A surprise wedding
I met Gisèle by chance over a year ago, when she contacted us to conduct an interview regarding our coffee roastery. She heard our story and wrote the very first ever article written about our shop. Many months later, she contacted me again; but this time asking me to photograph her 30th birthday.
I was excited that she, as journalist who knows many photographers and artists in the area, would reach out to me out of all people. We had a quick exchange of e-mails and I marked the date on the calendar. What Gisèle didn't know however, was that I got an "oops" e-mail from her future husband a couple of months later. Subject of the e-mail read: The wedding of Gisèle and Rafael.
My first reaction was WHAT?! (don't worry, the bride did come clean with me later on). The fact was: a handful of people knew the real intention of this "30th birthday" party, but most guests were clueless about what would happen. Rafael asked me "in secret" to take photos of their two lovely cats Lily & Whisky. Since they couldn't attend the wedding, because well, they are cats. He would place two frames with each photo, to surprise his bride at the ceremony with their portraits.
When the day came and I walked into the Löwenhof, it was evident that they had succeeded. Topic of the party: festival. The atmosphere felt cheery, the champagne was flowing. The whole terrace was filled with the aroma of the flowers and small details like cactuses, geometric gold pieces, boho rugs and even a small smokers corner. The guests slowly walked in with their funky outfits, the groom receiving them one by one.
I felt like between the bartenders, the DJ and us, there was this small little secret that had us all on the edge. A curtain covered the gate leading to the garden—and we knew what was behind it.
The groom drove into the garden with the loud roar of his Harley-motorcycle and the curtain dropped. Behind him, a circular set up for the ceremony in the middle of the garden. It was announced to the guests; they had been indeed tricked and the reason why they were there became clear: it was a wedding. Some people cried, some people laughed, someone yelled "I knew it!", I know I had to hold back my tears too. There was a binding feel that made everyone recognize each other: this is the crowd they chose to be there for the moment they said "Yes". These are the friends that get to witness this promise. And with the back-drop of this garden, we had been transported to an Italian villa.
Soon musician Shem Thomas started singing and playing his guitar, with an undeniably powerful voice that made everyone hold their breath. Every second more intense than the last. Gisèle asked me exclusively not to be a part of her getting ready, so my heart literally skipped a beat when I saw her. Here comes the bride: with vibrant purple rainbow hair, a crown of flowers, romantic lace gown and badass purple lipstick—I mean, need I say more?
After their beautiful exchange of vows, I had to pinch myself. I had a moment. Here I was, in this little town Rheineck, where people usually hear about and say "what, where?". Kind of drive-by type of town, but the place I had been growing my roots for the past four years. Yes right here, less than a 5 minute walk away from my apartment, I got to photograph a beautiful intimate bohemian wedding. Doesn't sound like a lot, but it felt contradicting and yet fulfilling. Most importantly, I was in possession of these beautiful memories and I couldn't wait to get home and start editing!
I texted the couple the next day with a couple of pictures, and got immediately an excited reply. But this one in particular filled me with so much joy and reminded me why I am doing this:
"Oh Raquel, everyone is so in love with your pictures. I rarely feel beautiful in my life but what you made is just breathtaking. Thank you so much".
You have no idea of how much something like this means to me and how it makes me feel! It went straight into my heart and charged me with new inspiration for the coming weeks. It also made me think, ALL brides look beautiful on their wedding day, am I right?! There is no comparable feeling to sharing photos with the newlyweds and having a reply like that.
Thank you Gisèle, Rafael, for trusting me to be a part of your intimate festival wedding. It was zauberhaft!
Here's some worth checking links:
And of course, the article the bride wrote herself about the wedding:http://rockette.space/where-words-fail-music-speaks-a-rockette-said-yes/