A Grand Beginning
First, the day began at the Natchez Grand Hotel where the large wedding party had booked all their rooms. With nine bridesmaids and nine groomsmen, there were plenty of helping hands. As always, the ladies went one direction and the men another. No doubt each had their duties in getting ready for the big event. Meanwhile, the typical “getting ready” shot involves the makeup artist and bride.
However, moving to my right I was also able to capture a shot of Stephanie in silhouette. Going with the darker theme of a silhouette, I rendered the image in black and white during retouching. Just a simple way to give her options for her photo album.
Then, there was the absolutely beautiful wedding dress on a personalized hanger. Shot from many angles, this particular photo shows a close-up. The ribbon was color coordinated with the ladies’ dresses.
As one might expect, the men got ready a bit more quickly than the ladies. We captured them on the stairs as they left their rooms to head down toward the Basilica.
Girls Just Wanna Have Fun!
Next, the men left for the next stop along the journey, which was to take place at Memorial Park. Meanwhile, the ladies took a brief detour at the hotel’s bar to have some fun! No doubt, this group was a blast and full of hilarious energy. Check out their sassy poses!
Then, there are the rings. Before we left the hotel I seized the opportunity to take a creative ring shot utilizing the bridal bouquet. I carry a number of lenses, one of which is a 105mm prime macro lens. Consequently, this lens may double for ring shots or as a great portrait lens. However, without a tripod it takes a steady hand to get tack sharp images.
The bountiful wedding party gathered at well-known Memorial Park behind the Basilica for several shots, including the first look and some group photos. It was very cold that day, but everyone held up very well and we were able to get some great images. Just after the first look, the couple embraced and the moment was captured. Some of the family and friends can be seen in the background giving them their space.
Next, Stephanie invited Will under the veil for a kiss! It was obvious they were having a great time and enjoying every moment of the rapidly moving events of the day.
Dad & Bride Plus Others
At this point, several hundred photos were taken of various groups of the wedding party. One favorite of ours is a fun shot of Stephanie with her father. The photo tells a great story about their love and their enjoyment of this time!
How about this shot when Stephanie and Will caught Cody in a kiss sandwich! This was a fun idea that we discussed long before the day when we were putting together a creative shot list. Many times shots are planned, but for various reasons do not work well. In my opinion, this one came off perfectly!
We then all moved inside the Basilica’s basement to warm up and make ready for the actual ceremony. One of my favorite photos of the entire day is a candid shot of one of the bridesmaids with her daughter. The expression of the child’s face is simply priceless!
The Ceremony Begins!
Finally, it came time for the wedding itself. The huge doors swung open and all the friends and family were waiting inside. Father O’Connor presided over the ceremony, which in Roman Catholic tradition is a Sacrament. As the ushers hold open the literal doors, Stephanie walks through, entering a new stage of her life. Her father escorts her to the altar, arm in arm.
One by one the bridesmaids also enter, until all nine of them are also at the altar. Here, Cody makes his walk along with another family relative.
At this point, the vows are being exchanged. I took an opportunity to capture this shot of the ladies watching intently.
At the Altar & After Shots
Inevitably, the moment came and Will & Stephanie became man and wife. All during the ceremony and throughout the day, my second shooter and I took over 5,000 images! That’s a lot to edit and select from. This photo was shot vertically rather than horizontally, as many angles were explored. St. Mary Basilica is stunningly beautiful, I think you will agree.
Directly after, the newly formed family posed for a photograph with Father O’Connor.
Next, several images of the various groups were taken until we arrived at the shot of everyone gathered together at the altar. This photograph illustrates this large and loving family.
Cel-e-brate Good Times – C’Mon!
Another couple of fun shots came next, the first being one with Cody. It seems there’s a whole lot of celebration about to go on!
Finally, as they left the Church on the way to the Reception, the massive party jumped for joy on the steps outside! I have viewed this photograph many times. I can’t help but be amazed at the expression and gesture of each and every person. The little boy on the bottom right is almost flying! Also, I love the girl in the middle who has her hands outwardly expressed as if to say, “I can’t believe it!”
The couple load up in a horse-drawn carriage and head to The Natchez Community Center for the reception.
Let’s Get This Party Started!
Finally, they can all let their hair down and enjoy themselves! Here’s a shot of the first dance, featuring Stephanie and Will.
Next, everyone hit the floors for a grand ole time! Saturday night dancing style!
The Final Photos
In the midst of taking all those thousands of shots, I came across Cody. He seemed tired, but very, very happy. I love this shot of a little boy just before becoming a teenager, seeing the adults he loves most join in Holy union with one another. He was just off to the side soaking it all in. How special a boy! We spoke a bit about his experience on this day, and he posed for this photo.
The ladies … remember how good a time they were having earlier? Well, it just continued. Here, they are gathered around one of the cakes having a blast.
Photograph Number 25 …
Last but not least I leave you with a photo of just the three, now united. Stephanie, Will and Cody Leibfritz. Their story continues!
The End … or rather The Beginning!