A late bus, a fire alarm, and chilling Spring winds: these are the things that Claire and Bill handled with ease on the day they became partners for life.
Claire and Bill joined the Lightly Gypsy tribe after attending the Mad City Bridal Expo at Monona Terrace in March. I appreciated their genuine teamwork and directness. They knew exactly what they wanted and needed from their wedding photographer, and I was honored when they chose to book with me.
One of the tricky things about not meeting a couple beforehand (they chose to forgo the engagement shoot), is that on the wedding day, as a super awkward person, I have the best worst way of figuring out who the bride and groom are. That morning, I walked into the room where Claire and her squad were getting ready and greeting them with:
"Hiiiiiiii. I'm the photographer...is Claire here?"
I said this directly to Claire, who was standing next to her identical twin sister. Smooth, as always, I am.
The day started out easy - I had plenty of time to get detail shots, and I got to know the girls quickly as they applied finishing touches and helped Claire get into her dress. As the girls were ready to leave, I went down to the lobby of the Madison Concourse Hotel to get ready for a Titanic-worthy stairs shot.
But Bill and the guys were still there. After a similarly awkward introduction to Bill, I found out that the bus hadn't shown up, and they could not get a hold of them. Claire was quickly told to stay upstairs and out of sight, while the wedding party problem solved.
I cannot say enough about the staff at the Concourse. Although the church was located outside of the normal shuttle range, they got it ready and the entire wedding party shipped over, on two separate shuttles, so that Claire and Bill could maintain their moment of joy in seeing each other the first time that day as Claire walked down the aisle.
Even more impressive: we were on time.
The ceremony was a beautiful Catholic Mass at St. Maria Goretti's. I had never been to this church before, but it blew my mind. The aesthetic beauty in simplicity was breathtaking. From a photographer's perspective, having the space to walk up to the front of the church without being in the way was a huge perk.
As we took family pictures, my 17+ years of experience in the wedding industry told me that after the missing bus (which had arrived during the ceremony - simple miscommunication), we would be smooth sailing for the rest of the day.
Well, I do not know if you are from Wisconsin, but if you are, you understand why March in Wisconsin can be a nasty temptress. We long for warmth at this time of year. However, Winter is rarely ready to fully let go.
Getting pictures of the Madison skyline is one of my favorite things to do when I am in the city, so we headed over to Olin Park. All thoughts of Spring were completely eradicated as we stood on the lakeside in full wind.
The pictures, as usual, were worth it, though.
After Olin, the whole group headed to State Street and the Capitol. We missed major protests by about an hour and used the square to our advantage.
We were so efficient (and cold) that we arrived back to the hotel with plenty of time to socialize and hang out in the lobby. Claire and her twin sister shared some quiet moments honoring their mother, and looking at the hand-made drawing Claire's sister did. Having this time and these moments is one of the reasons I recommend couples make sure they schedule correctly. It makes everything work easier.
Just as I was changing lenses, the fire alarm sounded.
The building evacuated.
The firetruck showed up.
And we made the best of it.
It was only a short wait and, as usual, the Firefighters were awesome and great sports about posing with us. At the reception, hilarious speeches had us all smiling and the night went smoothly after that.
Claire and Bill are a great example of strength, steadfastness, and open hearts. Cheers to you!