I am drawn to photographing weddings because I’m around relationships of all sorts – mothers, daughters, besties, grandparents, coworkers, and of course – lovers.
There have been moments while I’m at one where someone says something or does something that resonates strongly with me. As in, yup, that’s what I want.
Through the years it has helped me become clear on what I want in partner, but more importantly, how I need to show up in order to create the relationship of my dreams. I did meet someone last year, and these are some of the moments that helped me recognize it was right.
1. Let your freak flag fly
Dina Eastwood is one of the most radiant women I’ve ever met. She’s loud, hilarious, and talks a lot. She lets her “freak flag” fly wherever she goes and guess what? Her husband adores that about her. I spent a good chunk of my relationships feeling like I couldn’t be 100% me without feeling judged, so I knew I wanted a partner who not only accepts, but adores me for being 100% me.
2. Love me for me
After their wedding ceremony, Danny told Maggi, “I LOVE that dress. It’s so… (he smiles)… you.” He didn’t love the dress because he has a thing for a particular style. He loved it because she chose it, and because he loved her. Likewise, I want a partner who loves me for me. Also, I love the way Danny looks at Maggi. Not only on their wedding, but all the time. I stalk them on social media sometimes.
3. Mutual Gratitude
When Tim saw Liz for the first time as a bride, he broke down and embraced her. Then he looked at me and said, “Do you see how lucky I am?.” Inserted into mental piggy bank —> someone who is grateful for me, as I am equally for him.
4. Friendship = Ease
Annie and Jon are best friends. They never told me that but you could see it. They had a relaxed comfort whether they were interacting, or quiet side-by-side. Things were…easy. One of the most important things to me is ease, and a partner who is also a friend. I think that is the strongest foundation for any relationship.
5. Mutual Respect and Acknowledgement
This wasn’t at a wedding, but at a weekend in Sedona with friends. Dean and Lisa have been married 18+ years and have a daughter together. It was cold one night and Dean was outside BBQing. He came in and asked his wife, “Honey, could you come outside and help me?.” She said in the most gentle tone, “Of course!,” and eagerly rushed outside. It’s simple dialogue but the way they speak to each other always involves mutual respect and acknowledgement.
These are only a few examples that I remember. If I wrote out every single one that struck a chord with me you all would be reading for days.
Anyway, it’s one of the reasons I love photographing weddings and special events. It makes a difference when you get to be around living examples of the kind of relationship you want. Some people don’t think a certain kind of love is possible, and I think it’s because they have never experienced or seen it before. I feel lucky to be around these kind of moments all the time.
*Excerpt from my book Show Up: Finding Love for Independent Women.