This past weekend I got to shoot one of the most special weddings ever. The love I felt from this family makes me feel like what I do truly matters. To tell you this story. I have to take a walk down memory lane...
I've known the Daughenbaugh Family since I was in first grade. Mrs. D was my first-grade substitute teacher. Being from Jersey she had never come across anyone with my name.. when she called on me in class from the list given by our teacher instead of saying "Nakeshia" she said, "Nakasha." My entire class erupted in laughter. Instead of being embarrassed I just corrected her. The other kids struggled to say her last name, but being me I decided to make fun of her name too. I started calling her Cottonball. She thought it was hilarious so I was her Nakasha and she was my Cottonball. She started working with my mom shortly after and a beautiful friendship developed.
Fast forward YEARS later and they're still some of my favorite people. Jon Jr. started his journey as a DJ around the same time I started mine as a photographer. I would go to bars and clubs, but ONLY if he was there to protect me just in case something went down. I knew if all else failed my big bro was there.
Fast forward about 2-3 more years we got the news Big Jon had cancer. He was fighting it, but it was fighting back. They started asking me and telling me "we need to do family pictures. Dad isn't getting any better." I would say okay just let me know I got you. Months went by and finally said look guys we've got to do this soon we don't know how much time he has and if we don't do it soon we'll regret it... we finally got their family photographs, and Big Jon lost his battle shortly after.. it broke my heart. I cried and at the same time I thanked God that I was able to get them together before it was too late.
Rachel asked me to take her and Brandon's engagement pictures, of course, I was pumped to do it.
After she asked if I would photograph their wedding. I agreed. I started plotting then to do something special for her and started Facebook stalking as many members of the family I could try to collect photographs of Big Jon for me to use to insert himin to as many moments of the wedding that I could.
I was given that opportunity.
My heart broke during the brother-sister dance. In fact, for the first time in my career, I had to LEAVE the dance floor because I was snot dripping crying in the hallway. I couldn't see what I was shooting. I still took some "in good faith photos" praying I got enough.. when I was editing I saw the photographs I took and remembered one photograph from their family session of Rachel talking to her dad and he looking at her with so much love in his eyes.
In my mind, as a perfectionist, this wasn't the best composition, but I knew that this wasn't about me. This was about proving that even though Big Jon wasn't there physically, he was indeed there in spirit.
I'm thankful for the love, the comments and making me feel like what I do matters. There are moments where I want to give up but this wedding THESE people. Reminded me that what I do matters. That at the end of the day a picture is worth 1000 words. I'm so blessed to be an unofficial member of this family. I'm so blessed with amazing clients. I'm BEYOND THANKFUL that God used ME of all people.
Here are a few of my favorites from this day full of TONS of laughter, a few tears and lost of dancing.
Hair and Makeup were done by Tonya Yates - to contact this amazing chick you'll find her at Blondies The Salon in Anderson, South Carolina.
864-226-3030 or firstname.lastname@example.org
The wedding took place at the beautiful Poinsett Club
The Cake was made by Holly Bowers and her team at Holly's Cakes.
Thanks for reading my sappy story. Leave a comment congratulating the bride & groom your good wishes.