The Random Wedding
Anyone that knows me know that I'm always finding myself in this more random of situations. This past Friday was yet another time in which I find myself somewhere other than where I expected doing something other than what I expected.
It started with a phone call...
Sometime last week, I was on the phone with my good friend, Danny. Danny, great guy, is one of those guys that you'll click with off top, you know? I met him originally when he was doing some work for another buddy of mine that was a local promoter. I met him and his lovely wife, Jessica.
Fast forward some years, I end up working at a store location nearby his house. As such, his family came into that store and we reconnected. Mutual interests in music, writing, and psychology accelerated the bond like gas on a flame. Much to the dismay of both our spouses, we are both very talkative people. The friendship was solidified when I had an extra ticket for Sonic Temple 2019 and invited him along. We had plenty of time to share ideas and enjoy Festival Life with the rest of the DOPE ASS friends that I travel and see shows with.
So it's far to say, there is trust between the two of us. With the announcement of his and Jessica's first child, I immediately offered, not only my congratulations, but whatever advice I could provide as a father of four myself. I am humbled by the amount of trust he has in me and I really do appreciate the bond between my family and his.
That being said, during this phone call (I think I called to get his thoughts on some stats I was looking up about homelessness in America and the percentage of the US Population that were homeless veterans - which if there is one homeless person, that's too many, I think), Danny presented me with an issue he had. See, Danny is ordained to perform weddings. Danny is also a photographer. One of his childhood friends was getting married and Danny was both performing the ceremony and taking pictures. Sounds tricky, right? Well, this is the tricky part. His wife takes pictures too and was going to help doing the actual ceremony.
The problem: their van doesn't have AC and of course, if it was just them, no problem. You know how it is. Adults just deal with it. The issue was his daughter and nephew would be joining them and he didn't want his daughter and nephew without AC on the hour plus trip to the wedding site. He asked me if I could drive along for the sake of the kids. Naturally, I agreed and the plan was set. I got out of the house and got to attend a wedding and watch a couple kids doing a brief ceremony while they handled business. Well, it would have been as interesting if that was how it went down.
A few days later, while talking to Danny, he tells me that Jessica, has decided that it's make more sense to stay home with both daughter and nephew and Danny and I could just go to the wedding, if I was okay with that. I had to admit, that it did make a lot of sense (This is why you get married, guys. Trust your wives!) so, face with logic, I agreed. I mean, I was already going to be driving. It really didn't make sense to drive two vehicles just for the sake of it. The Catch: this would mean that I would become the photographer's assistance during the ceremony, charged with taking pictures during the ceremony while Danny performed it.
I'm not going to lie - I was nervous as fuck. This is a very big responsibility. This is the forever moment - capturing the moment a bride and groom say "I do" and exchange rings and kiss and go from "boyfriend/girlfriend" to "Husband & Wife" (BTW - a lot of people believe it's "just a piece of paper", but man, I'm telling you. There's a difference when you look at someone and say "This is my wife." It holds weight, trust me. It's worth that piece of paper if he or she is the right person for you. Now that all marriage is legal, if that love is there, go for it! Tie that knot!) and it's just - AHHH - nerve-wracking.
It's like this: You ever just known something and KNEW you knew it up until someone asked you if you knew it or if you were "sure"? Like, you're driving away from the house and someone asked you, "You locked the door, right?" and you know you did, but then they say, "Are you sure?" and you suddenly go from 100% certain to 98% probably sure, maybe? That's how I felt. I know how to use a camera. Photography was actually an old hobby of mine and I've taken pictures at a wedding before. But the difference here is, although I know them, I don't KNOW them. I don't want to ruin a special occasion with my "Look Squirrel!" picture taking. Now, while that's a joke, I do think that weddings are special and sacred. I would have hated for someone to ruin mine with crap photos or the unprofessional dude just all up in the business, you know?
And above all that, I knew it wasn't me that they hired. They hired Danny. And if the pictures I took sucked, then that might make Danny look bad and I'd hate to be the reason a good friend's reputation was tarnished. Noticed I said "good friend". If we're cross and I ruin your rep, you probably deserved it and I killed it with the truth. It's easier that way. I digress -
I have this advice for people when they find themselves faced with doing something new, unfamiliar, stressful, or scary. It's something I do myself and it was definitely the time to pull this card out of the proverbial desk. The Trick: Let yourself stress. Feel every bit of it. Hold nothing back. Stress and cry and whine and bitch and moan all you need all the way up to the Moment of Truth. Once you're to the Moment of Truth - the moment when it's time to do the thing - stop, close your eyes, take one really deep breath and say, "Fuck It" and walk through the door and do whatever it is that scares you.
Here's my thinking - you're going to be stressed or nervous, that's natural. We have to remember that we are still human beings and we all feel these things. It's normal. So let yourself feel it. Let yourself talk out your fears and insecurities and acknowledge them. But once you're come to the Moment of Truth, you've realized that you're going to have to do whatever the thing is. You've already talked it out and you're going to have to do it anyway. You're felt the fear and anxiety and you have to do it anyway. So just lock it away inside a deep breath and seal it with a "Fuck it" and handle your business.
And that's what I did. I went to bed Thursday night so I could pick up Danny Friday morning. I picked him up, promised his wife I'd be safe and take care of him and we drove about an hour or so down into the countryside of Kentucky.
About that drive:
1. I've never been a fan of the Western Kentucky Parkway. There's just a whole lot of nothing, and if you're the type of driver whose eyes get bored easily (if you know, you know) then you understand my plight.
2. I watch a lot of horror movies and I SWEAR we drove passed the perfect location for Kentucky Chainsaw Massacre. Nope. Not Moon. No, Sir.
3. A positive - we stopped off at this Marathon station that had chicken fingers. Listen, say what you want, but some of the best road food lies in the form of gas station chicken. It's true. Find yourself some gas station chicken in the 'hood somewhere, you've got it made in the shade, Trust Your Moon. Also, pretty lady going with to or from Connecticut. Nothing crazy. Nothing inappropriate. She was just a lovely lady who was there. It was a plus.
4. I hate roundabouts. Let me say this again, "I! HATE! ROUNDABOUTS!" I'm really not sure why exactly I hate roundabouts. I know how to use them. They're not particularly hard to navigate. Maybe it's because, seemingly, NO ONE ELSE KNOWS HOW TO USE THEM!!!! Jesus Christ on a Cracker, people, it's just ROUND. You go AROUND. You've only got typically 3 options not counting the road you started on. WHY IS THIS SO DAMN DIFFICULT?!?!?!?!?!?!?!
Sorry. Needless to say, there was a roundabout and I drove it and carried on about my merry way.
Finding the place wasn't exactly easy, but Danny navigated us well. We got to this A-Frame house that was really nice on the inside. This was the location of the wedding. We sat with the couple and their family until it was showtime. Danny set of the video camera, I took the regular camera, and Danny and the couple took their places. The ceremony was short and sweet. I read an advance copy of what Danny was going to say so I knew it wasn't going to be long.
Afterwards, Danny did the family pics and I ate pulled pork and baked beans. We closed up, said our Thank-Yous and Good-Byes and made it home before dark. All and all, a great outing with good food and great conversations with Danny, the couple, and the couples' friends and family.
Congratulations James and April. Thank you for the opportunity to help capture your special day. May you two and you family be blessed with many more to come.