Amanda and Mark, Married at the Skinner Barn in Waitsfield, Vermont

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I am a veteran and a father. I am proud of both roles, but not equally so. The balance is tilted in the direction of fatherhood. As my own daughter races through childhood, I find myself fighting back tears EVERY time one of you has a Father-Daughter dance….because it’s only too easy for me to imagine that scene 20 years from now. That’s why I was so choked-up at Amanda’s “special shots” request list. Her dad was a soldier, and he was recently killed on duty in Afghanistan.

To memorialize him, she had sewn a patch of his uniform into her wedding dress, and released balloons during her ceremony.  These touches were beautiful, but the moment seared into my memory was just before the ceremony, when Amanda and her mother stopped worrying about wedding details and just let the tears fall. It was one of the most remarkable moments of the summer, because it forced me to take stock of what I am doing. This duty I perform – capturing these moments – is among the most sacred things I have ever done.

So as not to end on a heavy note – the wedding was a party for the ages; the bouquet toss alone was right out of the NFL Combine. If you’re looking for a venue that can host a large party and says “Vermont” down to the smallest detail, you should check out the Skinner Barn in Waitsfield.  The Mad River Valley is a magical place! Warmest wishes to Amanda and Mark! Thank you for including me.

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