When I was young, I remember how much I loved my mom’s wedding dress. She kept it tucked in the back of one of their bedroom closets, hanging in a blue garment bag. Every once in awhile, she would let me pull it out… the dress… the veil… the HUGE hoop she wore underneath the dress on her wedding day. She would tell me about that hoop, and how it was so large that her father couldn’t walk beside her down the aisle and instead, had to walk just slightly behind her. I would try her dress on while looking in the dresser mirror, all the while, surrounded by photos of my parents on their wedding day.
Her dress now hangs in my own closet. Every once in awhile, I pull it out and look at the details on it… from the beadwork around the bodice, to the super tiny waistline that was so common during the 1950′s, to the long sleeves that you rarely see on a wedding dress today. Every detail about her dress was stunning. With just a simple strand of pearls for a necklace and pearls for earrings, she achieved a classic and timeless look on her wedding day.
I still love to look at her wedding dress, all these years later. What I love even more than her dress, is looking at the photos from that day. Our house was full of family photos when I was growing up. Their wedding photos sat in frames in their bedroom, and on the hutch right below their wedding china. They were more than just the captured memories of the day they got married. They were about family, the connectedness of the generations, and about commitment. They sat beside photos that reflected the memories and experiences of our childhood. They introduced me to the grandparents I never had the opportunity to meet. They are heirlooms that were displayed at their 50th wedding anniversary. Their wedding photos were the start of our family and the life all of us had together.
It would be too cliche to say that this is the reason why I love being a wedding photographer. The truth is, this just happens to be one of the perks of the job. I love the fact that I’m giving the future children of my clients a piece of their family history, and hopefully one day, they’ll come to appreciate and treasure those photographs for what they are: the start of their family’s memories.
(From left to right: my grandfather, John Leinen; my grandmother, Ann Britten Leinen; my dad, Donald Leinen; my mom, Darleen Leinen; my grandmother, Laura Steckel; my grandfather, Leo Steckel.)