Okay…. it's been almost a month since we shot Matthew and Rachel's wedding at Powell Gardens on October 24, 2010.
It's probably good that I've waited to write about it… otherwise I'd be gushing all over this website over how cool it was.
Being former military myself, there is a certain nostalgia in shooting military weddings. … and knowing what it means to be military. Being military means writing your country a "blank check" of service - up to and including your life. As I write this, Rachel and Matthew are already in Okinawa, Japan. Military life means being transferred and constantly relocated. Just when you get to know people and feel like you're "settled in"… you are off to your next duty station. I personally was transferred 10 times in 6 years.
The one thing married military couples must rely on…. is each other.
Military personal deserve more than an average wedding, and this was no exception. It was very moving and passionate. The chapel at Powell Gardens - designed by the world-renowned architect Fay Jones - was a perfect place to shoot their wedding.
The weather was perfect. As you can see from the highlight video, the clouds earlier in the day acted like they were going to bring in rain… but it cleared up and it became perfect wedding conditions.
Rachel and Matthew were so happy that you could almost see them glowing. They were glued to each other the entire night.
It was my first "night shoot" at Powell Gardens. We arrived early to make sure that we could get some footage of the Gardens during the daylight hours. It would have been a real shame to not have such beautiful shots in their video. Once the sun went down… it was virtually black behind Matthew, Rachel, and the officiant during the exchanging of vows. Initially, I thought not having the lake behind was a loss… but it actually turned out to be PERFECT. There was nothing to distract anyone from what was happening. You couldn't help but look at them and listen to the officiant Rev. Howard Johnson give his eloquent message.
I'll admit, I'm actually having trouble editing their video. ALL of it is epic and fascinating. I have to cut it down to fit on a DVD, but once I start watching the footage, I can't find anything that is obvious to cut. They are so happy together that it's infectious. I sit, watch, smile, and begin to laugh. I love the streamers when they attempt to enter the reception hall. It formed a net that Spiderman would have been envious of. Even the photographer was trapped in it…. so the video is the only real footage of it.
So… some weddings I will watch again just because it was so enjoyable to shoot. This will be in my top 5… not because it was shot at the epic Powell Gardens… but because they were so "into each other". You can't help but be happy watching it.
Rachel was gorgeous. If she was local, I'd pay her for a model shoot in her dress. However, the real surprise to me was Matthew and his fellow Marine officers. They were complete gentlemen and shining examples of what men should be. In all the weddings I've shot, I've never seen men walk women to their cars during the reception. Usually, the men are so occupied with the party that they can't be pulled away from it. At this wedding, the officers were looking for an opportunity to help and do the right thing. It was obvious that these were not college kids - they were men. They are war torn adults that are mature beyond their years.
If any of my 4 daughters decided to marry a Marine officer, I'd be a happy man.
The staff at Powell gardens, as usual, was fantastic. The trolley was down for maintenance, so they immediately gave the couple a refund. It's been said that good service is not the delivery of the product… but how things are handled when something goes wrong. They handled it perfectly.
The food was VERY good. I know that the main concern is the guests and how they feel about the food. But we videographers have a different perspective: We are on our feet the entire wedding and reception - carrying pounds of equipment ( I wear a Steadicam, which essential is a "meat-based" support system ). By the time we make it to the reception - we are VERY hungry. Good food is such a blessing and we really appreciate it. (Chocolate fountains are a big plus for us because dipping fruit into chocolate gives us energy to shoot! Love them! )
Just a side note: They had a really cool and unique wedding cake!
God speed Matthew and Rachel. We don't know you that well, but if you ever make it back to Olathe, we'd love to take you guys out to lunch. Call it… "military appreciation". :-)
Now… the technical notes about this shoot:
1. The interior of the Powell gardens chapel is very orange at night because of the lighting. The main pulpit area has white lights, but the aisle has orange lights. That lighting combination makes for some interesting white balance issues. Opted to white balance for the pulpit area since that is where the main action was happening, but that meant the aisle is all "orange lit". Lots of color correction in post production. Easily corrected… but it is time consuming.
2. The Brides dressing room has pink walls. … which also created strange color. Once again… easily corrected in post production.
3. If the wind is blowing at Powell gardens, dirt and dust is in the air and will get on the lens and into any exposed camera mechanisms. Sealed cameras are a must out there. Changing a lens right when the wind picks up could be a BAD situation for your camera sensor. Long life batteries and longer tapes are ideal…. as the chapel is solitary and there are only a couple outlets.
4. The chapel is gorgeous, but it's also a bit small and on the "narrow" side. It's hard for a front cameraman to hide.
These are nit-picky issues. I would highly recommend Powell Gardens for a wedding to anyone with an expected guest list less than 120 people. Their website is: