You guys. It has been TOO long since I photographed a wedding. Well, not anymore. But until this past weekend, it had been too too long.
The last wedding I photographed was last OCTOBER. Can you believe it? It's been almost a YEAR. I think any self-respecting photographer would probably downplay that fact because in a way, it sounds kind of bad. But I'm not ashamed of giving myself time to enjoy and take care of my newborn. Of giving myself ease and grace in the last difficult months of pregnancy. When I found out we were having Willow, around this time last year, I had to really think about how many weddings I wanted to do in 2016. I already had some booked, so I wanted to be careful to not overextend myself like I did last year when I had eight in a row. I have friends who do that no problem, little ones or not! But I know that's not compatible with me and my life.
So I made the very hard decision to not book any weddings during Willow's first three months of life or for my last month of pregnancy. Naturally, these four months occurred during the height of wedding season haha but that's okay. I usually tend to book more in the Fall than the Spring anyway. I did have to cancel with some Spring brides and send them back their deposit money. It was sad and I hated disappointing them, but I only book the sweetest of brides apparently because they were all so kind and understanding about it.
This weekend I shot my first wedding. I'm not going to lie, all week I dreaded the idea of it. Not because I didn't want to photograph it. I love doing that. But, I just kept thinking about Willow of course. I had spent only one real chunk of time away from her in her whole life and it doesn't matter that you know daddy can handle baby while you're gone, it's still really hard. I didn't expect to be one of those moms who wanted to cry leaving her baby, but I totally was. I used to think that those moms were just controlling and didn't trust anyone, but that wasn't my problem. I was just genuinely sad to miss a day of her life and to think that this would be really hard for her and that Erik had a long, exhausting day of unhappy, hunger strike, bottle refusing baby ahead of him. I'm so lucky that these days away from her are few and far in between. I know it's around now that many mommys have to head back to work five days a week, and I'm just so grateful that that's not me.
As with most difficult things, I'm so glad I did it NOW. It went better than any of us expected. I think maybe with Willow being a little older than the last time I left her and Erik for a long period of time, they were in a better rhythm. Willow drank her bottles, which was such a relief. Erik never texts me when I leave them because he doesn't want me to worry about them (that never works though haha), but he texted me Saturday to let me know that Willow WAS taking her bottles and it was SO nice to hear.
For me, it was a weird sense of freedom. I love spending all day with Willow. I genuinely do. I don't care if she vomits all over me or needs to be bounced to sleep for an hour, I am too enamored with her to care about any of the hard stuff. Shooting this wedding, though, was a reminder of the way things WERE, oh so long ago before baby! And before pregnancy basically. It was strange and I felt like I was exploding with creative energy when I arrived. It felt right. It felt like it was the right time.
I'm glad I took my time re-entering the photography world. I'm glad I got to return to business with the most stunning wedding and sweetest couple imaginable. And I'm glad to know that if I need to leave Willow for a day, everything will be okay. You can rationally know that that's true, but until you do it, I think it's hard to grasp. I'm sure all the mamas out there understand!
Now... Time to learn how to edit a wedding in 45 minute baby nap increments! ;)