Super friendly, totally down to earth and really nice… That’s the answer to the first question everyone asks when it’s mentioned I met Jinger Duggar, her mom, her now mother in law and several of her sisters, “what were they like!?!” I guess that’s kinda normal right? Kinda…
When I heard Jinger Duggar was coming to Fredericksburg and visiting Ava Laurenne Bride and that I was going to be there to take behind the scenes photos of her wedding dress shopping experience I was admittedly excited. I am by no means a “Duggar fan boy” but I have seen both iterations of their show and have always found them to be interesting, unique and well, pretty cool. How can you not be in awe of a family that has 19 Kids and Counting!?! My first thought is always, what do you mean, “and counting???” I have four boys and for me personally, I’m all set! Having 19 kids with the potential for more is mind boggling to me so an opportunity to meet them sounded incredible. The fact that Jinger was engaged and was going to be selecting her wedding dress while in town was an added bonus considering I happen to be a wedding photographer and all… (no, I did not photograph their wedding L).
When I arrived at Ava Laurenne Bride in Old Town Fredericksburg the energy was palatable. Everyone was super excited and as expected, a little nervous. I’ve had my fair share of celebrity encounters including high fiving Dave Chappelle, watching Manny Ramirez (at a Cheesecake Factory no less) and a few of his friends acting childishly silly and even talking trash about English Premier League football (soccer to most in the US) with Black Crows front man, Chris Robinson. But this celebrity encounter was something different. This was me being invited to be a part of a special moment in Jinger’s life. After she said, “yes” this was likely going to be the most significant event leading up to her I do’s with Jeremy. This was a very special moment for her and her family and I was truly honored to be there capturing some it for her. As you can see in the images there were video camera’s everywhere but still images are different and can be even more personal than video. Especially since Jinger herself is a photographer and like me, a Canon shooter. Yes, we did indeed have a chat about gear. #canonrocks
When Jinger and her family arrived everyone met each other in the hallway leading to Ava Laurenne Bride. Jinger was accompanied by her mom, Jeremy’s mom and several of her sisters. As I hid behind my camera I watched and photographed the interactions. They were all incredibly sweet, spent a good amount of time meeting everyone individually and were present for the interactions. They spoke courteously, looked everyone in the eye when speaking to them, and gave each person their full attention. I had a good few minutes to take it all in and I was struck by how respectfully they treated everyone. I didn’t notice any “air of celebrity” about them at all, they were truly humble people and it was refreshing to see first hand.
Jinger was there to try on dresses designed by Renee of Renee’s Bridal in Pensacola, Florida. Jinger and Renee had been in touch exchanging design ideas and there were three samples that were made for her. Jinger’s wedding dress would eventually be one of them. Her experience was made even more special as she was given Ava Laurenne Bride’s Princess Treatment, which included getting her nails done by local Salon, Holy Chic and an incredible opera performance by Gabe and Wendy, owners of Ava Laurenne Bride.
My perspective on the event was pretty unique. There were cameras and crew members everywhere. We had to constantly be aware of where we stood and make sure we weren’t in their shots. This was difficult because mirrors are everywhere in the shoppe! As the day went on I became a little better at anticipating the movement of the crew and began to move around more myself. Many of the photos I took were from behind a pillar, a stairwell and almost always a crew member but there were a handful of moments I was able to capture an unobstructed image. Unfortunately I didn’t have the opportunity to direct her like I would for a portrait during a wedding or engagement session though. It was all spontaneous reaction kind of stuff much like a wedding reception or the other wedding day moments when I’m just a fly on the wall taking on a more photo journalistic approach. The film crew would break for a second and I would leap out in front of someone or around something trying to capture a candid moment between Jinger and her family. A smile, laugh a tear drop… Anything that would help tell the story of the experience.
My favorite photos from the day is one I shot through the stairwell. Jinger had just chosen her dress and the expression as she saw herself in the mirror was priceless, pure joy. This isn’t a moment I’m typically there to photograph for a bride so it was awesome to see the reaction of her and everyone there. As they gave her hugs and gushed over the gorgeous dress Renee designed for her, Jinger’s excitement energized the room even more. She was then given a beautiful bouquet, designed by Good Earth Flowers making the moment even more real and the anticipation of her upcoming wedding even more of a reality.
Special thanks to the following vendors for putting together such an incredible day for Jinger and her family!
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