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Sunday, June 25, 2017

Mackenzie & Gabe

Growing up my house was and still is an inviting place for our friends and family. Whenever there isn’t someone other than the four of us around, things feel a bit off. Our home is always open, and we’ve been known to greet everyone with the smell of fresh tacos, and of course my mother’s famous Traci margaritas, all the booze, only a little fresh squeezed mixer, salt is optional, smiles are not.

Mackenzie was one of the first people to regularly come over, usually on a daily basis, and back then with popsicles in our little hands instead of margaritas. We would relax on hot summer days inside playing games, watching Rocket Power, and lounging around on this super comfortable, large green couch. Who would have imagined that several years later, I would be asked by this friend turned family member to photograph one of the best days of her life.

Everyone that knows me well knows that I cry at every wedding I attend regardless if I know the couple or not.  Imagine me at this wedding, to honor someone who has felt like a sister to me since day one. I would be lying to you all if I told you that I only cried once on Mackenzie and Gabe’s wedding day. I wanted to flash back to a few moments that pulled on my heart strings.

Gabe and Mackenzie chose to do a first look, which was one of my all time favorite moments of the day. I had about three minutes alone with Gabe while waiting for Mackenzie to enter the church. He made a few jokes while nervously awaiting, but once he finally heard the door crack open, he stood in silence. The moment that he turned around and they saw each other, with broad smiles and teary eyes, I knew that this was going to be an even more incredible day than I had anticipated.

Weddings are always incredibly difficult when our loved ones cannot be there. Mackenzie’s father had passed away when she was just a little girl. He was an honest, funny, loving, and compassionate man who we all adored. Although he may not have been physically present that day, I could feel his love pulsing through every single second. To honor him, and his love for his daughter, his wedding ring was resized just for Gabe’s finger, as a promise to always protect, love, and keep her safe as her father has all of these years. Mackenzie’s brothers, Anthony and Alex, John, a close family friend, and at the very end Gabe, each surprised her with a slow dance that she will never forget and treasure forever.

To Mackenzie and Gabe, thank you for inviting me to your big day and giving me the opportunity to share these intimate moments with you and your family and friends. I am excited for this journey that you have begun together which will last forever. The love that you share with each other will ripple into so many others lives. Thank you for being a part of my family and for embracing this love with all that you have. You have both inspired me more than you can imagine, and for that I am so grateful.

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