There was a time when one considered a wedding day as an ending, more than a beginning.
I’m sure many young people today would see this view as pessimistic or old fashioned, but I’d see it as realistic.
When I wed my dear June, in the summer of ’68 my Mum (who was reaching a grand old age at the time) reminded me that this would be the last woman I would truly love.
To a modern audience, this might seem like a rather blunt and unnecessary thing to say on a wedding day of all things, but she was right. I did not blindly follow my Mother’s beliefs and values, I grew up as a rebellious teenager through the swinging 60s and enjoyed the kind of youth that she could only have dreamed of. I think when she spoke this in my ear, whilst we danced slowly to ‘Moonlight Sonata’ surrounded by our family and friends, she meant it in the kindest way possible.
That song will forever remind me of that moment; of the sweet smelling perfume (I forget what it was called now) my Mother always wore on special occasions, the soft yellow lights reflecting off the parquet floor, the glance of adoration spied in my June’s eye as she passed by dancing with her Father.
My Mother was right.
After June passed away in ’73, I often ruminated on the words she had said. She had not said that I would never love again, but that I would never truly love again.
On that day, and perhaps the months before, she had witnessed the connection between June and I. Something that maybe only the older generation can notice, a skill gifted to those who have been vigilant the longest.
I may well have loved women after that, but none with the same fervency that I afforded my June. Perhaps that’s why I chose to become a wedding photographer; to find that look of love (if it is even there) and capture it, so that these young couples can cherish the true finality of the most important day of their lives.