A wedding is the start of a family …

This weekend I had the privilege and pleasure of photographing the wedding of two beautiful young people. I've known the groom since he was a 6-year-old kid. He and my son have played together since they were little guys, sleeping out on hot summer nights, raced on dirt bikes, and argued with each other (every year) over whether the Cowboys or the Seahawks are going to win this time (with all the accompanying mockery, insults and loudness that entails). His mom was my best friend through all those hair-raising kid-raising adventures that happen in the country. The bride's family were so dear, so warm, and her father's tears touched my heart and brought me close to tears more than once. The minister who wed them is my husband's best friend and has been since they were little kids living on the same culdesac, and as I looked around the crowd I saw so many friends, so much family, so many people I loved. It really brought home to me that this is what a wedding really is. It's not just an event where you get to wear a really cool dress or a tux and show off, it's a family's beginning. It's the time we celebrate lives joined, and the continuation of all that is beautiful in raising our children to adulthood and seeing them step into their role as tomorrow's parents and aunts and uncles and one day grandparents. It's a celebration of love. Not just romantic love, which is beautiful and precious, but the love that makes a family whole, and gets parents out of bed every day to do right by their kids, and the love that makes a couple stay together and say they're sorry and get along because they're not just 'in love' but best friends, and there for the long haul, come what may. The thing that cystallized the beauty of that day was the stark contrast I saw on the Rose Parade three days later. Part of the spectacle was a young couple being married on one of the floats "joined in this adventure called marriage" by some Californian (wooohooo great state of California!) officiant. It was all about them and their 'adventure.' No family, no parents, no one giving the bride away, no close friends shedding a tear. Just a money-making spectacle. A "dream wedding". Really? An adventure? No wonder there are so many divorces. So many people are so wrapped up in their personal experience of 'their day' that they don't even think of their families, their parents, their grandparents, all the people that had a hand in raising them, who have always been there for them, but aren't important enough to them to make a part of this celebration of life and family. It was so shallow, and empty. I realize not everyone has a long family history in one place. Increasingly people have dysfunctional childhoods that have isolated them from family and long-standing friendships in many ways,, tragedies and war have orphaned and isolated many of us,  but it doesn't have to stay that way, if you don't want it to. I have friends that are closer than my family ever were. They're my family now, the ones I call when I need help, and who call me back. They're also the ones that I run for when they holler. Those of you with close families are truly blessed, appreciate it, but the people I've adopted along the way are just as much a blessing, and that blessing was very much in evidence Saturday night. Thanks, kids, for letting us all be part of your lives, and your day. 🙂 Rich and Tallia