The Kindness of Strangers – With Cameras

Thank you again for being a huge part of our special day. Your love and craft really made our ceremony memorable. - Rebecca and Derek

Rebecca and Derek, having just moved to Philadelphia and about to have their first baby, decided the only way to handle the overload of the whole situation was to elope to Vermont.  They booked a room at the Inn at Shelburne Farms, and contacted me to officiate their ceremony.

It was just the 3 of us in the rose gardens down by the lake, and afterwards, I asked if they wanted a picture to commemorate the occasion.  About to whip out my phone, I looked down to the other end of the garden (the site of Gemma and Rick’s wedding a few weeks ago), and saw a group of people watching us rather intently.

I went over to ask if one of them would be willing to take a couple of pictures, and a blond woman with a big camera said, “I’m a photographer!” and ran to help out.

Turns out we’d stumbled across Shelly Chastain, a freelance photographer who is getting married at Shelburne Farms next weekend!  She saw us having the little ceremony and thought for sure this couple would want pictures, but didn’t want to intrude.

She snapped up a storm, and said that she’d send Derek and Rebecca a disc.  They, in turn, offered to pay her, but Shelly would have none of it.  She said she was just glad that they’d have a decent record of the afternoon.  “After all,” she said, “it’s your WEDDING!”

I think Shelly was right.  So, people, if you’re planning to elope, make sure you grab a camera and a willing bystander.  Even if you don’t think it’s going to matter to you, you can bet your friends and family will be much more forgiving afterwards if they can at least see a couple shots.

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