Well, we are back from our trip to Jackson, MS. We were down there for the wedding of our friends Shaun and Mary Frances. It was a beautiful ceremony and reception, and we got some great pictures, despite a few roadblocks.

The trip down was fairly uneventful. We stayed with Summer’s parents Thursday night to get a head start on Friday morning. We managed to get all the way to Memphis by lunch time, and had some great BBQ in a hole-in-the-wall place in South Haven, MS. We managed to get to Jackson early enough to rest in the hotel for a bit. I discovered that though I had set two sets of dress clothes out, neither made its way into my bag. We went to the local Wal-Mart to get some replacements, then it was off to the rehearsal.

The rehearsal introduced us to our big roadblock. I was in the middle of setting up our big studio flash when the wedding director came up an informed us that we were not allowed to be in the sanctuary. Having done a few Catholic weddings, we were familiar with the restrictions on not being on the stage, so I figured she just meant that. After trying to clear the matter up, she literally meant we could not be in the entire auditorium, save for a balcony in the very back where they kept their A/V equipment.

I had read QBQ earlier in the day in the car, and experienced my first good question. The incorrect questions that were so tempting to ask flew into my mind: “Why are we being set up for failure?” “Why such a silly rule?”,etc. But, I realized that the right question really was “Ok, what can we do to succeed, given these restrictions?” Instead of moping, whining, and complaining, the right thing to do was to just practice using our best low-light settings and gear.

Thankfully, come the wedding day, everything worked out great. There was enough sunlight coming in that we were able to shoot at a max of ISO 1600 (our cameras can go higher – 6400 – but it looks horrible), and were even able to shoot a little higher than the widest aperture of 2.8 on our lenses (though 2.8 lets more light in, those types of lenses usually produce better images 1 stop below that, in this case f/4). Summer was able to sit in the audience as a guest (which technically we were – this was a pro-bono wedding for us) and got some great pictures, and I was able to hang out in the foyer and get some good close-ups until everyone had walked down the isle, and afterwards was able to get some good zoomed in shots from the balcony. Everything worked out great, it was just a little upsetting to have to learn of this restriction the night before the wedding (this is why we always go to rehearsals).

Sunday we packed up and headed home. We stopped to worship in a little town between Jackson and Memphis, and though it is always good to visit little congregations, it reminded us once again why we are so glad to be a part of Eastside. When we got back in the car, we realized that I had left our pillows, including Summer’s nice body-contouring pregnancy pillow, at the hotel, a whole 90 miles South. So, we went all the way back, grabbed the pillows, and proceeded to try to eat at Chick-fil-a, only to make the second dumb mistake of the day of forgetting that they were closed on Sundays.

We finally made it North, though we had to make a quick stop in South Haven, where I had discovered there was a Shipley Do-Nuts (a mostly Houston, TX chain) – we had to stop and get a half dozen. We finally made it back to the Fleeners around 10, and got up this morning around 5 so I could get to work on time.

It was a crazy, fast weekend, but it was fun, and we are so glad we were able to be part of Shaun and Mary Frances’ special day.