This post is part of an on-going Everyday Disciple series. We're celebrating here what it looks like to follow Christ faithfully in the day-to-day. I am thankful to share the stories of gracious friends and readers, and I have sought to preserve and honor their voice in the post below. I invite you to join me as we listen to their experience as an "everyday disciple."
Autumn is one of my dearest friends. It all started our freshman year of college when I plopped down on her bed and started chatting away. (I may or may not have been accidentally sitting on her pillow, which has never ceased to be a source of debate.) She’s been a faithful, grace-filled, gospel-obsessed sounding board ever since, and she helps me remember to not take myself too seriously. I’m thankful to call her a friend and honored to share some of her story with you today.
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I became a wedding photographer by accident. When I graduated from school, I knew I wasn't quite ready for graduate school but had no clue what to do with my history degree. I jokingly listed out the activities for my dream job (with Diana, no less): hearing people's stories, drinking coffee, traveling for free, serving in new ways.
Without any effort on my part, the Lord gave me that exact job. One friend asked if I'd photograph her wedding, then another, and before I knew it, I was forming a legal business and crafting a website. It's been non-stop ever since.
I spend months helping couples plan the details and shoot the events of their wedding day. Throughout the entire process, I have opportunities to serve them, bring them joy, and count them (and their guests) as more important than myself.
Couples typically experience a roller coaster of stress, worry, excitement, anxiety, happiness, and giddiness—weekly. As a “wedding expert,” I can offer advice steeped in grace, hope, and perspective. I can gently bring a couple back to the importance of the covenant when the world becomes too distracting and celebrate what matters most with them.
I have an opportunity to spend more time with my couples than anyone else at their weddings, including their very best friends. This gives me continuous moments to serve, encourage, and build up my in-love clients on the day of their weddings—even when family difficulties cause stress, when my back hurts and I have five hours left, or the weather threatens to destroy everything.
Couples trust me with a day that will always rank as one of the more important days of their lives. My job never gets a re-do, and I feel the weight of the responsibility of doing my job fully and excellently because it's a one-time-thing. I believe I bring God glory by being prepared, focused, and diligent throughout my entire time in a couple’s service.
I wish people understood that my work is not frivolous or materialistic. Has the wedding world exploded in expense and extravagance? Sure. Are the fanciest, most amazing photos a requirement for a wedding? No. Is my job petty or easy? Absolutely not.
I see the gospel in every part of my work. When I listen to couple's stories, I hear of God's faithfulness. When I see the way a bride sneaks looks at her groom, I see his delight in giving good gifts. When I watch mother and fathers dance with the grooms and brides, I see God's parental joy and guidance. When I see best friends shed tears of joys and hear toasts of answered prayers, I see God's church walking in grace. When I see the moment a man and a woman say, "I do," to one another for a lifetime, I see God's commitment to his plans. When I stop to think of the love overflowing on a wedding day, I think of the future fullness of joy when Christ receives his bride and we celebrate at the greatest wedding feast.
My work is rooted in my deep respect and thankfulness for the gift of marriage, which was given to us by a good and loving God to better understand the gospel. I believe my photos capture a moment in time that changes a family and the generations to come. I believe my photos bring people back to their covenant promises again and again.
Ultimately, my job is to be a covenant historian. I know wedding days can be a lot of beautiful dresses, gorgeous flowers, and hopefully delicious food, but at their core, wedding days are covenant days.
There is always this point during a wedding ceremony when I feel goose bumps cover my arms and my sense of hearing sharpens—it’s always right before the vows. I stand there, in the middle of the aisle, and I watch a covenant being made. One man, one woman, and God. For better, for worse, in sickness, in health, in plenty, in lack, as long as they both shall live.
My finger hits the shutter, and I look at my watch noting the exact time the covenant was made. It never fails to amaze me that my job is to document such a heavy and beautiful moment.