This year, I witnessed the nuptials of seven couples, attending as either a friend, a photographer, or the bride herself. Although plenty of people will say that all weddings are the same, these weddings reminded me how blessed I am to know and love people so unique that every wedding was an extraordinary experience. One ceremony was a sweet Hawaiian kiss; another, a dancing-fueled party extending into all hours of the night.
Jovanna and Dennis’ celebration? Quiet poetry.
Upon arrival at Jovanna’s hotel room, I could tell the day was reserved for only the most special people her life. In lieu of a bridal party, Jovanna’s company for the length of her preparation was myself, her mother, her father, and her aunt. She gave deeply personal gifts to each as they wiped away tears of nostalgia.
Jovanna’s look was tasteful and elegant, with a soft, muted palette and loose, unpinned waves. Her fitted gown made me audibly sigh between each shot. No glitz, no twinkle, but timelessly glamorous.
I met Dennis in his room at the same hotel. His visiting parents smiled before leaving for the ceremony site. After they left, I encouraged Dennis to pour some of the spirits waiting on the kitchenette counter. With his formal tux and styled locks, a glass of bourbon seemed fitting. (Dennis, if you’re reading this: seriously, your hair looked stellar).
My husband/photo partner and I departed for the ceremony site to capture some details. I love photographing details at a wedding because it’s then I get an honest indication of the couple’s personalities. For Jovanna and Dennis, each part of the day was filled with small gestures carrying power and meaning. Jovanna’s bouquet held physical memoirs of the departed. The favors were Italian cookies in a burlap sack. The placecards were handwritten by Jovanna’s father, an artist and poet. And my goodness, the wine list!
The ceremony and reception went off without a hitch. Herman and Luther’s light-soaked barn and open fields could not have been a more perfect venue for Jovanna and Dennis’ day. An overcast autumn afternoon matched with the slightest Pennsylvania breeze welcomed every guest with rural peace.
When the ceremony ended, family and friends gathered in the barn for cocktail hour while we snapped some more photos of the gorgeous couple. Jovanna was a bubbly bride relishing every moment of her newly married status. Dennis, though quiet, broke a smile every time I instructed him to kiss Jovanna for a romantic pose. Such couples are a treat to work with, as they balance one another in a way that resonates both emotionally and visually.
Every moment of the day felt so deeply personal to the pair, yet somehow maintained an openness that invited everyone in. Never has simplicity felt more complex, like a basket woven with fibers from everywhere within Jovanna and Dennis’ collective memory.