I don’t remember what I was doing when Seattle Met Bride & Groom art director Samantha Gardner walked into my office and asked if I could guess who wanted to shoot our fashion spread. Whatever it was ceased to be important the second she said the words “Elizabeth Messina.”
The Elizabeth Messina? The California-based wedding industry photographer consistently singled out by editors from Martha Stewart Weddings and Modern Bride to American Photo magazine? The one whose guide, The Luminous Portrait, comes out this April? The one who shoots lavish celebrity weddings and look-book images for gown designers like Monique Lhuillier and Claire Pettibone? The Elizabeth Messina whose color-washed film images flutter across the best wedding blogs like sunlight through cabin windows? She wanted to come to Seattle to shoot our fashion feature?
It was true, but we held tight to our disbelief right up until the shoot days. It was the weather forecast that made it all particularly surreal. We checked and rechecked weather apps, but the outlook remained grim: rain likely, scattered showers, possible thunderstorms.
Don’t worry, said the star shooter over and over again, it’s going to be beautiful. Something about her wild curls and expansive grin made us believe it—even as our all-female crew gathered underneath low-slung gray skies and a blanketing drizzle at idyllic Bella Luna Farms. (That’s the team pictured above; I’m in stripes and red jeans.) The kitchen of Pam Thompson’s working farm–slash–rambling wedding venue felt like it could be in Tuscany. She had made us cinnamon bread, and her friendly gardners put dozens of huge golf umbrellas around the property, standing at the ready. Of course, Samantha and I had contingency plans for our contingency plans, and we had truckloads full of the most amazing locally sourced wedding fashion—and we had Elizabeth Messina. How could it not be beautiful?
So we rigged plastic sheeting over foliage and grass, employed a beautiful parasol as a double-duty prop, and got corny show-tune lines stuck in our heads: “the sun’ll come out tomorrow!”
And you know what? It did.
The lesson: expect the unexpected, prepare for the worst but stay open to the best, and band together, whatever the weather.