Written & Photographed by Nicole Bates Photography
“We all experience love differently. Which means we all express love in our own unique way. I believe the day you vow to be with your person forever, you should have a day that reflects your relationship.”
The year 2020 happened, and suddenly it became socially acceptable to do whatever you wanted for your wedding. Let me first say, it has always been acceptable to celebrate your love and your day how you and your partner want. While love should be celebrated all the time, your wedding day is truly the day to go all out (or to not) if that’s your thing.
My husband Scott and I got married in May of 2019. Being a wedding photographer, I already knew what we (read, I) wanted. Luckily, he was very easy to please. Eloping wasn’t an option, because having family and friends present was the most important thing to him. That said, we wanted to really make the most out our day because it’s the only wedding day we will have.
How many times have you heard “you won’t have time to eat on your wedding day” while wedding planning? We wanted to eat! We wanted to drink! We wanted to organize our day so that we could enjoy each other as well as our guests.
Since I photograph weddings, I was no stranger to first looks, and to me, this was the golden ticket—we could be present with our guests and also have time alone. We could be a part of our cocktail hour and sit down to eat with plenty of time left in the night to party it up! We ultimately decided to read our vows during our first look which I would do over and over again. Of course, this isn’t the norm for everyone. Enter new commentary “You can’t see the bride before your ceremony” or “You have to read your vows in front of everyone.” I would be lucky to get “I do” out without ugly crying.
So, Scott and I saw each other the morning of our wedding. I think he even wrote his vows on the couch while I was getting ready to leave for the salon. We did a first look. We read our vows, just us (and our photographer of course). We drank bourbon. And let me tell you, seeing him waiting for me at the end of the aisle was still so special. Maybe even more special, because we had shared this intimate moment together and now in front of our family and friends we would solidify what we vowed to each other.
We all experience love differently. Which means we all express love in our own unique way. While my story is simply about incorporating a first look in order to spend time together on your wedding day, I believe the day you vow to be with your person forever, you should have a day that reflects your relationship.
2020 made us see the importance of marriage vs. having a wedding. So many couples chose to say “I do” without a party, or in a backyard, or with only 10 people instead of the 200 guests they originally invited. Intimate weddings have shown us the importance of couples celebrating their love how they see fit, even if that breaks tradition.
Nicole Crawford is a lifestyle and wedding photographer out of Saint Joseph, Michigan. Through the practice of total presence with her clients, Nicole prides herself in documenting real, raw moments. Nothing makes her happier than capturing your love story. When she is not behind the camera, you might find her practicing yoga, drinking too much coffee, or hanging out with her husband, twin boys and fur-babies.
Photo by Molly Grunewald Photography