I have a confession to make...At almost every wedding, I cry a little bit. But the story I'm about to tell you, may have you crying before the end of it. I try as a photographer to be in the moment 100% of the time. That means I'm experiencing the same happiness, sadness, sometimes stressfulness of my couples. With Annie & Chris, this was no different.
On a cold, rainy September day, Annie & Chris woke up ready for their beautiful Newport wedding planned. However, when they woke up to rain, as most of you could imagine, it wasn't what they expected. They still embraced the day with happiness & joy like they've always done in their relationship and with life. Much like their wedding day Annie & Chris had everything planned out for their life up until April of this past year when Annie found out she had been diagnosed with breast cancer. As unexpected as that was, they pushed forward with planning their big day and all the adventures ahead. Annie had surgery in May and started chemotherapy in June. Smack dab in the middle of all this, was their wedding in September. When I reached out to Annie & Chris to plan our final get together before their big day, she told me she had "something very important to tell me" I couldn't have even imagined that she would say "I have breast cancer".
Photography is more important than we know it. Sometimes people think all I do is "take pictures" however, it's so much deeper. I got a little teary eyed when Annie & Chris sat down with me for their meeting. I couldn't help but remember my papa, who passed away from cancer just a few years ago. I couldn't help but wish that I had more photographs with him, and of him. For all I knew, Annie & Chris's wedding pictures could be their only professional photos they would have of one another. It's a huge responsibility as it is, however, with the circumstances, it was even bigger. I remember getting in the car with Jenn on the way to Newport that day and I looked over and said "This is the most important wedding we have this year."
As you can imagine, their day went off without a hitch! Sure, it rained, it poured. But that didn't stop us. We embraced each and every minute of it. Exploring Newport in the rain is quite the adventure.
My favorite part of the whole day was when Annie's sister, Rachel gave her speech. Beyond being hilarious, her speech would go down for the best Maid of Honor speech I've ever heard. Towards the end, Rachel said something along the lines of: "Now, everyone here has been inspired by Annie and her amazing positivity, strength and courage but rather than pass the mic around and tell her, why don't we show her?" and everyone threw up signs of funny phases about breast cancer, inspirational quotes from Annie, or just messages to her. I broke down in tears. I apologize to Rachel, Annie, and their family in advance. The photos are a tad blurry because I was shaking and so overwhelmed with emotion. I'm a big baby. I knew it was coming and I still cried!
To Annie & Chris, thank you. Thank you for allowing me out of all people to photograph your big day. I know when choosing a photographer you look at prices, photos, websites, whats included, and that sometimes influences your choice, but besides all that - You guys choose me. You allowed me to capture your story, your next chapter in a beautiful, documentary style way. You became friends of mine rather than clients, and your photos, and your story became some of my favorite of all time.
Thank you to Annie's doctor Valerie Fein-Zachary, who without her and her amazing team, Annie & Chris could have had a much tougher road than expected.
You'll be happy to know that Annie is fully 100% out of chemotherapy and is on the road to recovery. I hope this brightens up her day as much as she's brightened up my life.
You inspire me Annie & Chris. For that, I am forever grateful.