I am such a firm believer in the notion that you should always be learning. Always. So this past month, I decided to attend one of Justin & Mary‘s Walk Through a Wedding workshop, where I spent two very intensive days with about 10 other amazing photographers from all over the country (and beyond!) learning so much from one of the most giving couples. I left Justin & Mary’s home late on the evening of the second day (so late that it was actually early morning) feeling excited, overwhelmed, and most importantly, ready to really take what I had learned and use it to take even better care of my couples.

I learned a lot in those two days. I knew I was going to. I expected to learn a lot about what to look for, how to make better images, when to expect things to happen, and what to do when something goes wrong. What I didn’t realize was that some of the most important things I would learn would have very little to do with creating images.

Amidst all the whats, hows, whens and what ifs spent time on over the course of those two days, what really stuck with me was the why. Why do I spend almost every weekend with couples on what can be a super stressful day amidst all the moving pieces of what goes into a wedding day? Why do I keep on pressing that button to click the shutter? We also learned that saying things out loud, so it’s out in the open (no takesies-backsies!), so here’s my why.

I do this because I love witnessing happiness and love. I love being there for the smiles, the “Oh, wow, she looks so…just wow” whispered under his breath, the hugs, and the celebrations. I love that all these moments fly by too quickly. It makes them that much more special. Those moments? They’re uniquely yours. It’s your story. It makes my heart full. It makes me laugh. And sometimes (ok, a lot of the time), it makes me cry.

Because someday, after the dust has settled, the flowers passed, and the dress cleaned, the memories fade. We forget about those deep breaths we took that helped the whole day sink in, and the moments that took our breath away. I do this because I love bringing those moments back. I love being able to share the chance to look at back at your wedding, and take those deep breaths again. I do this because you are in love, and that love matters.

And while this may have been a bit after their actual wedding, Alica and Adam are most definitely in love, and they most definitely have a love that matters and is uniquely theirs, and here’s my version of their story.

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Justin and Mary, thank you for pushing us so hard, for opening up your home (and quite honestly, your life) to us. For sharing your why, your how, your what ifs, and your whens, and for sharing you. Trust me, from the bottom of my heart, it matters.

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