When I was speaking with John and Kate about their wedding, I almost couldn’t believe my ears. As they were describing the place for their rehearsal and wedding, visions of the place and the potential for photographs just jumped out. It almost sounded too good to be true, but in this case I trusted my instincts because that has proven to be a pretty useful guide in the past. In this event, the setting and the wedding was even better than I had expected and here’s why.
The cause for my excitement was they were telling me about their story and their plans for their wedding which was to take place at one of America’s most famous “juke joints” called “Po Monkey’s Juke Joint.” This establishment, a tradition for over 50 years was in the heart of the Mississippi Delta, the home of the blues. When magazines wanted to depict the iconic location for the home of the blues, they often went here to this juke joint located in the middle of a cotton field near Merigold, MS.
The world’s most famous photographer, Annie Liebovitz from Vanity Fair had photographed this location as well as William Albert Allard, who is a long time National Geographic Photographer.
There’s always been something special to me about the Blues and the South and this wedding was a gift because it was going to place a wedding right in the middle of those two amazing elements. Being from the midwest the South always seemed mystical and mythic — almost like a foreign country. The music was always some of my favorite sounds and as a kid growing up in the 70s, I knew the music I loved (Stones, Zeppelin, etc.) was all rooted in the American south and the blues.
I met John and Kate the day before at their rehearsal and dinner which was held at another famous Mississippi location called The Shack Up Inn (and believe me, there’s enough photographs from THERE to make a second album and second post — such is the event that is a Southern rehearsal dinner). Instantly they made me feel at home, as did their friends and family. Plus the weather could not have been better as a spring storm front had gone through the day previous, and so what was left in that wake of that storm was nothing but cobalt blue skies and cool temperatures, a relief as the wedding was held on the first weekend in June just as the leaves were beginning to form on the trees.
Throughout the day I was pinching myself and just smiling from ear to ear as I was grateful that somehow — amazingly through a referral of a friend of a friend — that had brought me here — worlds away from southern California and the suburban area I live. This was exactly the kind of wedding that was like a waist high fastball, photographically speaking. A great looking couple, with genuine smiles, an unique location in a part of the country steeped in history and lore. Add to it people doing fun things, wearing their Southern best and you’ve got the makings for a wedding for the ages and one that is still a favorite.