Tony & Karina

There are butterflies, but they aren't hers -- they're mine. I anxiously looked at the time on Friday, October 23, 2009. 1 p.m. .... 2 p.m. .... 3 p.m. .... It's almost time! While the girl in front of my lens is probably not counting down the hours -- I'm sure they are flying past her. She is about to marry the man who makes her smile so much, her happiness radiates through her eyes.

Stupid rain. Why do people in Atlanta forget how to drive when it rains? I was so nervous that some horrible accident happened that would delay my drive to the venue for 1 hour. I didn't have an hour to lose.

I met Karina when I had just launched my business. She was the first person that could experience my website as a client, and not as a friend browsing my photo galleries on Facebook. I was committed to do my best for her wedding, as this would be my first solo wedding. I reassured her of my experience, but she also took a leap of faith in hiring me. For that -- I am grateful.

I decided the best way to prepare for this was to go to the rehearsal. Being a bride myself, I have read so many photoblogs, and having done my own second shooting at other weddings -- there were lessons I learned. You must pick a "go to" person. Huge thank you to Ben Helton for reminding me of this one. Fortunately, the "go to" person was Karina's sweet sister, Anita. Her family embraced me beautifully. I met Karina's mom first because we were the first 2 to get to the venue. What started as a friendly gesture at the venue developed into a hilarious, comforting, and kind welcome from the family for the rest of the wedding.

Tony, Karina's (now) husband, was truly the life of the party. I had never met him, but I had to hold my camera tightly because he had me laughing behind the lens. He brought such energy and comfort on a day that can be so stressful. But, I have to admit that his humor could not cover up how emotional he feels about Karina. He, hilariously, asked for the tissues during rehearsal at the pastor's first words, and soon after, the entire family and bridal party couldn't hold back the brimming tears.

Friday. The big day.

I had everything charged, my snacks, and my laptop -- knowing that I would probably take close to 500 pictures. Turns out I took closer to 750 pictures. Everyone was running around, and despite the soggy grass, the vibrant colors of Fall were everywhere.

Karina bought her bridesmaids these sashes at an Indian saree shop in Decatur

Your joy is beautiful Karina!

The bridesmaids and flower girl

And it begins... Look at Tony's face in the beginning. But the best part is how much he makes Karina laugh.

Beautiful music

Husband and wife! :)

Let the party begin!

Performances by Tony, of course :)

And lots of dancing ;)

A good time had by all and tons of dancing. I may post more of those later ;)

Karina & Tony ... thank you. And thank you to your families (AND bridesmaids!) who kept asking me if I needed any food or drinks, or if I needed to sit, the sweet questions ("you're STILL taking pictures?!"), and their genuine concern if I was having a good time even though this was all about you, your families, and your sweet friends.