This second instalment of Christiane and Jeff's wedding takes us to California's wine country, this time with an extended group of family and friends. This second event really did feel like an extension of the first, and it allowed us to learn even more about them through the other significant individuals in their lives. I was particularly struck by how vast and varied their group of friends is. There were childhood friends of almost 40 years, fellow travellers they met on trips abroad, some were past or current coworkers... even exes! Age, gender, race, religion, sexual-orientation - Christiane and Jeff's friendships do not discriminate; they love and are loved by all. It takes serious loyalty and great care to maintain so many different friendships over so many years, and Christiane and Jeff have managed to do so beautifully.
During the ceremony, the bridal party gave touching individual testimonials. Despite each of their unique perspectives and relationships with the couple, Christiane and Jeff finding each other later in life was definitely a recurring theme. It was interesting to hear the ways in which their friends feel that these two fully formed adults balance each other out. They expressed a refreshingly realistic view on love and relationships that we honestly don't typically hear at weddings. It was the acknowledgement that it takes more than just deep love to make a marriage, that it takes a commitment but also an acceptance of the other. It was beautifully honest, and I realized that it seemed very appropriate of what I have observed of Christiane and Jeff. They don't try to change one another, they may challenge each other, but also they respect each other's differences, like the fact that Christiane is a passionate vegan and Jeff is very much a carnivore!
After all the salsa dancing on the boat in Vietnam we were not surprised or disappointed to witness a packed dance floor all night. I could watch Christiane and Jeff dance together for hours (and I guess by now I have!). They are individually confident, move together beautifully (albeit not necessarily perfectly) and their connection is palpable. I hate to point out the obvious, but it really is a perfect metaphor for a happy and healthy relationship!
Christiane and Jeff... we will miss photographing you! Thank you for trusting us to photograph both of your wedding celebrations and for inviting us into the inner circle. We feel privileged to be here.