Most of the trees were now bare. The sun filtered down through their boney branches, but it didn’t provide much warmth any longer. Great Swamp National Wildlife Refuge was quiet, only entertaining a few others who were enjoying the beautiful views of the changing seasons. We were so happy to be there with Leandra and Joe. They live far from us, but we were able to coordinate their engagement session with the trip we had planned to see family in Connecticut. Since we were en route to Connecticut for a family vacation, our daughter, Winnie, was in tow. We all walked the beautiful, winding boardwalks that stretched out in vast directions under the trees and over the swamp. It was all going well until Winnie yelled from several yards ahead of us, “I just lost my shoe in the water!”
It’s not easy bringing a 5-year-old to a session, but we do find ourselves in situations like this one when it’s necessary. We are a bit protective of the time we spend with our couples during their engagement sessions because this is often our first time meeting one another in person and our last chance to form a familiarity with them before we show up to be there for every moment of their wedding day. It’s almost a sacred time for us. Bringing Winnie along always splits our attention a bit, but usually, it’s not too distracting. As we looked ahead at our daughter standing with one foot in a shoe and the other bare, we hoped the other shoe was hidden behind her back. As we got close enough to see over the boardwalk, it was clearly not a joke: her shoe was in the swamp.
There are many situations where photographers would be panicked in this situation, thinking of their couple and how they would react. One look at Leandra and Joe’s amused expressions told us that we had nothing to fear. They weren’t labeling this time to be “theirs” alone—though I suppose we couldn’t blame them if they did! Instead, they were content to be out there with us, experiencing this mishap, and happy to wait for us to procure another pair of shoes from the car and fish out the old one before our shooting continued.
Leandra and Joe, we don’t want to dive too deeply into this situation and say that it’s a metaphor for life, but can we say that it kind of is? We all have plans and ideas for how things are going to be, and we can be left disappointed when things don’t happen as planned. There is beauty and freedom in the ability to roll with the punches. Many times in our marriage we’ve had to say, “Okay, Lord, not what we expected, but okay.” Seeing your easy-going nature throughout your engagement session, especially when we experienced the shoe hiccup, showed the relaxed and joyful nature you both possess. You both are so fun to be around, and together you make the experience richer for those around you. We are so excited to capture your wedding day!
Amy and Kyle