We think you can tell a lot about people by the way they love and respect others — especially the older generation. When we did Erica and Kevin’s engagement session last fall, we wrote about Papa, their grandfather from North Carolina, whom they talk with often and visit whenever they can’t. He’s a best friend, in so many ways, and a wise counselor in so many others. He’s, well, the type of grandparent we all hope to be one day. Interested. Involved. Invested. Always there, whenever he can be, however that’s possible. A few months ago, Papa was spending every day getting out of bed, putting one foot in front of the other, taking steps, and walking — a little bit at a time — so he could be strong enough to be at Erica and Kevin’s wedding to see her walk down the aisle. Unfortunately, that wasn’t to be. But something else very, very special and incredibly powerful was. As we wrote back then, Papa loves 4×6 pictures. Erica and Kevin send him stacks of them from their times and adventures so that, even in his nineties and although so far away, he’s able to hold a feed of their life in his hands, like a physical Facebook of sorts. So, on the wedding day, we carved out special time, just for them… and Papa. Erica and Kevin grabbed their cell phone. Papa had his iPhone ready (all the way on the East Coast). And they FaceTimed him. They FaceTimed him. Papa FaceTimes, you guys. That’s legit. Papa got to see her dress before she walked down the aisle. They smiled. They laughed. They cried. And, of course, Papa requested lots of 4×6 pictures when the wedding was all said and done. We chuckled at that point, because Erica turned the iPhone on us and said, “Papa, this is Amy and Jordan. They’re here to make sure you get lots of pictures!”
That’s when it hit us, really. Three things powerful things in one flash of a moment in the rush of a busy day. First, how much respect we had for Erica and Kevin. FaceTiming with Papa wasn’t an afterthought. They didn’t do it because a parent asked them to or they felt like they had to. They did it because they have a real relationship with him that’s deep and personal. We heard someone say recently (maybe it was Dave Ramsey) that the older generation is the greatest underutilized asset in our society today. And we think he’s right. Too many young people don’t see the value of investing in those who’ve gone before them, and too many older people don’t feel needed or have enough energy to give back. What we’ve witnessed with Erica, Kevin and Papa is something so rare and unique — but awesome — that we think everyone should know about it. Because maybe you have a grandparent who would love to have what Papa has with them. They just need to learn FaceTime, and you’re the grandchild to show them.
Second and third, it reminded us that while wedding inspiration blogs and magazines emphasize the physical and outward (which is completely okay, by the way, because that’s their purpose) and it’s easy as wedding photographers trying to stand out in a competitive market to focus on that, too. But moments like the one Erica and Kevin had with Papa. The FaceTime. The smiles. The laughs. The tears. That’s why we do what we do in the first place. Because everything else — though so important — doesn’t touch the soul the way memories like those will. And being there to witness them and be the witnesses to the world that they happened, that, friends, is a pretty humbling and awesome responsibility — which is why well photography a vocation and not a job, because it’s a calling and career, not a clock that we punch; and, for that, we’re eternally grateful.
Erica and Kevin, we love you both, more than you’ll ever know. It was striking but not surprising to us how much fervent love you engender from your family and friends. Because you have two of the kindest smiles and most open, generous hearts of any two people we’ve ever had the pleasure of knowing. Your caring and concern for others is like almost nothing we’ve ever seen before; and the fruit that you’re harvesting in terms of the number of people who love you and the passion and loyalty with which they do is a testament to the good seeds you’ve sewn your whole life. Never lose that part of you. Weave it into your family’s fabric. Because it’ll continue to be such a great blessing to the rest of the world. Thank you for the honor and privilege and pleasure and responsibility of documenting your big day. We wouldn’t have rather been anywhere else in the whole wide world. Including Paris. And that’s saying a lot… about you 🙂
We photographed Lindsay’s wedding two years ago, and Erica was a bridesmaid! Loved seeing these two together again. This time in reverse roles! So sweet!
We got choked up during their first look! How sweet are they?!
Getting to watch Erica and Kevin FaceTime their Papa was so special.
We were just pretty much crying the entire day!
A photo first! AJ Brides: Past, Present and Future!! All at one wedding!
Love these guys!!
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