I come from a large family. More specifically, my Dad comes from a large family, which means that I, too, have a large family. My Dad’s brood of brothers and sisters result in no shortage of cousins for me. Growing up, holidays at my Grandma’s house were an ‘event’ as we all stuffed ourselves into a house that became much smaller with our entrance.
I look back at my early years and have only fond memories of family gatherings. There were aunts, uncles and cousins everywhere. There seemed to be a child at every age and certainly a vast array of personalities. If you couldn’t find someone to play with there was likely something wrong with you. Despite the large selection of people from which to chose to spend time, one would most often find me glued to the side of my cousin, Tony. Just two years my junior (I think?), he and I tended to gravitate toward each other. Our time was spent talking, playing and simply hanging out. The way I remember it, we just enjoyed each others company.
Of course the years go by, lives become more hectic, and space, distance, and time complicate everything. It has been years since I have spent any quality time with my cousin, Tony, but the memories of those years still linger in my heart.
That is what made Saturday so special.
Tony married his lovely bride and I was honored to be present as the acting “photographer”.
It was a beautiful afternoon. The sunshine was abundant and the temperatures were perfect. The ceremony took place in the middle of a lovely, out of the way, park that was shaded by a vast array of gorgeous trees. The location overlooked a pond that made the setting absolutely perfect for the beautifully simple ceremony my cousin and his fiancee desired.
I won’t lie. I was nervous about taking pictures for my cousin. Professional photographer. . . I am not. Wedding photographer. . . I definitely am not. I suspect I may have been trembling more than the bride. . . definitely more than the groom.
It was when I saw my cousin for the first time that my nerves began to relax. It was at that point that I felt only one thing. . . honored. Honored to be a part of his special day. Honored to be present for this union that will extend far beyond this short ceremony. From that point on nervousness slipped away and was replaced by sheer joy.
The ceremony was small and intimate. There would be no formal pictures. They wanted it simple. I can do simple.
I tucked myself away in a corner with my camera in hand and watched and waited. . .
I watched as Megan rounded the corner anchored on either side by her Grandfather and her Mom. I watched the mix of nerves and anticipation on her face as I watched Tony turn his head away, giving her the moment she deserved.
I watched as Megan’s Grandfather slowly walked beside her down the center isle. I watched knowing that a story was unfolding right before my eyes.
It was impossible not to smile at her smile.
Standing in the park with camera in hand almost felt like being a fly on a wall. Kind of like I had a super power to witness something without anyone knowing I was there. Watching my cousin reach his hand out to his bride, witnessing their pronouncement of love and commitment, and literally feeling the love they share left me with no doubts that I was seeing the real deal.
Sometime during the events of the day Tony shared that Megan has the words, “Home is where our story begins”, displayed in their home. I like that. I am a lover of marriage. I believe in it. I believe that it is meant to be so good. I was so excited as I watched Tony and Megan march their way back up the isle as husband and wife.
I was excited knowing that their story is just beginning to unfold. And from the looks of these two. . .
Laughter and fun times will be in an abundance.
Tony and Megan, It was an honor to be a part of your special day and to catch a glimpse of the real love you both so obviously share. I wish you all the best as you begin your life together as Mr. and Mrs. May the beautiful love you share today pale in comparison to the love you share with each passing year.