Shannon and Bilal at the conclusion of the short ceremony.
Shannon and Bilal had been together for years and were already a family with three daughters. Their ceremony was as much a family bonding as a vow between a couple, and they sought to integrate their daughters into their ritual whenever possible. Since I was the photographer, her mother was the only official guest. One of the things I love about such small weddings is that no one can really do anything wrong; there's no audience, no expectations or reason to feel self-conscious. The vows still carry weight, but the celebrations tend to feel very light and carefree. I love the intimacy, getting to witness something so profoundly personal, being the eyes for others.
I feel honored to cover these smaller weddings. I'm there to record, but the line between photographer and witness/guest gets blurred a little. The fact that the circle is so small makes it feel like a privilege to be invited inside. I think couples appreciate that I take documenting their ritual just as seriously as a much larger affair, the sole visual record of such an important day.