Erin and John’s Fairfield University wedding in Fairfield CT was seriously one of the highlights of my photography career. It was all the reasons I do what I do as a photographer, it was my WHY all rolled into one big, fun wedding! That was actually a vow renewal! See, John and Erin met back when they were in college at Fairfield University, they started dating and eventually married one another. They started a family and have three of the most amazing kids I have met. When they got married twenty five years ago their wedding was fun! They were surrounded by their friends, their family. They had a blast!
I’m paraphrasing here, but there was a funeral and I believe it was John who had the realization that we should make the time to hear and be present with those that would come to your wedding and your funeral. Why shouldn’t we all be able to be present with those that love us most, now? Why should we now wait for our funerals, when we won’t even be there to see and hug and love on those that loved us most? And so, they decided together to celebrate their 25 years of being married to one another with the most epic of vow renewals back where it all started, at Fairfield University in Fairfield CT.
Chatting with Erin from day one, I knew I would be working with her. She was so easy to talk to, honest, open and just lovely. Every interaction we had left me feeling like I wanted to be her friend in addition to her photographer!
Venue: Fairfield University, Fairfield CT
Hair and Makeup: Jennifer Kinford / J. Kinford Beauty Group, Fairfield CT
Erin’s Shoes: BHLDN
The bridesmaids wore the same colors from the wedding 25 years ago! I always wonder if after their weddings my clients remain close to their wedding party. Erin and John’s Fairfield University wedding was a testament that they can, and did stay close to theirs!
When Erin and I chatted about what they wanted for their wedding, she was adamant that we really stay focused on their friends. She and John didn’t really need a ton of portraits of them, nothing super formal or couple focused. We decided to set up a first look and just have about 10 minutes for portraits of the two of them, then really dig in to the wedding party and friends.
John had other plans as he gallantly strode into the getting ready suite at Fairfield University to see his wife. I loved the realness of him seeing her, nothing staged at all and completely candid and true.
I think for me, as a Mother and photographer, my most favorite part of it all was that their three kids were there with them for this. When you think about weddings as I do them now- the majority of them anyway- it’s all pre-family. (most of the time) Their kids aren’t there witnessing the love their parents have for one another. Watching these three bear witness to and participate in the day was so special for me!
I got 4 minutes for portraits of them and I made sure to grab some quick as I knew they would be focused entirely on spending this time with their beloved family and friends!
The chapel at Fairfield University was super special to them both.
Her daughter Molly watches as her Mom, Erin walks down the aisle… I loved this moment for them!
Then their sons escorted their Mom down to their Dad, John. Again, loved this!!
Erin and John hired the same videographer to do their wedding that did it 25 years ago! Also a favorite moment for me! I also believe both of the priests were there for their original wedding as well!
Knowing so many of the stories around many of the people present at their wedding made things feel easier for me. Literally everyone present was special. Someone they have known from the wedding 25 years before, or someone they had collected along they 25 years of their lives since their first wedding! As I was photographing everyone I was curious about the connection they had to Erin, John and their family and I stayed present with hoe special it all felt the whole day!
There were two notable people missing (there may have been more, but these were the two I heard about) The maid of honor and the best man had both passed and were deeply missed. This is the kind of thing my friends would do if I were Erin, and it made me smile and also made my heart engage all day when I saw his face smiling from the crowd. I could see so clearly how much his friends missed him.
Now, this toast. OOOOF. All along during their planning process Erin kept saying how wonderful of a human her husband Fink was. (That’s how he is known to everyone) Everyone just adores him. During his toast….jeez Louise I could see why. His speech was so eloquent, so full of heart warming details that made you tear up and then would make you laugh. He mentioned so many friends and their traits that he loved or admired. He spoke about how Erin doesn’t really have a bucket list, but that one time she mentioned if she could add winning the lottery to her bucket list she would. He gently chided her, saying that’s not really a bucket list thing since you can’t control it! According to him she laughed and said she knows she would just give all the money away anyway, she really just wanted a big freaking check because how cool were those?
Enter, my OOOOF. This guy decides to go on about how he has won the lottery of life with her by his side, citing so many personal memories and things that just engaged my heart on a deep, real level. Then he sets the mic down and pulls out a HUGE check for Erin, giving her her bucket list moment surrounded by their friends and family.
I literally could not stop crying. I felt like everything hit me at once. All of the hundreds of weddings I have photographed over the years, most of them were before they would really know if they would survive together as a couple. Would they have a family? Would they work so hard to stay together? These two KNEW. They had made it together, they had maintained all of these wonderful friendships over their 25 years since their wedding day, all while collecting more wonderful friendships along the way. They had weathered losing their two best friends together. They had created a beautiful family, together. They are both medical professionals who trudged bravely through this past pandemic year, together. THEY. HAD. MADE. IT. TOGETHER.
So yeah, I wept.
As dinner was being served, I pulled them out quickly for a little walk on the lawn, alone. They soaked up the setting suns rays while casually chatting together and me snapping away, just in complete adoration of the lives they have built, together.
This little dance party just hit me in my already soft heart as their kids danced with their parents. After this year? DANCE!
These two look so similar it actually took my breath away a little!
Then the kids all toasted their parents. Can I just say WOW. How poised they each were, so well spoken, so funny, so….THEM. I was so proud of them!
This Fairfield University wedding was the SWEETEST, and so were these cupcakes!
Erin and John, why do you have to live so far??!! I wish I could just swing by for a barbecue and shoot the shit, laugh and just be your friends! Your love has inspired me so deeply. Your family, your friends, your dance moves, all of it! Cheers to making something happen that really united your friends and family and gave everyone the opportunity to connect, to talk, to HUG and really see one another when it mattered the most. I freaking ADORE you both so much! XOXOXOXO
To see more CT weddings by Connecticut wedding and event photographer Carla Ten Eyck, click the links below: