Backyard Ceremony, Washington, DC Elopement Photo Story Award

A picture from a short backyard ceremony with hugging couple

BW photo from conclusion of the short backyard ceremony |  at home event photography

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.

Picture of a DC bride at her backyard wedding after coming downstairs to first look with groom

BW Image of bride from a Washington, DC backyard wedding | after coming downstairs

Shannon greets Bilal after coming downstairs. They'd been taking care of the kids and getting the backyard ready for the ceremony all morning, but she didn't have the dress and the flowers before.

Washington DC Backyard Wedding Picture of flower girls included in the ceremony

Washington DC Backyard Wedding Picture in BW | the girls were included in most aspects of the ceremony

Their three daughters, her mother, and myself were the only guests. Because it was not only a wedding but a bonding of their family, the girls were included in most aspects of the ceremony.

Wedding and Elopement photo from Washington DC backyard ceremony where Pets were welcome

Intimate Washington DC Backyard Wedding Ceremony | Photo of a cat walking past ceremony

I neglected to mention the cat. When the guest list is this short, I think one has to include the pets. Invited or not.

DC Intimate Backyard Wedding Photo of daughters weaving a ribbon around others

Intimate Backyard DC Wedding Photography in BW | their daughters each held a ribbon weaving around the others

After the vows, what looked like a May Pole took on a different meaning. Shannon, Bilal, and their daughters each held a ribbon, each of them weaving around the others until the thin ribbons were braided into something much stronger.

Wedding Photography of Washington, DC flower girls pelting the couple with petals

Wedding Photography for Washington, DC | the flower girls pelted the couple

Not wanting things to go to waste, the flower girls pelted the couple with petals.