Hilary Spencer Creative Photography » Creative photographer specializing in weddings, engagements, and family photography. I'd like to make you smile.

Category Archives: wedding

The first blog of 2018. It’s only fitting that January 1st I was on a plane with a very excited (yet very quiet, read: she had no voice!) bride to be. Kristie’s voice finally came back in time to say I Do under a bright sunny sky, with friends and family tearing up alongside them. Thank you to Kristie, Chris, and all your friends and family for making this photographer feel right at home, while miles away.

Now, you think I’d just end this there, with a quaint introduction? Oh hell no – you know this mouth has a story for everything. SO. Picture this – it’s the morning of the wedding day. I go to have a shower, as one does. We had previously switched my room to be closer to the rest of the wedding party, and I hadn’t used this room’s shower yet. I reach in, turn on the water, and close the glass door while the water warms up. I undress, do a little stretch, and pull open the door.

A TIDAL WAVE OF WATER POURS OUT ONTO THE FLOOR OF THE BATHROOM.

I am completely nude, running around my room gathering towels, mopping up giant pools of water. I turn the shower off. I chuckle. Of course.

Friends, if you know anything about me, it’s that this kind of thing happens all the time. No, not specifically showers flooding; but somehow, I’ll always have a story to tell. No, I didn’t get my shower that day (bird baths in the sink are surprisingly refreshing) but man alive, did I ever have a good laugh. That’s what this is all about, right?

Venue: Iberostar Ensenachos, Santa Maria, Cuba

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A long, long time ago, in a pair of ratty jeans and skater shoes, I made a friend that made me laugh so hard I’d snort. Somehow, we both ended up liking the same boys, which made things a little tricky, but otherwise I was pretty sure this friend was gonna stick around. And she did; regardless of boys, shoes, and through years of staying in touch from afar. I’m so grateful to have Michelle in my life, and I couldn’t be happier to have shared in her magical day of bliss as she exchanged vows with the one boy I didn’t like – in that way! Michelle and Mike are a phenomenal fit, and I wish them a lifetime of happiness and true love.

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Part of a photographer’s bliss is getting to spend time in the light of other people’s happiness. We step in, take only fragments of memories, and retreat with humble satisfaction and warmth in our hearts. Now and then we get to hear back from clients (whom at this point we now consider friends, comrades, and sometimes family), which is like finding an unexpected box of cookies on your doorstep at the end of a long day. (Sidenote.. When are doorstep cookies expected? If you are the type to expect cookies, let me know your secret.)

Jessica and Brian had an absolutely magical day last summer and I got to be there for every smile, every tear, and every laugh. Thank you for letting me into your world for a day, and having the kindness to leave behind some beautiful words of thanks.

“I put a lot of thought into my wedding photographer. My now-husband and I are both designers/artists so this was one of the most important decisions to us. We knew that regardless of what food we ate, the dress I wore, or the music we played, we want to remember it forever. We needed a photographer who not only took photos of our wedding, but captured the emotions of the day. In 20 years, I want to remember the laughs we had while getting ready, the tear in my father’s eye as he linked his arm in mine to walk me down the aisle, the look on my husband’s face when I walked in the chapel, the love we shared during our first first kiss, and every beautiful moment that I may have overlooked during a very busy and fast day.

Everyone will say this, but I didn’t realize how right they were until my wedding – the day goes by SO fast. I’m glad I found someone who took stunning photos so I could sit and remember every bit that flew by too quickly. That was exactly what I was looking for, and Hilary was exactly what I needed.” -Jessica Senchak

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This is going to be a rambler, I can feel it.

New Sara Barielles playing in the background, the dog is asleep, nothing is in my way, so I’m gonna ramble. Hold onto your knickers.

I need to talk about waking up.

Quick story for you, before things get too profound. I don’t know about you, but I’m not a morning person. I’m not a bright, bubbly, “Oh the birds are singing!” kind of a person. I’m a “shoot the birds and close the blinds, I’ll see you next week” if you’re lucky enough to get more out of me than a muffled groan in protest. I have to, have to set an alarm. Two alarms. Three alarms. It’s alarming how many alarms I actually set (har har). These are alarms on my phone, and I usually leave my phone far away from my bed to ensure my zombie self gets up and at’em to turn them off, hopefully and optimistically assuming that at some point in my journey I will WAKE UP. This… doesn’t always happen. I’ll bolt out of bed at the most undecent hour, turn off the alarm (snooze), and crash back into bed. Cue: the dance of the thousand snooze buttons.

Now. The sleeping wonder that (unfortunately) shares the bed with me does not appreciate this morning routine. I want to say that I’ve gotten better lately, but he’ll protest otherwise I’m sure. It’s as though I don’t have any conscious thoughts about actually staying awake after getting out of bed; I autopilot back under the sheets and have no conscious choice but to obey my body. It’s ridiculous. It’s not normal. Is it? Let a sister know.

The connection for this morning-glory story to the aformentioned profoundness is that… in recent weeks…

I’ve woken up.

This… is profound. I’ve woken up… creatively, business-wise, idea-wise, ambition-wise; I’ve woken up wanting to push again. Push? At what? Oh, that little thing that I forgot I love to do. That, my friends, is as sincere as I can get with a snoring dog drooling on my toes: I FORGOT I loved photography. Totally forgot that the subtle focus of rain drops on kittens (wait, what?) and toothy, gleeful grins that get my heart racing and eyes shining. I love what I do. And I do it, because I love it.

So where have I been before this revelation of epic proportions? Drowning in self-pity, in my negative levels of self-assuredness, drowning in the complete disbelief in myself and my talent. I decided that because I’m not making a million dollars and taking photographs of Miley Cyrus twerking, I’m not worth a single penny of anyone’s thoughts or business. This is just insane thinking, folks (much like the a fore-mentioned performance of the fallen Disney star). Insane.

If you can’t believe in yourself, WHO CAN?!

I can assure you: caps were needed in that last sentence.

So lets flash forward: how did I wake up? It was a normal day, totally unexpected; out of nowhere, my heart filled with something other than self-hate. I suddenly went OH. Weddings. Love. Light. Love. Photography… love? Love.

A friend has been diligently tweeting and posting over at her wedding planning blog, and I had read a tweet or two that morning. My head got thinking, my heart got beating, and I made a plan to get off the train and buy a wedding magazine. I had a wedding to shoot in the next week or so at this point, so I figured, inspiration is needed anyways. Magazines: expensive! But am I really prepared to say that my inspiration, my love and pride in myself, isn’t really worth $6? If there were any moment in which to spend some cash, this was it. I bought my shiny, beautifully-bound WeddingBells and hugged it like a bomb that would explode if I let go.

As I skimmed slowly through those slick pages, my heart opened up again. I kid you not, it’s as though I had closed a door inside me somewhere, locked it up, and hung up a sign that said “Given up; try again later”. Down goes the sign, and I’m off running through pages and pages of glossy, gorgeous inspiration. It was a real Grinch moment: heart growing so big, it was bound to burst out in a rowdy rendition of Here Comes The Sun.

And that was it.

I went home and blogged (hence the sudden re-appearance, I’m sure you noticed that). I blogged and I edited and I planned. I emailed clients that I hadn’t scheduled yet. I emailed old friends and made plans. I organized. I fantasized. I woke up.

I shot the wedding that I had been nervous about, and it was amazing. So inspirational and wonderful. I’ve since had several shoots, and two more coming up this weekend. I’ve got new projects planned. I’ve got ideas. I’ve got aspirations. I may not be where I want to be yet, but I am closer now with my heart open and my eyes focused. I don’t know what made me suddenly snap that morning (the wedding tweets, a bad batch of coffee? Who’s to say, really.) but I am so thankful for my change of heart. This, I feel, is what I’m meant to do. One way or another… I will inspire others, and continue to amaze myself with the possibilities ahead of me.

Profound, right? I told you so.

NOW: The homework.
I normally don’t care about this side of the blogging business, but I would love love love if you would leave a comment about a struggle you’ve had lately. About a great morning of triumph over your bad thoughts. A quip about some bad coffee. Don’t care; comment. It would mean the world to my tiny brain and over-sized heart that is now full of love, love, love.

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