I got a call on a tuesday. "sami, what are you doing tomorrow at 4pm?" I paused.
"I'm getting married tomorrow, and we want you to take our photos."
these two had got engaged roughly 3 weeks before in Iceland (helga's hometown) and had decided a couple days before that while helga's family visited LA they'd well, get married. this day was special to them for so many reasons, so they set a little tradition aside for a lot of love.
"wait? what? omg! of course, I'll be there! I have to be there! I don't know if I can be there but don't worry I will make sure someone is there capturing your day.”
truth is, I didn't know... It was my first week at my new job and I wasn't sure if I'd be able to make it in time. I texted my favorite photographer @kenziikate (who also is one of the besties) and asked her if she was free - and of course she was. kenz would drop anything for anyone and in my opinion, there was no greater person to shoot this insanely special and memorable day.
what I haven't said is that this person who called me is a very good friend of mine. someone who has been in my life for 7+ years. A safe person and one of the most loving and heart-led people I have ever met. I am changed by this friend and I HAD TO BE AT HER WEDDING.
okay, fast forward to the next day. I went to work an hour early and got it cleared with the boss so that I would be able to make it to the wedding. It was 3:30, I left work, plugged the address into my phone and it said it would take me 35 minutes to get there.“I’m not going to make it,” I thought to myself. “but shit, I am going to try” I drove as fast as I could. but seriously, have you ever been to Griffith park? It's gorgeous and ginormous. like my chances of stumbling upon this wedding was like very slim. It was now 3:58. so I took a chance, I turned down one of the many beautiful, tree-lined, windy roads that surround the park and then it happened.
I saw kenzie’s car and turned my head to the left to see b standing there. she was glowing in a white flowy shirt pants combo and in the most gorgeous white flower crown. I grabbed my camera off of my passenger seat, and sprinted towards them. I gave b the biggest, tightest hug that I could and whispered “b, you’re getting married.”
at the bottom of the hill, we were met by two of b’s close friends and together, they walked her up the hill and down the “aisle”. helga and b hadn’t seen each other all day. they didn’t know what each other were wearing and they both uber’d to Griffith park. these two yelped an officiant (who obviously had great reviews) and helga surprised b with a violinist who was played Sara Bareilles as b came up to meet her.
we walked up the hill blind to what was to come. and there she was, beautiful helga. helga stood on a 4 x 6 tapestry rug, in a white dress blowing in the wind with the LA skyline as her backdrop holding a beautiful bouquet. her sister, brother-in-law and nephew standing beside her. helga smiled and wiped tears from her face as her fiance walked towards her. they smiled. they embraced.
friends brought cake and family brought champagne. we ate cake, and we cheersed to love and to forever kept promises and it was as if time stopped. we hugged and smiled and breathed deep breaths and tried to let the moments breathe for themselves and last as long as they could. It felt like we were a part of something bigger and that's because we were. on that day, b and helga reinforced their promise in front of us all. they promised that they would keep striving to be better together than they are apart.
this is love and this is why I capture stories. because knowing and seeing each other stories changes us. knowing each others stories changes the way we think, understand the world and then changes the way we live. every single story is worth telling. this may not be your story, but it's theirs and its beautiful and makes the world better. I am so overwhelmingly grateful that this perfect spontaneous day included me and more love than I could ever measure.
I want to say thank you. thank you b and helga for letting us be witnesses to this special day. thank you for setting aside a little tradition for a lot of love. thank you for stopping and choosing to live life to the fullest, and for being unapologetically yourselves.
helga and b, to more love and even more champagne.
xx forever, sami lane