How This All Got Started | The Imhoffs - Chicago Fine Art Wedding Photography
Meg Imhoff here! I've never written a personal blog post on our website, but I've decided it's high time. I'd love to share a little story of how our journey began and how documenting weddings has become our passion and calling.
The very reason we became Wedding Photographers comes from our own Wedding Day almost 5 years ago. Jordan was sill finishing up his Directing for Film and Cinematography degree at the university where we met in Virginia and I had just graduated with my degree in Theater three months prior. We were engaged only 3 and a half months before our wedding day. It's a crazy story, but we were truly just best friends before we decided to get married. One night, when Jordan was dropping me off at my apartment, I remember him telling me very seriously, "You know, if we could just be married, then we could always be together and not have to say good bye at the end of the day." Three weeks later, there was a ring on the Atlantic at sunset and a new chapter unfolded. Let me tell you, that season of life was a total and complete whirlwind. We had only 3.5 months to plan our wedding taking place in the Chicago Suburbs (where Meg grew up) while living on the coast of Virginia. Pure insanity. I don’t know what we were thinking, but I’m thankful we weren't married a moment later.
Let me preface that when we were planning our wedding, we didn’t have a CLUE as to what we needed to do or how to do it. If it wasn’t for the talents and labors of love from Meg’s mom and a few of her close friends, there wouldn’t have been a wedding at all. Meg’s parents pulled it off beautifully and blessed us beyond measure.
If only we could go back in time to those 3 and a half months of planning and guide ourselves with what we know now after watching and capturing so many beautifully planned weddings! When we met each other, we were just a pair of artsy free birds. We were still kids with no responsibilities. We loved playing with cameras all day while making short films and practicing lighting for photography. So, let’s just say there was not an organized Wedding Planning Binder or Checklist from “The Knot”. We were winging it on every level with no plans or timelines. We just wanted to be together because everything was better that way. ...and in the end, that is all that truly matters, isn't it?
Fast forward to the Wedding Day. I still cannot believe that today’s organized, To Do List making, Meg Imhoff didn’t even have a single timeline or list for her own wedding day. (A lot can change in 5 years, folks. Mom, I still thank you for your forgiveness and for sparing my life during that season.) We were really and truly winging it! We knew what time the ceremony started and we knew what time dinner was being served. Other than that, we were barefoot, dancing, kissing hippies. (Honestly, we still are... just with schedules, budgets, due dates, and timelines) We did everything the way we assumed it was probably done. We had never heard of a "First Look" or even a ' Family Photo Shot List' for family photo time. (As I write this out, I am literally sweating.) The day arrived and the day ended. Everything in between was filled with pure joy, pure anxiety, happy tears, sad tears, the most incredible and generous love and support from our families who came from all over the country to be there, lots and lots and lots of rain on our outdoor tented reception, hugs, kisses, unashamed-white-suburban-dancing, some more tears, forgiveness, and goodbyes. We could seriously write a book about the ups and downs of our wedding day.
Fast forward 5 years later. My most favorite moment to witness and capture is the moment the Bride and Groom see each other for the very first time. My heart is pounding with excitement, my palms are usually a little bit sweaty, and when they finally see one another, I can’t help but cry. It’s an overwhelmingly beautiful moment. I’m still pinching myself that this is my job.
It has taken me 5 years to admit this out loud, but I cannot even look at the pictures of us seeing each other for the first time on our own wedding day. Those pictures bring back a memory and an emotion that I do not want to be reminded of. I will not bore you with all the details, but if we could just have one "do-over", we’d give anything to have seen each other before I walked down the aisle. Long story short, just moments before I walked down the aisle, someone ran to the back of the church and relayed the message that Jordan did not write his vows and that we would be sticking to the traditional vows. Ouch. ...I had put my heart, soul, and tears into the vows I had written for him. My heart was broken. I felt let down and simply not worthy of hearing the same heart-felt vows in return. Honestly, the thought entered my mind that perhaps we should cancel this day all together. But, just as I was thinking those thoughts, my Dad came to walk me down the aisle and I was simply on auto pilot. No Bride should EVER walk down the aisle with a broken heart or disappointment on her wedding day. I had looked forward to that moment and that walk down the aisle my entire life and I can never ever get it back again. When I got to the end of the aisle where Jordan was standing, I point blank asked him if it was true that he didn’t want to write or read his vows to me. (Of course I whispered so no one else could hear me.) When I asked him this, he couldn’t look more confused. His vows were written and in his pocket. My heart was coming back to life again. This all could have been so easily preventable if we didn't feel so pressured by tradition to not see each other before the ceremony. Those 10 minutes, which should have been pure joy and excited anticipation were stolen and I can never get that back. This is definitely a major reason why we encourage "First Looks" for our couples, but more on that another day...
We want to make sure that some of the experiences we had on our wedding day (which were so preventable) do not happen to the couples who entrust us with this honor. A photo can be beautifully captured with perfect exposure and composition, but what makes a photo truly beautiful is the memory of how you felt in that moment. We want to make sure that when our couples look back at their photos 50 years after their wedding day, they are still reminded of the joy they felt in that moment. If it doesn’t stir up joy and emotions for them, then it’s simply a pretty photo and nothing more than that.
As wedding photographers, we have this incredible honor of being up close and personal with our couples all day long. Not only are we capturing these beautiful moments as they unfold, but we are also there to make sure that the Bride and Groom's experience and memories are protected. That's a pretty massive honor and we are so grateful to every single one of our couples for entrusting us with their day's memories.
*So thankful for our family photos that were captured beautifully by Christine at Dabble Me This*