Maria reached out the week of her wedding and told me her 99 year old grandfather, who she hoped would walk her down the aisle, had fallen ill and would not be able to attend the wedding.
Because of his condition, she wasn’t even sure if he would make it to the wedding day, but if he did, she said she wanted to visit him in her dress so he could still be a part of the day.
My heart leapt. Of course I wanted to capture those precious moments.
Documenting memories with loved ones is why I became a photographer.
Weddings aren’t just about the pretty. They are about the connection and love between people.
I thought it was so beautiful that Maria set aside time in what can otherwise feel like a packed, chaotic day, and prioritized what was important to her.
Sure – we could have had more time for detail and portrait photos, but honestly, this was a million times better and more important.
I didn’t think about the hour long commute each way to and from the hospital – whatever needed to be done to make this happen, we would do.
The events of this day felt like they effortlessly flowed into one another. When something happens to a loved one, things get thrown into perspective and there’s a grounding sense of clarity that comes over you.
In the moments leading up to entering the hospital – as Maria and her parents were en route – I wanted to call my grandparents to tell them how much I love them. Thinking about it put a lump in my throat and I knew I wouldn’t be able to keep my composure, so I focused on what we were about to do and resolved to call them after.
As we went in I knew it was important to be unobtrusive when documenting these memories. I decided on no flash, as I felt it would distract from the moment in the intimate hospital room.
Immediately, when he saw her he lit up. They hugged each other and shared an emotional embrace. Writing this I am choking up. It was beautiful.
He quipped, ‘You haven’t changed your mind have you?’, prompting everyone to laugh. He told her not to change her mind – he likes Keegan.
I stayed in the periphery as Maria, her grandfather, and her mother spoke for a while, with held hands and forehead kisses and embraces – fleeting moments I felt so honoured and humbled to capture.
This was absolutely a highlight of my wedding photography career. I am so grateful Maria felt comfortable to share this memory with me, and I hope it brings her and her family a sense of peace and warmth through the years.