This is the first wedding I have worked where I knew the couple outside of being their photographer. My earliest memory of Matt (which I’m sure he won’t remember) was back around grade 6 or 7 when I showed up at his house with a couple of friends to see if he wanted to go for a bike ride. Jalen and I became friends during our days with the high school choir and we have quite a few fun memories of our field trips and song medleys, including pretending we were giant plates for Disney’s “Be Our Guest”. I knew each of them separately, and we had all attended the same elementary school and high school.
Common with teenagers, there are always different cliques at high school such as “band kids”, the “drama kids” etc. High school, right? Jalen and Matt were definitely part of the “drama/music kids”. They were involved in every play and every musical that the school put on. They consistently stood out as female and male leads, having such an engaging stage presence and ability to entertain an audience. Back then, I remember thinking and hoping that they would eventually come together. Almost a decade later, I found myself sitting in a coffee shop across from Jalen as she discussed her wedding plans to marry the man she has always loved.
When I arrived at the house at 9:30am on the wedding day, friends and family were already rushing around putting out decor for the ceremony and reception. The tent in the backyard had a country rustic feeling that matched the intimate theme. Old books, lanterns and apples were the centrepieces of tables, and chalkboards were used as signs and labels. The bouquets were being put together, the tables were being arranged – and then rearranged, the music and lights were being set up, and everyone seemed to have a part to play. Even Jalen was running around putting decorations out and organizing last minute details. At one point she said jokingly, here I am setting up the wedding when the boys are probably just hanging around waiting to get ready!
Jalen and Matt had decided on doing a “first look” before the ceremony. They had chosen the theatre they had performed in together during their high school years. While I was getting my equipment organized, Matt was pacing, jumping, singing, dancing, and anxiously waiting for the moment to begin. He was so excited that I had to remind him to stay in the same spot for my light testing to work. When the moment finally came and he turned around to see his bride, so much love had spread across each of their faces and tears of joy had started to form. Soulmates were married that day.
Congratulations Jalen and Matt, I am so happy for you both.