If you're lucky enough to still have your grandparents in your life and have a good relationship with them, you are probably very excited for them to be at your wedding day with you. However, due to many reasons, it can sometimes be difficult for grandparents to attend weddings in-person; sometimes it's due to age, sometimes distance, etc.
Rachel and Clay were presented with a similar scenario for their wedding.
Rachel and Clay got married down in Virginia, yet Clay's grandparents live in New Hampshire. Due to a number of reasons, Clay's grandparents were, unfortunately, unable to attend their actual wedding day in person. Saddened by this, Rachel + Clay got to thinking about alternative ways to include their grandparents into their wedding.
They ultimately came up with the idea of visiting them after the wedding while they got all dressed up in their wedding outfits so that their grandparents could get the whole vision of what the wedding had been like, and feel like they were still a part of it all. When Rachel reached out to me about documenting the occasion for them with Clay's grandparents, I leapt at the opportunity. I'm a secret softy at heart, and this idea warmed my heart.
Fast forward to a rainy Summer's day when their shoot was taking place! Luckily, the majority of the photos were planned to be taken inside anyway, so the weather didn't deter us. I met Rachel, Clay, and their family in Peterborough, New Hampshire, signed in with the front desk of the venue we were using, and proceeded to walk down the hall to the room where I was told the session was going to take place. On my way down the hallway, I ran into a bride, which could only have been Rachel! We said hello, and I met her, Clay, and the rest of their family before entering a cozy space. I made sure to pop a flash on my camera early on, as the room didn't have a lot of natural light, and even if it did, the rainy, grey day was preventing it from flooding the room. I have an attachment for my flash that helps diffuse the light so it looks more natural and not as harsh. I generally like my photography approach to have a documentary-style approach, and I sometimes feel that flash just doesn't fit the vibe when you're essentially trying to be a fly on the wall. However, in moments like this, capturing the moments playing out in front of me is far more important. So, after warning everyone about the flash, we got on with the session (and I truly don't think the flash hindered the intimate, cozy session at all)!
We started the session off by having Rachel and Clay show off their wedding outfits to Clay's Nana, and then got straight into family photo combinations, as those were some of the most important photos that Rachel + Clay wanted to get with Nana, so we got them early on while Nana still had the energy. These photos were so stinkin' sweet, and I just tried to think about what kind of photos I would want with my Grammy if I was able to do this kind of shoot with her. I really wanted to focus on the love they all for each other, and capture the in-between moments that might seem small, but could mean so much to Rachel, Clay, and their families.
After the family photos, Clay's mom brought out Nana's wedding album for Rachel and Clay to flip through with her. Nana's face beamed as she was transported back in time to her wedding day. She pointed out and explained little details, and remembered every moment that was frozen in time in the photographs. This was, hands down, one of the most special moments to witness and document for Rachel and Clay. It's a moment I will cherish throughout my career, and one I'm sure they will hold onto for a lifetime as well.
Once Rachel, Clay, and Nana were finished flipping through Nana's wedding album, Rachel + Clay played their first dance song over some bluetooth speakers they brought, and recreated their first dance for Nana. It was important to them that Nana felt like she was a part of their wedding day and could feel like she was there, which is something that Nana actually kept repeating during this session. Nana ended up feeling tired towards the end of the dance, which was our cue to wrap up the session. We said goodbye to each other, and I immediately started working on editing these photos as soon as I got home because I knew how precious they were.
One of the phrases I repeat throughout my wedding photography business is that everything I do is for the 85-year-old version of you and your partner. I approach documenting your wedding in a way that captures the small moments as much as the big ones on your wedding day so that, when you're wrinkled and gray, you're able to flip through your wedding album and remember the whole story of your wedding day. My goal is for you to time travel every time you look at your wedding photos (I personally always imagine you flipping through your wedding album book). I want you to remember the butterflies in your stomach, the tears forming in the corners of your eyes, and the way your cheeks started to hurt from smiling so much on your big day. THAT is what drives me to do what I do. THAT is the reason I constantly scan the room looking for little that might go unseen otherwise. This session with Rachel, Clay, and their family was such a special reminder of all of this. It was also an incredible way to include Clay's Nana who wasn't able to be at their wedding on the day-of, yet who they still so desperately wanted to include in it all.
My hope is that these photos will be printed in a book that everyone can flip through together one day 🧡
It was such an honor documenting this special post-wedding session for Rachel + Clay's beautiful family!
Thanks so much for reading, and speak soon!
The Francis Frames