[FRAMED] A Mother's Tears

Good morning everyone! Friday is here, my coffee is hot, and we're settling down for another installment of my [FRAMED] series. This little gem was captured from Danielle and Grant's Glen Oaks Wedding from May of last year. It was a beautiful spring day in Iowa and we were enjoying our time at the beautiful Glen Oaks Country Club. The couple had already done their first meet, a wedding-day rehearsal, and the family photos, so everything looking good. We were counting down to the ceremony. Unfortunately for us, there were some clouds rolling in so the threat of rain loomed over us. Soon, the drops began to fall and our hopes of a beautiful outdoor ceremony began to wash away. With some time before the ceremony was set to start, we all sat, eyes glued to the windows, praying for the rain to stop. It didn't. The ceremony ticked closer and closer and reluctantly decided to move the ceremony inside.

In the blink of an eye, the Glen Oaks staff feverishly moved all the chairs and created a secondary ceremony site in the dining room. From start to finish, the process took 10-15 minutes and we were back on track — the music was playing and the processional march had begun. Soon, the bride took her trip down the aisle – supported by her father as she hobbled on a broken leg she had earned a month before. As I looked to the groom, all I saw was a huge, beaming smile on his face as he stared at his beautiful bride. These two were determined to get married even if it meant doing so with a broken leg in a crowded dining room while the rain pounding outside. That's commitment.

The ceremony soon got to one of my favorite high points — the vows. Danielle and Grant had written their vows in the form of a letter to each other which they had the pastor read in front of everyone. I was excited because I know that nothing is more moving than when a couple personally pledge their love and commitment to one another. Something about that gives the ceremony more meaning and depth, which leads to emotion and tears — something I love to photograph.

Anyways, the vows began and Danielle's letter was read first. It was beautiful. In it she explained how she met the most caring and loving man and how his love helped balance her life and brought her closer to god. It was a powerful letter and while it was being read, you could see the endearing looks of everyone as they held back silent gasps. Then, it was Grant's turn.

The pastor began to read his compelling letter where Grant described this amazing woman who walked into his life and completely stole his heart. He described everything he loved about her in vivid detail — so much so that Danielle's eyes began filling up with tears. The letter went on and one by one, the tears began to roll down her cheeks while her hand moved to her mouth to stifle a gasp. Damn, that letter was good. So good in fact that I thought I was going to lose it and start some tears of my own. Amazing.

(Click)...(Click)...(Click)... the sound of my shutter rang out as I grabbed a few shots of Danielle's face. I was pleased because I knew I had gotten some great frames of that beautiful moment. However, while I was standing there giving myself a mental high-five, I noticed something. We weren't finished. Through the bridesmaids, I caught a quick look at Danielle's mom...she had began to cry as well.

I switched to my long lens and quietly moved to find a good vantage point, but none presented themselves. I was beginning to get desperate...I really wanted to capture those tears as well. The letter was coming to a close and I knew time was almost up. Just then, my vantage point appeared. Right at that moment, one of the bridesmaids shifted her weight to create a small gap in the line of ladies. That was all I needed. I raised my camera and fired. Success. It was perfect.

As I said before, shots like this are sort of a mental high-five moment for me. I look for them at every wedding because I believe that there are two large parts of the wedding day, the events and the reactions. In my mind, they're two sides of the same coin and when captured together, they add a whole new level of dimension and depth to an already beautiful day. I especially enjoy tears because they mean that at that moment, the person let their guard down and allowed their true emotions and tears rise to the surface. They've become vulnerable and no longer care how they appear to others or what they may think. That is always so beautiful to me.

Cheers everyone!

Danielle's mom is moved to tears as the beautiful vows are read

Danielle's mom is moved to tears as the beautiful vows are read