I'm going to take a moment to get a bit more personal around here.
Today sneaked right up on me. Today marks 5 years since I shot my very first wedding (Happy anniversary, Meghan & Henrik!). Even then, if you had asked me if I would be doing this in 5 years, I likely would have looked at you like you had ten heads. No way. The stress was crazy. It's a ton of responsibility! But I fell head over heals in love with wedding photography. Capturing love. I am still insanely grateful for Meghan and her push to get me to shoot her wedding. Being coworkers at my day job, I still see her all the time. It makes me heart happy to know she trusted me way back in the day.
Fast forward five years...
and I'm about to shoot my 80th couple getting married this weekend. Eight. Zero. Holy. Smokes.
I cannot wrap my brain around how luck I am.
Some people look at that number and think 80! Wow! And yet I think about all of the memories that I've captured over the years. Every so often I run in to one of my past couples or they send me an email. "Hey, we got married back in 2009! We're the ones that..." and they tell me something about their day that they see as an identifier. The couple with the Mack truck. The couple who got married in the hurricane. The list goes on.
But they really don't need to do that. Because, even after all these years, I remember....
- Where your parents live because that's where I met you both the first time. And your parent's dog, who was the size of a horse, sniffed the top of my head while we were talking about your day. I can't drive by it without thinking of you even though you just celebrated your second anniversary.
- When you jumped up in the air on the beach during our post reception portrait time and you ripped your pants right down the front. Thank goodness there wasn't a bigger audience for that wardrobe malfunction.
- When we were doing portraits outside, in the winter, and I had my sister rush to cover your with my down jacket in between every shot to keep you from freezing. And I remember how gorgeous you looked despite the freezing January air.
- How excited your husband was to find that aforementioned Mack truck in the middle of the grown up field next to your reception venue. And how absolutely happy I was with the way the light was hitting you both as the sun set.
- When I asked you two to stand on a rock jetting out towards the ocean with the most gorgeous blue sky behind you. I snapped one of my favorite photos ever. And you hustled back to the "main land" as soon as I said ok and only then told me you were afraid of heights. You, my darlin', are a trooper.
- You asking me to make the decision if your ceremony should be held inside or outside despite the chance of showers. I said outside. And a triple rainbow broke out as you were saying your vows. I don't think my smile could have been any bigger.
- As the weather report came in during the week leading up to the wedding, you called me in a panic wanting to delay your outdoor wedding knowing there was no way it wouldn't rain. Even after the delayed date, it still rained. And yet it was the most perfect day complete with fun umbrellas and your baby girl jumping in the puddles in her flower girl dress.
- You picked a gorgeous, ocean side venue for the ceremony and reception. Your vision was amazing. And then a hurricane had to come through. We couldn't even see the ocean. And yet you both were completely game for portraits outside. The three of us loaded in to a super long golf cart. I felt like a kid in the back of a minivan as we bombed all over the golf course. You came up with the idea to capture the cart racing through a huge puddle. Almost four years later, still makes me giggle at the thought.
- When I showed up at your suite to capture you getting ready with your ladies and it was like an episode of small world syndrome. We already knew you had gone to school with my husband, but we didn't realize that I would know both of your ladies from being in the bridal party for two different weddings that I had photographed. It was crazy (and so much fun)! I'm looking forward to hopefully seeing you again as one of those ladies ties the knot next year.
- The roar of your absolutely massive John Deer tractor as you arrived at your reception. I think enough said on that one! xoxo
- Your two little pups running around the tent set up in your parent's backyard with their huge, floppy ears dancing in the wind before the festivities really kicked off. And talking to you about everything photography: you never wanting to shoot a wedding and me being in awe of your amazing nature and wildlife photography.
- The little jars of honey that you had for favors. So very adorable!
- The fireworks and sparklers that you had back when fireworks were still illegal for residents to fire off in all of Maine. I felt like a rebel. And your guests found your Dad's sombrero out in the garage somehow and it because of the center of attention as it moved from head to head around the dance floor. I hope it survived the night!
- How excited you were to wear such a dapper tuxedo with your awesome boots to marry your gorgeous wife on the beach in New Hampshire.
And I could go on and on. I feel like I have a database of memories in my head of everything little thing from the past five years. And I absolutely love thinking back on all of those memories; thinking about where some of my couples, especially the early ones, are now. It has been such an amazing journey!
I have always said that I do this, Suzanne Simmons Photography, because I absolutely, 100% love it. And I still do all these years later. When that stops being the case, then I'll pursue other avenues. But, as cheesy as this sounds, I love this little "job" of mine more today than I did on the first day. I have grown so much as a person thanks to all of you. I am still shocked that I can call this a job because it is just so awesome to be there for it all. You are all on my mind all the time.
So, on that note, thank you. Everyone. For being there for me over the past five years. For trusting me to capture your memories for you when all I had to prove to you that I could do it was a gorgeous couple at the end of a dock on Sebago Lake. For having faith in me to do it. For referring all of your friends to me! Seriously, that is the biggest form of flattery there is and you all have done it with such skill. I even have to give a shout out to my favorite "you got married before I was in the business" couples who has likely referred more of their friends to me over the years than just about anyone. I am honored to be able to call you my friends and I really wish you would find some younger friends that still have to get married because I think you've run out of single friends. I'm sad.
Anyways, to all of you, the past five years have been an absolute pleasure. Thanks for having my back and watching me grow. I've come a long way since Meghan & Henrik's wedding and it's been fun to be on this journey with you all.