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Hearts Full of Love

July 3rd, 2009

Just a few weeks ago, I had the great pleasure of photographing Karen and Joe’s wedding. Weddings are a big part of what I do, and I enjoy every one of them for the happiness and sense of celebration that ties them all together in a chain of love. I also love them for what makes them unique.

This wedding was no exception.

Karen’s dad is no longer with us, so understandably there was a lot of emotion around his not being there. In Chinese culture, the tea ceremony demonstrates respect for the older generations. Here, in Saratoga’s tranquil and elegant Hakone Gardens, we are at the same venue where our lovely Stacy and Harold got married. The guests witnessed the bride and groom serving tea to their parents. When Karen’s turn came, everyone—me included—was completely choked up. Karen knelt and offered tea to her mom and also to her dad whose tea cup was carefully placed on the empty chair right next to her.

Yes, the chair was empty, but the hearts of everyone at that wedding were as full as the cups of tea. I won’t forget this scene anytime soon or the tradition that it honors, and I know that Karen and Joe won’t either.

– Michael Soo

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