Yesterday my little sister Katie got married. And let me just say congrats to her and her new husband Matt and to our families. It did not hit me this thing was going to actually go down until I was in Acworth for the rehearsal dinner this past Friday night. That's how it always is with me. I don't get psyched up about events until there actually happening. When I arrived at the hotel Friday I said, "Hey, this is actually happening, like for really real."
When Matt and Katie first got engaged and the wedding was being planned, people asked if I was going to take the official photos at the ceremony. I guess it made sense to some people just because I was a professional photographer. But I can't imagine a more difficult assignment than being the "official photographer" at my own sister's wedding. I have reservations about photographing anyone's wedding period. There is no such thing as a "reshoot" on these gigs. Luckily I was able to recommend a photographer whose work I admired very much, and whom I had taken a documentary photography class from when I was in high school.
I did however take on the role of the "official unofficial wedding photographer." That way no one was definitely counting on me to pull through with all the photos. It would have been impossible anyway since I was a groomsman in the ceremony. I photographed a lot of good pre-wedding stuff at the hotel. It was a great opportunity to photograph some relatives whom I rarely see anymore due to circumstance. My extended family practically took up the whole second and third floor of the hotel room so I was able to go from room to room and spend some time with everyone. I got some great photos of muth and sis getting ready for the rehearsal dinner. Being the unofficial photographer allowed me to get fun candid stuff and not have to worry about the painful but necessary group shots before and after the wedding.
Being generally cool under pressure I was nervous at the wedding, sweaty palms and stuff, so I can only imagine how Matt and Katie must have felt walking down the aisle. But at the wedding reception I cut lose and the photographer in me came out again. Some photojournalists find it hard to take candid photos of their friends and family the way they do other subjects. I couldn't agree less with that notion, especially at the wedding reception. I forgot to eat because I was photographing so much. I did drink quite a bit though, which probably aided my uninhibited shooting style. If these people were not my friends and family I might have been reserved in getting the pictures. It also helped that I wasn't the only one cuttin' loose. When the DJ put on Sir-Mix-Alot's "Baby got Back" even the most repressed of the guests, yes that includes myself, could not help themselves. Even my sister gave me a perplexed look as she saw me dancing around with her maid of honor to some funky hip-hop number. I'm sure I'll freak out when I see other peoples' photos of myself on the dance floor.
My dad also revealed himself Friday to be the only unsung artist of the family with a big nacho-cheese award-winning power point presentation with photos of the bride and groom. Muth had originally enlisted me with the task of making a computer slide show of Katie and Matt's childhood photos synched with music. I passed this along to my dad at the last minute because as my sister commented about one of my previous columns: "I'm deep." I would have made some weepy tearjerker of a slide show that was wrong for the occasion. Gooey cheese is just the stuff that good family slide shows are made of and my dad knew the recipe well. I would have never dreamt up a "Star Wars"-themed intro complete with the original film score. I'm glad that we can officially call ourselves a family full of artists now and hopefully I can take a cue from dad and lighten up with my photography a little bit.
I'll wrap this up by saying it was one of the most exciting moments of my life to stand near the alter and watch my little sis get married. And I won't need any pictures of those wonderful moments to remember them for the rest of my life. Katie, congratulations again and I hope this wasn't too deep.
Zach Porter is a photographer for the News Daily. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.