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Last weekend I had the pleasure of shooting my friend Ewa’s wedding – an event in her life that, at one point, she would joke with me she never wanted to happen.
But it turns out she was wrong, and not only was it a great day, but she looked absolutely incredible.
I’ve known Ewa for 4 1/2 years now. We met at Amy and Michael’s wedding – she was one of the bridesmaids. Over the years we stayed in touch online and would catch up on life over coffee when I was in the Bay Area. The funny part of the whole thing is that when we met, Ewa was working in a divorce lawyers office. So her and I saw the complete opposite sides of marriage. I got to be part of the best day in a marriage, and she was constantly witnessing the ugly endings of them. So, needless to say, her opinion was (usually) “Nope. Never going to deal with THAT!”

Until she met Thomas.

Then her tone changed. She started talking about how she could see herself with this guy and maybe marrying him. It was really sweet to see how he changed her whole attitude toward all of that. As many people know, shortly after meeting they both planned a trip half away around the world and traveled together for two weeks because “they both wanted to go there”. Later on, when Thomas took a job in Texas, Ewa packed her bags and moved with him. And although there were many things about the area that drove her nuts, she loved Thomas and knew that the experience there was just part of their life together and they’d get through it and move on to the next phase soon enough.

Over the course of our friendship it really has been fun to watch their relationship develop and Ewa change in a few ways herself. And personally I credit Thomas’ love and affection for so much of that. I would hear about the various little things he would do – so good job on being the cute boyfriend, Thomas!
For example… I photographed Ewa a couple years ago for fun. She has incredibly beautiful blue eyes, and I wanted to capture that. But Ewa did NOT like photos of herself at the time. To be honest she may have only been totally comfortable with a camera at her wedding because it was me and not someone else behind it, for all I know. But anyway, after at least a year of mentioning “well when we do our photoshoot” in conversation with Ewa every chance I would get, she finally agreed.

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This is a tighter crop of one of the photos I liked because it showed off her eyes really well. There was one of the other shots that Thomas liked though, and Ewa told me at one point that Thomas had printed it and framed it in his room at his house. She said it was embarrassing, but I told her she was completely wrong that it was actually ridiculously cute. I said “he likes it enough to have it in his room… you realize how much that says about how much he cares, right?”
Haha! Anyway, the point of all this rambling is to say that I got to hear a lot of great things about Thomas from Ewa – even if they were things like the photo-in-his-room that she thought were silly, as a guy I knew were all actions of someone who, while I had never him, seemed like a very sweet and caring person.

So, later on, when Thomas proposed to Ewa I was fortunate enough to be among the first people she got ahold of to tell – and to let me know that I needed to keep my calendar clear because I was shooting her wedding for her!
And despite several issues Ewa had with planning everything (I mean, hell, their first venue they booked BURNED DOWN!) she still handled everything amazingly well. We’d talk from time to time and she’d say she was freaking out or stressed, but honestly, it didn’t seem too much like she was. So, either she did an amazing job at hiding how much she really was freaking out, or she was just feeling more worried than she actually was. I did my best to be reassuring and tell her that whatever happens we were going to have a blast on her wedding day.

And we did.

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Since I mentioned it, here’s a shot of Ewa, Katie, and Jenn at Amy’s wedding where they were all bridesmaids (Some of you may remember that I shot Jenn’s wedding not too long ago, too!)

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And last year I finally got to me Thomas when I was in the Bay Area briefly, too!

But anyway, on to the photos! The real reason you guys are all here… to see Ewa and Thomas’ wedding day!
Below are over 300 images from their wedding weekend. As usual, I’ve added some bits of information in the captions so you guys know what’s going, etc.

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Arriving in Mill Valley on Friday afternoon ti was HOT and sunny low 90s that day. So we were trying to hide in the shade.

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Ewa, directing everyone on how things were going to go down the next day.

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It was very bright out. Ewa and Thomas were reassuring everyone “it’s going to a QUICK ceremony, so don’t worry everyone”

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A quick walk through. A quick kiss for her fiance. And we were done!

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Thomas had bought his groomsmen watches

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At dinner Ewa walked around a bit to make sure to say hello to family and friends

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End of a great rehearsal dinner and nearly time to head out. Hugs for her almost-husband

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The next morning started somewhat early for the ladies with hair and makeup.

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Mom was getting makeup applied for the first time!

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Hanging up the wedding dress to steam out any wrinkles. Ewa was slowly getting more and more excited at the morning went on.
It was ridiculously cute

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Holy crap that’s going to look amazing on her!

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Maureen and Alice getting their hair done

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Ewa’s Mom and aunt were on dress-duty that morning steaming everyone’s dresses to make sure they all looked great

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Guuuuurrrrllll, We gon get you some big hair

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Amy getting her makeup done next

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In the back Mom and Aunt were still working away on the dresses

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Hair is set!

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Ewa checkin out her dress with her mom.
Her mom seemed a bit worried that she couldn’t get out all the little tiny wrinkles. Then they both seemed to realize that they were so small no one would notice

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Amy, getting curls in her super long hair

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Ewa was last up for makeup

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We were ahead of schedule, and Ewa brother in law had to went to pick up pizza for everyone. So we were all eating and chatting as Ewa’s makeup was being finished

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Some more hairspray for Ewa

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And an extra pin. Don’t want anything moving!

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LUNCH TIME!

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Ewa handed out the second part of her bridesmaid gifts – necklaces for the girls

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Skyping with Grandma in Poland! She stayed up til 2a later that day (night for her) to watch her granddaughter’s wedding over the internet! How awesome is that?!

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I headed over to Thomas’ parents house shortly after to get a few shots as he finished getting ready.

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Thomas had a low key morning with his parents relaxing before the big day

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Thomas was looking sharp in his tailored suit and skinny tie though!

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Even Sparky was dressed up for the occasion.

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He didn’t get to attend, but he looked great either way

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Ewa’s dress was beautiful. When I got to the venue after leaving Thomas’ family’s home I found the girls sitting and laughing. We still had plenty of time before Ewa needed to be ready.

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Champagne and a small toast!

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Ewa seeing her cake for the first time!

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Ewa’s mom was quietly getting coins out of her purse. Ewa told her “you better not throw rolls of coins at me like did you with Alice at her wedding!” (It’s a polish tradition, but Ewa didn’t want to have to pick up a million coins everywhere! haha!)

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Outside the family was helping with last minute setup

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Amy, helping organize the tables

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After setup was complete the girls were all back in the bridal room chatting

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Thomas arrived just a bit before his groomsmen

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As the rest of the guys started arriving they stayed out on the back patio where it was a bit cooler and breezier. Plus Thomas wasn’t allowed inside since that’s where Ewa was hiding

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Time to start getting dressed! Shoes first!
You know, Ewa is one of the first brides I’ve had that put her shoes on first… I think it was actually a bit easier, too. Typically the bridesmaids end up needing to help put shoes on under the dress

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Some help from Mom with the back of her dress!

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Ewa, waiting on the buttons…

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there were quite a few buttons, too

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the ladies were enjoying their champagne and chatting while Ewa was getting buttoned up

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Danggggg, looking all hot and stuff in her dress! Go Ewa!

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Ewa’s “something borrowed” was her grandmothers (if I recall) veil. It was small and simple, but worked great with her look!

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Of course I HAD to get some bridal shots with how amazing Ewa was looking

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Ewa and her girls

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Goofing around before guests start arriving

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Mom and Dad!

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Ewa and her sister Alice

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We stole Liana, the flower girl, as soon as she arrived. I said “You can hang with us, or your parents.. up to you!” She said “Ummmm, I’ll stay with you guys!”

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So gorgeous. I was so excited for Ewa!

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Ewa’s godfather stopped in to say hi and get quick photo with the bride

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And just like that, it was time for me to go get ready for the ceremony! Last photo with Ewa Omanska… she was about to go become a Mykytyn!

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Outside it was super hot, but everyone was all smiles and ready for VERY bright and sunny wedding ceremony

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Thomas, waiting for Ewa..

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First time seeing Ewa as she walks from around the corner

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Looking like a mix between nervousness and excitement

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And then suddenly, all smiles!

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Welcoming everyone to the wedding

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All the guys were looking sharp in their suits, and didn’t seem to let the hot weather bother them too much

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After a couple quick words, it was time to exchange vows and rings

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Thomas read his vows to Ewa

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And then gave her a ring
Look at that smile!!

 

 

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Ewa laughed and said her vows were much shorter than his were.. and she recited her favorite Winnie the Pooh the line, that if Thomas should live to be 100 years old, then she wants to live to be 100 years minus day, so she’d never live a day without him.

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And then she gave Thomas his ring

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And that was it! They were pronounced Husband and Wife!

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They both looked so happy

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One more quick kiss

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And they turning toward the guests and Ewa threw her arms in the air

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Walking out

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Once around the corner Ewa hugged and kissed Thomas once more in excitement

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Big hugs for the groom! “Pick me up!”

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So Thomas did! Hahahah!!!

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Let’s make this official!

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Signing the paperwork to get it out of the way

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Ewa’s mom and aunt threw coins so fast as Ewa and Thomas walked out of the bridal room that I actually missed the photo!

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Picking up the coins… have to get all of them, too. That’s the rule

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“Ok… we’re done right? No more coins?!”

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And a kiss for her husband as people were already cheering for them and clinking glasses

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Their cake!
Ok… so little side story I hope Ewa doesn’t mind me talking about. It was about 94 degrees out that day and you can see some sides of the cake started to sag a bit. Ewa was understandably very upset about this. Her cake was beautiful and they even had flower patterns and sparkles on it that matched her dress design a bit. It was awesome.
But the venue had messed the cake up a bit.
However… get this… the lady at the venue tried to tell ME that it was the cake company’s fault!!! Can you believe that? She said “Yeah the cake company delivered it in boxes and left the boxes in the sun… we tried to fix it the best we could…”
Pro tip, everyone. If you’re going to lie… don’t lie to the photographer. Because I’ve been there ALL day. I saw the cake when it was delivered. It was perfect. AND I have photos of the bride looking at her perfect cake. Don’t tell me they delivered it in boxes and left it in the sun. It was left on the bar, out of the sun. You guys moved it somewhere and it got messed up.

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But, that being said, after a bit of frustration on Ewa’s part with it, she stopped worrying about. I even said “Hey, if the cake looking a little wavy on the side is the worst part of this whole weekend, then you’re great..” Ewa agreed. And I don’t think she worried about it the rest of the night.

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The sun was getting a little lower so it was time to go through the family photos and get portraits taken care of. Earlier it would have been too bright out

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Haha! So Ewa turned to hug Thomas… and he went for the butt grab

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Ewa’s shock

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And her “Hrmf!” face

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And Thomas just standing there like “Yeah… what… I grabbed your butt. So. We’re married. Deal with it”
Hahaha!

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Taking a few casual shots as these two talked amongst themselves.

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“do you see John over there?”

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“Hi John!”

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The one photo that Ewa did want was being held up!

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A couple last photos before going in to greet guests

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Amy, Ewa, and Katie. Last time I saw these three together was Amy’s wedding!

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As the sun went down the temperatures cooled and it was a really nice evening

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Dinner time

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Almost no light left outside, but still cool and comfortable since it was such a hot day

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Ewa walking table and greeting guests

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Thomas was sitting and chatting with his buddies for a bit catching up

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Ewa was busy making the rounds while people ate

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Thomas was busy working the other side of the room

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Family paparazzi getting all their photos in with the group shots of family/friends with the bride and groom!

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Laughing with his new mother in law

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Hugs from dad

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The Lordans! This is the forth wedding I’ve been to with Michael and Amy now, including theirs :)
Pretty sure that Katie took this photo with my camera though

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Mmm. dessert!

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Tiny photographers running around!

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Time to cut the cake!

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That fondant is hard to cut.. doesn’t matter how sharp the knife is… it never seems to cut very easily. haha!

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We almost got it!

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They were nice and about it and no cake-in-the-face moments

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the only speech that night was Amy…

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She gave a really touching speech about how long she’s known Ewa and about how she heard about Ewa and Thomas dating.

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That Amy remembered Thomas very well from college, and how no matter what she could always count on Thomas showing up, being completely reliable, and always friendly despite how bad the day might have been

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Liana was awesome! Super sociable girl. And was totally our favorite AND hung out with all of us a ton. Even Amy said “I want a photo with her!”

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If you ask the groom for some dancing tips, and he shows you.. and I’m nearby.. I’m taking a picture!

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Actually, I’ll take a few. But good work guys!

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Katie and Michael showing Neil how to be classy with their drinks. hahaha!

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Ewa and Katie, who also met at Amy’s wedding and have stayed in touch.

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Me and Ewa had to get a flexing photo! She’s been working out and slimmed down and got in great shape for her wedding – actually surpassing her goal accidentally! So, of course this is now the best photo of us together, ever.

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time for the first dance

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Thomas spun his wife onto the dance floor..

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Kissed her..

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then they began their dance

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they had worked together with some dance classes and looked great out there!

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Looking great guys! The audience was all smiles!

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Haha! This is why photographers might sometimes yell at your for standing behind them… see my shadow from someone’s camera flash?

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Not a problem though because I got a series of photos from their dip at the end

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And after their first dance the floor was opened to everyone. So Thomas and Ewa kept dancing

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Until her Dad stole her away for a dance

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So Thomas danced with his new mother in law

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It was fun to watch Ewa and her Dad dance. They didn’t do a typical Daddy-Daughter dance, but certainly had fun out there while everyone was on the floor

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And Mrs. Omanska was all smiles and she laughed and danced with Thomas

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Neil and Katie getting down

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Mr. and Mrs. Mykytyn

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Thomas, dancing with his mother

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Mr. Mykytyn dancing with his new daughter in law

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And then Thomas eventually stole his wife back to finish up a dance with her

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A bit later that evening was the bouquet toss… Thomas stopped Ewa for a moment to make sure everyone was on the dance floor! What a great guy

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The throw!

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the catch! all the way in the back… nice distance!

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A very proud godfather! He was all smiles afternoon and evening for Ewa

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Ewa laughing with friends as they watch the dancing and catch up

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And, of course, comparing imaginary rings!

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Had to get a photo with Michael and Amy! Can’t believe it’s been four years since their wedding!

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Me with the bride and groom

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Had to get a photo with Katie, of course

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Goofing off outside with everyone, picked up Katie for a photo

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Since we’ve now been to several weddings and as much as we’ve gone out in the past, finally had to dance at least once since we never had

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Hugs from mom as the night winds down a little bit

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checkin out the rings!

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Last song of the night… everyone was getting down!

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Ewa thanked the band after they wrapped up. It was really cool to have live music that evening and these guys did an amazing job. Such a cool touch to the reception

So, that’s it! My weekend with Ewa and Thomas!
Again, it was very cool to be part of all of this and be there for both of them. Four years ago when I met Amy at her wedding, and her three bridesmaids, I had no idea how big a part all four of them would be in my life over the following four years. But all of their friendships have meant so much to me. And being able to see all of them and be part of major events in their lives since then has really been incredible. Ewa is an incredibly sweet girl and I’ve been very lucky to call her a friend these last years. And I’m so happy to have got to know Thomas through everything and, more importantly, see the affect he’s had on Ewa since they met.

Ewa and Thomas, I hope you enjoy these photos and I’ll have the rest of everything for you both shortly. Thank you again for asking me to be part of your weekend as your start your new life together as a married couple.

 

 

 

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