Nuptuals: Jeremy McNamara and Katie Kurtessis

You must always enjoy the moments.  Those moments when you discover that the really nice person who’s been your friend for a while … slowly becomes more than just a friend.  They become solid buds.  Confidants.  Compatriots.  And … if the stars align properly and God smiles down… you become more than two people on a team.

You become a unified team of two.

Such was the case yesterday as two of my best buds – Jeremy and Katie – entered into wedded bliss.

Of course, the day was full of surprises and fun.

And it all started with a 5K run.

See, Jeremy and Katie are avid runners.  Marathoners.  In fact, J-Mac has qualified to run the 2018 Boston Marathon, which is like a permanent #617 on any long distance runner’s checkoff life list.

So J-Mac and Katie, along with several members of their wedding party, participated in a little 5K “fun run” along the trails of Albany’s Corning Preserve.  And they even had bib numbers and an electronic timing strip for the race.

There’s J-Mac and Katie, along with their rescued pit bull Nelson. Photo (c) Chuck Miller, all rights reserved.

While I took a few photos here and there, J-Mac and Katie’s professional wedding photographer was on hand as well.

And thus I instituted my “shooting a wedding” personal rules.

And they are as such.

Photographer Erin Ayala captures Jeremy and Katie before their 5K run.
  1. Under NO CIRCUMSTANCES am I to take pictures that would hinder, block, or interfere with the hired photographer.  They were hired to do a job and to capture the moment.  This is important.
  2. During a moment when the wedding photographer is not shooting, I introduce myself and reiterate that I will not interfere with or hinder their work.  It’s one thing for me to capture shots of this 5K Fun Run with my Nikon gear, but once the wedding itself takes place, if I can’t get the shot from my seat with my BlackBerry PRIV camera phone, then I don’t take it.
  3. Any questions at this point … repeat Rules 1 and 2.

It’s called respect for wedding photographers.  They have a job to do.  They are trying to capture every single moment of this wedding, and a hundred things can go wrong at any second.  I don’t want anything I do to be reason #101.

Finish line!

Okay, now it’s time to run back home, change clothes, get a bite to eat, and head off to Westerlo for the wedding itself.

And as I’m driving to Westerlo, I think about all the great moments in time that J-Mac and Katie have been my friends.  Support in great moments and in tough moments.  They’ve been a part of my Street Academy Trivia Team (J-Mac’s name is on the Summer Bowl Trophy twice), and they’ve also shown up at my art shows and various other events.

I also mention that they’ve been there for me during tough times.  Last year, while I was undergoing surgery and getting my internal chemistry sorted out, J-Mac showed up at the hospital and offered moral support.  And years before, as I moved out of Pine Hills and into an apartment in the Town and Village of Green Island, J-Mac, along with several other friends, organized a rolling convoy to help move all my personal belongings into the new home.

Again … good, solid friends.

Here I am at the M&D farm in Westerlo.  Oh my Lord this place is so tranquil.  There are bumblebees and butterflies cohabitating in the floral trees.  There are rolling hills and a mirror-glass pond.  It’s straight out of a “perfect country site for a wedding” catalog.

And then … at approximately 4:30 p.m. … the groom and his best man waited for the bride and her maid of honor to arrive.

Testimony was read.  Prayers were recited.  A couple of anecdotes about the meaning of eleven eggs was recalled.  By the way, if you ever go grocery shopping and you purchase a carton of eggs, make sure you open the carton before your purchase it.  Some amplifiers may go up to 11, but egg cartons must go up to 12. 😀

I could tell that both J-Mac and Katie were feeling the moment.  As they recited their affirmations and their vows, their voices were trembling with joy and with emotion.

And then … as rings were exchanged …

Well, you know what happens at that point, don’t you?

Ladies and gentlemen … the McNamaras!

Scuse me a second … just got a little water-shaped speck of teardrop in my eye.

Yeah.  This was amazing.

The guests then went through the barn to enjoy a special wedding dinner, with foods based on J-Mac and Katie’s dining habits and gastronomic excursions – exotic tacos, family recipe grilled cheese sandwiches and relationship-building BLT’s.

And now … for their first time together…

Mr. and Mrs. Jeremy McNamara.

As the night progressed, I sat with some of Katie’s family members at one of the dining tables.  I think it was her uncle or cousin who told me he was involved in radio.

We talked, and I discovered that he was involved in non-commercial radio, especially the kind where religious organizations take over old frequencies and restore them with new broadcasts and transmissions.  Fascinating.

Later on, it was time for the first couple dance.  And in case you’re wondering what song they chose for their first dance, it was “Stand By Me” as performed by Florence + The Machine.

By then, it was time for me to depart.  I wished them well, told each of them to take care of the other, and the three of us posed for a picture.

And I can tell you, I have a big, big smile in that photo.

Wanna see it?

Well, I should tell you that the photo was taken by J-Mac and Katie’s professional photographer … so that’s going to be a shot that will be saved in their wedding book for years and years to come.

And besides … I was smiling all night, knowing that these two lovebirds had the night of their lives.

All the best, J-Mac and Katie.

And let’s get together once you return from your honeymoon.