It seemed appropriate, after shooting this couple’s engagement session on one of the coldest days of the year, that I would shoot their wedding on one of the hottest. Also appropriate, after shooting said engagement session in a 100-year-old movie theatre, that the wedding would take place at the 100-year-old Orpheum Theatre, located in the heart of Galesburg, Illinois. This wedding had it all: tears of joy, laughter, endless hugs, a firetruck appearance when a fire alarm went bonkers (it’s still a mystery). This was one of those how-could-I-be-so-lucky-as-a-wedding-photographer weddings: two beautiful people, who happen to be two of the most down-to-earth, laid back clients I’ve ever had, getting married in a beautiful ceremony in arguably one of the most beautiful venues I’ve ever shot in? It doesn’t get much better than that (ambulances be damned).
I typically tend to form good friendships with many of my clients. After all, shooting the most important day of your life is not a responsibility that I take lightly, and it’s an intimate thing to share. It is bittersweet to shoot such an important event before the couple ships off to wherever they’re headed next on their adventures. It seems a shame to say goodbye. Justin and Ivy are already off to start their married lives in Los Angeles, California, working in, appropriately, film. They will be missed, but I look forward to watching their adventures and their lives unfold, together.
If I may get personal for a moment, this wedding was a bit of a labor of love. After the wedding ended, as I attempted to make the three hour drive back to my home in Chicago, severely thick fog crept across the highway, obscuring my view. Cars had pulled off to the side of the road, hazards flashing. I exited the vehicle, looked in every direction, and was unable to see anything. I had never seen such thick fog in my entire life. I could barely make out my hand in front of my face. I have struggled with mental illness and severe anxiety disorders since childhood, and in that moment, I was overcome with fear. I drove to the closest exit I could find and pulled into a gas station. The fog was so severe, I couldn’t make it back home, and I couldn’t even make it to a hotel. After a tearful phone call to my fiancé, he convinced me to stay put for my safety and try to navigate home in the light of morning. I laid down in the back seat to try to sleep, wondering if all this was worth it – how truly hard this job can be and the lengths we go to to make memories. When I finally made it home the following morning (the fog was still heavy, but sunlight improved visibility immensely) and I began to upload the pictures to my computer, I couldn’t stop smiling, looking at them.
Of course it was worth it. It was worth it a million times over. Love is always worth it.
Here are Justin and Ivy and their beautiful families and their beautiful love.