When I was asked to photograph a surprise wedding, I really had no idea what to expect.
The wedding took place at Awbury Arboretum, a little hidden gem in the woods of Germantown. It was a wedding masked by the presumption of a birthday party. The 85 guests came dressed in their finest cocktail attire, prepared to surprise their friend Erin for her 30th birthday party. Little did they know that the surprise was going to be on them.
A few months before their October wedding Erin and her then boyfriend, Kevin, not only were engaged but decided to pull together a very short notice wedding. It was barely three weeks before the wedding day that they told their parents of their plans.
Erin pulled up in a black limousine, as the guests awaited to shout their “surprise”! A few moments later Erin emerged from the limo in her gorgeous white dress, her groom awaiting her with a hug and a kiss.
The next hour was filled with tears, laughter and hugs. Everyone was stunned! I quickly noted that this type of wedding was absolutely fitting for this couple. There was no excessive frills or perfectly scheduled timeline, but there was something so precious and unique about the simplicity.
The father of the bride walked Erin down a mason jar lit path as the newly fallen leaves crunched beneath their feet. What followed was the sweetest ceremony I have every witness. They were married by close friends, which was only fitting. The intimacy of the parents standing only a few feet away from their children, as guests closely gathered by to listen to the very personal and heartwarming vows, brought tears to my eyes.
The ceremony was short and sweet. Just a few hours after guests had found out their friends were engaged, they witnessed their marriage. The party continued inside with eating and dancing.
I left the event touched by this unexpected evening. I’m constantly attending weddings, but this one in particular reminded me what truly is important at these events; it’s the simple love between two people and a promise to choose that love for eternity.