Wednesday, June 16, 2010
The most beautiful Princess you will ever see
Before I begin, I know this is a long post, but I AM GOING TO ASK THAT YOU READ THIS STORY---YOU WILL NOT BE SORRY!! Today was probably one of the most special bridal session I will ever photograph, and it was fun to help play fairy godmother. Before I tell you about today (and the INCREDIBLE people who helped to make it happen), I need to give you a little back story.
Heidi, along with her parents, Carole and Lou, are our neighbors. We met them right after we all moved into the neighborhood almost nine years ago. Heidi has Down's Syndrome, and the love of her life, Michael, does as well. Over the years I have taken hundreds of photos of these two and they are two extremely special people! In the first few years that we knew them, Ali and Katie spent a lot of time with Heidi and Michael because they were both involved as volunteers with Special Olympics. Michael is from Tennessee, and Heidi lives here in Lincoln (they met each other in the early '80s when they both lived in the bay area and were athletes with Special Olympics). Several times a year
they fly back and forth to each other's homes and spend a month or so together. Both of them are Type 1 Diabetics, so they are really lucky that each family knows how to handle this disease and how to take care of one another's "kids". I hope this isn't too much info, but I have to tell you how extraordinary Heidi's parents are. When Heidi was a baby, her parents were told that she would never do so many things that the average person does; she'd never walk on her own, never be a potty trained child, never be able to read or write. Carole and Lou refused to believe this and treated their daughter as they did their son. Heidi has dozens and dozens of medals for skiing, golfing, swimming and just about any other sport she trys. She is an incredible woman who makes the rest of us look "lazy" ;) She is also quite a reader and when she first got engaged, she poured over bridal magazines!
Six years ago Michael talked to his parents and said he wanted to propose to Heidi. Michael's parents talked to Heidi's parents and agreed that it was the right time. Heidi and Michael met each other in 1984, and got engaged in 2004. Heidi knew she wanted a June wedding, so for obvious reasons the parents suggested to this couple that since they got engaged after they knew each other for 20 years, they should set the wedding date 20 years out. SO, I now have June 30, 2024 on my calendar to photograph their wedding...sorry, if you were thinking about that date, but I'm booked with a very special wedding :-)
In the last couple of years Heidi has been wanting to try on wedding dresses, but for reasons I cannot understand, no bridal shop would allow it because her wedding was too far out. After meeting this couple, can you believe people didn't want to help her live every part of her fairytale? Carole had told me about a day where they stumbled on an incredible bridal store in Vegas where Heidi was able to try on some dresses. The problem was that Michael wasn't there to see it, and Carole wasn't really prepared to take photos. So, here is the rest of the story...
When I heard about this I knew I could do the photography, but we needed a place for her to try on dresses. I immediately called my friend Jennifer Baker at Enchanted Bridal Shoppe and told her about this heartwarming story, and asked her if she would help me to make another of Heidi's dreams come true. SHE DID NOT HESITATE!!!!! Today, Heidi, Michael, Carole and I arrived at Enchanted Bridal Shoppe and were they ever ready for us!!! I had told them that Heidi LOVES, LOVES, LOVES Disney, so we KNEW that this bride had to try on Disney dresses. In addition to her modeling for us, Michael brought his tuxedo. As I am writing this I am crying just thinking about how magical this day was. If you could have seen the look on Carole's face when she saw her only daughter try on wedding dresses that Heidi could only dream of, it just melted me! Nothing that Heidi wanted to try on was off limits...Tiffany tiaras, crystal bracelets, and any dress she wanted. An added bonus was that Ali had purchased a dress from the bridal shoppe and she was with us to pick it up. We couldn't help but get some "wedding party" photos with her, Heidi and Michael. I tried to do detail photos for them as well, and when I found out that the cufflinks that Michael had belonged to his late grandfather, I could not take a chance on missing those; Heidi's special engagement ring was Michael's great aunt's. As you'll be able to tell from the photos, Michael is quite the ham, while Heidi is the sophisticated one of the two ;)
I have three daughters and there are so many things that I take for granted...knowing that I'll probably be with them on their wedding day is one. However, when I looked at Carole today, knowing that this was quite possibly one of the most important days in her life as Heidi's mom, I can't even begin to tell you the emotions that overwhelmed me. The only thing that could have made this more emotional was if Heidi's dad, Lou, was there. He is THE MOST emotional guy I have ever known ;)
Heidi and Michael, I will never ever meet another couple like the two of you, and you make me so happy that I could share this with you!!
PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE, look at this slideshow with the emotions and heart that this couple deserves. Whether or not you know this Princess and Prince Charming, it would be tremendously special if you could leave them a comment to tell them how much they touched your heart. Obviously, a Disney song was in order for this slideshow. It seems like "thank you" is not enough to Enchanted Bridal for what you did today. You made your motto "You are a princess, and so shall you be treated", come to life today for what you did for this family. I know they will NEVER forget you!!!!!!