It seemed a simple request. Our whole family planned to gather in the Twin Cities for the wedding of a dear family friend. Pulling from Milwaukee, Seattle and Duluth as well as the Cities, it has become increasingly rare that we can assemble our numbers in one place. So it was the perfect opportunity to get a family photo for our Christmas card. Too many times I leave thinking, “Oh shoot! We forgot to get a family picture!” I wasn’t going to let that happen again.
My daughter, Karen, whose bedrooms would fill hosting most of us, had it covered. “Mom, leave it to me. I have a friend who does fabulous family photography. I’ll arrange it all with her.”
“I don’t want fancy. Not in our wedding clothes, I want to do this beforehand, just informal, outside.”
“You got it,” Karen said.
Karen sent out clothing photos ahead of time. “Here’s a palate of colors to work with,” she told family members. She followed with “I don’t want this to be stressful for anyone, so if you don’t have quite the these colors – bring something close and we’ll roll with it.”
We all assembled in French Park at noon, and looked remarkably color coordinated without appearing to have done so. As we trooped down the path and crossed the bridge over a small creek, I looked back to see the stream of family members happily ambling along. My heart swelled, just seeing my family stretch into the distance. Nobody was chafing at having to dress up. Kids were being kids. Grown-ups loosely herded them along.
Katherine, the photographer, met us in the picnic area by the lake. Straight away she began engaging the kids, at the same time scouting good locations to shoot in the brilliant noonday sun. We had asked for a variety of family groupings, and she mustered the troops to mix and match the pairings and keep things going.
Instead of being a tedious exercise in gaining cooperation, of teasing out smiles, of cajoling kids to come sit still, we were in constant motion. We giggled and teased. We tickled and chased. We squeezed, climbed trees, held kids upside down and played together. Laughter reigned.
It felt SOOOO good!
All the while, Katherine captured the moments. Lots of them. The traditional and the silly. The poignant and the unexpected. The cute and the lovely. Not surprisingly, the kids stole the show, but I still got my Christmas card photo – if only I can decide which one to use!
It turned out to be the highlight of my weekend, despite all the other moments spent together. And I have all the photos to bring back the joy of that sunny Saturday gathering.
You needn’t take my word for it. You be the judge.
Thank you Kate Dawn Photography, for surrounding me with love!
For more of her work, visit her Facebook page.