Thomas and Guy at Wits after their wedding

A December Wedding in Joburg

Wedding photography triggers my imposter syndrome.

I’ve been asked once or twice to shoot weddings, and each time an evil little voice inside my head whispers, “Only real photographers do weddings. Don’t try this. You’ll fail — fail miserably, I tell you — and ruin everything. Bwaaaaaahahaha!”

But several months ago Thomas and Guy emailed and asked if I would shoot their wedding. They made it clear they wanted me to do it — despite my total lack of wedding photography experience — because they like my pictures.

Thomas and Guy also love Joburg. I met Thomas in 2011, soon after moving here myself, when he was writing this cool blog called Urban Joburg. Thomas and Guy have been living in the U.S. for the past couple of years and moved back to Joburg two weeks ago — just in time for their wedding. They are the loveliest of people.

Guy (left) and Thomas, hiding behind the curtain just before they got dressed for the wedding.

So I swallowed my fear and said yes. On 16 December, still wobbly from my own case of jet lag, I shot Thomas and Guy’s wedding. It was the most fun I’ve had taking pictures in a very long time.

Thomas and Guy’s Wedding

I love these pictures so much — probably as much as Thomas and Guy do. Yesterday I uploaded the pictures online and sat gazing at my computer, watching each image load slowly onto the screen and reliving each moment.

Two guys ready to get married.

As the wedding photographer for Thomas and Guy, I felt like I had this special little window into their souls on what was probably the most important day of their lives. Even though I don’t know them extremely well as a couple, I could see how much they love each other as I watched them get married through my camera lens. That experience was a huge privilege.

Thomas and Guy got married at Wits (the University of the Witwatersand, for those of you not from around here), in a hall with a giant organ in the balcony. I’d never realized what a beautiful campus Wits has; Thomas and Guy and I had so much fun taking photos there, playing with the interesting architecture and public art and landscaping.

At the end of the night, exhausted as I was, I wanted to do it all over again. Anyway let me just show you some of the pictures.

The stunning hall in the Wits South West Engineering building, ready and waiting for Thomas and Guy.
Socks! Not sure if those flowers are water lilies or proteas but we decided to assume they’re proteas (the South African national flower).
Tie tied, boutonnière pinned.
Obligatory pre-wedding jumpstagram with friends Alistair and Michael. This photo and the photos above were taken at a beautiful guesthouse in Parktown called Doveton House. Thomas and Guy stayed there on their wedding night.
Guy practicing vows in the hallway upstairs, just before the ceremony.
Ruth, Thomas’ mom, leads a choir made up of guests at the wedding. They sounded amazing. Ruth also played the organ at the end of the ceremony, which was so beautiful it gave me chills.
Beginning of wedding vows for Thomas and Guy
Thomas’ sister, Jenni, officiated the ceremony.
Thomas reading vows to Guy
Reading vows.
I think they’re married now.
Andrew, the ring-bearer for Thomas and Guy.
Thomas’ brother, Andrew, was the ring-bearer.
Looking down from the organ balcony.
Guy and Thomas walk down the stairs after getting married.
Married!
Thomas and Guy wedding group photo
Obligatory silly wedding group photo.
Thomas and Guy at Wits after the wedding.
Grooms.
Thomas and Guy with public art at Wits.
We weren’t sure if this was allowed but I’m glad we did it anyway.
I love the architectural lines in this little corner.
Thomas and Guy at Wits
Who knew Brutalist architecture is a great backdrop for wedding portraits?
Kissing beneath the Hillbrow Tower. Perfect.

Thomas and Guy’s wedding happened at a pivotal moment, when I was experiencing a lot of emotional turmoil and uncertainty about my life and my future. I’m grateful for the timing.

This wedding reminded me how much I love this city and this country, how fortunate I am to live here, and how determined I am to stay. I’m so lucky to live in a place with such beautiful people and places and things — a place where two wonderful humans can get married regardless of their gender. A place with so many problems but also so much potential. A place that, despite all the obstacles, feels unmistakably like home.

I’m not leaving.

Thanks Thomas and Guy for the reminder. Also congratulations. Your wedding was the best.

Photo: Cian van der Sloot
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24 Comments

  • Reply dizzylexa December 31, 2018 at 12:39 pm

    Great wedding shots, so glad this wedding made you realise you need to stay.

    • Reply 2summers December 31, 2018 at 12:50 pm

      Thanks. Well it was that and various other things. I like it here 🙂

  • Reply Theo Coggin December 31, 2018 at 12:52 pm

    You have a wonderful imaginative and creative eye. These photos tell it all – and I have seen enough of your other work to know that your other work also illustrates this. It was lovely meeting you and watching you at work at the wedding. Looking forward to seeing more! 🙂

    • Reply 2summers December 31, 2018 at 1:01 pm

      Thanks so much Theo! It was great to meet you too. There will be many more pictures coming your way I’m sure 🙂

  • Reply Anriette Esterhuysen December 31, 2018 at 12:56 pm

    These are THE best wedding pics I have ever seen. I don’t generally like weddings, or wedding photographs. Great work Heather!

    • Reply 2summers December 31, 2018 at 12:57 pm

      Awwww, thanks so much Anriette. That means a lot.

  • Reply Andy December 31, 2018 at 1:10 pm

    Congrats Heather! Really lovely photos!

    • Reply 2summers December 31, 2018 at 1:11 pm

      Thanks Andy 🙂

  • Reply Nancy McDaniel December 31, 2018 at 8:32 pm

    What a lovely story – and wonderful photos as well. So glad they asked you (and you agreed!) Happy 2019!

    • Reply 2summers December 31, 2018 at 9:00 pm

      Thanks Nancy 🙂

  • Reply Rosemary December 31, 2018 at 9:55 pm

    Wishing you the very best for 2019 Heather! Any chance of a blog about your quest for citizenship? Dual nationality? Costs? I’m sure many people would be interested.😎

    • Reply 2summers December 31, 2018 at 10:03 pm

      Hi Rosemary. Unfortunately I am very far away from even figuring out how to get permanent residency – the equivalent of an American green card. Citizenship is an impossible dream – I don’t know a single foreigner in SA who has received citizenship during the 8-plus years I’ve lived here. Right now I’m simply trying to hold on and somehow figure out how to get a visa that lasts longer then three months. There’s a lot more I’d like to say but I don’t want to get myself deported 😞

  • Reply Rosemary January 1, 2019 at 12:32 am

    I have always admired your tenacity and consistency and I can only hope that this will pay off eventually. It does seem to me that widespread nationalism is a growing force- Brexit is a statement of this. It will become increasingly difficult and very expensive (thousands of pounds); exams etc to get British citizenship. Vasbyt- it must happen eventually

    • Reply 2summers January 1, 2019 at 5:58 am

      Yes, exactly. Migration has become so difficult all over the world. Which I find very frustrating because I think it’s human nature to migrate.

  • Reply autumnashbough January 1, 2019 at 12:47 am

    Great photos! Especially the “maybe not allowed” one.

    I wish I could have head that organ, though.

    • Reply 2summers January 1, 2019 at 5:59 am

      Yes, during the organ music I wished I was a videographer.

  • Reply Lani January 1, 2019 at 10:24 am

    I think wedding photographers really do get to enjoy a behind-the-scenes look at couples and their families. It’s an honor and you did a very find job Heather!

    • Reply 2summers January 1, 2019 at 10:26 am

      Thanks Lani. It was tiring and stressful but totally worth it!

  • Reply Eva Melusine Thieme January 2, 2019 at 8:09 am

    What beautiful pictures, Heather! Their wedding looks so stylish and like so much fun. And I’d say they got lucky for you to shoot it.

    • Reply 2summers January 2, 2019 at 8:33 am

      Thanks Sine 🙂

  • Reply P January 2, 2019 at 8:18 am

    I just loved seeing your stunning photographs and could feel the great love and happiness at this wedding. You truly captured some special moments. Keep plodding away with the Visa story – “Perseverence Prevails” (as our Ward Councillor keeps reminding us)!!!

    • Reply 2summers January 2, 2019 at 8:33 am

      Thank you 🙂

  • Reply Jaina January 3, 2019 at 5:13 pm

    It’s great doing something that gets you out of your comfort zone. Sounds like this opportunity came to you just when you needed it.

    • Reply 2summers January 3, 2019 at 5:15 pm

      I think you’re right! Happy New Year Jaina 🙂

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