Tuesday, August 24, 2010


Last week, I had the priviledge of photographing a beautiful wedding ceremony in which our friends Trevor and Joanna pronounced their commitment to one another surrounded by family and friends in the afternoon sunlight on a beach in Surf City, NC. It was a sweet, warm weekend, filled with love and celebration and kind words. Both of them are wonderful people, grounded and kind and wise beyond their years, so it should have come as no surprise that their families and friends were in turn wonderful people. It was a beautiful thing to be a part of.

The weekend started with a welcome dinner on Saturday night, featuring a low-country boil made by family members and filled with music made by Orange Krush, for whom the bride is the lead singer, my husband the keyboardist, my friends the other musicians and their families. At Sunday's wedding ceremony, guests pitched in making flower arrangements, desserts, decorating the beach house where the reception was held. Even the groom's brother performed the ceremony, waves crashing behind his outstretched hands, wedding bands carried in a seashell filled with sand. It felt like every person there played a part in making the day happen. It was definitely a group project.

During the ceremony, as in many weddings, all of us present were asked to support the couple, to be there for them, to nurture their marriage for the years to come. This is, after all, the responsibility of any wedding guest - not just to enjoy the free wine and cake, but to agree to be a strand in a web of support around this new love. To me, this is a large part of why the public wedding ceremony is important, for the fledgling marriage's witnesses become also its greatest champions.

The weekend turned out to also be the culmination of one of the most challenging moments of my own marriage. In the space of a week, my understanding of all that I know and believe about my life was completely changed. I have always known that marriage is difficult, and now I know that more than I ever have.  As the words of Corinthians were read during Joanna and Trevor's ceremony, I clicked the shutter on my camera with tears running down my face.

The wedding guests received jade plants as a thank you gift from the couple, given for their symbol of friendship. On our long 7-hour drive home, though I placed it in a safe spot, the plant drooped and wilted. By the time we returned home, I wasn't sure it was going to survive. It's instructions said not to water it more than twice a month, and so I was unsure of what to do.

The thing about the promises made at a marriage celebration that I did not realize until now is that they aren't frozen in time. The people who promise to protect and nurture and support your marriage aren't just the ones who are there at your wedding, but the people with whom you form relationships throughout your life. While it is certainly true that we are still supported and loved by the people who were with us on June 19, 2004, whether in body or only in spirit, our marriage is also upheld by our new friends and family, by those people who have joined us on this journey since that day and in our 5 years in Asheville. When you form a new friendship, you join that circle that was present on the wedding day of your new friend, a silent participant in one of the most important rituals on Earth.

I put the jade plant in my kitchen, on the counter by the window where it can receive light and fresh air. After a few days there, it has recovered, standing tall, it's round green edges soaking up the indirect light of our home. I did what I thought would help it most, and then I waited for nature and the plant to do its own healing. This is what our friends and family do, too - they help and support, they do their best, and they lift us up to the sunlight, hoping that nature and time and space will heal. What more can I possibly pray or hope for my own marriage than this - for the time and space and light to be recreated, to be healed, to be renewed, all the while surrounded by a circle of family and friends old and new, the waves crashing behind us.


  1. I am thinking of you and your family. Thank you for sharing your wonderful writing.

  2. Carrie,
    This post was very moving and poignant. You can count on us to make sure these words will ring true.Lifting you up in prayer,and sending Hugs and Love to you all <3.Your photos of the wedding here and on Facebook are amazing!
    Lauren and David

  3. Thank you both so much for your loving comments. It means a lot!

    Lauren - glad you like the pictures. I need to post some more - will do so soon.