He gripped the mic in his right hand, two folded sheets of paper in his left, and paused a moment after greeting everyone. He glanced at his sister, tears already forming in her eyes, her new husband's arm wrapped protectively around her.
They all knew this was not his speech to give.
And yet, here he was, giving it.
He had spent hours piecing together what he should say. How he could express what that day meant to all of them. He tried his best to keep his tone lighthearted, but his words were weighty. He wanted to express, in that moment, just how much their father loved Nathalie, loved them all. How proud he was of her and her teacher's heart. How much he would have wanted to be there, on that day. He wanted to say all these things and more, but he could not.
And when he reached his conclusion, he sucked in a deep breath before reading the words that their father had written to Nathalie on her 21st birthday. Words she had treasured so much that day, but even more in the months and years that followed.
And although the note was not long, it contained his love, his pride in her, his wish for her happiness, all written in the scrawling hand she loved so much. And as she rested in the crook of her husband's arm, tears slipping down her cheeks, she knew all of those things and more. The silver band she wore on her arm summed it all up the way he always had. He was her biggest fan.
It’s always fun to watch the wedding day unfold when I second shoot, because I go in with almost no information about the couple or their day (the exact opposite of my own weddings!). So imagine my surprise when the first person I saw when I arrived at the girls' hotel room was one of my 2015 CGP brides! And when the day also included the wedding planning team of Antonia Christianson Events, the lovely rose garden at Norfolk Botanical Garden, and an amazing 8 piece band Strictly Bizzness, I knew it would be an amazing day!
Thank you, Daniel Min Photography for asking me to shoot Natalie & Steve's wedding with you!