This is the story of Samantha, a local girl, who found herself falling in love with a boy who lived in Texas. Fast-forward a year and we find this local girl planning her Hawaiian garden wedding from the Lone Star state. Through emails and our pre-wedding meetings over the phone I first heard their story, how they met and how they fell in love. Will is this articulate and gregarious man, who regaled me with the story of how he proposed. He wrote a song for her and surprised her by performing it for her at their favorite restaurant. When he finished, the patrons cheered and Samantha said YES!!! So, when Will told me that back when he first met Samantha, he was overcome with shyness and had trouble talking to her, I didn’t believe him at first. Everything I had learned about Will screamed the opposite of shyness. It was, as he explained, an inexplicable reaction to her beauty. Even years later, as he’s telling me the story, he repeatedly exclaims “She’s gorgeous, you know, just look at her! I couldn’t even talk…all I could think of was how beautiful she was and that there was no way she would want to talk to me.” But, thankfully for Will, she did. So, they talked, and talked again the next day…and the day after that…and now that talk had turned into how they were going to spend the rest of their lives together.
And I was the fortunate one who was chosen to capture their Hoomaluhia Botanical Garden Wedding.
Samantha and Will had originally chosen to do their portraits before the ceremony to lessen the time between the ceremony and reception. But that morning, Samantha called and asked if there was time to pull off a “First Look” as well. Of course!!! Anything for my brides and grooms!!! As a photographer, I love taking family and wedding party photos before the ceremony. Everyone looks fresh, the atmosphere is more relaxed and it really shows in the pictures. There’s just something magical about that incredible moment when the groom first sees his bride. This “First Look” gives them that chance to experience the butterflies when you first see the person you’re going to spend the rest of your life with on your wedding day.
My second shooter, Malia, and I raced to the ceremony site early and found the perfect location. We coordinated with the bride and groom to keep them from spotting each other before the “First Look”. We led them to the private spot then stepped back to let them savor their special moment. Will beamed as he stood there with his back turned, not even knowing that Samantha had arrived and was walking toward him. She tapped him on the shoulder and when he turned, his expression transformed into pure joy.
Windward showers greeted us early that morning but the clouds pulled back in time to reveal the bluest sky I’d ever seen. Music is near and dear to both Samantha and Will. Will, a musician, just released “In Your Hands, a CD of children’s worship songs. And Samantha lent her artistic talents by creating the cover art for the album. They integrated a time for worship and prayer into their wedding ceremony.
It was one of the most relaxed and joy-filled weddings I’ve been to in a long time. Nothing could steal their joy. There was even a mishap where a family friend lost Samantha’s wedding band right before the ceremony. They seemed to have dropped it in the grass somewhere and wasn’t quite sure where. And, yes, and we are standing in the middle of a very large botanical garden. Samantha remained unfazed and was the one offering comfort. She waved it off without faltering and pointed out that the ring could be replaced. And so the wedding band was left for lost and we continued on as if nothing happened. But that’s not the end of the story. Do you know what great people have? Great friends! The next day, the maid-of-honor, Natalie, got a metal detector and went back. And she found the wedding ring! I don’t know about Samantha and Will, but I think this will be one of those wedding stories I always remember. Weddings aren’t just about the love between the couple. It’s about all the love that surrounds them, the love and support of good friends and family.
Will and Samantha, thank you a million times over for letting me witness such a wonderful day! I’d also like to thank Malia Salmon who was my spectacular second shooter.