I shoot weddings for the moments. The moments when the bridesmaids sense a tremor in the bride's composure. A slight shiver of weakness that calls them to action. What are best friends for? They are there to make you cry. They remind you of every childhood moments you spent together and tell you that those moments have led to this one. That no matter what decision you make, they love you. I have seen and documented more people crying than I ever expected to, even this early in my career. But each time, I find that tears of sadness are surpassed by tears of love in its quantity. The moment starts when there is a tap on the elbow of the bride.
A suggestion, “lets pray.”
The first five seconds I am shooting the prayers, my camera is the only sound. But they are not listening. One tear, two tears, three tears, each one comes from a different woman in the circle. It's not a clean circle. It is slightly out of shape and has an oval shape to it. Someone was standing around an ottoman, the mother. The bride is halfway in the center of the huddle but keeps her hands for her support on the ladies on her left and right.
A click of the camera is barely audible over the words. In their life, several hundred more prayers will be spoken and remembered. But this prayer will be remembered as the one that they all cried for someone they couldn't be more happy for.
Ten seconds pass.
I can feel the the warmth coming from unspoken words. A person walks out of the restroom and holds her place, the dog has found a bit of carpet that has held a depression from a grandparents footstep, the backdoor is lifted from its fitting by the breeze. The house was breathing with them.
Twenty five seconds pass and they break apart. Words were spoken but I do not remember any of it. Even when I was there I can not remember hearing words as I worked. I only felt, and saw the bride as clear as the sunlight touched her dress. The shivers were gone but now they were on the bridesmaids, each one taking a little bit of the burden and sharing it.
I catch the eye contact from the sister of the bride and felt a thank you hit me. That I was there to help them remember this moment with my tool of the trade, the camera. One last photo of the sisters, the bride and the maid of honor, red nosed and smiling without reservation.