....so began Audrey and Phil's super personalized, super unique backyard wedding. But let me take you back a few years. Picture this: Shanahan, 1996. Audrey Anne Heinze sits a few seats up from me in Mr. McQuiston's class. I notice my best guy, Jamie, taking an interest in her. So I, too, began to pay careful (and maybe a little jealous) attention to her. I realized way back then that Audrey was an anomaly. She was whip smart and so beautiful it'd make you forget your name. She was funny and humble; so humble in fact, that many of her aforementioned qualities seemed to be lost on her.
Audrey had her daughter Mackenzie young. Not kicked-out-of-the-house young, but young enough. She embraced her motherhood with bravery and verve, just like she'd taken on moving to England right out of high school, or any of her true-to-self choices.
We reconnected when Audrey set out as a single mom, with me by then having given birth to twins, who I was also raising alone. As any member of the single mama tribe will attest, we tend to hold on to one another. We sometimes become all that we've got: warriors tired of both suffering and celebrating in isolation.
A few months before her engagement announcement, AGP had gifted Audrey a photo session as part of our Dear Mama Project, a Mother's Day celebration that provided free sessions to single moms like myself. Audrey never cashed hers in. So when we started talking about her wedding plans and she intimated that the budget was tight, it only made sense to exchange her free portrait session and gift her a few hours of wedding coverage. After all I was going to be there anyway....what would it hurt to bring my camera along? The day before the wedding, another formerly-single mom, Eliza Taylor, offered to donate her time, too. Together we made these images. Together, we got where we are today.
And this is why I needed these hankies......
To honor Phil's father, the groom laid a bouquet of wildflowers at the altar. The couple's choice to provide vintage hankies for their guests turned out to be crucial.
To get the full experience, press play above. Phil chose one of the anthems of my youth for their recessional and it has been stuck in my head and heart ever since. P E R F E C T S O N G.
Audrey and her family decorated almost every corner of their outdoor space with photos in mind. I dig that. Particularly important to Audrey was to feature their home's front porch. It worked for most everything but Phil's family....who spanned the length of the barn.
Just when you thought it couldn't get any lovelier than during the Golden Hour....the twinkly lights came on.
...and then the moon came out.
Eliza and I both had so much fun photographing this wedding. For me it was so much more than most weddings: it was witnessing true love come around for someone I have walked with for many years and I couldn't be moooooore happy. I love you with no strings attached, Aud. I love you for free.