The few hours we spent in the bridal suite were really special. It was totally chill. Ariel’s attendants were all smiles and lightness. Her best-friend, Gayle, played Phoenix on the iPod. The flower girl colored a picture of, appropriately, Ariel the mermaid. Her mom and mother-in-law told us about their weddings. We laughed. We ate bagels. Everything was exactly as it should be. Lovely. Just like my Ariel. Is it wrong to like my own photograph as much as I love this last image of Ariel? Maybe a little wrong? Okay. I’ll take that. Ariel is a unique combination of an outgoing introvert, so I knew the attention she would receive as a bride would be overwhelming enough, my camera lens would only heighten that. As such, I tried my best to be there first as her friend, and 2nd as her photographer. This was the portrait I wanted to capture. Not the public Ariel, there would be time for that at the ceremony. I was looking for the private Ariel who is approaching the solemnity of a life-time union with maturity. The thing about weddings is that they are the beginning of a new life, but naturally it’s the end of something as well. It’s the end of individual, little girl, girlfriend. You become wife, future-mother, full-fledged legitimate adult. Father and husband share room in your heart. Spouse becomes a phantom limb. These can be heady emotions and make for beautiful moments.