I've never really been a wedding kind of girl. That is, I never visualized whether I would choose lavender or seafoam dresses for my bridesmaids or what the cake topper would look like. But for Ricchina Di Joseph, a young woman with Down's Syndrome, her perfect wedding has been something she dreamed about for years. And for her 25th birthday, Ricchina's mother gave her the wedding-themed party she had always wanted. The event was documented by Lindsay Morris, a photographer, in an incredibly touching series entitled "Ricchina's Wedding."
Morris is a photographer who is known for her work on subjects like Camp You Are You, which allows gender-nonconforming boys to act as freely as they'd like. She met Janice Di Joseph on a train ride to Pennsylvania. Morris had just come from a seminar on the photographic essay, and when Di Joseph clued her in on the surprise wedding party she was planning for her daughter's birthday, Morris asked if she could photograph it. Morris had been immediately captivated by Ricchina's personality.
"She was so dreamy," Morris said to Slate. "She had this air about her that was so soft and warm and welcoming."
The resulting series provides proof of that quiet, pensive, and inviting dreaminess. In the images, Ricchina gets her hair styled, shows off her garter, and celebrates with friends. According to the Daily Mail, the party was a grand affair by anyone's standards: Ricchina wore a custom-made gown, went to a salon to have her makeup done, and was greeted by 200 guests yelling "Happy birthday!" when she entered the party venue.
But what truly strikes me is the closeness between Ricchina and her mother. In so many of the pictures, they are hardly more than a few steps apart. Although the focus of your average wedding is on the relationship between the bride and the groom, here it lingers on the bride and her mother. Since there is no groom, the wedding party becomes a celebration of the love Janice Di Joseph has for her daughter instead. Ricchina doesn't seem to give a rat's behind that there's no man at the altar. Instead, she's delighted by everything that her mother has given her. (And it's clear that Janice has made an enormous effort to give Ricchina whatever makes her happy: she once got her daughter introduced to her idols, Lance Bass and Justin Timberlake. That's impressive no matter how you spin it.) No, of course I'm not crying. Why would you ask that? It's just, uh, really dusty in here...
For many more heartwarming images, go to the Lindsay Morris Photography website.
Images: Courtesy of Lindsay Morris