I am one of those sorts of writers who often spends time writing things in my head, but never taking the time to commit my grand thoughts to paper or even a computer. Life simply happens and the thought slips away as fleeting as a paper bag in the wind. But lately I’ve been overflowing with inspiration as I’ve begun to build professional relationships with some talented photographers in the Tampa area. I’ve gone from working with these people to learning more about their every day lives through mediums like Instagram and then to having lunch and laughing over cups of boba tea (authentic boba tea, might I add, courtesy of the Chew Boba Company). And every time I meet with these folks, or see them on IG, I get inspired by their work. Capturing a love story with still imagery is still a critically under appreciated talent. Yes, there’s lots of wedding photographers out there, but how many of them are able to craft a moving story and not just post pretty looking photos?
I also started thinking back to early 2013 when I would frequently write a blog on each wedding I filmed. I picked up some major inspiration from a now defunct wedding vendor from the UK who would literally get hired by brides to attend weddings and write a book about her observations. I had an opportunity to read some of these observations and it totally changed the way I wanted to present my product to clients. I wanted to find a way to tell an engaging story through film but also wanted to use words to retell little observations that I made. There’s all sorts of subtle moments that happen on a wedding day that I am certain I might have been the only one to catch and if I don’t commit the moment to paper (in some form), then did the moment even really exist? I obsess over this idea of needing to archive every moment in life, organize it and be able retrieve it from some infinite database of experiences and memories. This is why I love filming weddings because they are literally full of these must have memories.
In deciding on where to start with this blog revival in the lead up to a relaunch of the website, I thought about Cristina and Rick Sells. I thought about how shocked I was to learn that just a week out from the wedding day, Cristina was told that her original venue, Armature Works (awesome venue now, though), was not quite prime time ready. Having planned a wedding once myself and baring witness to countless other weddings, the idea of having to switch venues at the last minute has got to be one of the last things you’d ever imagine happening, but alas, nothing is truly guaranteed.
When I learned the name of the new venue that would now be the place where Cristina and Rick would dedicate themselves to one another, I was concerned simply over the fact that it must be close to impossible to find an amazing venue that didn’t already have an event booked on a weekend. The Orlo was the name of this new venue and I basically had to lift my jaw up from the ground the moment I pulled up and saw the place for the first time. How is it possible that this absolute gem of a venue wasn’t already booked – triple booked – for the weekend? Incredibly, it wasn’t and boy did it turn out to be a fantastic venue to come save the day.
The Orlo is a historic building built in 1882. The exterior of the house has maintained the quaint feel of housing right out of the 19th century, while updating the interior with all the modern elegance of the 21st century. There’s a ballroom that was added on in 1922 by the Tampa Women’s Club that is now used for both ceremonies and receptions. It’s a real gem of a venue in the Tampa Bay area – I expect they will be extremely busy as this little secret gets out.
Walking up the steps of the Orlo the day of Cristina and Rick’s wedding, I wondered to myself the state that Cristina might be in. I can easily imagine a number of scenarios with brides in total meltdown mode – finding every negative thing that is happening and blaming all the misfortune on the sudden change of venue. Cristina, however, would have made you think that the Orlo had been the venue all along. It was clear that venue or not, she was planning to marry her very best friend on this day and nothing would be stopping her. It certainly helped that the bridal suite was incredibly roomy and let in plenty of natural light.
Cristina and Rick chose to do couples interviews and it gave me an opportunity to really see just how much these people were in love. You can tell they have a long history, but you get the impression that all of those ups and downs in life had a purpose and that purpose was realized on this day.
During Rick’s interview I asked him what he would say to Cristina if she were with him at this very moment (this was prior to the ceremony). This was the fourth question in the interview and Rick had already given such thoughtful answers, but I did not expect him to get choked up as he prepared to answer this question. You could see in his eyes that he was not looking at my or the camera, but was picturing Cristina in her amazing wedding dress walking down the isle to share in this bond with one another. It was one of those moments where I almost reflectively start to think about how much my own wife means to me…and here we are, two guys chatting with each other and getting emotional over the butterflies we feel when thinking about the person we care more about than anything in the world.
Grooms are interesting – just when you think you have another typical groom who is engaged but not willing to be vulnerable on camera, you get totally blindsided by someone who is in love and is not at all afraid to show it.
Cheers to Cristina and Rick Sells![vimeo width=”640″ height=”360″ video_id=”254417834″]
More to come…