The fox and the bear

From left to right: the bear and the fox. Bill and my sister-in-law Siobhan.

From left to right: the bear and the fox. Bill and my sister-in-law Siobhan.

So it happened. My brother, Bill, got married on January 13. I started the morning with A Nightmare on Elm Street while sitting in bed in my room at the Hard Rock hotel overlooking downtown Chicago. Friday the 13th would have been more fitting, though it wouldn't have calmed my nerves anymore. I was anxious. Being a member of the wedding party and a photographer is stressful work! Plus the inevitable toast in front of a hundred people didn't help either. But I know I wasn't as stressed as my brother.

I wanted to photograph the anticipation. Being just as anxious as the other members of the wedding party helped me express that in photographs. I couldn't stop thinking about the speech I had to give in 8 hours. So I took pictures of the guys getting ready, looking at their phones, reading the itinerary. 

Bill fixes his shirt and tie for the ceremony.

Bill fixes his shirt and tie for the ceremony.

Bill and Pat, the father of the bride, go over the itinerary.

Bill and Pat, the father of the bride, go over the itinerary.

Bill and John, his step-father (my father), wait to go downstairs for the first look at the bride.

Bill and John, his step-father (my father), wait to go downstairs for the first look at the bride.

In the lobby, Candra, my co-photographer, got some great photos of Bill and Siobhan's first look. My brother rode the elevator up and down 36 levels to give Siobhan enough time to stand in front of the doors. It may have been overkill. I stood behind Candra as she photographed his reaction. I've never seen my brother so happy before. 

Siobhan and Bill in the lobby of the Hard Rock hotel during their first look.

Siobhan and Bill in the lobby of the Hard Rock hotel during their first look.

Afterward, the wedding party hopped on a trolley to the Garfield Park Conservatory, where Candra took more photos of the bride and groom while I concentrated on photographing the parents, kids, and bridesmaids. The conservatory allotted us one hour of time, so we had to be quick. It was a nice change of scenery and temperature. Chicago is dreary in the winter and it's just too damn cold.   

Siobhan's younger sister, Margaret, with Michelle, the maid of honor, sitting directly behind her on the trolley.

Siobhan's younger sister, Margaret, with Michelle, the maid of honor, sitting directly behind her on the trolley.

Liz and Pat, the mother and father of the bride inside the Garfield Park Conservatory.

Liz and Pat, the mother and father of the bride inside the Garfield Park Conservatory.

Anna, the mother of the groom, and John, the step-father of the groom. 

Anna, the mother of the groom, and John, the step-father of the groom. 

From the conservatory, we went straight to Kitchen, a barn-looking event space in an industrial part of town, for the ceremony and reception. This was the final stretch. I kept patting my jacket's pocket to make sure I was still carrying the rings. It's such a small and simple responsibility, but I was terrified that I would drop the rings as I hand them over to Miles, the officiant. Don't get a picture of that. 

The head table.

The head table.

Siobhan and Bill's first dance.

Siobhan and Bill's first dance.

Candra and I got a lot of great photos. It was the smoothest event I've photographed, even while battling dual identities. And despite playing two roles in this wedding, I had a lot of fun too. Here's the photo that ended the night: