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Venue: Pier 5 Hotel, Baltimore, Maryland
Jason and I met at Arlington Baptist Christian School in Baltimore when we were 15 years old. We were each other's first boyfriend and girlfriend. Years later, in 2001, he took me to his condo and proposed to me. All these years, my father never approved of us being together.
We chose Pier 5 because it was contemporary, with rich, bright colors and quirky décor. There were also beautiful historic landmarks around, like the lighthouse. Lots of people were getting in from out of town, and it was a nice place where everyone could come together for our celebration.
I didn't meet my photographer until the day of the wedding, but I wasn't really worried. I remember checking in to the hotel, and my photographer, Richard, turned out to be standing right next to me at the reception desk. He exclaimed, "You must be the bride!" When we had spoken on the phone prior, he had told me to bring clippings from the Bella website and from magazines as examples of photos I liked, and I handed a bunch of those over. It turned out that many of the photos I selected were actually his! It was really a perfect match.
He ran with me to the bridal suite and took photos of us getting ready. While I was preparing in the room, I could see all the guests down below getting seated, and I could feel the excitement building.
My photographer seemed to be everywhere: with the groom while he was getting ready, photographing people getting seated, and running around covering all the angles during the ceremony.
Jason and I had been engaged for two years, and the entire time I was waiting for my dad to give me his approval. Now, I very vividly remember walking down the aisle. It had rained the day before and I was wearing really high heels since Jason is so tall. My father walked with me, and I was using him as a crutch so that I wouldn't fall.
On the day of the wedding the hard feelings had melted away, and I finally felt like my father accepted my decision. I was so grateful to him for walking me down the aisle, I felt like I was floating on air. I forgot to kiss my dad and hug him, because I was so excited, but he knows how much I appreciated what he did. My husband and my father now have a very good relationship.
My photographer sensed how important the family moments were, too. My father is a good English-speaker, but my mom is not. Richard communicated really well with them both, and captured some great family portraits. He also got some great pictures of my grandfather and me, and that was important because grandfather passed away a few months after the wedding.
We had a traditional Christian ceremony, and the pastor was actually our bible teacher from high school. After the ceremony, we had a 30-minute window before the reception, and we ran outside to get sunset shots, which I was very happy with. My photographer got lots of great pictures during the reception, and I never had to worry about directing him. There was stuff in his photographs that I hadn't even seen throughout the day! I was very pleased, and have been telling all my friends to look up Bella Pictures.
Once the photos were ready, I rushed to the store and printed over 800 pictures! I gave all the photos of my grandfather and me to my grandma. Many of the pictures from our day now fill a whole wall in my parents' home.
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