meredith :: bridal session in columbia & aiken, sc

This session is pretty special to me for many reasons.

For one, Meredith is one of my bestest friends from college. It’s both exciting and nerve racking when your best friend asks you to shoot their bridal portraits because it adds pressure to make them over-the-top amazing and for her to feel beautiful. I’m also very honored to be trusted with this task – it truly does warm the heart when someone appreciates my work and wants you to be a part of something so wonderful.

Her love story is a good one: it’s the epitome of the saying, “Love will always find a way.” See, she’s marrying her high school sweetheart, Christopher, after 7 years of going their separate ways, seeing other people, living the college life – basically God worked his blessings like He always does, and put these two back into each other’s lives randomly and the sparks flew.

Awesome, right?!

Another reason these images mean so much is because of who Meredith is as a person and what she symbolizes to people all over the world. Meredith is a walking, talking, breathing figment of hope, inspiration, and blessing. She’s touched so many lives with her personal story and continues to inspire everyone [including me] with her outlook on life despite the obstacles she’s faced.

Meredith is currently living with a rare form of cancer called Ocular Melanoma. It started in her eye, but what makes it so rare and hard to treat and cure is that it’s spread throughout her body and manifesting in other organs. The source is extremely difficult to find, so she’s left to just treat it until it is found. This past summer, she went through an experimental treatment in Tampa, FL that left her body so weak and on the verge of shutting down, but she fought  through it and recovered with flying colors. Through that process, she ended up losing her hair, which definitely put a toll on her mentally and emotionally. She felt as if her long brown locks identified  her femininity, and that she was losing a part of herself with it being gone. With me being curious and long distance, I asked her if she felt comfortable sending me a picture of her new hairstyle which she replied that she wasn’t ready. Since then as it has grown out from a little peach fuzz to a buzz cut, she’s become more comfortable with everything and has embraced her new look. She rarely wears her wigs and feels more free without them. She did purchase a wedding wig for the big day which we have affectionately named “Claudette”, but I asked her if we could photograph some images without it on. With a big smile, she responded, “Yes, I’m ready.”

Meredith feels beautiful again. You can tell it in all of these images. That’s why this session with her and these images mean so much to me: because I got to see Meredith be Meredith – the confident, smiling, proud woman that I’ve always known her as.

I failed to mention that she’s kinda a big deal for USCA Lady Pacer Basketball. It only made sense get some pictures with her “first love”:)

20 was Christopher’s basketball number in high school:)

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