Life has an incredible way of bending and twisting in the most delightful ways sometimes. We feel so blessed for the opportunities this career as wedding photographers has surprised us with. We set out to travel and to photograph people celebrating promising themselves to one another, and this wedding was just that. We couldn’t be more fulfilled or more grateful.
But, let’s start at the beginning. When I first moved to Portland, I joined an adult kickball team. It was as ridiculous as it sounds and a really fun way to kick around a few hours on sunny Sunday afternoons. Teamed up with strangers that would become friends, running in circles in hopes of winning a free pitcher of beer for after the game, I met a French girl named Léa.
Matthew would come to games, but he didn’t play on the team. For such an active guy, I can only assume his deep-seated memory of breaking his collar bone playing kickball as a kid is what kept him off the field. He preferred, instead, to hang out taking photographs and enjoy the show. I’d then post the photos on Facebook sometimes and this became a nice way to keep in touch with my team mates.
Fast forward a few years, and I get an e-mail from Léa. She’s engaged has been seeing some of our So Many Moments wedding photography on Facebook. She says perhaps THE most amazing thing possible: that during our kickball season Matt took a portrait of her that had been a favorite of hers since. Is that not the biggest compliment a portrait photographer could ever receive?! Then, she says the NEXT MOST AMAZING THING. She wants us to be her wedding photographers, the thing is, the wedding is in France. *jaw dropped* Yes. Yes, yes, yes Léa. YES!
This story is about to take a turn for the even more incredible. She’s getting married in Normandy, at a family member’s home, and it turns out to be less then an hour’s drive from my own brother’s home. This means two things for Matthew and I. Not only do we have a wonderful place to stay, but also that we can leave Amelie safe and sound with our family while we work at the wedding.
When I meet Ben, he’s soft spoken but confident. They both smile near constantly and clearly have a connection that goes beyond the giddy romance of a fresh relationships and into something deeper, more reasonable. When they share their relationship started as a rock climbing friendship, that makes sense to me. They feel solid like a rock and that makes me feel so happy for Léa.
We meet again in France and even on the day of the wedding, putting together my gear, I still can’t believe I am there and that this is real life. Léa’s dress is perfect on her, the family is so warm and welcoming, despite the language barrier, and everyone is clearly ready to have a great time.
Despite being 100+ weddings deep in a variety of cultures and traditions, the wedding was still quite different from anything we’ve ever photographed stateside. After the most charming backyard ceremony, we all walk over to a reception hall across a park from the house. Champagne begins flowing and the most amazing appetizers start arriving. The food at this wedding was incredible. We lost count of the number of courses, but the food had not stopped coming when we finally left past midnight.
But the generous portions of foie gras wasn’t the only difference, it was the party itself. The DJ has this crowd doing things that I’m sure would need waivers signed and liability releases for here. People were literally sliding across the floor, fighting over chairs for games. There were wigs and microphones and so much silliness, but it was all in the name of just good old fashion FUN. Everyone was having a great time and it gives me pause to realize how over-protected and sue-happy our way of life has dulled some of our parties here.
As we had already traveled across the world, we decided to plan a huge trip centered around this wedding. Our daughter was still under 2, and thus free to fly, so we took the opportunity to visit loads of family and friends across Europe. We kept a personal travel journal document our trip from glamping near the beaches of Spain to the Blue Lagoon in Iceland; if you’re curious to see more of that, it’s here.
We couldn’t be happier for Léa and Ben, and I couldn’t be more glad I signed up for that kickball team. Life is so dynamic. To many years of happiness ahead!