The Wedding Grapes


You’ve probably noticed that most people are nervous on their wedding day. One June afternoon, someone else’s wedding was happening and yet I was nervous. I suppose I wasn’t all that surprised by this boomerang feeling as it comes back to me whenever I perform a wedding ceremony.

My friends Kylie and Bryan were to be married on this day in the barrel room at the Cielo Estate Winery. It was a stylish place tucked into the Northern California foothills and it matched this artsy couple well. All was beautiful and spirits were high as the ceremony drew closer, and still I was anxious about providing my friends with a ceremony that would honor them and their creator. Don’t get me wrong, I had prepared and rehearsed, and planned. But I reckoned that I’d better offer something memorable if people are going to have just one wedding ceremony in a lifetime!

The music began and the wedding party slow-stepped their way down the aisle. I could see that most of them were as nervous as I. Just then, my daughter (who doubled as flower girl that day) walked slowly and methodically toward me, dropping her collection of petals to the left and the right at each step. In her zeal for the job, she was a little too generous with those petals and ran out about four feet in. With an empty basket/kettle in hand, she looked around as if to ask “What do I do?”. She decided to run down the rest of the way and give me a hug. The crowd laughed. My nerves were gone. (Thanks Kali!)

After the ceremony had ended, I figured I’d let off a little steam by grabbing some alone time in the vineyard with my camera. I had always wanted to capture a vineyard, and I had the great fortune of finding myself between vines that were heavy with fruit. The sun was falling and the light was low. I stumbled across a multicolored bunch of grapes, still ripening before they could be plucked. I snapped on my trusty fixed 35mm lens and took this shot…which conjures memories of a wonderful, emotional day with a truly peaceful ending. Seeing these the wedding grapes felt like seeing all the promise of the new relationship forged just an hour before. Not really a conventional wedding photo though, is it?

Blessings on the life you began that day, Kylie and Bryan!

Hang this photo on your wall

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What tips do you have for working with subjects in the waning, evening light?


  • Lee Ann Oswald 03-04-2015

    Wow, PJ–I am enjoying the amazing photography and stories so much. You bring the pictures to life. I want to put them all on my walls!

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