Watching how couples interact with each other is one of my favourite things about shooting weddings. It's always so incredibly fascinating to me to see how they are with their parents, siblings, close friends and family compared with how they act when they're together. Because I take an observational, journalistic approach to photography, I sometimes feel like I'm kind of spying on my couples, even though everyone else is there. I watch for little things like how their face changes when their partner walks towards them, or how their hands linger, barely touching, when one passes the pen during the registry signing. How a bride's body sometimes curves in an elegant "s" shape, moulding in to her groom's side when they're greeting their guests after dinner, and I marvel at how a hand placed on the inner arch of a back can seem sensuous and protective at the same time. It's an odd feeling, almost voyeuristic I suppose, but it always makes me feel closer to my couples and makes me feel like I've shared something with them that day, just because I was able to see all these little private moments that happened in plain sight.
Jash and Rob's day was full of these intimate exchanges, moving between the two of them like breezes and electrical currents. Watching these two was like seeing two different brides and two different grooms throughout the day. When Jash was with her family and friends, getting styled, getting dressed and socializing, she had an air about her like that of a sweet, tiny bird. A hummingbird maybe, or something else equally bright and beautiful, but still small and somewhat delicate. She was filled with energy. Not nervous, but definitely on-track and scheduled, maybe slightly anxious for the day to unfold. My morning with Rob was different - almost opposite actually. Strong, commanding and bold, Rob exhibited a steely, strong front. He was all business (well, not all business - he still laughed and joked but seemed determined to stay focused), and the guys were loud and boisterous in comparison to the quiet-calm of the girls. The second they were in the same room though, Jash walking down the aisle with both her parents to Rob, they dissolved and melded into the other. Rob took a little bit of that quick, flickering energy from Jash, as she stole some of his resolve. She walked taller, more confident and stronger, and he seemed to allow himself to feel the butterflies that had been fluttering around Jash all morning. It was honestly, absolutely beautiful, breathtaking and endearing. They had a sand ceremony, not at all uncommon at weddings. Theirs though, was not only a symbolic mixing of families, cultures and lives. The colours of the sand, possibly chosen just to match their stunning Indonesian-inspired decor, seemed to reinforce this union of personalities even more. Jash poured the dark, strong coloured sand while Rob's sand was the contrasting bright turquoise sand, which seemed representative of fast moving waves, versus the dark, steadily rolling waves from the depths. To me, it seemed they were pouring the sand that should have been selected for the other, but only for a moment. Then, I understood. I'm not sure if this was intended - I oftentimes look in to things far too deeply. But I was so happy watching this happen, and felt like it was just right, perfect and fitting.
When they're together, a new light emanates between them - something separate than the light they produce when they're apart. Rob softens, and that somewhat-gruff persona melts and changes into a protective glow, encompassing Jashinta. She, on the other hand, shines with confidence. Her tiny frame almost seems to grow, her voice gets louder and her light gets brighter.
This, this, is what love is.
Thank you, Rob, Jash, and families, for allowing me to be there for your wedding. You are both two of the kindest, genuine people I've had the pleasure of meeting, and I so very much appreciate all the kindness you've shown me. I truly believe the rest of your loves together will be as amazing as your special day, and know with all my heart you both deserve it. Those lights I see in both of you will never dim, I'm sure of it. As long as your together, loving each other as you do so beautifully, you'll only glow brighter and brighter as the years pass on.