If you missed the first portion of this rainy day wedding day series, you can find it RIGHT HERE, or you can Fast forward to the weekend of April 29th, or what some of us in Southwest Missouri call Floodpocalypse. We’re talking torrential rain here folks! As in non stop, cray heavy wind and rain and what I’m guessing was the closest thing to a hurricane the Midwest could have.
It feels like we were just at Hebrew’s Coffee,
A local coffee house for our initial consultation, which actually was over two years ago! I have been waiting for this day for so long for this day and have loved getting to know this amazing family throughout the entire experience. Not long after we became “official” Gabbi and Sean scheduled their engagement session, wrapped up their college careers and started their “real jobs” in St. Louis. I remember how crazy that first year of “adulting” can be, and we just had a hard time connection in person while living across the state from one another, which was a bummer, but so thankful for being able to keep in touch via email and getting to know one another through facebook. It worked really well!!!
Due to Gabbi and I both being a bit obsessive ( in a good way) about planning, we had our wedding day photo timeline prepared well in advance and all last minute questions had been answered. We were all anxiously ready for the day to arrive. And arrive, it did.
Rain, rain wont go away.
With low temperatures and that crazy wind, I packed up my equipment the night before and began thinking about plans A, B and C for the day. Gabbi and Sean planned an early afternoon ceremony at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Catholic Church with a reception following at The Diamond Room, so that was one less thing to be concerned about as both locations are indoor. However, a strong portion of plans depended on natural light in outdoor locations, and that was looking less and less like an option.
Being flexible and a step ahead is a game changer
I made a quick call to Andie, my partnering makeup artist at Honey.Hive Salon prior to meeting Gabbi and the girls at the church. They were running just a bit behind schedule due to rainy slippery roads (and just the fact that rain slows everything down!), but no worries, I always know how to move things around on the timeline in order to make the most of the time provided. The wedding party arrived about 30 minutes later than “scheduled” so I used this time to photograph ceremony decor, wedding day details and spent some time with Sean and his sweet mom. This was also great because it gave me an opportunity to chat with some vendors as they arrived and work with the videographers on some collaborative shots.
Always have a Plan B
Early on in the day, I wanted to be sure to set Gabbi and Sean at east and let them know that I had already created a Plan B for portraits. For two + years we had planned on traveling around Springfield for some amazing outdoor portraits. We had a gap time between the ceremony and reception so it was an absolutely perfect plan. My plan B was to stop by the Springfield Art Museum for some portraits as we had to leave the church about 30 minutes after the conclusion of the ceremony.
We all loaded up into our vehicles and headed to the museum. As I pulled into the parking lot, I noticed very few cars, so I was thankful that we wouldn’t be too much of a disturbance to anyone attending the exhibits. I left my equipment in the car and ran inside. I’m a big believer in asking first, it is what it is, but I’ve always found asking for forgiveness later isn’t a good tactic for me. I approached the front desk and explained that I was a local wedding photographer and this sweet couple was just needing a few minutes in an inside location for some wedding day portraits. I got a big fat No….. Not so bluntly, of course, and I do understand the issue of copyright (I’m a bit passionate about that too as you can see in THIS blog post). But this was their wedding day!!!!
PSA- Professional Photographers need prior permission to do any photography in the art museum and absolutely no flash photography is allowed. As bummed as I was, I respect the policy, said thank you and rain back out into the rain while formulating Plan C.
Plan C is never a back idea either.
I jumped into the jeep and immediately called Hotel Vandivort. They were so gracious with letting us take over the lobby for a little bit and gave the all clear. As we arrived at Hotel V, the bridal party seriously had the BEST attitudes! I could not have dreamed of working with such happy people on such a nasty day! I thanked the front desk staff for allowing us in and asked if we could use the banquet room for just a few minutes, because OH MY, does it have the most amazing natural light flooding in and that was a key aspect we had been missing this entire day. Unfortunately, we were not able to use the banquet room. They were “on call” and were preparing to possibly need to set up for a wedding to take place last minute after a ceremony location had flooded! I was so thankful that we weren’t facing that obstacle and got a quick reality check that we had been so lucky all day! Besides, have you noticed all these amazing spots we were able to access all around Hotel Vandivort?!
Not allowing rain to affect the portraits
I wanted to ensure that the weather wasn’t going to affect Gabbi and Sean’s portraits and wanted to be able to provide a variety of location. The outdoor area at Hotel V is pretty amazing, so we snuck outside for just a few minutes. Going back to that “asking permission first” motto, I asked Gabbi if she would be up to crossing the street (in the rain) to the amazing drive through with the bright colorful mural. They weren’t phased for a second! The bridal party worked together as a team with umbrellas taking turns, making multiple trips through the rain to ensure everyone reached our next destination without getting drenched. Seriously, I can’t express enough that attitude is everything! We were able to capture some additional bridal party and bridal portraits in this fantastic spot.
It takes a village
I’m pretty sure I saw that quote on pinterest and use it at least three times a week, but it is soo good! Whoever said that first, I’d like to be your friend! Glancing across the street I remembered Norman’s Bridal has this beautiful indoor hallway. Gabbi and her bridesmaids all purchased their dresses there. I was probably a bit frantic upon entering, because I actually asked the first lady I saw dressed in black if we could use the hallway and filled her in on the entire story. In true Mandy fashion, she was actually not an employee (But hey, maybe a future client, because now she knows I’m not opposed to taking a few extra steps for a client). I searched out staff and they said absolutely, no problem! I ran back outside and gave the thumbs up and the bridal party once again started the umbrella train to make it across the street without getting rained on. (Gabbi and Sean are blessed with such great friends!)
Before we were even all the way inside to the hallway, the ladies at Norman’s came out and said “Let us help”. They moved dress racks out of the way for us to access their awesome exposed brick walls. I mean SERIOUSLY! This is what it’s like to work in a community, babe. Of course, I could have photographed Gabbi and Sean in the lobby of their church and also at their reception location, but I know my couples. I know they expect to see some really cool editorial inspired portraits, and I want to be able to provide that for them, no matter the circumstances. In this case, weather and time were the factors, but by saying “hello” and asking a few simple questions I was able to provide that for them (with a little help from my friends).
And it was better than expected
We actually had such a great time shooting inside Norman’s! The staff hung around and chatted with the bridal party as I worked through my workflow. We laughed, did a little youtube Justin Timberlake video watching (because that’s what we do when a groomsman is his doppelganger) and did the “goal” portion of the photos (if you’ve ever been in a bridal party that I’ve photographed you know exactly what I’m talking about, it’s our little secret!) We finished up portraits and once again, made the umbrella train back outside and headed off to the reception.
Babe, we got this
On a side note,
Once again, Patty and the staff at Simply Delicious out did themselves with an excellent menu and top notch service! (and check out this pig!)