Opportunity Came Knocking
I was presented with an opportunity of a lifetime recently and I would have been a fool to turn it down. The mother of my long time friend was getting married and they were searching for photographers. My friend who is a fantastic photographer could easily handle the wedding himself, but he was actually in the wedding, therefor more hired help was required. I was asked and I emphatically accepted. If you read this previous post, you could see that we actually drove from Sacramento to Houston and had a blast a long the way. I wouldn't have wanted it any other way. Yes I am a family friend, more like newly adopted by my third mom and my new Texas family, but I did not hold back any professionalism nor treated this wedding differently from any others I've shot. I was given an incredible opportunity and generous traveling accommodations. I had to match their generosity in imagery and hard work during the wedding. I wanted nothing more than to provide this amazing couple with the wedding photos they deserve, but enough about me. I want to talk about the wedding and the preparations leading up to it. What I experienced was amazing. I saw what is possible when family members pitch in with wedding accommodations and help the Bride and Groom wherever they can. Let's take a trip to Houston, TX and experience a beautiful wedding put together by two incredible families.
Family is The Best
Meeting most of the wedding party for the first time upon arriving to Texas, I was trying my best to put titles to names and names to faces. When I finally learned Erik was the Best Man and the same Erik was the Groom's son, excitement filled my brain. Edward chose his son as his Best Man, how do you not instantly fall in love with that? I thought it was the coolest and most meaningful Best Man selection I've ever seen. I have a great relationship with my Dad and Stephanie's Dad, I consider them to be my best friends so when I saw how close Edward and Erik were, I couldn't help love the moment they would get to share together. I did my best to capture every Father-Son moment I would see. I was fortunate enough to capture those moments, but also lucky to have the opportunity to do the same for the Bride and her son.
As I said before, Eusebia's son Mike is more than capable of capturing an entire wedding himself. He has been my 2nd shooter at almost all of the weddings I've been hired to shoot, he's great. However, he was in the wedding and Eusebia got to share a special moment with her son. I got to experience a lot of cool things along the drive to Houston with my friend Mike, but watching the Mother-Son bond was just as special as all the other moments the road trip brought. I felt fortunate to have been able to capture a proud Son walk his Mother down the aisle.
Eusebia and Edward had their beautiful Ceremony at The Prince of Peace Catholic Church in Houston, TX, a gorgeous location. Standing by his side, his son Erik whom of course Erik has officially known Edward his whole life. Next to Eusebia, her Maid of Honor and best friend of over 40 years, Chuckie. I can see why they've been able to remain friends for so many years, they are a pair of the sweetest persons I've ever met. Looking fabulous in her David's Bridal dress, Chuckie watched closely as her best friend said I do. Chuckie had been anticipating this day for a long time now, hoping Edward would pick up the small hints her and Eusebia had been dropping. She was happy for her best friend. She traveled all the way from Stockton to be a part of this wedding. I am grateful to have met her.
After the "I DO's", the two families gathered for a few photos while we had the venue and air conditioner to ourselves. More on the weather later, but for now, enjoy one of my favorite photos of the day. Bride, Daughters and Grand Daughters. Simply stunning.
Mr. & Mrs.
One of my favorite times while capturing a wedding is right after the ceremony. All the pre-wedding jitters are essentially gone. The happy couple finally get to be with each other and they no longer have to stress about the "I DO's". They get to just be happy with each other. It's a favorite of mine because I get to photograph a more relaxed happy couple. These two love birds were great in front of the camera. Eusebia was simply stunning in her dress by Neiman Marcus and I was lucky to have such a beautiful subject.
I quickly want to thank Edward for respecting my craft as a photographer. It could be the fact that he was willing to do anything to keep his Bride happy, which meant taking photos in the humid Texas weather, or he just showed the utmost respect towards me. Whatever the case, I thank both of you for withstanding the weather. Speaking of, just before the ceremony, Texas weather took a bad turn on us. Some call it good luck and after experiencing the wedding and looking back on the photos I'd say it was good luck, however it made for very muggy hot humid weather. You wouldn't be able to tell from these photos, but it was the hottest and most humid day we had in Houston the whole time we were there. Another huge thank you to the Bride and Groom for fighting through the heat and giving me a few minutes to capture these awesome photos! Edward understood this was Eusebia's big day, he wanted to showcase and admire his wife, but with that said, Edward was looking sharp as ever selling more Men's Warehouse suits than any ad ever could.
There are so many different aspects to a wedding, one could easily feel over whelmed and get lost in it all. That's why I love how Eusebia and her daughters came together to help put this thing together. Looking at the floral arrangements, center pieces and decor, I thought for sure Eusebia and Edward had booked a florist and a fancy wedding planner. Nope. What Eusebia did was raise two beautiful daughters with big hearts willing to help their Mom on her big day. Daughters Jennifer and Marion were willing to go the extra mile and help Eusebia enjoy a gorgeous wedding. Jennifer made a different center piece for every table at the wedding! That's love! Marion was nice enough to open up her house to Stephanie and I and give us a place to lay our heads (thank you!). Her husband Ron blessed the food and the couple also made the very creative place cards for the tables. I am loving every aspect of this wedding and loving how everything is being accomplished as a family.
The Reception was held at the beautiful Longwood Golf Club in Houston, TX where we heard some great heartfelt speeches that caused a few lumps in the throat thanks to some Grand kids. I guess I'm a sucker for a close family. The speeches were then capped off by the Bride and Groom themselves which was a highlight of the night for me. One of the best moments throughout the whole wedding was hearing my name during the Bride's speech. Eusebia caught me off guard, it was an awesome surprise that I was not expecting and I will never ever forget that moment. Thank you.
During the Maid of Honor's speech, Chuckie had joked about Eusebia dropping hints about moving forward with their relationship, but Edward maybe just wasn't picking up what she was putting down. Finally Edward built up the courage to ask the big question at a family BBQ, but in his own Edward way of course. Before he officially asked the big question, he first asks if he must get down on one knee. Eusebia laughed and said, "no, sitting down is just fine". I love how much fun they have around each other, hearing that story about how he proposed just fits them so well. Looking at this couple and this beautiful ring, Eusebia and Edward truly are "Life Goals".
I think by now you can find the common theme for this wedding, family. If not for family, there wouldn't have been beautiful floral arrangements, a Best Man, someone to book the venue, table place cards, no Kali to do the Bride's makeup, no one to walk the Bride down the aisle, no awesome photos, no wedding period without family. Yes, family came together to help put this wedding together, but if not for family, the happy couple wouldn't have ever met.
"I am thankful that Erik had the courage to ask Jennifer for her number. The rest is history", said Eusebia. It was the Best Man Erik and Daughter Jennifer who introduced Eusebia and Edward to one another at a family gathering. They now share a biological Grand Daughter that brings both of these families even tighter together and really brings everything full circle.
After the I-DO's, speeches, dinner, and a few drinks comes the fun. Elegante Entertainment DJ Services got the couple off on their first dance and kept the party moving all night with great music and awesome lighting! The Longwood Golf Club had a great dance floor and it was a high traffic area for a better portion of the night.
I just absolutely love capturing everyone's expressions on the dance floor. No more posing, no more nervous wedding jitters, none of that, just pure fun and dancing. I also love it when the DJ gets everyone line dancing.
We had an absolute blast! I had so much fun capturing the happy Bride and Groom out on the dance floor. They are so great together and really know how to "cut a rug"!
Did I mention that we had fun? It's an easy dance that everyone knows, and easy song that everyone knows and a sure crowed mover. When the DJ played The Village People's "YMCA", guests had an absolute ball. It was awesome.
The hardest part about recalling this wedding was selecting photos to feature on this blog post. I want to flood this page with all of them! The whole experience from shooting a wedding outside of California for the first time and watching a family come together makes me adore this album. I am the luckiest photographer on the planet to have been given the opportunity to photograph this wedding along side my longtime friend. I got to travel, be with friends and my new family and do what a love to do, I have the best "job" in the world. I can't thank everyone enough for making this happen, there really aren't any words to put it into context. The only thing I can say is thank you from the bottom of my heart. Any time "ya'll" make it back to California, In-N-Out is on me! Just send some Taco Cabana my way please!!
Talk to you guys soon,
More photos below!