(Photography by the incredible Kelsi Kliethermes Photography)
There is something I find very sweet about being part of photoshoot. For those of you who are not sure what that is, in essences it is a group of wedding vendors that gather together to creatively shoot a faux dream wedding with the latest trends in hopes of getting published. What I love about the shoots are that we get to collaborate with some of the best and after time they become your friends. When we are a part of shoot we are asked to create all of the paper goods, from invitations to menus and placards. I love it! I get to be creative and fully invest in a product I love. The last shoot we were a part of was no different. I was excited, passionate and ready to create. However, life happened and I found myself a bit distraught, unable to work. So I thought I would share a secret about this little shoot and why it holds a dear place in my heart.
The Thursday before the big photoshoot I received a text from my high school best friend that her father had passed away. Normally, we feel sympathy for our fellow friends and extend a heartfelt, “I’m so sorry.” This was different though. This man, her father, was like a dad to me growing up. He always cared, always showed up and was always there. He passed suddenly and there was nothing I could do. I couldn’t even attend the funeral. Our shoot was on Sunday, as was his burial, and I live over 10 hours away. With a newborn, the drive is impossible.
So I let the grief come in doses. From sharing fond memories with my husband to looking over old pictures of this man, my heart just could not believe he was gone. He was so fun to be around and so different than anyone I had ever met. I loved being around my best friend’s family. They are Russian Jewish immigrants and their culture was so welcome and inviting. He had sacrificed a lot to come here, much like my own father. It was never a dull moment in their home. There was singing, dancing, lots of loud talking and plenty of food. You could not walk into that home without being offered a meal and some wine.
In the Jewish culture, after the burial of a loved one there is a period of mourning called Sitting Shiva. This was traditionally done for seven days. Friends and family paying a Shiva visit bring food instead of flowers (since those mourning are not to concern themselves with such matters such as cooking) and reminisce of the memories that their loved one leaves behind.
I recalled paying a Shiva visit at their home years ago when one of my friend’s grandparents passed away. It was right after the funeral. There was an abundance of food, drinks and laughter. It was truly a time of celebrating the life of the loved one.
This time I was too far to attend Shiva. Although, I desperately longed to be there. In the midnight hour (only a few hours from the shoot), I started imagining the great feast that awaits us in heaven when we die. Or that’s the celebration I envision when I think of heaven and being reunited with our loved ones. It was in that moment that I was wanting to recreate that seen through this shoot. It took all night to create, but it was my way of holding Shiva from so far away.
The table number was 7, a symbolic number to represent heaven. The menu listed an extravagant feast fit for kings. Then, each place setting was the name of a dear member of that family as we will one day be reunited. It may sound extremely sappy, but it was closure to my heart. It brought a relief to be able to be there in spirit.
So if your out there reading this Peter, you were truly loved and sadly missed. I’m looking forward to the day we get to feast together with The Bride.
-Your second daughter
A special thank you to all of the vendors involved!Venue: @mightyoaklodge •
Planner: @bhive_events •
Floral: @rivercityflorist •
Dress: @miagracebridal •
Dress designer: @allurebridals •
Stationery: @theinkcafe •