Friday, December 11, 2015

A Tale of 12 Dresses (and 1 amazing friendship) Part 2: The Weddings

Please read the first installment of this story, if you haven't already. This post will make a lot more sense if you do.

In the midst of the wedding dress try-ons that September night, I asked my friends for help. My husband is retiring from the Marine Corps next year after 20 years of service, and it is going to be a huge transition for our family, who will have lived overseas for four years and had been a military family for 15. One of my current jobs is a portrait photographer, and I plan to take my business back with me to the States. However, one of the main events people hire portrait photographers for is weddings. And, currently being in a place where couples must already be married in order to be brought overseas, I have shot one wedding portrait session. So I needed a wedding portfolio. Since we had all of these beautiful new dresses, and I had my beautiful friends who fit in to them, I asked if any of them would be willing to fake some weddings for me. I never thought I'd end up shooting #10weddingsin1day. Everyone was happy to help. And this is why they are Awesome.

I picked a Sunday in October to do the shoot, at a beachside park called Tsuzu Beach. This park not only had a beach, as its name implies, but also featured wooden structures, a bamboo forest and a brick tunnel. I could stage different styles of weddings easily. And we had 10 different styles of weddings. For weeks I planned and accessorized weddings in different themes and colors, complete with bouquets, table settings, welcome tables, guestbook tables, archways, etc. My friends added touches to their weddings, made bows and bouquets, and lent me items to help complete the looks. I solicited the help of the spouse (who also played a groom in some shots) as pack mule and handyman, three amazing, generous friends to assist with the setup and shoots, Gwen, Minnie and Zaneta, and Gwen's husband, Kevin, to play the part of preacher as necessary for the shots I had planned. It helped that he is licensed to conduct marriage ceremonies... he looked pretty darn authentic!

Rodney "The Spouse"
Many of the Awesome Wives' husbands were coerced in to participating as grooms and we also added a bride, Mel, and her husband, for a frog princess-themed wedding. My friend Catrina from Catrina Tengan Makeup Artistry (who is moving to Pensacola, FL in 2016... hire her if you're there! You won't be sorry!) offered to do the "brides'" make up for a very affordable price. I just hoped it wouldn't rain. Everything else seemed to be falling in to place.

On the morning of the shoot, it was sprinkling... but it soon blew over and my weddings took over Tsuzu Beach. Fortunately it's not used much in the month of October, so we only had a few locals who might have been disturbed by our antics... I think we were more entertaining than disturbing to most. We had small crowds form throughout the day, watching the proceedings.

While I will feature each wedding on my photography blog in the coming weeks, here are a few of my favorite images from the day...

From the Country Wedding with Britt:

From the Frog Princess Wedding with Mel and Nijal:

From the Beach Wedding with Carolyn and John:

 From the Classic Wedding with Chie:

From the Enchanted Forest Wedding with Ashleigh and Rob:

From the Game of Thrones Wedding with Amanda and Nate:

From the Peacock Wedding with KC and Gary:

From the Red Night Wedding (Carolyn and John pulling double duty):

The Tropical Wedding with Teresa:

The Vintage Wedding with Cortney and Ted:

But those weren't the only ceremonies some of these dresses took part in. The spouse and I threw a Wedding Singer 80s costume party in November, where we renewed our vows (with newly ordained minister Britt) to celebrate our 15th wedding anniversary. With the help of my Mom's sewing skills, I got puffy sleeves, and thanks to an Iowa thrift store, a $6 80s-style wedding veil to complete my circa-1985 bride look (photos by Nizar Wogan):

Me with my kids, who walked me down the aisle as a surprise to the spouse

Britt officiating

The dress was heavy, hot and not made for serious dancing!
We weren't the only ones with a milestone anniversary this year. Britt and her husband, Travis are celebrating 20 years, and since he was training overseas when we did the #10weddingsin1day, he couldn't participate. So, we captured these vow renewal images instead:

Gwen and Kevin are celebrating 25 years...

 Cortney and Ted are celebrating 15 years...

And, of course, as mentioned, we are also celebrating 15 years and I couldn't resist one more photo with the spouse while the dress was still paint-free and he was in his dress blues...

And then it was time to Trash those Dresses!

But that's in Part 3 (click here)...

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