“There is something about a wedding gown prettier than any other gown in the world. ” Douglas Jerrold’s Wit: A Wedding Gown; Douglas Jerrold, 1859.

Today was the big kickoff for the rush to the wedding – bridal portraits.  And what a day it was!  Our Bride absolutely hates to have her plans go awry or to be late for anything.  The demands have been wearing on her for a few weeks now, and what started out on track had begun to derail by early afternoon, leaving her weepy and stressed.

We settled on a late afternoon photo shoot at an incredibly beautiful local plantation – Houmas House.  I had toured the home a few years ago with my granddaughter and the grounds are a photographer’s dream (the photos below were from that visit.)  Things began to slide with her hair and a last-minute change of mind to add some curls.  Her hair is waist length and doesn’t hold a curl very well.  When the stylist began to comb through the curls, the product he used began to flake and had to be plucked out – won’t be doing that on the wedding day.  She is now 30 minutes late for the make-up artist, catching every red light and calling me every few minutes to cry.  The makeup artist – Lauren – was great and she was FAST!  She calmed her down and did an amazing job to get us back on track.  I loaded everything in the car and we had exactly enough time to get there, under normal circumstances.  Just as we turned out of the neighborhood and she is fretting that she didn’t check that everything was in the car herself, the skies went black and the flood began.  The photographer called to say he was in the parking lot, waiting it out and it was much worse there than what we were driving through.  We can’t pull up to the house, I discover my grandson took my umbrella out of my car, and we have a trek to get to the dressing area and then another to get to the house.  I buy an umbrella in the gift shop to hold over her, it’s okay if I get wet, and we start hauling.  The rain gives us a little break when we head to the house and the photographer sits her on a lovely antique settee.  “Katrina, everything you just went through never happened, the sun is shining outside and you look beautiful.”  He was great!  The extra time in the house allowed shots he never took before, tourists from all over the world were peeking around doorways raving over the gorgeous dress and stunning bride.  “Your groom will pass out when he sees you for the first time!”  The docent was in love too, suggesting places for great shots around the house.  We finally made it outside, hiked to the front of the home, spread a sheet to protect the dress (not) and started snapping away.  I feel raindrops and head back to the house to get the umbrella.  As I look back, she is framed by the oak trees with the light shining through her veil, throwing her in silhouette.  It is amazing.  We need to get this one, so I wade into the grass and across the massive lawn shouting to the photographer he needs to frame her from the opposite direction.  He wades out to meet me and agrees, this one HAS to be taken.  I just know this will be a favorite.  The over-cast sky, thunder clouds, wet foliage, slate and ornate wrought iron garden furniture with the oak trees and the soft light shining all around her – stunning! Good call Mom!  Exhausted, sweaty and a picture in contrasts – her still pristine and me looking like a wet, half drowned rodent – we load it all up and head home. We have some great mother-daughter time and memories from this one.  It is a story that will be fun to tell in the future.  I assure her, the post-thunderstorm light was great, the photos will look so serene and perfect – and she can look at them and remember the rain, stress and sweat running down her legs and laugh that the crazy day doesn’t even show.

As we were finishing, a huge group of senior couples arrived for dinner at the home.  They were enchanted to see her standing with her dress in her arms and telling her to take a look at them because they are her future.  I know they were joking, but that future is exactly what I want her and her groom to experience.  A long and love-filled life together – I live that dream every day and it’s wonderful.