Life really is too short to say "I do" and not mean it…

A few weeks ago I was contacted by my photo friend, Scott Hortop to inquire whether I’d be interested in shooting a wedding with “special circumstances”. Scott mentioned that the family was looking for a photographer with an unobtrusive and laid back style. Someone who would be able to get the job done without being bossy. I was appreciative when Scott recommended they contact me.
Soon after our conversation I received an e-mail from Marie who explained that her nan would be getting married in a couple of weeks, to her partner of many years.

I thought, OK I can do this, it sounds manageable…
Then the bombshell dropped and I was left speechless. Marie’s Nan (Phyllis) has been with her partner (Michael) for 40 years. Recently Michael was diagnosed with terminal Cancer and informed that he has but a few months to live. (Yeah, I know. Still speechless…)

I’ve been thinking about this for the last week. Thinking about their day, how incredibly emotional and special it will be for everyone involved, the two families who will officially be brought together after so many years and also I’ve been reflecting on what a huge responsibility I’ve taken on to ensure that each and every person there will have their expectations met and exceeded.

I’m confident that I’ll be able to get some beautiful photographs of the bride and groom, I know I’ll be able to get the group shots within the time frame and without being bossy, I know that it’s all going to be ok. But I also know, that my heart will be breaking inside, knowing how incredibly rare true love is and how lucky they were to have been able to find it in each other.

Living in the Facebook era where instant gratification is just a click, text or phone call away, for this couple, saying “I do” after 4 decades together is more than most people will ever know in a lifetime.
Two words that may mean something completely different to different people across the world will mean I have done and I promise to continue to for as long as we both shall live. There’s a message here for all of us. 

Michael and Phyllis’ wedding will officially take place on Saturday the 2nd of July in Wandsworth, London, surrounded by the people they love most in the world, as well as each other.
I’m sooo incredibly humbled to know that I’ll be present and part of such a meaningful and beautiful day.

{UPDATE} On Monday, 15 August 2011, Michael passed away after fighting a battle with Cancer. My heart goes out to his friends, family and loved ones.

Life has taught us that love does not consist in gazing at each other but in looking outward together in the same direction.  ~Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, Wind, Sand and Stars, 1939, translated from French by Lewis Galantière
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