Every wedding is different, it’s one of the things that makes being a wedding photographer so enjoyable for me. You tend to have a basic guideline of how a wedding day should go, and then every couple makes adjustments to suit their needs, sometimes those changes are minor, other times drastic. When I first started shooting weddings 6 years ago, I found that most weddings were in the early afternoon when the sun was high up in the sky and casting harsh shadows all over the place. I don’t know if people in general changed, or if’s just my clients, but the whole notion that the ceremony needs to be in the middle of the afternoon has pretty much gone by the wayside.
With their wedding being at White Point, far away from any strict church rules, Shawnee and John were in charge of their wedding day and chose a 5:00 ceremony time. I love ceremonies that take place later in the day, the light is just so much more pleasing, and it makes finding shade to shoot in that much easier as the shadows are longer. With John and his groomsmen Matt both being talented photographers themselves, I’m sure it was a no brainer to have the ceremony at 5:00. Though with the sun in Shawnee’s eyes during the ceremony, I’m sure she felt indifferent to the time of day at that point. At least she had a much taller John blocking some of that sun at times to keep her from being blinded.
The ceremony was held on the lawn by the main lodge, and from there we went off for photos, family ones first so they could go relax, and then on to the wedding party. We found a little shaded spot in some trees and made good use of it. We finished up in that location and I sent everyone by John and Shawnee back to the lodge. Matt stayed too as he was doing double duty as the M.C. and wanted to iron out some details while we walked (he did a great job throughout the evening). We would be remiss to be at White Point Beach Resort and not use the beach itself, so we made our way to the reception along the beach, stopping in a few places for photos. Shawnee and John were both so incredibly easy going, and easy to work with. I think it helps to have been behind the camera and really understand what goes into that.
The reception was beautifully decorated with each table being named after one of their favourite songs. I was at “All You Need is Love” by The Beatles. They had one hell of a candy bar and I may have helped myself to a few candies throughout the night, especially the watermelon slices. Beside their seating chart, which was adorned with peacock feathers, was a table with a couple of John’s vintage cameras (so jealous of them, would love to have those in my collection), and on that table was an awesome guest book. They had a Fuji Instamax camera (think Polaroid) and a photo album. Each guest was able to take a photo and then grab a piece of paper and leave a note for the couple. They actually had this setup outside at the ceremony for guests to start on as we went for pictures, a nice way to keep people entertained. I think it will be a great way for them to look back at who was at their wedding for years to come.
There weren’t a ton of speeches, but they were all good (and nicely spread out), even those who claimed their public speaking abilities weren’t very up to snuff. I stole the happy couple away during dinner when I noticed a bit of a sunset and we went down to the beach. When we got there, the sunset got so much better than it looked like was going to be, and I’m sl glad they were willing to come outside, Shawnee even got her dress wet to get the shot we were trying for. The dinner turned to dancing, and John and Shawnee actually DJ’d their own wedding, something I can relate to as my wife and I did the same thing 5 years ago at our wedding with one major difference. While the first set of music was just a mix of songs, more geared to the older crowd, the second set was done by John to be more like remixes, I’m not sure of my terminology there, but he blended songs together and had good transitions, so whatever you call that. It got a lot of the younger guests up dancing and staying on the dance floor. It also helped that Shawnee’s brother liked to go around and collect people to get them to dance.
When I left just before midnight, Shawnee had changed into her party dress for maximum dance-ability, and the dance floor was rocking. I don’t know how late into the night they carried on, but I feel they likely had to be told to turn the music off. I think everyone had a great time and really enjoyed celebrating with John and Shawnee. I know I enjoyed shooting the wedding of a photographer, and having a few people there I could talk photography with, I actually think I learned a thing or two even.
Here’s a look at the day Shawnee and John celebrated with their family and closest friends;