Wow! What better way to start my first blog than to tell you about Dawndy and Craig’s wedding! I feel so blessed to have been their wedding photographer for their October 11, 2008 wedding in Blythewood. Dawndy Mercer, from WIS-TV and I first met back in the mid 1990s as young journalists in Columbia, SC.
At that time, I worked for The State newspaper and we were doing a story on local celebrities and their dogs. The lead photo for our page was a picture I took of Dawndy and her dog Amigo lying in a hammock at her home. When I arrived at her house Saturday, she showed me she still had the photo and entire layout framed and hanging in her bedroom! There’s no better way to compliment a photojournalist than to hold on to a tearsheet for that long! Thanks, Dawndy!
As for Saturday’s wedding, it was beautiful in its simplicity. Dawndy decided to break with tradition by wearing a form-fitting blue and orange floral dress tied with a bright blue sash that was cut from the same swatch as Craig’s tie. While she got ready with the help of her sisters, mom, and a few close friends, Craig was just a hop, skip and a jump across the street getting ready in his own home.
Actually, Craig’s hands were pretty full helping his three children, Chandler, Chase and Camille prepare for the big event. I arrived as Craig was helping Chase with his tie. From the look on Chase’s face and the several comments overheard from assorted relatives, I have more than a sneaking suspicion that coat and tie are not the usual dress code for him.
After getting Chase squared away, Craig helped both his daughters with their matching white dresses and shoes. It was so touching to watch those tender moments of a strong daddy making sure his little girls had everything they needed for the wedding day.
Back at Dawndy’s house, the women formed a prayer circle with Dawndy’s sister Shannon leading the prayer. The sincerity with which she prayed made more than a few tears fall, including Dawndy’s. Luckily, the providential ringing of a Calypso-beat cell phone instantly brought everyone to laughter, with just a few tears left to dry. (There’s a great series of that scene under slideshows at rimphotography.com.)
Family members walked to the wedding site, a quaint park overlooking the golf course at Cobblestone Park, while other guests arrived in golf carts.
Dawndy had the most unique processional I’ve yet to see: she walked out her front door and down her tree-lined street, looking stunning in her floral gown accented by the bouquet of Gerber daisies she carried. What was priceless, though, was the expression on Craig’s face when he saw her for the first time. The look he gave her so encompassed his feelings for her that she responded with a girlish grin as he approached her and they embraced each other before walking down the aisle together.
The most special part of the marriage celebration was the sand ceremony where they made a commitment to their children to unite as a new family.
Chandler, Chase and Camille joined Craig and Dawndy at a linen-covered table where they each poured an individual container of sand into a single new container to represent the blending of their lives. Then they presented each of the children with hand-painted plates with all the family’s names encircling them.
After the service, everyone joined in a celebration dinner at the amenity center at Cobblestone Park. It was great to see all the familiar WIS-TV faces. Of course, I’ve got to give a special shout-out to my fellow Mizzou grads Jack Kuenzie, Jennifer Wilson and Heather Hoops. We all graduated from the awesome University of Missouri School of Journalism…but I won’t tell you who graduated first!
Before I close my first-ever blog entry, I’ve got to give credit to premier wedding planner Robin Cannon who not only has incredible vision but also the ever-important attention to details that makes a wedding come off flawlessly. Marvie Freeman with Ye Olde Flower Shoppe was also a dear, seeing to all the floral details from the fresh herbs tied to the front rows of ceremony chairs to the flowing white ribbons that flapped in the breeze as the convoy of golf carts drove to and from the reception site. And Nick’s Tailoring gets credit for fitting Dawndy’s dress like a glove.
Renee Ittner-McManus of RIM Photography is a South Carolina photojournalist with a passion for wedding photography.