Going into 2016 I knew it was going to be an epic year of traveling, shooting, and capturing love stories. I had no idea just how incredible it would be. As an Asheville elopement photographer I have the pleasure of photographing all sorts of love stories, and this year expanded far beyond just Asheville to do so. From St. Lucia and the Bahamas to Las Vegas, Utah, and Washington State, Iceland, Italy, France, and Switzerland, I got to travel the length and breadth of the US and Europe documenting this wonderful moment in people’s lives. I photographed a wedding reception on a boat, portraits on a rock in the middle of the ocean, meaningful private vows before a wedding ceremony, crazy dance parties and quiet, intimate weddings on mountaintops. It’s been quite a year.
But amongst all these epic locations and amazing events there were also so many powerful moments subtle, more close to home. Weddings held in the same church in which generations of the bride’s family had been wed. First looks in living rooms, bridal prep in childhood bedrooms. Cake plates that belonged to a great grandmother, veils hand-sewn by weathered hands, heirloom rings that had graced the fingers of generations before. Tears of pride, happiness, and grief of a father for a wife and mother who didn’t make it to her daughter’s wedding day. Hugs from an uncle, standing in for the walk down the aisle. Songs sung by a groom for his bride during their vows. A ribbon-wand exit bombed by a grandmother, rolling down the tunnel in her wheelchair and giddy with happiness. First kiss after first kiss after first kiss; every weekend, the start of a new life, a new chapter.
This is why I do what I do.
At the end of the day, the cake is eaten. The dress hem is dirty and the sparklers have gone out. The flowers wilt, the guests go home. But these photographs, these moments of a new beginning, are what stands the test of time. And it’s my job, my honor, to be the one who captures them? That is humbling, overwhelming, and glorious. There’s probably far too many images in this post. “Best of 2016” is supposed to only be the best of the best right? But I couldn’t cut out these moments, these tears and hugs and kisses. So while all of these images may not be the best I’ve ever taken, they are my favorite moments of the year.
Thank you to each and every one of my amazing couples, for trusting me with this most precious duty, and for allowing me to live my dream. You are why I do what I do.
:: Carolyn is an Asheville elopement photographer who travels all over the world to tell love stories through photos ::