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Mara & James's Wedding - Joel Simpson | Union, NJ Wedding, Portrait & Event Photography
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Mara & James’s Wedding

I had the privilege of photographing the wonderful wedding of Mara Adler and James O’Kelly last Saturday. Most weddings are celebrations of love and support; this one was a festival of them. Mara’s eyes were filled with love for her new husband James, her best friend, the man she had known she was going to marry and bear children with almost from the moment they met. And she had told him early on. I can see why: Jim is a strong, funny, loving, very smart person. He’s modest and supportive, and extremely capable in what he does—he’s a lawyer, who once introduced himself to her as a vacuum cleaner salesman. I liked him immediately. Mara is the daughter of a dear friend of mine, Seth Adler, who raised her himself after the tragic death of his wife when Mara was still a baby. She has grown into a fine young woman, committed to her career in classical music and opera, and full of love and generosity. I couldn’t do enough for this couple.

And their relatives and friends were wonderful, too. Seth’s mother came from California, a wiry elderly woman of great presence and beauty, dressed with flare, including a metal sculpture necklace. I could see where Seth got his strength of character from and his commitment to social justice. Jim’s parents were there, as was his grandfather, and it was a pleasure to meet them.

The wedding party were a spirited bunch, and we had some fun with their group portraits, including one where the groomsmen held the bride off the ground—despite her misgivings—and she loved it.

Since this was an interfaith wedding, the couple had the luxury of two excellent officiants, Rabbi Bill, and Rev. Paul Mayer, a former monk who went on to co-found “Children of War,” a ministry to teenage youth in war zones world-wide.

I did a projection of the photos from the first half of the day during the meal on a large screen provided by the Atrium. Afterwards, I was very gratified that some of the guests came up to me to ask for individual portraits with their friends. Although one can’t linger over these, it does give me a chance briefly to find out about some of the people who love Mara and James and their family, which adds to the pleasure of my job.

There’s a gallery of photos posted on my Joel Simpson Photography Facebook page. Here are some highlights, as well as a link to the music-video slide show, that I include in all my packages.

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