or as a friend of mine said, “that achingly cute couple.” This was a very special wedding for me to shoot as my connection to Mallory extends back to the 1st grade at good old Washington Elementary School in Prescott, AZ. This is where Mallory’s grandfather and I met and ended up becoming life long friends. True BFFs. Mallory’s mother, Gigi, was a newborn when she was a passenger in my car as her parents and I drove back to college from Prescott to Azusa, CA, at the end of the Thanksgiving holiday. When Gigi and I talked over the wedding weekend she reminded me of two stories.
The first one is how I talked her dad in to putting her in a wind-up swing so he and I could play a board game uninterrupted for a few moments. In his defense, dad didn’t want to do it. I talked him into it. And whenever he felt guilty, I would point at her swinging away contentedly and say, “She’s fine! She will grow up okay. Your roll.” Gigi turned out fine. She is a mother of three, a published author and a home-school-er and a wonderful person. On the other hand, maybe if she hadn’t been put in the swing, she mind have found a cure for some disease by now. Who knows.
The second story was of the time she lived in Phoenix and needed help moving from a bottom floor apartment to a second floor apartment. In the summer. Did I mention in Phoenix? Just me, dad and her moving furniture in 100+ degrees. What a long, hot day. There was one positive thing that came out of that day. I learned that the best way to cool down quickly was to stick my head into the freezer. A trick I still use to this day.
As for Mallory, the last time I had seen her she was about 10 years old. It was a pleasure to meet her again and see what I fine young woman she grew up to be. She met the groom, John, at church. He is the drummer and she is the singer for the church band. One Sunday he proposed to Mallory at the end of church services. I am told there wasn’t a dry eye in the congregation that day.
Mallory and Johnnie’s wedding was a simple affair. No MUAs, no hairstylists, no maid of honor or bridesmaids, no best man or groomsmen. Mallory’s future mother-in-law made the food for the rehearsal dinner, made the wedding cake and provided the flowers. The music was provided by the church guitarist. The whole wedding day was just a celebration of the binding of these to young hearts together. I am glad I was given the opportunity to photograph the joy and the love of Mallory and Johnnie’s wedding.
I found out from Mallory that she had taken photography in high school. I told her that as a photography teacher I told my students not to take “say cheese” photographs, or “duck lips” or other forms of mugging for the camera. I may have imagined this, but it seemed like a lot of times when she caught me ready to take a shot she would throw a little “mugging” pose for the camera. I’ll let you be the judge. I loved Mallory’s sense of humor.
THE FUTURE MRS. MALLORY MOATE CORNELIUS
There was a crowd of family and friends for the First Look. The bride pinches the groom on the side of the arm. He turns and that magical moment happens when he sees his lovely bride for the first time in her wedding dress. They embrace and are getting ready to kiss when the gallery starts yelling “You can’t kiss! No kissing until after the ceremony.” That may have been the longest 30 seconds of the young couple’s life, embracing each other, wanting to kiss, but deciding instead just to “air kiss” a few times.
I wanted to get a few shots of Mallory right before the ceremony got started. People told me she was in a particular room. I went to the room and found it totally dark except for a little light through an inside window. Mallory was in a tiny room with her two sisters, an I-pod playing contemporary Christian music and Mallory beautifully singing along. I don’t even know if she was even aware that I had entered the room and was taking pictures. This is one of my favorite images of that time.
“My turn to to read the vows!” excitement.
The church, Canyon Chapel, is a renovated Pep Boys. On the Thursday before the wedding, the decision was made to move the reception to the basement of the church. The not quite so renovated basement of Pep Boys. Over the next two days friends and family worked tirelessly to turn that basement into a reception worthy room. It reminded me of the barn building scene in “Witness.” I had seen the basement Thursday when the renovation had just started. When I showed up Saturday it was just like “wow!” And all this work was done cheerfully. I believe this to be a testament to the love and affection that people feel for this young couple.
Smiling, Happy People, Kissing, Dancing, Kids, and did I mention Kissing?
Good fortune and God’s blessings to John and Mallory.
Music provide by Terry Alan; Founder and guitar instructor at the Flagstaff School of Music. http://flagstaffschoolofmusic.com/
Reception catered by Pita Jungle. Former student Josh Devlin is a cook there. http://www.pitajungle.com/locations/flagstaff/
Music of this blog: Gordon Lightfoot classic love songs.
I would like to thank my second shooter, Noel Palomino. The day after I learned I was going to be photographing this wedding, Noel and I went to lunch. I explained to her that I knew a couple of people that I could ask to second shoot for me, but I didn’t feel right asking them to go up to Flagstaff to do it on their own dime. She immediately volunteered her services, telling me she would be back in Flagstaff by then. Noel is a former photography student of mine, so I knew I could count on her taking decent shots. She was of great help to me that day.