You see that guy above? I just need to take a minute to tell you how AMAZING he is. I could sit here for hours and tell you about all the things he does behind the scenes. About all the ways he goes above and beyond, mostly without recognition. On wedding days he is the one who keeps me on track, who reminds me of all the things I can't forget, who runs and grabs all the items I do forget, who hangs dresses on things far out of my reach, who carries our heavy gear around, who keeps track of our photo list and makes sure we don't miss any shots, who keeps me motivated and hydrated (equally important!), who stands behind me making silly faces and funny noises to make kiddos smile during family photos, and who keeps me laughing all day long.
But this wedding season was different. This wedding season he did SO much more than that. You see, this wedding season got off to a ROUGH start. And so now that we've shared all of our beautiful weddings from this season with you, I've decided to also share the not so pretty side...
WE SHOT 8 WEDDINGS IN 7 WEEKS THIS SUMMER.
#1) The week before our first wedding of the busy stretch (technically our second of the year) I was doing yard work and ended up with a severe sunburn on my back. We're talking giant blisters, can't touch it, don't even think about wearing a bra, worst sunburn of my life, painful! But come Saturday, I had to suck it up, apply as much apple cider vinegar and aloe vera to my back as I could, pop some ibuprofen, and head out to our wedding like nothing was wrong. Because our clients deserve our BEST, 100% of the time, regardless of what else is going on in our own lives.
#2) The week leading up to our second wedding we finally bought one of the lenses on our dream list, a Canon 24-70mm 2.8. It was an $1,800 investment that we were so dang happy about. So that weekend as we were shooting our wedding we used that baby as much as we could, we were SO excited to finally have it in our arsenal. Come the ceremony, I was shooting with it at the beginning, but near the end I wanted to switch it up and use a different lens. So I grabbed our bag and started to change out my lens, when low and behold.... I dropped our brand new lens!!! It hit that hard tile with a vengenance, and broke. But it was mid-wedding day, and again, we are committed to giving our couples our best, so we tucked that broken baby into our bag and put off dealing with it until we were home the next day. Thankfully we were able to get that lens replaced free of charge the following week since it was so new, but goodness did that make for some frustration with myself!
#3) Our third wedding of the season started with a morning of rain and wind. Even the ceremony was accompanied by a light drizzle. So afer we finished up family photos and were getting ready to start with the bridal party, I noticed a rainbow behind us. I got so excited and promptly directed the bridal party to run that way before it faded away. I took off running with excitement towards the rainbow, and managed to find a hole in the field.... My foot got caught in the hole, I fell down, and my ankle snapped... Pain immediately radiated from my foot and I started to cry. Brandon ran to me and pulled me up, he helped me wipe my tears, and let me use him as a crutch to continue walking towards the rainbow. Because again, our clients get our 100%, no matter what. I wasn't going to even look at my ankle until I had all the shots I needed. With Brandon helping me walk, and the world's greatest bride & groom giving me so much grace, we finished all of the bridal party and bride&groom photos. I popped a handful of ibuprofen, the bartender made me a makeshift icepack out of a garbage bag, and I shot the reception from strategically placed chairs while Brandon took charge and made sure that everything was covered fully from every angle both he and I would normally shoot from. He stepped up and made sure that not a single beat was missed. The following morning he drove me straight to the doctors office where it was confirmed that I had a severely sprained ankle. I couldn't put any pressure on my foot.
With 5 weddings left over the next 4 weeks, I couldn't walk.
#4) The week between spraining my ankle and our forth wedding was full of research. I had to figure out how to shoot a wedding, without being able to walk on one foot. Crutches were not an option because I couldn't hold my camera and use crutches at the same time while standing on one leg. But then the internet provided me with the best alternative out there: the iWalk, AKA, the Pirate Peg Leg!
Go ahead, have a laugh! This thing was a legit pirate peg leg, and I look terrible and exhausted in this test photo. But you know what? It got the job done. It allowed me to walk everywhere I needed to, hands-free, ensuring that even though I had an injury, our couple still got our very BEST.
#5) Our fifth wedding was in Glacier. We had planned on staying the whole weekend and hiking the day after the wedding. We also knew that Glacier meant locations that were a little tricky to get to. I spent the week prior to this wedding with my foot in an endless icebath. I ended up with a small patch of ice-pack induced frostbite on my ankle which added another level of pain. I loaded up on pain killers and tried to stretch my foot as much as possible to excercise it. And the day of the wedding I was feeling pretty good about it, so I left my crutches and iWalk in the car and decided to try and walk normally all day. The excitement of the wedding kept me from focusing on my ankle, and I made it all day without pulling out crutches of any kind, only feeling the pain sink it at the very end of the night. The next morning it was clear: I had overdone it, by a lot. Hiking was out of the question since I was back on crutches, so Brandon simply drove us through Glacier and we admired our favorite sights.
#6 & #7) Our sixth and seventh weddings were back-to-back Friday & Saturday weddings. By this point I could put a little bit of weight on my foot, and could walk fairly easily with a walking boot. But I knew that I couldn't over do it with back-to-back weddings, so I had to use my crutches to walk long distances, but could set them down and move around small spaces (like the dance floor) with just my walking boot.
Originally we had planned to leave our 7th wedding and immediately drive to the Montana/Canada border to spend the night, and then Sunday we were going to wake up and drive up to Banff National Park for our week long vacation. It was a trip we'd had planned for months, one we were SO excited for. Once I injured my ankle we knew that our week of hiking in Banff might turn into a week of relaxing and driving through Banff instead. We had started to prepare for the possibility that I might not be healed yet. Then the day before our double-header I ended up with a large nail lodged into my tire, leaving me with a flat, and not a single tire store in town had a replacement in stock. That meant that we now would have to take Brandon's smaller car on a week long roadtrip, Brandon would likely be driving the entire time as it hurt my ankle to push the gas or brake pedals, and we wouldn't be able to hike on the trip where we'd planned nothing but hiking. The flat tire was the last straw. After an afternoon full of tears and frustrations, we cancelled our trip to Canada, and traded it for two plane tickets to an all-inclusive resort in Cancun Mexico. More on that tomorrow!
#8) After a week on a beach and in the pool, we came back feeling so refreshed and ready to finish our last wedding of the summer on a good note! I made it through the whole day without crutches, and am continuing to walk without them still. I have a limp, my ankle is still swollen, I now have shin splint in addition to my healing sprain, but I'm feeling so much better and healing slowly but surely!
But THIS guy??? I can't even begin to tell you about all that he's done, in the midst of all this. When I was sunburned he was the one who applied endless amounts of apple cider vinegar, aloe vera, and coconut oil to my back. When I broke our brand new lens, he extended copious amounts of grace towards me. And when I sprained my ankle, he was my knight in shining armour. He was the one who saw all the behind the scenes. The things I hid from our clients, our families, and from social media. He was the one who held me tight every time he found me crying in pain. Who drove me to the doctors office so we would arrive the minute they opened. Who carried countless things up and down the stairs of our home when I could all but crawl up and down them. He's the one who made sure I took my meds when I was supposed to. Who made me ice bath after ice bath. Who made sure I was as comfortable as possible. Who stepped up at our weddings and took over things that I normally handled. He's the one who loved and cared for me, even when I gave him the worst side of me. He got the brunt side of my emotions and of the pain. And he's the one who helped me get back up, week after week, and assured me that together we would get through it. That it would all be okay.
And you know what? It was! Despite this being the aboslute hardest wedding season we've ever expereinced, it was hands down the very BEST too. We had the most amazing lineup of couples this summer, with weddings full of love and so much happiness. Every single time we showed up to a wedding it became one of our favorites ever, because every single one of our couples was so wonderful. They all felt like friends, and we can't even begin to say how much we love them and how thankful we are for them! And after I sprained my ankle, our couples showed me SO much grace and patience as I moved a little slower than normal.
While I owe enormous amounts of thanks to Brandon for getting me through this summer, I have to extend another huge THANKS to all of our couples! Because even though we had some setbacks and some hardships this summer, our couples managed to make it the best wedding season we've ever had. And we could never thank them enough for inviting us to be a part of their day and for welcoming us into their circles just like friends.
We're now convinced that challenges are just new adventures, and that if you approach them with a positive outlook there is no reason they can't turn out to be an amazing experience too!