I am one of the most fortunate wedding photographers in existence, for each of my clients truly turn into forever friends. In June of 2016, days after the PULSE tragedy that forever rocked the city of Orlando, we met for the first time amongst the city streets, filled with people mourning for their community and lost loved ones. We cried together and comforted each other, before we even learned each other's names. Later, we connected the dots through our mutual friends, and met once more under the best of circumstances, as our friends surprised everyone they knew by getting married at their engagement party - and Ryan happened to be the officiant. Since then, I have gotten to see these boys rather regularly and our friendship grew over time. When they got engaged, my heart soared because I knew that they were the kind of couple that would make it until the end together. The opportunity to capture their story has not only been an absolute pleasure, but a true honor. True lovers of the city of Orlando and history buffs, they put together an unforgettable event themed around Orlando City Soccer mixed with the early 1900’s Americana and classic American look - and man, did they pull it off!
They chose to have a first look and spend the entire day together, and it was absolutely heart warming. We knocked out all of the formal party portraits (to be seen further in the post), which allowed the boys to enjoy part of their cocktail hour!
I had seen a handful of weddings amidst the streets of downtown Orlando in the past, always curious as to which venue books the location - when Ryan and Steve told me that they were getting married right in the heart of Wall Street with the Orange County Regional History Center, it was finally a dream come true of mine! Since relocating to downtown Orlando several years ago, I have fallen in love with it's unique streets and hidden gems that give it such great character. "Saying I do and raising the love of my life’s hand to let everyone know that I am married to my best friend", was Steve's favorite part of the day.
Remember earlier when I mentioned that we knocked out those group pics ahead of the ceremony so they could enjoy part of cocktail hour? Well, that ended up being Ryan's favorite part of the day! He wrote "My favorite part of the day was the photo shoot with all our friends joining in with us. I love everyone and was so happy that they all agreed to be in our wedding!"
When the ceremony was over and the guests filled the History Center to much on delicious apps and sip yummy beverages, we wandered all over the streets of downtown, hitting all of my favorite nooks and crannies and creating a truly memorable groom portrait session that showed off what Orlando has to offer. I could take pictures of these two love birds ALL. DAY.
The decorations were lovely hues of purple and with personal touches sprinkled throughout, including a memorial to the 49 souls that have forever spread their wings. I then captured one of the most amazing receptions I have ever seen, complete with a drag show that left every guest giggling at the performance, and a playlist that kept everyone on the dance floor all night long. The joy of their union is felt throughout the entire day, and I love what advice they had to offer to future SO couples more than anything:
"During the reception, take 5 minutes with your new spouse and just stand in a corner. Let the attention fall off you both for 5 minutes and look. Take in everything going on around you. See your middle school friends interacting with your college friends. Your high school friends meeting your spouses elementary school friends, your old baby sitter meeting your coworker. Truly a vision and memory I will always remember."
I couldn't have said it better, myself.
Thank you to Ryan and Steve for having my team capture this huge moment in your life - we are so happy for you both and wish you the happiest of ever afters!
A huge thank you to all of the vendors that helped make their day extra special: