Last year I had the wonderful opportunity to work with the team the organizes The Big Fake Wedding (BFW) series all over the US. I applied to photograph the Phoenix and Seattle shows and couldn’t be happier with my experience working at both events. The vendor teams totally brought their A-game and I’m crazy in love with the concept behind the BFW…
Complete with a cocktail-style dinner, an emotional vow renewal ceremony and a dance-party reception, The Big Fake Wedding has become a killer alternative to a bridal show. The hand-selected vendors perform their services as they would at a real wedding, and the “wedding guests” (brides-to-be!) get to hear the music, taste the cakes, and smell the flowers… while enjoying a night of great food, dancing and surprises.
Like Lovesick (partners with Offbeat Bride) this was more than a bridal show, this was an opportunity to work with other professionals and showcase our services in action to each other as well as perspective couples. Yay! The Phoenix BFW had a fiesta/dia de los muertos theme. It was colorful, bright, full of textures, sugar skulls, cacti, and unique details. Honestly it was stunning and I couldn’t have asked for better material to photograph. So. Much. To. Photograph. Oh and did I mention that our bride got to wear not one, not two, but THREE dresses!?!? ::swoon::
I was worried that it would be strange or competitive working with other photographers that weren’t working for me, but the other photo teams were just as excited as I was to participate in an event that fosters community over competition. We helped each other when needed, made sure that each other got time with all the bridal details, and even took a couple photos of each other working. Overall I’m going with “Magical” for my description.
What was even better was the deep love and chemistry that you could feel between Kelly + Robert. I love love.
From first date to wedding date, it was a quick and exciting nine months for Kelly and Robert. When they signed up for a co-ed softball league, who knew it would lead to all this?! Ten years, two college degrees, twelve jobs, five houses, two adoptions, one miracle baby – yet there’s so much more life ahead for these two.
What is the most awesome thing about your marriage?
Our willingness to fight for each other and overcome the struggles life has thrown our way. To see the good in each other and lift each other up in love. Oh, and our secret handshake!!
What advice would you give an engaged couple?
– Commit wholeheartedly to each other, speak kindly, forgive easily, and laugh often. Always prioritize each other and date each other often. Be selfless, be present, be willing to adapt. Always remember who you fell in love with and enjoy growing old together!!
One of the things that completely sold me on working with the teams at The Big Fake Wedding is their commitment to promoting healthy, happy, and lasting marriages; not just inspiring people to live out their wedding day fantasies. It would be so easy for them to say “Great, thanks for coming, good luck with that whole being together forever thing.” I believe that as a professional who witnesses dozens of weddings each year and who works to build a relationship with each of my wedding couples, that it is so important for me (and my fellow creative vendors) to encourage those couples in their marriages. One of the ways that I believe I can do this professionally is to give their wedding photography my full attention, deepest care, as well as being a calm and confident fixture on what can be a very stressful day. My wedding day goal: Bride-chilla. …not Bride-zilla.
Now you might be asking, “Why would you want to photograph an event in Phoenix? You’re an Oregon photographer!”
Well let’s just say that while I LOOOOOOVE OREGON and would never dream of living anywhere else; I also love working in new places, I love to travel, and I love love love the American Southwest desert. Phoenix in particular has an exactly opposite wedding season to Oregon and the PNW. The majority of weddings in the Pacific Northwest happen from mid-May through September; in Phoenix their weddings happen from October through April. Nobody there wants to get married when it’s 110 degrees! …just like nobody here wants to get married when it’s cold and rainy. Although on a side note I’ve been really impressed with the number of off-season weddings that have been happening over the last year or two. So then, back on topic, it only makes sense for me, in an attempt to work comfortable year-round, to open up my services to Arizona, New Mexico, Nevada, and Utah.