Heather Hanssen poses for photos before her wedding to Randy Peterson.
Randy and Heather Peterson kiss before driving to their wedding reception.
Randy and Heather Peterson greet their guests at the Wareham Opera House.
Heather Peterson wears athletic shoes under her dress for a night of dancing.
Randy and Heather Peterson share their first dance as a married couple.
“Do you shoot weddings?”
It’s the most frequently asked question to me. The short answer is “no.”
Occasionally, I do shoot them, but usually for family or close friends. I’m honored when someone asks me to shoot their wedding. It means they trust me to capture beautiful moments from one of the most joyful days in their life.
My friends, Randy and Heather, asked me to shoot their wedding on July 3, 2010. Instead of saying “no” and referring them to several outstanding wedding photographers that I know in Kansas City, Missouri, I said “yes.”
I normally make my living as a commercial and sports photographer. I shoot architecture of buildings, environmental portraits of business leaders, stock images for corporate reports, and sporting events. . . all are much less stressful for me than shooting a wedding. Randy joked that if he and Heather dribbled basketballs while they exchanged their vows, would I feel more comfortable? Half-jokingly, I replied that I would.
Personally, I think our society puts too much focus on the actual wedding day as if it were the most important day of the marriage. Some people spend tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands, or millions of dollars, on their ceremonies. I’m not against upscale weddings, but they shouldn’t be about the rare flowers used in the table centerpieces, or the sterling silver flatware, or the monogramed silk napkins. They should be about the bride and the groom and knowing the most important days of their marriage start the day after the wedding ceremony.
Randy and Heather had the most charming, casual, intimate wedding, full of much laughter and love. It was just about the two of them and nothing else. If all weddings were like Randy and Heather’s, I would shoot more of them.