It was an absolute honor for me to get to photograph my brother's wedding. Sure, growing up we didn't like each other most of the time...we fought and drove our parents nuts...you know--the typical "She's looking at me....he's on my side...."etc...but as most siblings do, we eventually grew out of that phase. I think one of my favorite years was when we were in high school together--I was senior, and the drum major for the band--Bryan was a freshman and a drummer. Know what that meant? That I got to tell him what to do--and he actually had to do it! (That's not why it was my favorite year...okay, maybe a little...) but I woke him up every morning and drove him to school. I drove us home from band practice every day. I'm pretty sure he missed me (a little) when I went away to college at Newberry. We had fun times...once, when we were home alone because our mom was having surgery, and Dad was staying with her at the hospital, he even blew up the grill when we attempted to cook dinner for ourselves...and it jumped a foot off the deck and singed his eyebrows. One year, not too long after I was married, my husband was away for Valentine's Day. Bryan was single. He called and asked what I was doing, and followed it with "This stinks let's go out." And my brother took me out to dinner on Valentine's Day. He's cut trees for me in the yard, and cut my grass a few times when my husband was swamped with football season. He makes me laugh every time I talk to him, and I love him more than he probably knows.
I also have to say that Bryan is one of the hardest working guys I know. He started working at Top Turf in Lawrenceville, Georgia when he was 15 years old. When he graduated from Loganville High School, he went to work with the landscaping crew for the county, and to this day, he still is working both jobs. It's at the Top Turf job that he met his bride, Kristin. They've known each other for years, but their paths never exactly connected at the right time. Kristin worked in marketing in North Carolina, and then eventually came back to work at her dad's company where she reconnected with Bryan.
I remember the first time I met Kristin--I was doing some fall photos of my daughters and my niece, Bryan's little girl. Kristin came to the park and she was incredibly laid back and sweet. She seemed very genuine, and we chatted as I finished up pictures. I offered to take one of her with Bryan. Kristin was just dressed in some comfortable work out clothes--she hadn't come prepared for a picture--but she shrugged and said "Sure!" It struck me that most girls who were super self-conscious wouldn't be caught dead in a photo with yoga pants and no make-up, and but her response reflected Kristin--she is who she is and she's comfortable and confident in her own skin. I liked that.
Bryan and Kristin share a love for running--they often train and run races, including the Peachtree Road Race every year. They are casual and fun to be around, and Bryan can have you laughing in minutes.
My brother went through some challenges and difficult times--and those challenges helped shape him and make him who he is today. He just kept walking forward, and in walking he crossed paths with Kristin. I'm grateful he found someone who he can run with, bike with, and work out with. I'm grateful he found someone who he can cook with, (because he's a master on the grill ya'll!) laugh with, and joke with. I'm grateful he found someone who makes him happy...and makes him smile. He doesn't know this, but when I was up front ready to shoot the ceremony, I watched him for several minutes. His head was bowed, his eyes were closed, his hands neatly folded in front of him as he waited for his bride. I know what was going through his head because I know my brother...and I know he was reflecting on all that has passed and brought him to this point in his life. Watching him made me tear up...but they were happy tears...because I know he's finally found someone special to share his life with, and I couldn't have been prouder as I watched his smile (through the camera lens) when his best man tapped him and told him to look up and see his beautiful bride.
Kristin, thank you for making my brother happier than I think I've ever seen him. I'm thrilled to have a sister (I always wanted one...and probably would have eagerly traded Bryan for one when I was a little girl) but I'm thrilled things worked out as they have. Welcome to our crazy, loving family--and may God bless your marriage and your beautiful life together. I love you both!