I was drunk, I was in my underwear wearing tank top with “FUCK YEAH” paint sprayed on it, I had my cowboy boots on, I was about couple miles away from their wedding ceremony location AND I didn’t know how bride and groom looked like! I had 4 minutes to make it to their wedding ceremony.
Few minutes earlier before it all happened I got back to my camp, grabbed a beer and made myself comfortable in in lounging chair. It wasn’t my first drink of the day- I had few already. I am out here to party after all, right? Heck yeah, I was having a great Monday! And then my camp mate showed up. She walked over to me and gave nice heartwarming greeting: “WTF? Why are you here? You’re supposed to be photographing Sandi and Andy’s Burning Man wedding ceremony!”. My heart jumped. “No” I said. “No I’m not!. They’re not getting married today. It’s mañana”. “It’s today you idiot!” she responded. “They stopped like 5 hours ago and left you an updated message on chalk board!”. My friend was definitely enjoying giving me hard time.
My heart was racing by now. I ran to our camp’s improvised message board and there it was- date that before was saying “9/2/15” was changed to “9/1/15”. They moved date from Tuesday to Monday! Their Playa wedding ceremony time remained the same- 6pm. I looked at my watch. It was 5:56pm. I had 4 minutes.
Some people get married in the banquet halls, some people get married in the barns, and well, some people get married in the middle of the desert.
Planning Burning Man wedding ceremony during this week-long festival is no joke. I never realized amount of homework until I started talking to couples who get married there. In a way it’s exactly the same wedding planning: you have a date and time, you need to dress up, you need to put paperwork together, people need to show up. If you really into planning, think flowers, cake, music band, party bus, wedding photographer, etc. A bit more complex and a bit more planning, but I’ve seen it all happen out there in magic Playa!
Sandi and I exchanged some emails before leaving for Playa. I never met her and her future husband-to-be Andy. I didn’t know where they from, I didn’t know how they look. I knew the date and they knew my camp’s approximate location.
When festival started they were able to track my camp down, but were not able to talk with me. I was never there. So this improvised message board was started: Sandi and Andy would leave me a message, and I would leave a reply when i would get back from my journeys. They would come back to see me again and would leave another message. And I would reply. And it worked. Until that Monday afternoon, I learned the date was moved and I was given few minutes to get my ass to the wedding ceremony.
So after realizing that time’s almost up, I got on my bike and I pedaled. I pedaled that shitty bike I had like I never will pedal again.
And I made it. And they were there, all dressed up, and happy to see their wedding photographer. And I was glad to see them and that I made it on time.
Sandi and Andy’s Burning man wedding ceremony had a real taste of Playa: short, sweet, emotional and topped with a juicy kiss. No shame, no brakes, no pretending to be someone they are not. Couple got married surrounded by few friends and bunch of strangers. After this Burning Man wedding ceremony Sandi and Andy’s got congratulated by wedding ceremony guests. Group got on their bikes and disappeared in the dust whiteout to celebrate marriage, friends and life.
And I got on my bike and went back to my camp. Sun was setting down quickly and I had to do some preparations before heading out into the dark dessert night illuminated by thousands and thousands if small lights.
ceremony/reception: black rock desert, NV
wedding date: 9.1.2015
Thanks a bunch for stopping by, reading Sandi and Andy’s Burning Man wedding ceremony adventure! Are you a fellow burner that is planning Playa wedding out there in Black Rock desert? Or maybe it’s your friends who are getting married. Either way, shoot me a message with your thoughts how you see your future wedding and what you have planned so far. I might be there and you might be able help you out!
I am documentary wedding photographer based in Madison, Wisconsin that specializes in moment driven wedding photojournalism. During that type of coverage I won’t boss you around. I won’t ask you to be an actor and pretend to be someone you are not. I will stay out of your way and I will let you be true you.