What are the memories of a parent? Of a father? Those first steps of a little girl with her cheeky grin, her first words, the first time she says “papa, I love you,” to that day that she tells you “papa, I am engaged” I don’t see how tears would not stream down your face as those memories flash past you as you walk your little girl step by step down that long aisle. Perhaps you’ll think about her first day at school, the times she held your hand for comfort, those times she cried in your arms, the arguments, the fights you had. But most of all, probably an overwhelming sense of love and pride in her, and of course, that bittersweet happiness that comes as you see her looking, not at you, but down that long aisle towards the man she is going to marry.
Forever, that long walk down that aisle will be the core of what I love and treasure about weddings. Yes, there is sadness, but there is so much happiness as well. I have always said that weddings are like a mirror. You can never hide anything and it all laid bare for all to see. It is cruel in a way, an untimely reminder on an occasion that is meant to be positive. But you can’t deny it, you cannot forget it. You can be reminded of the death of a parent, or if there have been broken relationships. Yet, there is the love and happiness that ultimately triumphs over those things, it is the focus, after all. But who would we be but for all our experiences?
As the weddings I attend go by, it never ceases to amaze me just how privileged and how beautiful the opportunity it is as a photographer to step into the lives of two individuals and see the outcome of all those experiences. You see the friendships, the brothers, the sisters, the parents and how each life is so intricately intertwined within one another. As we all get older, you realise just how precious these relationships are, built for years, built through countless experiences and here we are, a stranger, allowed in as witnesses, allowed to see all the tears, all the laughter, all the joy.
I suppose that’s who we as photographers really are, aren’t we? Witnesses, recording those memories that will forever be a part of you and those you love.
So to all our beloved couples who have allowed us, and are allowing us into probably one of the most beautiful, one of the most intimate days of their lives, thank you. Thank you for allowing us to be a part of it, to see the joy, to see the tears, to partake in the pain, and the happiness. It’s love. It’s life, and it’s bittersweet.