I Have Happy Tears.

This post was inspired by my dear friend, Lisa, and everyone else who witnessed my matron-of-honor speech at my sister’s wedding. I have decided to publish my speech here. As I said to my sister and her now-husband, and their 150 wedding guests, I wrote this speech out to read aloud as a piece of writing, because my writing “voice” is very different from my speaking “voice” and I wanted to do my sister the honor of seeing what my writing voice would come up with. I will share it here now.

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In the words of the great Scarlet Bowman, “I have happy tears.”

One little or widely known fact about Lindsay and I is that we have so many things NOT in common but we have the same heart. We cry at the same things. We laugh at the same things. We remember the same meaningful memories from our childhood together. We have been to hell and back together. Her face was one of the first faces I saw on this planet, and I haven’t wanted to look away since.

Even though we have the such similar hearts, we have always protected ours differently. Her heart can grow bigger and bigger and is often worn on her sleeve. I often chose to hide mine away. Together, somehow, we meet in the middle. That’s why it was surprising to me at first that I found great love before she did, and that I got married before my big sister did.

And now I know, a heart that big was waiting for a man with a matching heart. I’m a photographer, as you probably all know. It’s not just a career, it’s a lifestyle. It’s a process. It’s a heart process. It can get in the way of my emotions and my ability to have fun, because it can be used as a shield. It can also be used as a magnet, and a tool to get to know people better. Even people I already know pretty well. Lindsay and Mike asked me to do their engagement photographs and I was so nervous! I get nervous in new situations, and I also get nervous when I want so badly to do a good job, and to do them justice.

Well, I couldn’t have done a bad job, because their love was radiant and wide and shown to the world. I barely had to pose them. I barely could speak. I just watched their love unfold and I fiddled with camera settings, and I watched some more, and I changed some backgrounds and I played with light.

And I just watched.

And I’ll continue to watch. And embrace. My new brother. A new family. Happy tears.


In the next days or weeks, more and more photos will come out from the professional photographers. And some from me as well. In the meantime, the phone photos from guests are popping up left and right. I’ll share a few. I took these three:

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Thank you, Dad, Annie, Lisa, Margie and Kathy for the rest of the photos here.

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A Bit of a Once Upon a Time Ask Away Friday.

I’ve noticed a pretty cool pattern with Echo of Domain of the Mad Mommy.

Whenever I have gotten a weird Ask Away Friday idea and pitched it to the crowd, she has volunteered to partner with me. You have to love her tenacity. And her dear husband, Adam, also participated in an Ask Away Friday with Cassidy once!

So since I’ll be traveling all weekend for my sister’s amazing farm wedding..

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..Echo agreed to do an all wedding questions themed Ask Away Friday with me!

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Thank Goodness it’s #AskAwayFriday! Get to know our new hosts, meet our new co-host, and grab our new logo! Be sure to check out our new Facebook page “AskAwayFriday” for a great place to meet up and send out a #BuddyRequest if you need a partner to swap with! And always feel free to contact me here or anywhere if you want to swap with me.

What is #AskAwayFriday? Well…

#AskAwayFriday was created by the amazing Penny from Real Housewife of Caroline County as a place for us to connect with other bloggers by asking them ten questions to really get to know them. The sky is the limit with the questions you ask!

Meeting other bloggers and making new friends is one of the best parts of this online world!

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Tamara from Tamara Like Camera,
Tiffany from Mrs. Tee Love Life Laughter,
Christy from Uplifting Families,
Stacey from This Momma’s Ramblings
Amber from Bold Fit Mom

Grab our brand new button, follow our amazing hosts, hop through the great link ups and make some new friends!

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Be sure to check out Echo’s answers to my questions HERE. And here are my answers to Echo’s wonderful questions to me about my own wedding.

1. What is the first thing you think about when someone says wedding?

No lie, I think the first thing I think about is cake. Specifically, I picture a white tiered cake. On a more serious note, I think about how it’s a miracle. Finding and sustaining love… finding someone to love you back. Total magical miracle. So it always makes me cry a bit to think of how momentous a wedding is. It’s huge. That’s why people cry at them. Or stare into the sky:

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2. How long did it take you to plan your wedding?

Well Cassidy is more of the planning type, but all in all, it took us about ten months. As long as our engagement!

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3. What flavor was your cake?

Oh dear! I don’t even know! It was.. marble in the inside I think? Maybe? I remember vanilla and chocolate inside. I remember Italian buttercream outside. I remember chocolate moose and chocolate wolves, because those are hard things to forget:

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4. What is the first memory that you think of when you think about your wedding?

I was really nervous, right up until the ceremony. The ceremony was flawless – we were married by a dear friend wearing a Jedi robe. His background is Greek Orthodox, Tibetan Buddhist, maybe some more stuff. He’s also one of the top cancer doctors in Chicago, so there’s that. We were married on top of a hill and I had the option to walk up in my heels, take a golf cart, or take a carriage ride. I chose the carriage ride but I was a bit sheepish about it. It did produce a famous photo:

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5. Tradition Vows or Personal?

Personal! And since our ketubah is hanging on our walls, I was even able to write a few down for you. It’s funny to think of writing these as a 27-year-old, and how they came to be. Or how they will come to be in time:

Possessing open hearts and a belief in magic allowed us to meet, experience amazing adventures, and has brought us to this day. We promise to never forget what got us here and we vow to keep magic and mystery at the forefront of our marriage and our home, and teach it to our children as it was taught us.

We agree to raise our children with unconditional love and patience. We will teach them to imagine and dream, learn and wonder, and give and receive love without limits. We will be their biggest fans and we’ll always give them ample time with the greatest grandparents in the world.

I, Tamara, promise to continue to explore the musical round of the Grateful Dead I will never relinquish my role as queen of the Phish Phry.

We promise to always have northern dogs in our home. We will give them all of our hearts and treat them like the humans they see themselves to be. They are power animals to us and we believe we are power humans to them.

We need to be reminded of this last one.

We vow to dream big and often. We promise to take our dreams seriously and keep them alive and continual. We will set all of our dreams in motion to the best of our abilities. Nothing is too far-fetched, too silly, or too impossible.

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This (above) is us signing that shiz.

6. If you could change one thing about your wedding, what would it be and why?

Can I say three? I think there are three. One, I would have been less anxious. Holy cow, was I uptight!

I also would have danced more..

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And I don’t think I would have had my makeup done. I’m not having it done for my sister’s wedding this weekend. Even if it makes me look like the one hippie bridesmaid, I think when there’s a lot of makeup, I don’t look like.. me.

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7. Let’s be honest, did you cry?

Not until I saw him break a bit after the ceremony when he saw some special friends. They are a big part of our story as they were the B&B owners who hosted us when we first met, and led us to our first moose viewing. That’s worth some tears.

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8. Let’s be even more honest, did Cassidy cry?

Yes! Somewhere there is a photo of it. I did find this cool shot by Cassidy’s brother, Sam Dillon:

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9. What was the first song you danced to as a married couple?

It was “Somewhere Over The Rainbow”, sung by Eric Clapton. And I’d do that all again.

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10. Honeymoon? Yes? No? Right After? A while after? Where’d you go?

I wish I could tell you we did. We ran out of the money needed to do our two-part honeymoon – winter in Hawaii and summer in Alaska. Someday we will get there. I’ve learned a few things along the way, like how to better.. you know.. make money. It’s still a big work-in-progress. HOWEVER, two months after our wedding, we took a 2-3 week roadtrip cross country to move east from California, stopping and gallivanting all along this beautiful country. So that could be called Honeymoon #1. We didn’t even make it to the east coast without a honeymoon baby, so there’s that.

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And you know what? I’d do it all like that over and over again. With better shoes. More cake. Chicken nuggets. Less nerves.

XOXO to you all this weekend! I’ll be feeling the big love. Funny, I never said “XOXO” until I “met” all of you.

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