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Xavier Smith: The Manning marriage

Xavier Smith • Updated May 16, 2018 at 1:00 PM

I’ve photographed weddings before, but it’s always a little different and more special when it’s someone you care about.

One of my closest friends - my right hand girl - Shay, got married this weekend and I had the pleasure of capturing the memories from the beautiful day. My wife Lindsey served as the de facto wedding designer and coordinator, so it was definitely a day filled with labor of love in the Smith household. 

As I snapped away Saturday, I was reminded of my own wedding day, which took place in October. However, mainly documenting the women in the ceremony, I noticed some differences and things from another perspective, primarily that women take about three times as long as men to get ready on the special day, but for good reasons, I guess.

As the day continued, and more and more conversations took place, I was reminded about how special and unique wedding days are for everyone involved. Don’t get me wrong, they’re nerve wrecking and full of stress from several different people that have things to accomplish, but all of that goes out of the window when the “I do” is recited.

The day was filled with close friends and family and people that have become like family to me over the years. It was just a reminder that a wedding serves as a moment in time that should be celebrated just as much as the ceremony. 

It’s always remarkable how the lives of once-strangers evolve into unity and two worlds collide and walk the same path moving forward. 

Shay is the godmother to first godchild, and I knew I would be somewhat emotional seeing her become a wife, especially since I know she found a man that truly loves her and will take care of her the way she deserves. I just hope I was able to capture the magic of the day.

I didn’t know much about her husband, Dajuan Manning, before he started dating Shay, but he has my utmost respect, especially for his relationship with my godchild. Their relationship and interaction Saturday highlighted the love she has for him and vice versa. 

It was hot and I was sweating more than a cold Coca-Cola in the sunlight, but there are no other people I would have rather starved for and suffered dehydration for than Shay and Dajuan, especially sicne the food and after party was amazing to say the least. 

German poet Heinrich Heine once said, “Music played at weddings always reminds me of the music played for soldiers before they go into battle.”

The wedding is just the start of something that will be beautiful, difficult, stressful and purposeful. There will be disagreements. There will be doubt, but I know if they keep God first and remember what’s important, it will all work out.

Cheers to the new husband and wife!

Xavier Smith is a staff writer for The Democrat. Email him at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter @wilsonnewswritr.

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