On a blustery, frigid -30 below Saturday just after Christmas, Rachel and JP enjoyed a day filled with family, friends, love, tears, and laughter. Every part of their day took place at the Sanford Center in Bemidji, MN, from getting ready, their first look, the ceremony, and dance. We took 45 seconds, however, and braved that cold to get a few shots on the ice of Lake Bemidji! The entire bridal party were fantastic, and endured the blast of freezing temps to get photos that would remind them 20 years later just how COLD that day was! Years tend to fade our memories, but photos can capture it for a lifetime. The warm atmosphere inside the Sanford Center could make them forget just how brutal this winter had been. As a photographer, having only one location and everything indoors always presents a challenge, but when you know how to "find the light", you can still make images happen. It is having a day filled with emotion and love, though, that make those images great. I was moved to tears during the father-daughter first look, and when I was working on their photos, they moved me to tears once again as the emotion was captured. I also had a moment of confusion mixed with mild panic when I looked at the bridesmaids standing up for Rachel during the ceremony. I kept looking at one girl, and was SO confused, because she just wasn't the same girl I swear I'd been photographing beforehand! But same dress, and here she was standing up while they exchanged vows. After the ceremony, still bewildered, I asked Julie, the bride's mom, if I was losing my mind. It turns out that one of her bridesmaids, one of Rachel's closest friends, was sick all day with the flu. She sure fooled me, she looked great! But she hid it and held on as long as she could, but just couldn't make it to the 6:00pm call to walk down the aisle. Fortunately, one of the personal attendants and friend wore the same size dress, and stepped in minutes before.
What a privilege to be a part of Rachel and JP's special day, and to work with their bridal party, family and friends. Julie Bell, mother of the bride, wore a brilliant smile all day. She told me after that she enjoyed every moment of that day. A day that her daughter married her best friend, a day that they gained a son, a day that the warmth of love left no chill to be found. Congrats Mr. & Mrs. Cartier!
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