Mom & Dad - 30 years of Marriage

This blog post is quite possibly going to be my favorite of ALL time, and there is a good reason. This session was a session that I planned for my mom and dad's 30th wedding anniversary! YES, 30 years of an amazing marriage that I have had the privilege of watching and learning from. 

Little back story: When my mom and dad got married they hired a film wedding photographer (all of them were film in the 80's haha) and when the day was done the photographer walked outside and dropped his camera bag on accident. When his bag was dropped he accidentally exposed all of my parent's rolls of film from their wedding day. My parents were left with a handful of professional shots of the bridal party and nothing more. The only wedding photos they really have are the ones that people took with their point and click disposabale cameras. There is one photo that someone took that is my favorite (and their favorite too) where they just look super happy, young, slightly goosed, and in love. It's out of focus and honestly not the best quality, but its a moment captured on the happiest day of their life. 

Framed point and click photo seen below

portland_wedding_photographer

Little side note: My mom was pregnant with me when they got married and so technically I was there at their wedding! :) 

A few months ago I posted that point and click photo in a photographer group to illustrate the importance of photography, and picking moments over perfection. It wasn't long before I had a bunch of photographers say "Well, you are a wedding photographer....why don't you do an anniversary shoot for your parents?!" Immediately I realized that their 30th wedding anniversary was quickly approaching and I knew I HAD to do this.  

I teamed up with some amazing creatives in the wedding industry to bring this session to life!  

Florist : Lindsay Helzer   instagram: @lindsayhelzer

Cake : Carolyn Lembke   instagram: @nextdoordesserts

HMUA: Renee Jacobson  instagram: @reneejbeauty 

All of them were amazing to work with and I couldn't be happier with how everything turned out! 

My parents happened to have saved a lot of keepsakes from their wedding day so it was so fun to photograph those details. They still had their match books that they gave out, their champagne (stay tuned for the funniest ending to the champagne! haha), champagne flutes, their invitation, cake topper, and bridesmaid gloves. They of course also had their original rings they exchanged with each other 30 years ago. 

I had so much fun playing with all the vintage aspects of the shoot I was in complete heaven. Around this time I was already feeling like "omg, how could this possibly get any better?!" And then...I watched my parents. I watched them love each other. Of course I see them all the time, but it's been a long while since I've really watched them. I saw the way my dad still looks at my mom like she's the prettiest thing he's ever seen. I watched my mom light up, throw her head back, and laugh at my dad's silly little mannerisms and jokes. I watched them play, hold each other, dance, sing, talk, admire, laugh, and cry. While I was shooting I just kept thinking, "man, I'm so lucky." And I am! I am so lucky to have experienced a love like theirs. Their relationship has been a comfort and example to me my entire life. So thank you mom and dad! Thank you guys for giving us kids such an amazing upbringing and home life. It was an honor to do this for your guys!  

Right after this I had a little surprise for my parents. I put on their song! The song is "Baby, I'm yours" by Barbara Lewis. My dad immediately turned to me and said, "Do you know what this song is??" I was like "Yea dad it's your song!" haha He had no idea that I knew what their song was. My favorite part though was that the entire time they danced together my dad sang the lyrics to my mother. <3 

"Baby, I'm yours
And I'll be yours until the stars fall from the sky,
Yours until the rivers all run dry
In other words, until I die

Baby, I'm yours (baby, I'm yours)
And I'll be yours (yours) until the sun no longer shines,
Yours (yours) until the poets run out of rhyme
In other words, until the end of time

I'm gonna stay right here by your side,
Do my best to keep you satisfied
Nothin' in the world can drive me away
Cause every day, you'll hear me say

Baby, I'm yours (baby, I'm yours)
And I'll be yours (yours) until two and two is three,
Yours (yours) until the mountain crumbles to the sea
In other words, until eternity

Baby, I'm yours (baby, I'm yours)
Till the stars fall from the sky
Baby, I'm yours (baby, I'm yours)
Till the rivers all run dry
Baby, I'm yours

Baby, I'm yours
Baby, I'm yours." 

And now....It was time to re-create THE picture....

I think we nailed it! 

For cake cutting, we brought out their original cake topper but didn't place it on the cake (it's super old and kinda falling apart) but I still wanted a few shots of it with the cake. They were both so cute and fed each other nicely. No crazy face smashing like the first time ;) 

And next are some of the most important photos of the set for me (even though they are barely styled at all). My dad prepared some vows for my mom and they were insanely sweet and had all of us in tears. I realized once again in these moments that I was there in my mom's tummy for the first set of vows, so it was pretty special to hear the second set. Later as I was going through my images I realized that I didn't actually click my shudder very much during these. It meant way more to me in the moment to just hear his words and take in their love for each other. 

We ended our studio time with some black and whites that I am over the moon about! I can't wait to get these bad boys in print!! 

ALL day long it had been pouring down rain. At the end of our studio time I looked out the window and noticed that the rain had stopped and we had about a half hour left of usable daylight. On a whim we decided to run down to the OMSI docks and take advantage of that last bit of light. While we were there I thought popping their champagne from their wedding and having a toast would be super adorable and a fun way to end things. BUT 30 year old champagne isn't exactly something you want to drink! LOL Not only did the bottle not even "pop," the cork broke in half and went into the bottle. We pushed in the last bit of cork only to realize that their "champagne" was basically vinegar! (Make sure to get a good look at all my mom's facial expressions! haha) It gave us a great laugh and was still my favorite way to end the session. 

A huge thanks to all my amazing vendors that collaborated on this with me! I couldn't have done this without you guys! 

And of course, one more shout out to my parents. This was supposed to be a gift for you guys, but little did I know it was going to be the BEST gift to me. I cried (okay actually bawled) waaaayyyy too many times to count while editing these and I'm just so grateful. Thanks for loving each other the way you do, and thank you for your unconditional love and support for me. Love you forever. 

Stephanie Kotaniemi