn, getting her make-up and hair done, moonlighting as florists and calming those typical pre-nuptial nerves with some bubbly. The plan was elaborate but went off seamlessly; one of her family's closest friends was to officiate (turns out he had married her parents 30+ years prior unbeknownst to Hannah) and it was to happen right there in her mom's living room immediately after we arrived. The surprise was incredibly fun to witness - there were tears, a myriad of "what is going on? will someone fill me in?!" and shear disbelief. Hannah's mom, Patty, didn't figure it out until she saw her stunning daughter come in the front door to Pachelbel's Canon adorned in a wedding gown.
For all the happiness, there was one thing missing: Hannah's dad. Dick passed away suddenly during our junior year in college and I'll never forget how devastating that news was to me. He was one of the most kind and wonderful people I've ever known. He never raised his voice, was always happy to give us a ride anywhere or give up the phone so we could talk for hours about nothing. The skating world was dominated by the mother/daughter duo but Dick was always in the stands, whether that be just another practice, show or competition. Patty and Hannah were the light of his life; as Hannah put it, we knew he was there in spirit as everything went so perfectly all day.
Hannah and Ben, thank you SO MUCH for the opportunity to document your wedding day (my first wedding gig!!). I can't tell you how flattered and honored I was to play that role in your day and I hope you love the pictures as much as I do. I wish you all the happiness in the world and can't wait to celebrate with you again this summer! Love you both xoxo
Here are more than a few of my favorites!
|The well thought out agenda next to some champagne and some nervous bride fingers on her phone!|
|Going over the plan one more time...|
|A proud and thrilled mama!|
|Re-living all the lies leading up to the big moment!|
|A proud family!|
|Luckily we could track Santa online!|