Since becoming a professional wedding photographer, I’ve noticed a profound shift in the way that I perceive and subsequently value family ties. Being surrounded by these once in a lifetime moments on a weekly basis, I can’t help but be reminded of the parallel relationships in my own life.
As I’m commissioned to uncover and capture the intertwining personalities of those that are strangers to me for the most part, its become a unique and personal experience for me in which I exit each wedding with a renewed appreciation and love for those closest to me. From simple interactions to elaborate toasts, I not only hear others origins of their families and friendships, but how they’ve evolved into such unbreakable ties. Upon returning late each night, my wife has learned to have patience with me as I’m often compelled wake her to simply tell her how much our family and relationship means to me.
Throughout my life, events like Mother’s Day or Father’s Day often meant a greeting card, a phone call or an afternoon brunch, but this Father’s Day is going to be special. While I’m unable to visit my dad in person, I’m excited to spend the weekend with my brother and two nieces in my home state of Ohio. While a lot has changed since my childhood, coming “home” always causes me to relive my favorite memories.
As I travelled through the rural forests of Ohio I was reminded of the countless camping trips we took as a family. My dad loved to play his guitar as we sang by the camp fire late into the night. I also remember the time my brother caught a toad that kept jumping out of his hand. The phrase “a frog toad that’s gettin’ away” has been a favorite sibling saying. As we passed by the reservoir (a hotspot for winter sledding) I’m reminded of another phrase that I belted out after my first terrifying descent. “I wanted to go on the little hill!” has also become a family favorite.
From the elaborate fort we built together in the back yard to the driving lessons in the high school parking lot, I’m thankful that my father always made time for us. He was there to coach the countless sports I played and helped pick up the pieces when I would get cut from the ones that I clearly lacked raw talent for. As I turned my attention to artistic endeavors he was always supportive… except for maybe the times that he found out I had “borrowed” his expensive VHS camcorder for some crazy film or photo project. There was also the time that I nearly set the roof on fire after trying to duplicate a science experiment that I saw on Mr. Wizard’s World involving a blimp filled with hot air. I had tried to make mine of of duct tape and trash bags which didn’t turn out as planned. Sorry dad!
I find that I carry these memories with me to weddings as well which directly effect the way I see things. While I can’t speak to that special relationship between a bride and her father (the one they make movies about) I often think about my father’s roll in my life and at our own wedding. It’s for this reason that I wanted to encourage couples to find a way feature the father of the groom in some way. It’s a roll that can sometimes take a back seat to traditional parent dances or those special moments with mother and daughter getting ready before the ceremony.
In our wedding we chose to feature him as the host of our rehearsal dinner and asked him to recite a special reading during our ceremony. We also included he and my mother-in-law in a fun and upbeat dance that followed the parent dances. Our photographer was perfect in capturing those moments which I’ve added to the tangible collection of great moments shared with my dad. I’ve also seen a trend recently in which the father of the groom is asked to be the best man. I think it’s a wonderful sentiment that I plan to write about in another article.
So for all the great memories that we share with our fathers (and to the ones he they never find out about) I’d like to raise a virtual glass and propose a toast to dads everywhere on this special day. Thank you for your love and support over the years. None of us would be the sons and daughters we are today without your continued guidance, support and love. In celebration I hope readers enjoy these candid wedding moments featuring dear ol’ dad!