We parked outside the coffee shop and my mom left the car to greet my in-laws. I stayed inside gnawing on the turkey wrap my mom had made for me as I was getting dressed. She knew I hadn’t eaten anything and, just as she always does, reminded me I needed a little protein in my system if I wanted to make it through the day without crashing. I really, actually like Colton’s family so I wasn’t avoiding them as much as I was aggressively trying to eat anything I could in an attempt to fill the nervous pit in my stomach. It was 10:55a and the wedding day started in just over an hour. Noticing my absence, Colton’s dad opened the car door and teased me for not joining the party. The thing is, I’m not even the type of person who avoids seeing people I know. For example, say you and I are walking toward each other in the grocery store, I won’t even avert my eye contact so we don’t have to talk. Honest! I’m totally okay with that awkward conversation we’re about to have. I probably won’t even think it’s awkward!
I got out of the car and just stood there. My mind was racing and despite the fact that Colton’s Aunt + Uncle, who were standing with his parents, were asking questions about life and photography and the wedding, I couldn’t speak. I even forgot to hug them. And I like them! I think it was momentary paralysis.
Only it wasn’t…unless momentary paralysis can occur every Friday evening and Saturday morning before a wedding. It comes in waves, no, more like Tsunamis, every 12 or so hours before a wedding. My palms get sweaty, my mind starts racing, I check, re-check, and re-re-check my bags a dozen times making sure I have everything I need. My sentences are incomplete and I eat things at a painfully rapid rate.
While standing outside the shop Colton’s Aunt Carrie asked me if I ever got nervous about shooting weddings. I immediately noted that I did, and I was, right now. And then I reached out my arms to give her a hug. Partially because I was too flustered to hug her earlier but mostly because I just needed one myself.
The truth is that I do get nervous - quite nervous, actually. But every wedding, without fail, once I hear that first click of my shutter the anxious feelings disappear and I’m able to breathe. I relax, take it all in, and absolutely love the fast paced nature (and pressure) of wedding photography. I like being in my element and knowing what I’m doing. I like taking pictures of people in love on the happiest day of their lives.
And then, in that moment, it’s almost as if the nerves never existed.