When it comes to weddings, it's safe to say I've been around the block.
I know every venue in the greater (and even greater-than-that) Washington, D.C. metropolitan area, I can recite the "Our Father" despite being Jewish, and I can write a dissertation on the evolution of dance set lists at weddings. ("I Will Survive" used to be at the top of the list, now that honor would be a tie between Journey and Bon Jovi. I won't even name the songs 'cause you already are singing them in your head.)
But there is one thing I still know absolutely nothing about and one that's not likely to change anytime soon: I am not a dress person. Because, it follows, I am a guy, and guys are not dress people. Guys can't even take care of their own clothes (have you ever seen a groomsman try and tie a bow tie??) let alone have time to know anything about wedding dresses. As Pogo once said, "We have met the enemy and he is us."
I don't know any wedding designers other than Vera Wang and I still have a fondness for tulle, even though tulle went out of style in the 50's. At least I think it did. See? I'm not even in the right half-century fashion-wise. Add to that that the fact that I've been wearing the same type of sneakers--Converse All-Stars--since 1975 and it alls up to me being a big fashion zero.
But I'll tell you one thing: even with my comic lack of style, I know when a dress looks great on someone. And Ariel Seeley, who married Steve Kushnir in a beautiful ceremony at the Daughters of the American Revolution headquarters in Washington last month, looked simply fantastic in her dress.
For years and years, the debate in wedding circles has bandied about all of these huge issues. Sleeveless, Strapless. Whatever. Well, I am here to tell you that none of that matters. What matters is whether your wedding dress makes you look like a million bucks. Does it make you look elegant, beautiful and sophisticated?
For Ariel (and no offense to you, Steve!), the answer is so clearly yes.
Steve and Ariel had such a lovely wedding, on such a a lovely night, that I look at their photos and just smile. Especially the Washington Monument image you see atop this page. I've never been one for token monument photos, at least not in a Magical Mystery Tour kind of way. A memorable photograph at one memorial or monument can quickly descend into a meaningless checklist of them all. But when you get married in the shadow of the Washington Monument, during a time when that obelisk happens to be wrapped in illuminated scaffolding, let's just say it's kind of a no-brainer.
I've shot hundreds and hundred of weddings but this photo has quickly found a way into my all-time favorites folder. I hope it will for Ariel and Steve, too.