My First Montana Wedding

Unpredictable. That’s a good word for weather at this time of year. You could have anything from a bright and sun-shiny day to snow when it comes to living in northwest Montana. My friends Jesse and Kevin were married on Saturday the 18th, a day when the weather decided to go with cold and wet, rather than warm and fuzzy. But rather than ruining the day, the overcast skies and cloud topped mountains made for a dramatic scene and beautiful soft light. The rain stopped just as we were beginning the photos. And if that wasn’t enough of a gift we even had a burst of sunlight after the ceremony for some of the portraits of the newly weds.

Jesses is one of the first friends I made here in Montana. I met her on assignments for the Inter Lake. I was photographing a story on the costume designs of an upcoming production of the Wizard of Oz at the O’Shaughnessy and Jesse was the director. Jesse is one of those people that you can’t help but love instantly. She has so much energy, passion, and drive. As well as a deep, deep kindness. Jesse already had an official photographer (Kat, a woman I’ve become friends with), so I didn’t have the pressure of being the lead photographer on this wedding. I got to hang off to the side and look for my kind of moments knowing that Kat was taking care of the official stuff.

This is of course Kevin. Kevin, a firefighter, wore his family tartan for the wedding and I got to tease him about looking like something out of a historical romance novel photo shoot. One of my favorite moments of the wedding – one I didn’t shoot – was after they were declared man and wife and Kevin carried Jesse down the aisle. (I didn’t shoot it because I didn’t want too many photographers to distract from the ceremony. Kat was photographing that and I decided, since she was the lead, to let her shoot those without interference from me.)

For me the best and worst part of a wedding photographer is always the father/daughter dance. I miss my parents always, but weddings bring on an acute sort of missing. When Jess and Kevin go through the photos I shot, they will find quite a few that focus on their parents. I can’t seem to help myself – I photograph what would be meaningful to me. I photograph the moments I wish I could have. Like this, the look on his face when he dances with his daughter. Jesse picked the song. They danced to “Puff the Magic Dragon”.

So this was my first Montana wedding. The groom in Irish colors and the bride in a short dress and cowboy boots she bought in New York City. It was, quite simply, perfect.

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