Sneak Peek- Reissa and Andy, Garrison Wedding Photographer
Andy loves Reissa, and Reissa loves Andy. There’s no simpler way to put it, and almost nothing else matters except for that… except that Reissa and Andy put so much thought into every detail of their day that EVERYTHING else does matter. Last Friday was a beautiful day.
On Thursday, family and friends came from all over the country to rehearse for Friday’s ceremony, to drink good beer, play lawn games and open truly fun, thoughtful presents. Rehearsals come naturally for this couple, both of whom are actors. In fact, their first kiss was a stage kiss in the musical “Sweet Charity.” They fell in love in college, and for the past few years they’ve been building a life together in New York.
The bride shed tears of joy when she read her card from the groom.
My second shooter Tom documented the guys getting ready at their hotel, so he got to see Andy’s reaction when Reissa’s gifts arrived courtesy of a helpful groomsman.
She got him tomatoes, (an inside joke), a grapevine that will grow and bear fruit as their marriage matures, like a fine wine, and most moving of all, she sent him her father’s cufflinks and a apple pin that he wore on his collar.
Reissa’s father passed away some years ago, but he was EVERYWHERE in spirit- in a pin that adorned the back of the bride’s gown, in the groom’s cufflinks on his collar, in the fatherly love shown by Reissa’s uncles who, among other things, had the privilege of conducting the ceremony and presenting the wedding rings at just the right moment.
Now, I have to confess that I know Reissa from our work together at the Random Farms Kids Theater. I’ve also seen her in action at the nursing home where she works with the residents, bringing music to their days, all the while she’s working on her masters’ degree in music therapy. Reissa is one of those people that makes everyone around her happy.
She’s warm, funny, caring, and Andy lights up in her presence. Working with kids, particularly backstage in the theater where there’s a lot of singing, choreography, and frankly, hairspray is not the kind of job you dress up for. It’s more of a leggings and black t-shirt kind of gig, so I was completely blown away by Reissa’s transformation on her wedding day.
She also wore one of her father’s bird pins on her dress under her shoulder; he “had her back” in spirit, so to speak.
She is beautiful, inside and out, and honestly, her inner beautiful is the more radiant of the two, but seeing her in her gown was just- wow. Reissa was GORGEOUS.
Reissa and her mom are incredibly close, along with her two sisters, who did everything they could- from spontaneously figuring out a lunch order on the fly for 12 hungry-could-soon-be-hangry women, to creating a piece of artwork for the soon-to-be-newlyweds’ home, to composing a song with ukulele accompaniment that would serve as the maids’ of honor toast. We took a quick picture of the three sisters on the porch swing where they’ve also cuddled up for photos over the years, and then we were off to the Garrison for a first look, pictures, and of course, the ceremony and reception.
Andy and Reissa’s first look was an emotional one.
While I love this photo of Reissa daintily dabbing away her tears of joy, I also love this one of the raw emotion on her face as she saw Andy in his wedding attire.
Andy was nervous as she came up behind him. He was trembled a little, and Reissa said softly, “It’s just me. It’s just me, baby,” as he turned around and took her in his arms.
It was all very romantic.
Then we busted through a shot list of family photos and group poses before I got to whisk the bride and groom away on a golf cart to a particularly photogenic field of wildflowers.
This is actually kind of hilarious, but Tom caught this shot of me photographing the bride and groom in the field. You can almost hear a sotto tone voiceover a la a nature program on PBS, “Here we see the indigenous wedding photographer, stalking her prey in a field of wildflowers adjacent to their natural habitat on a golf course. Note the male, whose outer appearance in a formal suit reveal him to be an North American bridegroom…” Aaaannnd I may be the only one who finds that funny.
I love the shots we got in the field, though…
Then it was time for a quick kiss, and the bride and groom parted until the ceremony started half an hour later.
The ceremony was so THEM. It was musical. It was heartfelt. It was funny.
The emotional expression on Reissa’s face moved so many guests to tears.
The groom’s brother did a beautiful reading from “Captain Corelli’s Mandolin,” including this quote: “Love is a temporary madness. It erupts like an earthquake and then subsides. And when it subsides you have to make a decision. You have to work out whether your roots have become so entwined together that it is inconceivable that you should ever part. Because this is what love is. Love is not breathlessness, it is not excitement, it is not the promulgation of promises of eternal passion. That is just being ‘in love’ which any of us can convince ourselves we are. Love itself is what is left over when being in love has burned away, and this is both an art and a fortunate accident.”
The bride and groom played “Rock, Paper, Scissors” to see who would say their vows first. Andy won.
Before long, they sealed their promises with a kiss and walked off into the sunshine. One of the cool things about having two different photographers capture the same moment is seeing the way two people approach things creatively. I went for “sun-drenched joy;” Tom shot an elegant silhouette.
Then, the bride and groom headed to the bridal suite for a few minutes alone. I snapped this without them knowing it before they hurried up the stairs.
The rest of us went to cocktail hour where the food was amazing. A-MAZ-ING.
Are those mini-grilled cheese bites with tomato soup shots? Why, yes, yes they are. SO GOOD.
The bride and groom joined us for the second half of cocktail hour, and then I got to snap some of my favorite pictures of the day as the sun set behind the mountains.
Then we were onto the reception! Andy and Reissa had an amazing celebration, the highlights of which included the couple’s first emotional dance, the groom’s whimsical dance with his mom, and the bride’s dance with HER mom, which ultimately turned into a emotional foursome of bride, mom and sisters on the dance floor before the ballroom exploded into a kickass party.
It’s not a wedding until somebody does “the worm.”
Later in the night, the bride’s sisters surprised Reissa with a musical toast that they wrote, complete with the aforementioned ukulele accompaniment.
Then the groom sang for the bride, and the bride led us all in a singalong to an incredibly catchy tune that she wrote while her hair was still setting into curls that very morning. She sent it to her music therapist friends who took over the band’s setup. I can’t be the only one still humming it loud and singing “Andy De- Raaado/ Is my husband todaaaaaay” out loud nearly a week later, can I?
The rest of the evening passed in a happy blur with a few standout moments. The groom’s family took over the dance floor for a set of Greek line dancing.
The newlyweds cut the cake, but they also took a moment to make a short speech.
They thanked everyone for coming, and for being a part of their wedding day. Then, Reissa said something I will never forget. She thanked everyone the room- their extended family and friends- for teaching her and Andy how to love. She said, essentially, that they are only able to love each other as deeply as they do because they were first loved by others. It was a beautiful moment on a beautiful night for beautiful couple.
Congratulations, Andy and Reissa! May these photos always remind you of the love you share!