July: a season for rain or faithfulness?
As a wedding photographer of over 10 years now and having been blessed to shoot at least a thousand of them, one of the most frequently asked question to me is — Which one is your most memorable one? and my answer is always — there’s many! This month, I’d like to share two of them because our theme is indoor weddings (because July starts off the rainy season)… For the fist story, it’s not the most memorable just because it’s overseas and I love travelling, not because its was a wedding of a couple who turned to become friends and I still see them often to this day because they’ve become not only one of our sponsor in photography but more specially that it’s a wedding where Jesus has made his presence felt literally. Anyway, here it goes:
Hindu weddings are 3 days long. This specific wedding was done in Bintan Lagoon in Indonesia but the weird thing is that you have to go through Singapore instead because it’s much closer to it. So 1st 2 days, we had the ceremonies indoors since of this were a normal indian wedding, most of the ceremonies would have been done in the couple’s house. Day 3 comes and a storm brews. I can still visualize the preparation, Tasha’s face evidently starts to worry. Brother comes in the room and says “Tasha! It’s raining we need plan B.” with that Tasha explodes in tears as she says “There is no plan B! I did not come to Indonesia, fly people to a beach resort, rent an elephant, wait for 2 days to just do my wedding indoors!” What faith! With that she turns to me and says “John, can you pray to your God to make this rain stop?”. I was honestly caught by surprise. Am I a prophet? but with that statement I say a quick whisper of help to Jesus and my response definitely did not come from me as I said “I will only pray if we gather the whole entourage here in this room.” with that she did and the room was filled and we did pray. Afterwards, I asked to be excused for awhile and went down to the ceremony venue and spoke to God one on one. I said “Lord, I know its a huge request I am making as I can see the clouds are so dark and I can’t pray don’t let it rain cause it’s already raining right now, in fact I am getting soaked as I pray this, but Jesus your name will be glorified today if you answer my prayer.” I go up and it hasn’t stopped raining. Tasha worries more and my pictures are starting to look really bad cause the bride is not smiling. To take her mind off the weather, I close all the curtains. After a few minutes, the brother comes in again and says “Tasha! Please we need the plan B.” This time, with boldness and confidence that my God is a God who answers prayers I tell him “No, God has answered our prayers.” I open all windows and show a sun shining bright on dry ground that looked as though it never rained at all. We were able to do our wedding outdoor as planned!
Coincidentally and unintentionally, on the way home I was down to my last shirt. I had no other clean shirt to wear except one that said “Life without Jesus is a dead end” and guess what, I sat next to the Meraj (the hindu priest). #awkwardmoment the same shirt which you can see I’m wearing here during my proposal to my wife Monique.
I am sharing this fact (and picture) because the 2nd most memorable wedding is the one I wish I did shoot but obviously never did because it was my own (but at least I got to shoot my prenup whose pictures I am sharing in this blog since this is supposed to be MY shots) and coincidentally, as I am the assigned blogger every 1st day of the month, tomorrow also marks our 6th year wedding anniversary!
Our wedding day was supposed to be May 31, 2009. Everything was set — venue was booked, gowns being made, invitations due to be printed in a weeks time etc etc but there was a problem. One of our master photographer – Jason was getting married in the same venue 34 days later — July 4. Our guests complained, we want to witness both your wedding but its so impractical for us to go to the same venue almost only a month apart and we are getting married in Boracay! With that I prayed and God has told me “You are the leader, you adjust your wedding.” so after speaking with Monique we decided to move our date to July 2, a Thursday since Jason has already gotten the weekend.” Everyone was happy!
On June 1, the day after our original date, just out of curiosity I called up our coordinator Amanda just to check on the weather and this is what she said “John, it was raining hard and the rain did not stop!”. Can you just imagine If I had exercised my muscle and forced Jason to move closer to my date instead? It would have been a disaster. On my wedding day, it was sunny but the weird thing was God gave me a rainbow (which usually meant rain) as if telling us — God is true to his promises and just as we make a covenant to each other, God is also making a new covenant with us.
So you might be thinking… Why didn’t I do it on July 3? Would have made our guests spend less. Good question… another story to share. The next day, after waking up. I see a wedding set-up on the next resort. I called up Hyds and asked if she wanted some lessons in photography in taking candid shots (I forgot to ask my wife for permission to work on our 1st day of marriage but promised just to shoot the ceremony). We literally dug a hole in the beach and positioned ourselves hidden away from everyone’s view and placed in our Telephoto zoom lens on our camera. The march started, no photographer in sight. We started clicking away. Bride marches still no photographer. We wondered why and asked Hyds to come out of our hole since there was no photographer anyway. We instantly became the official ones. So the next day, we burn the CDs and drop off the shots in the reception for the couple with a note where to reach me (for tips and thank you). Days and weeks pass without even a thank you. I felt sooo bad. One day, I was shooting in Dubai when I get a call from Ireland. I decided to answer, it was the groom and he apologized for only having to call now. He explained “You know the day after our wedding, the grand father of my bride passed away and he was like a father to her. So we had to leave the island immediately and go into mourning. We had only noticed your pictures now and we realized we had forgotten how fun our wedding had been only after seeing your pictures. Thank you!” those are words that made me say “LORD, THANK YOU FOR MAKING ME A PHOTOGRAPHER!”
I hope my stories of my most memorable weddings blessed you… I wish I could show you more pictures but unfortunately, I am currently in Sydney, Australia as I write this and I don’t usually store pictures in my laptop but more than the fantastic pictures, I would like to share with you a more fantastic God. And if you are reading this because you are preparing for your wedding, then I encourage you, that rain or shine, hail or storm, the most important element in your wedding is not the food, the pictures or the guest though that would have been great if you had them all, don’t forget that the most important thing in that ceremony is the “Marriage” which you get to take home. So don’t forget save a chair for Jesus!
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