As someone who has been photographing weddings for a decade, and who has also gotten married herself, one of greatest lessons I've learned about wedding days is: The People.  The People who arrive at a wedding day, whether there are five or 500, have been hand-picked from a list, made the cut, made the effort, and showed up to be in this day. The People who made up the lives of the bride and groom, next to the bride and groom themselves, are the focal point of the wedding events.  Even private elopements are a different way of saying the same thing: "Relationship is most important." However you choose to celebrate, with whichever combination of flowers and fabrics you accessorize with, the beating hearts beside you and the legacies gone before you give value to your marriage and purpose to your life.  As a bride and groom watch each other speak, feel each other dance, hear each other celebrate, while a crowd of witnesses look on, love is passed from heart to heart like a communion tray.

It's unhelpful to say things like "the decorations don't matter" because my mom, bald and one-handed and battling cancer, papier-mâchéd bright tissue paper onto four dozen jars of pasta sauce and pickles we had collected. And they were almost missed but my Aunt Pam noticed they weren't out at the wedding, went to find them, set them up and made the dream happen.  Glowing jars themselves don't *really* matter, but my mom and my aunt do. And the only reason those silly jars mattered to them was because I mattered to them.  So there in the grass, lit up by fire, was a display of love for me. There in the grass, as we ran out of our wedding, were our people -- mom and Aunt Pam included -- cheering and shouting love for me, for us. Every thing is brought, or made, or paid for by a human soul on a wedding day, and that matters.

When I come to a wedding I carry in my heart the important relational details. I want to know why you chose your venue, why you chose your mate. I care that this day, and those centerpieces, and that first dance song mean something to you.  It matters to me that you allowed me to be one of the people beside you on such a day.  I will come, open-hearted and diligent, ready to save the memories of you and yours.

I recently read Lois Lowry's "The Giver," a fictional tale based on Utopian ideas of removing all society's problems by moderation, rigidity, and rules. Everyone had assigned jobs, assigned lives. The world created was colorless and predictable, but free of "bad things." The main character is chosen to be the "Receiver of Memory" or "The Giver." His job is to retain all the memories of life before the confines and safety. Through memories he experiences sledding in snow, noisy birthday parties and the sound of music. "The worst part of holding the memories is not the pain. It's the loneliness of it. Memories need to be shared." I subscribe to the thought that I get to be the Receiver of Memory for certain days (not even just weddings, but births or graduation sessions and beyond) of my clients lives, and it is very important to my soul.

If you think we might be a great heart-match, and you feel something when you see the lives of others in my images, and you might want me to be present for your important days, please share with me your story! My sessions begin at $350 an hour (weddings typically start at $3000), and I am available across the United States, and for destination events around the world. Always contact me for more detailed information and all your great questions! Fill out the form below, or e-mail kristen leigh photography at gmail dot com.

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