Take a picture – it’ll last longer.

In the last few days, I’ve had the “well, of course that’s the photographer we’ll use” wedding photographer tell me that she’s already booked for our day. Bummer. But she did give us the names of three other photographers to try.

Of those, Photographer Number One evidently doesn’t know how e-mail works. Photographer Number Two sent back a price list of the “are you kidding?” variety. And Photographer Number Three sent a very sweet e-mail:

Dear Cha Cha –

Congrats on your engagement! As it turns out, that day is also the day I am getting married. I would suggest other photographers to you, but they will all be at my wedding that day.

Good luck –
Photographer Number Three

And then my head exploded.

I pictured every photographer in the metro at one wedding, laughing at and toasting to the misfortune of every other bride in town. It would be the opposite of Mr. Ecologically Friendly Wedding’s “you know, being in the agency world, we had three photographers covering our wedding” obnoxious-yet-well-documented nuptials. It would be me and a box of crappy disposable cameras taking crappy pictures.

My mom offered a better take on it. “No!” she exclaimed. “We can do Polaroids and old Instamatics!”

I considered. “The ones with the square bulbs? Totally!”

Then my mama really outdid herself. “You know …” she said slyly. “We still have grandpa’s movie camera.”

And then I lost my mind.

My grandpa had this movie camera that had two huge lightbulbs on the top of it. The thing put off more heat than the sun, and more light, too. I vividly remember him documenting our family, holidays and get-togethers accompanied by the whirr of his camera.

The best part, though, was that the blinding lights meant that in every movie, all of us kids look like Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds with crazy, looking-glass eyes. We have no pupils. We are blind, frozen in our polyester plaid slacks. As the movies go on, we start to sweat, too.

I would love nothing more than to see those movies now.

Last weekend, My Guy and I had lunch with his grandma. She’s sassy and I adore her. And, truth be told, I think I have a greater appreciation for her because all of my grandparents have passed.

As we said good-bye, My Guy’s grandma asked if I had any grandmas. No. She asked if I had any grandpas. “No,” I said, “but I was so lucky to grow up five minutes away from a set of my grandparents. They were such a big part of my life, and I was so fortunate.”

As My Guy and I walked away, he asked me some question and I realized that I couldn’t talk. I was crying. Hard.

We finally got to the car and all I could say was, “I miss my grandma.”

Now, I think I’ve figured out some good options for the wedding photography. This little interlude has shown me how important the photos are to me, and the idea of my grandpa’s movies reminds me of how precious all of these times are. But no wedding photographer in the world can put the people who are missing back in the picture. And that makes me sad.

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