October 10, 2012 by Kylee Ponder
I’m taking a bit of a “30-minute-I-need-to-stop-working-on-lesson-planning break” to write something that I’ve been meaning to write for the past few weeks, but simply haven’t had time to! On the 29th of September, 2012, I was the Maid of Honor in a beautiful wedding in Richmond, Virginia. BUT. It wasn’t just any wedding. It was my beautiful sister’s wedding to her beautiful now-husband, Alistar. After wedding planning for almost the past year and a half, dress shopping, crying at every remotely emotional moment (we all know my love of tears), and balancing graduate school and being in Hanover constantly, the weekend happened. They got married, y’all! It was a beyond perfect few days and even though I think I got a total of approximately 10 hours of sleep the entire weekend (Thursday through Sunday), it was lovely.
But this isn’t my personal forum to write about my life and my sister’s wedding. It’s a forum for me to write about William & Mary. And I promise I have a connection. Because I always find some sort of William & Mary connection. Let’s start with firsts. My date. I had to bring a date if I was the Maid of Honor, right? I ended up bringing one of my very best friends from the College, who just happens to be a blogger and pursuing his J.D. from the College – Brian Focarino. I was so excited to have my William & Mary and Franklin (my hometown) worlds collide. A few weeks before the wedding, I was talking to my beautiful freshman roommate, Caroline, and discovered that the wedding site – Tuckahoe Plantation – just happened to be where she boarded her horse, the place I had heard her talk about constantly freshman year, and the place that she now worked occasionally as a post-grad-trying-to-find-a-real-job. She ended up riding her horse during the wedding, and my sister and her then-new-husband saw her and Scooter as they were taking pictures after the ceremony. I met a friend’s boyfriend at the reception – a William & Mary alum. Another William & Mary alum was a groomsman. William & Mary connections, am I right? Crazy. But there’s one more. And this might be my favorite connection of all.
A few months ago when my sister had nearly-every giant aspect of her wedding tied down, we realized we were missing something. Something big. Something important. A photographer. After seeing a recent William & Mary grad’s beautiful portraits for her burgeoning photography business, I stumbled upon Warthan Farms Photography and was incredibly impressed by the simplistic beauty of all of her photos. After showing her to my sister and some communication, it was on. Warthan Farms Photography was photographing my sister’s wedding. My friend, Caitlin Finchum, whose portraits Jennifer Warthan had taken and who had just started her own photography business, Caitlin Elizabeth Photography, then posted a Facebook status.
But before we hit that Facebook status. Let me tell you about the insane amount of connections that Caitlin and I have. Besides being two of the biggest fans of the College of William & Mary that I know (I’m not biased, I swear), we also come from similar upbringings – upbringings that involved a lot of sweet tea, dirt roads, and small-town America. We went to rival district high schools. We played high school tennis, against each other (I won a match, she won a match – we’ve joked and said that that’s the only reason we’re still friends). Then, I got to William & Mary and she was already there! I saw her occasionally around campus and she was a sweet familiar face to bump into. Then, we randomly (yet literally) traveled the world together summer after my sophomore year for six weeks in Florence, Italy (and a bunch of other places on the weekends) with William & Mary and Dr. Michael DiPaola (and a bunch of other William & Mary students). Kind of crazy, right?
So back to that Facebook status. She posted a Facebook status that said something along the lines of, “So incredibly blessed to be second-shooting weddings with Warthan Farms Photography!” Then I realized. WAIT. That’s who was shooting my sister’s wedding. And I couldn’t even predict the future but Caitlin and Jennifer ended up joining up for weddings and founding an awesome photography duo called FreshlyWed. That photography duo shot my sister’s wedding. And I can tell you that it was phenomenal to see Caitlin walk into the hotel room as the bridesmaids and my sister were getting ready. To hear her familiar voice! And then strangely enough, to be reunited later in the evening as Alistar & Rebecca were leaving in a trail of sparklers as Brian and I were trying to make a W and M sparkler picture. I’ve included two of FreshlyWed’s beautiful shots in this blogpost.
I’m still amazed at how William & Mary continues to shine its connectivity in my life. Every. Single. Day. I’m always meeting people that know people from my hometown. Or who graduated from William & Mary. Or who were in my sorority. Or who did this. Or that. That’s the power of a William & Mary degree. And the power of a William & Mary wedding – even if neither the bride nor groom went to school here.
Hark upon the gale, y’all.