It is always nice when you have the chance to photograph the wedding of someone you know, even if it is just tangentially. For this Christmas wedding (day after actually) I had the shortest commute I think I will every have, literally just two minutes as it took place at a neighbor's* home here in Snell Isle, St. Petersburg. I know the neighbor from the local dog park. Our dogs have been fast friends since they were 4-month old puppies. I met the bride-to-be at the dog park as well the week before the wedding as she and her fiance traveled down to Florida with their own dog.
Due to my familiarity with all involved I had zero nerves before going to photograph this wedding. Plus, I had done all due preparation by visiting their house and seeing exactly where the ceremony would take place and on the wedding day there was ample time to photograph the rings, wedding dress, etc before the actual ceremony.
As you can see, there were water hazards involved in photographing the wedding ceremony! Though I had to be very careful with my steps, this island setting allowed for clean views from all sides of the couple during the ceremony. No human, dog or camera gear fell into the pool thankfully!
The atmosphere the entire afternoon was very lighthearted and full of laughter, even during the ceremony. This further contributed to my lack of nervousness the entire wedding and made it just plain really fun to be a part of, even though I was working and my usual focused self while shooting.
There were surprises during the wedding ceremony as the groom gave his bride a ring she had never seen before. I was told later that it had significant meaning. Before the smiles you see above there were hugs and tears at the sight of the ring.
After the ceremony the carefully selected wedding guests and family members got together for a formal portrait in the living room, though the laughs that first broke out during the wedding ceremony carried over to the formals as well, which was fine by me.
Then the newlyweds and I were off for some outdoor shots on a very, very cold winter day. I fear warm winters for west central Florida are now a thing of the past, and daytime temperatures in the 50s will have to be tolerated, or one must move to Key Largo. I had the benefit of wearing my unfailing Mountain Hard Wear Windstopper Tech Jacket, and the groom at least had on his suit jacket, so the bride was the bravest of all showing no sign of freezing despite wearing a wispy wedding dress. I worked as fast as I could to get the shots I wanted to at the gazebo in front of the Vinoy Country Club golf course, a location I had always wanted to photograph at.
From there we went to the waterfront near a famous (for Snell Isle residents) white bridge. As twilight took over the area, the temps dropped even more, so I was very glad to hear the couple say they had actually practiced "the dip," a skill for sure that I recommend all future couples practice before the day of their wedding.
This was the very last shot I took of the entire day. It was an extremely satisfying experience from a photography standpoint as I got to try many different shots I never had before. This was as enjoyable as photographing a wedding gets. Thank you to the bride & groom for their super cooperation and toughness, and for my neighbors hiring me to photograph their daughter's wedding. See you all at the dog park!
--More from this wedding coming soon: bride series, black & white wedding
*names not mentioned for privacy