Friday is here and we've got a new [FRAME] being served up fresh. Today, we're taking a closer look at a little surprise that happened during the first meet of Shandon and Diane's wedding [featured here] in downtown Des Moines. Firstly, I want to say that I love these two. They're such a fun and adventurous couple so shooting their wedding at the prestigious World Food Prize Building (Hall of Laureates) was a real treat.

The day began as any other and I was making my rounds to document the getting ready process. I walked by a room on the upper level and found the groom sitting there alone, quietly contemplating the day that lay ahead. I entered and we began talking while he was getting dressed. In between clicks of the shutter, we talked about the wedding, the life that lay waiting for him in New York, and swapped some stories. Soon, he was in his custom made suit and was all ready for the first meet. He couldn't stop smiling as he knew he was soon going to see his bride.

I went down the hall to Diane's room. She had just begun the process of putting on the beautiful dress. At this time, she had her entourage scrambling around the room grabbing all the necessary accessories. With this army of people on her side, she was soon ready for the first meet.

I informed her that Shandon was also ready for the first meet and asked where she wanted it done. It was at this point that she told me she wanted to have their families watching as they saw each other for the first time. I had never seen it done this way, but loved the idea. Immediately when she said she wanted the family in attendance, I knew the perfect place...the stairs.

The World Food Prize Building's shining feature is a beautiful gilded staircase connecting the top level to the rotunda below. It starts as two separate staircases, but connect to a landing before merging into a single, larger staircase which joins the main floor. My idea was to have Shandon waiting on the landing while Diane descended down the stairs and have their families on the opposite staircase to watch the entire event unfold. Perfect.

I proposed the first meet idea to Diane and she loved it. I then ran down the hall and informed Shandon and he was on board as well. We assembled the families, shared the plan, and got them in position. I went back to the small office and grabbed Shandon to bring him to the base of the stairs. Once he was in position, I went upstairs again to escort the bride to her starting position. At this time, Diane was wearing most of her emotions on her face...equal parts happiness and anxiety.

Once Diane was at the top of the stairs, the first meet was on auto pilot and I took my position, ready to watch the magic. I was ready for some tears from her, the only question was when. She descended down slowly and the tension began to build. With every step it got heavier and heavier until finally she reached the bottom. Ever so gently, she tapped Shandon on the shoulder and he turned around.

There was a sudden gasp and I couldn't tell if it came from me or the entire family waiting on the sidelines behind me. Shandon and Diane threw their arms around each other in a fit of joy. But, just then, the most amazing thing happened. Tears began cascading down Shandon's face. I was stunned. After visiting with him that morning, I was sure he would maintain his composure, but the tears were there, plain as day. I suddenly felt a surge of energy in the shutter finger and began firing as fast as I could because I knew such a moment is rare.

After Diane saw Shandon's tears, she couldn't help but let out a few of her own and soon both of them were letting their emotions fly. In no time at all, the families moved over to them, shedding tears of their own while smiling and hugging the happy couple.

It's safe to say that the first meet is one of my favorite times during the wedding day. I feel that as it approaches, there is a measurable increase in the level of anticipation and excitement that really yields some powerful images. The first meet between these two really showcases that no matter what you may think will happen, sometimes you can get a beautiful surprise.

On a side note, I'm happy to say that tomorrow I'll be shooting my first wedding for an awesome couple here in Des Moines and I couldn't be more excited. Be sure to keep checking back for some fresh work.

Cheers and Happy Friday!

A groom breaks down into tears after seeing his beautiful bride during the first meet

A groom breaks down into tears after seeing his beautiful bride during the first meet

A groom breaks down into tears after seeing his beautiful bride during the first meet

A groom breaks down into tears after seeing his beautiful bride during the first meet