Adventures. If there’s one thing, I love doing, then that’s getting to know new places and people. After I already shot multiple weddings in Germany, Austria, Switzerland and the Netherlands, it’s always amazing to experience couples on their big day: It is always great, getting to know a country and people, various wedding traditions and mentalities.
Today I’ll tell you the story of Sarah and Paul, which I photographed somewhere in Virginia, USA, as their wedding photographer. That’s a great honor and a huge adventure for me as a wedding photographer.
But it all started in a very different place: No, it wasn’t Germany. In fact, everything started with my good friend and colleague who is a photographer for weddings: With Ufuk Sarisen in Turkey. He is who Sarah asked originally as a wedding photographer and the couple and he even had a Skype call together, but then Ufuk noticed, he could make it on their big day. To this day I am grateful to Ufuk, because of what he did? Because he recommended me. And after a few emails we did another super uncomplicated video chat: Sarah and Paul wanted me as their wedding photographer in Virginia.
Such a huge dream has come true for me: to travel as a wedding photographer in the US – the country, which always had been on my bucket list and I yet I never visited before. That said, I could not just fly there, but even shoot a wedding in Greene Country, Virginia. Some of my greatest passions – Weddings, travel and photography – connected. Wonderful.
My trip to America a few months after the booking began firstly with a lot of sweat in New York at the entry – because I had a left-handed reflex and put the wrong hand in the entry machine. After a little back and forth, I was allowed to enter. Finally I met Sarah and Paul in Washington D.C.. Finally in person.
The two took me home for the first few days which was super cool: I was able to experience the culture in the US on a whole other level – understanding the problems, they are currently facing, but also understanding, why people act like they do nowadays. I experienced the two and their families in their daily lifes, before we left to Virginia on the third day of my trip. And of course, that created a super intimate relationship, I rarely have with a bride and a groom before the actual wedding.
The wedding, I photographed the wedding i what i’d call pretty much the weirdest location ever – the White Lotus Eco Retreat and was a two-day event from the get-together on Friday and the wedding ceremony and party on Saturday.
On the rainy first day of the wedding in Virginia the Get Together with the guests and friends was planned, including a slideshow in the resort’s own movie theater and a nice campfire together. A dream for me as a wedding photographer, because I already knew a little bit about the guests of the wedding.
The wedding day began for me as a photographer, who likes to photograph the whole day and especially to absorb moods and emotions and into a beautifully rounded story, which extends over the entire wedding day, this time it all started very early – and for me totally atypical – with a meditation. Already in these first moments I realized, what a great and emotional day would lie in front of me. The bride and groom looked at each other during the morning meditation at some point and suddenly began to cry: full of joy at the day ahead, and deep love between them. What a wonderful moment at the very beginning of a long day. My best friend would say: “My heart leapt with happiness”.
After breakfast we went for Sarah and her girls in one of the cabins at the resort, which were distributed to the vast grounds. There all the girls were styled and dressed up for the upcoming wedding ceremony.
Paul, however, wanted to buy some last minute stuff at the city. Actually. It’s a super funny thing that of all days the truck suddenly had a flat tire right before the weddings and so the guys decided, to change it first, to change it before it all started … so funny – and yet I’m truly impressed, he kept his nerves together at such an important day, when everything goes down. Great job
But then the time came: Sarah and Paul’s first big highlight of the day, the ceremony, has arrived. I really think it’s a cool thing, that there is no separation of free marriage and civil status marriage in Virginia and throughout the US. In Germany a civil marriage must be done in a registry office, which isn’t necessary in the States – and I personally I really love that, because you just don’t need to come to a registry office . The ceremony was not quite comparable to a free wedding in Germany, but also a little more than “just” a civil ceremony. Don’t sound like a bad compromise for me, don’t it…
After the vows and the kiss, Sarah and Paul had another cool idea: while their guests had a small champagne reception, the three of us went in a small wooden area and they both gave their vows once apart from everything else. A moment just for them, apart from the fact, I documented everything with my camera. It is always a great feeling, being a wedding photographer in such amazing moments (I have this at free weddings in Germany with Friederike Delong Trautante more often and it is a really great thing).
The dinner in the big barn was the next stop on the agenda, which was gorgeous decorated with fairy lights. Next (how else could it be) was finally party-time. Sounds like a nice ending to a wonderful day for the newlyweds, guests and me as a wedding photographer in Virginia, but we were still far way from such.
The owner of the resort did completely spontaneously and unplanned a fire show for the couple and their guests. As a grand finale, all guests made flying lanterns, because that is what the couple Sarah and Paul had done on their first anniversary as a couple. This made such an incredible, breathtaking atmosphere with all the bright lights around us. Stunning. And it is a way more fitting end for this great day with Sarah, Paul and their guests.
After the wedding, I spent a few days in Washington D.C.. and it was an unforgettable adventure for me – which the pictures only tell a small part of all the stories , I experienced as a wedding photographer in my time in the US. It was truly mind-blowing. Also I look