Greetings everyone! I hope all of you are off to a beautiful start to your new year. I am excited about 2010! There are so many wonderful things going on in my life both personally and professionally that I know 2010 is going to be my best year yet!
In addition to all the positive aspects of my life and business, I got the wonderful opportunity to spend New Year's eve with my extended chosen family in Tarpon Springs, Florida. I was in Florida for a family wedding on the 2nd and we went down early to spend some time with everyone and to enjoy the sunny warm weather. The weather didn't quite cooperate, it was sunny, but not nearly as warm as I was hoping with the temperature only getting into the 60's once while we were there. Despite the chilly temperatures, the celebration was warm and the connections with family were a welcome start to the new year and decade.
The wedding I attended was one of the most beautiful, loving and largest weddings I have been to. This experience was unique in that I was there as a guest and not as the hired photographer. I hope you can imagine what a different feeling it was to not be running around, chasing shots, lugging gear and organizing people. I must admit that it was extremely challenging for me not to be doing those things! I often found myself seeing a beautiful moment and wanting to run over and grab the shot, only to remind myself that I was not there to do that, but to enjoy myself and celebrate the love of Antigone and Nikita. That being said, I did offer myself to the brides parents, telling them that it would be my pleasure to take some family shots as I saw them come up, both during the new years eve celebration and during the pre-wedding and reception. (its hard not do be what you are). So, I did that. I casually grabbed candid shots of the family and the bride and groom and didn't worry myself with all the other concerns I usually have during a wedding shoot. And I must admit, that was pretty nice!
Anitgone and Nikita's wedding followed many of the Greek wedding traditions. They were married in a beautiful orthodox church in Tarpon Springs and the ceremony was mostly sung by the Papa's (priests) and the male accompaniment. For those of you who may not have experienced this before, it is truly graceful and elegant. The way that the Greek language was mixed with English during the blessings and prayers was a sonorous gift to the ears. During the service, the bride and groom were blessed many times by family. This was done by the switching of the crowns from head to head in addition to the switching of the rings from hand to hand. This gesture truly resonated with me as these two are about to live a life that is shared while maintaining their individuality, and I felt that the swapping of the rings and crowns exemplified that.
The reception was held at Innisbrook, which is a 900+ acre resort and golf club in Tarpon Springs. This is where I witnessed some of the most alluring dancing and community blessings I have ever had the pleasure of being part of. As the bride and groom dance, the MC called the parents, then grand parents then wedding party to join them. As each couple joined the bride and groom on the floor they showered them with paper money as a blessing for their prosperity in their new life together, then kissed each on the cheek and joined the line dance. I could not interpret a single word that the band sung, and I understood every one. Watching the children collecting the money after the 3rd song I was told that the new couple was now blessed to have children and that the collection of the money ensured their children's prosperity as well.
As the night went on, the dancing got more lively as the tempo increased. I tried to keep up with some of the movements while holding hands with various people in a line that circled the dance floor several times but I was not doing that well. :) It was at that point I decided to grab the camera and capture some of the energy and joy that was exemplified by the men dancing together in the traditional Greek dances.
The night went on until the wee hours of the morning, closing out with a gorgeous serenade by a family member to the new couple. I went home with my heart open and full of joy for Antigone and Nikita and for the new year ahead.
Here are some of the pictures from new years eve, the pre wedding festivities and the reception... hope you enjoy them.
Blessings again to Antigone and Nikita... may you have a life full of love and joy together.
The Happy couple share a new year kiss.
2 of the cutest cousins ever!
A blessing kiss from Mom for the crowns
The rings and the ring pillow
A Daughter honors her Father
The beautiful bride moments before going to the church
The best man with the ladies...
A niece gets to grab some money for the piggy bank
Nikita the Groom showing his moves...
Antigone's turn to show her husband her moves...
The proud Father strutting his stuff... I absolutely loved watching this!
The bride's brother Lefty, kicking it up for the new couple.
The final serenade and the close to a magical evening...