As summer winds down, I'm closing up this wedding season with a few more episodes of “A (Wedding) Day In The Life Of” series. Today's guest blogger? Cara Rufenacht Creative! Cara is pretty much the funnest, happiest person I know and she's a total BA photographer too. Her work speaks for itself but what really sets Cara apart is the way she connects with her clients and goes totally above and beyond for them. From snapping selfies to picking bugs out of a veil to pulling a row boat ashore, see just a few of the crazy, cooky, but oh-so-thoughtful things Cara does on a wedding day in this behind-the-scenes look!
Today, I am photographing Marissa and Matt’s wedding at The White Barn. I love these two humans, and I can’t wait to celebrate with them.
If there is only one thing you take from this post I hope it is that wedding days are FUN. Are they a lot of work? YES! But I like to think of it as an all-day adrenaline rush of joy.
Leading up to this day Marissa, Matt, and I have met several times and corresponded countless times via text and email. We did an engagement session together, which is so helpful for me to see how they interact with one another.
On the day before the wedding, I will spend a few hours packing and organizing my gear, printing our timeline for the day, and looking back through Marissa and Matt’s engagement photos. This helps me remember which poses were the most comfortable for them and how I can help them relax and enjoy the moment tomorrow.
8 a.m. – Wake up and make cappuccino, then eat breakfast.
I eat big breakfasts on wedding days because I probably won’t eat lunch. This morning, I’m having waffles that I eat outside on the back patio.
My goal is always to blend in with the wedding guests; I want to look like I am going to a wedding – not serving food at a wedding. I usually wear a dress and shoes with good arch support. Photographing a wedding in ballet flats is for young people. I have old lady feet.
Time for my first selfie…oh boy…I should have practiced for this…
…on second thought, I’ll take a selfie with my dog, Flash – she’s cute and everyone loves dogs. There. That’s a little better…
10:30 a.m. – On the road. First stop, more COFFEE!
I always stop at my favorite local coffee shop, Tazza d’oro, on wedding days. Italian cappuccino to go, please! A caffeinated photographer is a happy photographer. Next stop, The White Barn.
Noon – Arrive at The White Barn.
First things first, I check in with the bride and let her know I’m here. Marissa knows I’m writing this post so we snap a quick photo of us while she is getting her hair done.
Blurry selfies mean we’re having fun, right?
The next few hours are usually the busiest of the day because they have a hardest deadline – the ceremony. Marissa and I have a timeline that we put together so things go smoothly.
I have a second photographer working with me today, the one and only Susan Stefko. Susan takes care of the guys' photos while I stick with the ladies. Today’s wedding is all in one spot so I also photograph the reception details before the ceremony as well. There are gold dinosaurs incorporated in their decor! I’m in love!
3:30 p.m. – Time for the ceremony.
This is the most important part of the day (and the reason we’re all here in the first place!). This is also the part where I try to be the most invisible. I want the guests focused on what’s happening up front, not on what I’m doing. This is where a second photographer comes in handy; now Susan and I can document both Marissa and Matt’s facial expressions without having to move around a lot.
4 p.m. – First kiss and ceremony exit (my favorite part of the wedding day)
Now that is a first kiss!! Well done, Matt and Marissa! The ceremony exit is my all time favorite part of a wedding day. There’s so much joy in this moment!
4:15 p.m. – Family photos (nobody's favorite part of the wedding day)
Family photos are often the most stressful part of the day. We planned for this though; Marissa and I already know the list of family photos I’m going to take. We move through them quickly and everyone is happy.
4:35 p.m. – Wedding party photos
We already took the individual photos of the guys and girls so we’re just doing big group photos now. This is the part of the day where I tell my best jokes to make everyone laugh. Just kidding; I make the best man do that. 🙂
4:45 p.m. – Bride and groom photos
This is the time I’ve waited for all day. These are the photos I love and the reason I do this job. My goal is to be calm and to help them relax – the last few hours were a whirlwind of emotions. Sometimes that means I tell them how beautiful they look and other times that means I wrangle balloons and make sure there are no bugs in the veil. I do whatever it takes to help them relax and enjoy the moment. This is one of the only times they will be alone together on their wedding day and I want them to savor it.
5:15 p.m. – Reception begins.
From here on out, I’m documenting events as they happen. The entrance, first dance, and toasts are up first, followed by dinner. This is when I start drinking Sprite. I will drink at least four glasses of Sprite over the next couple hours. I don’t drink pop except for on wedding days and I only drink Sprite because it is caffeine free. I can’t have caffeine after 4 p.m. or I’ll never sleep.
Susan and I eat dinner on the deck outside the barn. We eat while everyone else is eating because, let’s be honest, nobody want’s their picture taken while they are eating. The staff at The White Barn is so nice to their vendors; they serve us what the guests are eating and even give us silverware! You guys, I cannot even tell you how hard it is to find a fork sometimes.
7 p.m. – Dancing starts.
Father/Daughter and Mother/Son dances are up next and then it’s time to party. The dance floor is full all night. This wedding party knows how to have a good time.
At some point, I put down my camera to go get a Sprite and the father of the bride pulls me onto the dance floor. Oh no, what is happening? This is not part of my job description!! Awkward. Susan, HELP! She laughs and takes a photo of me looking nervous; thanks Susan.
Note to self: never put down your camera, even for Sprite.
8:15 p.m. – Sunset photos
I’ve been watching the light for the last hour and it’s go time. I grab Marissa and Matt for a few photos in the rowboat on the pond. We move quickly because the light is fading and I don’t want to keep them away from their guests. This when I do a lot of running around the pond and laying in the grass.
When we’re done, it is time to help them get out of the boat. If you are wondering, this is what I look like trying to pull a rowboat with two people in it onto shore. 🙂
Luckily, this strong man came to help us. Thank you, strong man, whoever you are!
9 p.m. – Time to head home.
One more selfie with the bride and she gives me a big hug as I’m saying goodbye. Happy bride = happy photographer. I think I’m getting better at these selfie things, maybe…
Lastly, it’s time to say goodbye to my second photographer. Susan knows how to take a good selfie; winning!
10:20 p.m. – Download. Shower. Couch.
When I get home from the wedding, the first thing I do is to start downloading the images. Then, I shower and lay on the couch with Flash.
As you can see, Flash is way better at falling asleep than I am. Even though I’m exhausted, I never fall asleep quickly on wedding days. My brain is still going a mile a minute from all the events of the day, or maybe from all that Sprite I drank.
It was a crazy, fast, and fun day. I can’t wait to do it all again!
Ok, I'm just going to go ahead and say what I know everyone is thinking…does Cara have the world's cutest dog or what?! But in case you hadn't already noticed, Cara is pretty awesome herself. I mean who else is going to pull their clients out of a row boat on their wedding day…while wearing a dress herself?! Talk about dedication!
A big thanks to Cara for letting us follow her around for the day! Girl, you deserve all those Sprites!
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