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Schumin-Lysy Wedding

Part 1 – Part 2

Part 1

On January 16, 2010, Ann Schumin, my sister, married Chris Lysy in a noontime ceremony at Finley Memorial Presbyterian Church in Stuarts Draft, Virginia.  The Reverend Don LaRue presided.  This was followed by a reception in Staunton at the Stonewall Jackson Hotel.  I was enlisted as the photographer about a year and some ahead of time.  All of our friends and relatives came to the wedding, as did all of Chris’s friends and relatives.

I arrived in town from DC on January 14.  The next day began the official activities.  The first event was the wedding rehearsal at the church, followed by the rehearsal dinner at the American Café in Staunton.

You know, before this, I had only been to one wedding in the past, and then, I was just one of the guests.  I had no idea exactly how choreographed these kinds of things are until I was right in it all as the photographer.  Just about everything was done with the goal of getting good shots for the wedding album.  That made for more stress on me than I already had, but I could handle it.  I have an extensive portfolio of photography in various different settings, which is why I was asked to do the photography in the first place.  But still, I’d never done a wedding before.  So this would be a new experience.

Before we left the house, my parents also realized they’d made an oversight about what they had told me to wear.  We spent much effort deciding how everyone wanted me to look on the day of the wedding, and Mom and I made a day out of shopping for it all.  But no one told me how to dress for the wedding rehearsal.  So when I packed on Thursday, I planned to dress comfortably.  Jeans, a long-sleeved henley shirt, and my Chucks.  This was by no means sloppy, but definitely more casual than what my parents were wearing.  Dad indicated that they wanted me to dress a little nicer, but it was kind of too late by then, as all my really dressy clothes, other than what I was going to wear for the wedding, were back in Silver Spring.  No one told me that I was supposed to dress up, and so I didn’t plan for it, and didn’t dress up.  At this point, it was kind of, “Oh, well.”

The wedding rehearsal got going at 4:00.  Everyone arrived at the church, and we got going.


Finley Memorial's sanctuary, with the groom's side of the wedding party kind of hanging out.

Finley Memorial’s sanctuary, with the groom’s side of the wedding party kind of hanging out.


Sis poses with Sarah, her bridesmaid.

Sis poses with Sarah, her bridesmaid.


I was going to use the wedding rehearsal to figure out how I was going to get all of my shots come the next day.  Meanwhile, Sis put all her experience stage-managing at Virginia Tech to good use.  She got everyone lined up and in place, and really had this whole thing together.  I was impressed.

So we got the wedding party all lined up, and got things moving.  Mom determined that she did want to be escorted to her seat, and one of the groomsmen was quickly assigned to take care of that.

Then the first dry run got going.  Ann Colman, a friend of ours from church, began playing “Air” by Handel and “Trumpet Voluntary” by Jeremiah Clark on the piano (the traditional wedding march was deliberately omitted).  Dan and Helen Lysy (Chris’s parents) walked down the aisle arm in arm to their seat.  Then Mom was escorted to her seat.  Then, the wedding party marched down the aisle.  Then the doors to the narthex were closed, in order to allow Dad and Sis to get into position unseen.  Then the doors opened, and Dad and Sis marched down the aisle.  Dad gave Sis away, and then took his seat.  Sis and Chris then joined Don up on the elevated platform in the front of the sanctuary, where the pulpit normally lives.

In the first run-through, everyone went through the motions and worked out any kinks in the process.  I tried a few different angles for covering the wedding, trying up on the balcony and from the narthex, with the tripod and without the tripod, but generally staying in the back.  After all, this was not only their rehearsal, but mine as well.  I hadn’t been to Finley in more than six years, and so I had to re-acclimate myself to photographing in there.  The last time I’d photographed there was in 2000 on Christmas Eve.  That was about three cameras ago – the original Mavica, a Sony Mavica FD-73.  Back then, I was too inexperienced to realize just how much of a cave Finley’s sanctuary is when it comes to photography.  Seriously, the lighting in there is not the world’s greatest, lit mostly by mostly incandescent lights, with natural light coming in through mostly green-colored stained glass windows.  It’s not conducive to great photography, that’s for sure.  And as such, it was causing some weirdness with my camera, and I was trying my best to rectify it.


David (Man of Honor) and Sarah stand at the front of the church.

David (Man of Honor) and Sarah stand at the front of the church.


Sharon stands at the mic, about to practice the scriptural reading.

Sharon stands at the mic, about to practice the scriptural reading.


Practicing giving the rings.

Practicing giving the rings.


After the first go-through, everyone discussed how things went.  Then we went through it a second time, and I attempted to refine what I did, but again stuck mostly to the back of the sanctuary.


David and Sarah wait in the narthex. I don't quite know what David's doing with his jacket...

David and Sarah wait in the narthex.  I don’t quite know what David’s doing with his jacket…


Dad walks Sis up the aisle in the second go-round.

Dad walks Sis up the aisle in the second go-round.


Sharon is all smiles following the completion of the second go-round.

Sharon is all smiles following the completion of the second go-round.


My parents strike this American Gothic-style pose. It wasn't their intention to look that way - it just worked out like that.

My parents strike this American Gothic-style pose.  It wasn’t their intention to look that way – it just worked out like that.


Following the second go-round, it was off to Staunton for the rehearsal dinner.  We parked in the New Street parking garage, and headed over to the American Cafe.  There, we met all of our relatives, as Uncle Johnny (fresh from a trip overseas) and Aunt Beth, and Uncle Bruce and Aunt Mary joined us for the rehearsal dinner.  Chris’s family also joined us, and the rehearsal dinner began.

The restaurant was absolutely gorgeous.  The wedding party’s table had a beautiful centerpiece on it, with a large photo of Sis and Chris next to it.

My seating placement put me at the end of the wedding party’s table.  I was in the perfect spot as the photographer – back in the corner, where I could see everything.  David was seated next to me, and Sharon and her friend Tiffany were seated across from me.


The photo of the bride and groom, taken during their college years.

The photo of the bride and groom, taken during their college years.


The wedding party's table at the restaurant.

The wedding party’s table at the restaurant.


One of the servers places little cups of salad dressing on the table.

One of the servers places little cups of salad dressing on the table.


The wedding party is all smiles at the beginning of the rehearsal dinner.

The wedding party is all smiles at the beginning of the rehearsal dinner.


One of Chris's relatives talks with Sis and Chris.

One of Chris’s relatives talks with Sis and Chris.


David poses for the camera, while Sis looks on.

David poses for the camera, while Sis looks on.


Chris poses for a photo with Brent, his best man.

Chris poses for a photo with Brent, his best man.


Mom and Uncle Johnny smile for the camera.

Mom and Uncle Johnny smile for the camera.


Dad and Uncle Bruce do likewise.

Dad and Uncle Bruce do likewise.


Sharon and her friend Tiffany smile for the camera.

Sharon and her friend Tiffany smile for the camera.


Dan Lysy (Chris's father) has a sip of wine after giving the toast.

Dan Lysy (Chris’s father) has a sip of wine after giving the toast.


After the toast, dinner was served. First, the wedding party went through...  After the toast, dinner was served. First, the wedding party went through...

After the toast, dinner was served.  First, the wedding party went through…

After the toast, dinner was served. First, the wedding party went through...  After the toast, dinner was served. First, the wedding party went through...


While the wedding party got their food, the families chatted at their respective tables.

While the wedding party got their food, the families chatted at their respective tables.

While the wedding party got their food, the families chatted at their respective tables.


After the wedding party went through, the family of the bride went through the serving line, as Uncle Bruce and Aunt Mary (top right), Mom and Aunt Beth (top right), and Dad and Uncle Johnny (bottom) got their dinner.  After the wedding party went through, the family of the bride went through the serving line, as Uncle Bruce and Aunt Mary (top right), Mom and Aunt Beth (top right), and Dad and Uncle Johnny (bottom) got their dinner.

After the wedding party went through, the family of the bride went through the serving line, as Uncle Bruce and Aunt Mary (top right), Mom and Aunt Beth (top right), and Dad and Uncle Johnny (bottom) got their dinner.

After the wedding party went through, the family of the bride went through the serving line, as Uncle Bruce and Aunt Mary (top right), Mom and Aunt Beth (top right), and Dad and Uncle Johnny (bottom) got their dinner.


Then the family of the groom went through.  Then the family of the groom went through.

Then the family of the groom went through.


Meat.  Meat.

Meat.


The wine was flowing pretty freely the whole time, and a number of people decided to partake.  I had a job to do, plus I drove myself.  Not being able to drive home would be a Bad Thing.

Meanwhile, I found out what David’s like when he drinks.  After David had a few glasses of wine, he was still very much his usual bubbly David self, but with the volume turned up several notches.  Have mercy on my ear.  Mom commented later that she couldn’t hear the conversation at her own table across the room on account of David.  My reaction was, “Think about how I felt!  I was next to him!”  But let’s admit – David was having a good time, so I can’t fault him too much.  And I got all the hearing back in that ear.


Meanwhile, the wedding party just chatted it up, as did the families.

Meanwhile, the wedding party just chatted it up, as did the families.

Meanwhile, the wedding party just chatted it up, as did the families.

Meanwhile, the wedding party just chatted it up, as did the families.

Meanwhile, the wedding party just chatted it up, as did the families.

Meanwhile, the wedding party just chatted it up, as did the families.


Overview of the rehearsal dinner. By the looks of it, David (in the top photo, at the bottom) is having a great time.

Overview of the rehearsal dinner.  By the looks of it, David (in the top photo, at the bottom) is having a great time.

Overview of the rehearsal dinner. By the looks of it, David (in the top photo, at the bottom) is having a great time.


Sis is all smiles at the rehearsal dinner.

Sis is all smiles at the rehearsal dinner.


After the rehearsal dinner, everyone headed back over to the Stonewall Jackson Hotel.  Everyone who was in from out of town was staying there, and the wedding party had to set some things up in the ballroom for the reception the following day.


David and Brittany show off the Cinderella-style candles that all the guests would receive at the reception.  David and Brittany show off the Cinderella-style candles that all the guests would receive at the reception.

David and Brittany show off the Cinderella-style candles that all the guests would receive at the reception.


Uncle Johnny gives the peace sign for the camera before retiring for the night.

Uncle Johnny gives the peace sign for the camera before retiring for the night.


Dad and Sis fix a problem with the iPod speakers.

Dad and Sis fix a problem with the iPod speakers.


Sis gets the guest log all ready to go.

Sis gets the guest log all ready to go.


Ummm...?

Ummm…?


Sis shows off her band-aid after she accidentally cut her finger.

Sis shows off her band-aid after she accidentally cut her finger.


Sis and Chris high-five each other after the reception prep work is done.

Sis and Chris high-five each other after the reception prep work is done.


Chris checks in with his family before everyone retires for the night.

Chris checks in with his family before everyone retires for the night.


The happy couple shares a goodnight kiss before retiring for the night. This would be the last they would see of each other before the ceremony.

The happy couple shares a goodnight kiss before retiring for the night.  This would be the last they would see of each other before the ceremony.


And then, with the ballroom set and everything in place for the big day, the wedding party went up the elevator, everyone’s relatives retired to their hotel rooms, and my parents and I headed back to Stuarts Draft.


On the big day, I was up and at ’em early.  Dad was already at the church, as was Sis.  I got dressed in the outfit that Mom and I had so painstakingly picked out, and I had my Metrobus tie ready to go.  I so rarely wear ties that I still don’t know how to tie one of those things (and am not above cheating, but this was a real tie), so I would get Dad to help me out on that once I got to the church.

After I was all suited up and looking my best, I headed off to the church.  Mom would be around a little later.  Arriving, I quickly found Dad, Sis, and the Lysys, and then got my tie done.  The tie was my own bit of personality in the outfit, showing off my transit-buff status.  The bridal party had taken up station in the basement, while the Lysys were in the sanctuary.  Mom soon arrived with the wedding dress, and we were ready to get things going.

Before arriving at the church, Sis had gotten her hair done (her “hurr did” as she put it), and so she was already halfway there on the wedding appearance.  Then once Mom arrived, we got the dress going.  One of the discussions about the dress was in creating “back cleavage” when it was time to lace it up.  Sis was like, “Back fat!”  In other words, we had it covered.


The sanctuary on the morning of the wedding.

The sanctuary on the morning of the wedding.


Sis with her "hurr did".

Sis with her “hurr did”.


The wedding dress, in its bag, which we commented looked like a body bag.

The wedding dress, in its bag, which we commented looked like a body bag.


Sis pulls the wedding dress out of its bag.

Sis pulls the wedding dress out of its bag.


The wedding dress is out, and ready to go.

The wedding dress is out, and ready to go.


Mom shows David how to put the long train up after the ceremony.

Mom shows David how to put the long train up after the ceremony.


David gets his tux ready to go.  David gets his tux ready to go.

David gets his tux ready to go.


We were a bit early, and had a little time to kill, so everyone sat on the couches for a bit.

We were a bit early, and had a little time to kill, so everyone sat on the couches for a bit.

We were a bit early, and had a little time to kill, so everyone sat on the couches for a bit.


Surprise! Mom didn't realize until now that Sis had a flower on the mural in the basement dating from 2003.

Surprise!  Mom didn’t realize until now that Sis had a flower on the mural in the basement dating from 2003.


Laura, the church secretary, arrived, and she and Mom helped Sis into her dress.

Laura, the church secretary, arrived, and she and Mom helped Sis into her dress.


Sis makes a face as she's laced into the dress.

Sis makes a face as she’s laced into the dress.


Sarah helps put the garter on.

Sarah helps put the garter on.


All set! Looks like someone's ready to get married...

All set!  Looks like someone’s ready to get married…


With Sis ready to go, it was photo time!  Laura, the church secretary, helped out with the posing, and she did an awesome job.  By the way, this was one of the downsides to being the photographer – since I was behind the camera, I ended up being in very few photos…


This was Laura's idea, getting Sis to write "I ♥ Chris" on the chalkboard. Then I suggested the "by Ann Age 25" after a photo that we saw on Facebook.  This was Laura's idea, getting Sis to write "I ♥ Chris" on the chalkboard. Then I suggested the "by Ann Age 25" after a photo that we saw on Facebook.

This was Laura’s idea, getting Sis to write “I ♥ Chris” on the chalkboard.  Then I suggested the “by Ann Age 25” after a photo that we saw on Facebook.


Bride, bridal party, and parents...  Bride, bridal party, and parents...  Bride, bridal party, and parents...

Bride, bridal party, and parents…

Bride, bridal party, and parents...  Bride, bridal party, and parents...


I don't know quite what this was about...

I don’t know quite what this was about…


After we finished taking photos of Sis, Laura and I headed up to the sanctuary, where we got photos of Chris, and the rest of the groom’s party.


The groom, the groom's party, and family...  The groom, the groom's party, and family...  The groom, the groom's party, and family...

The groom, the groom’s party, and family…

The groom, the groom's party, and family...  The groom, the groom's party, and family...  The groom, the groom's party, and family...

The groom, the groom's party, and family...


One of the poses on the list Sis gave me was "Groom shaking hands with his best man while looking at his watch (WTF)". No one, and I mean no one, understood what the significance of that shot was. But we were determined to do it, and we did, though Chris and Brent didn't take the shot too seriously. We shot a version with a pocket watch, and then a more modern version with a cell phone.  One of the poses on the list Sis gave me was "Groom shaking hands with his best man while looking at his watch (WTF)". No one, and I mean no one, understood what the significance of that shot was. But we were determined to do it, and we did, though Chris and Brent didn't take the shot too seriously. We shot a version with a pocket watch, and then a more modern version with a cell phone.

One of the poses on the list Sis gave me was “Groom shaking hands with his best man while looking at his watch (WTF)”.  No one, and I mean no one, understood what the significance of that shot was.  But we were determined to do it, and we did, though Chris and Brent didn’t take the shot too seriously.  We shot a version with a pocket watch, and then a more modern version with a cell phone.

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Part 1 – Part 2

Part 1