Over the past week, the viral photos of Dalton Mort, the Oscha Sling babywearing bride during her wedding hit the internet, and women everywhere are going nuts. While the photos taken by Laura Schaefer, are undoubtedly beautiful, the two women behind the photos are just as wonderful.
Laura Schaefer and Dalton Mort both are local mothers in my mom's group. The babywearing bride photos went viral, and I reached out to the ladies to see what they thought about their viral photos and to dig a bit deeper into both of their lives.
Laura, tell us a bit about your family.
"My husband, Matthew, and I have been married for close to 4 years. We have a 2-year-old son, a 7-week-old daughter, and one baby in heaven."
Your photography business, Fire & Gold, seems to be a true calling for you, and your photos display your God-given talent. Has photography always been a passion for you, or did it start off differently?
"Yes, I've always been interested in photography. My parents bought me my first camera when I was three years old. It was a film camera made by Fisher-Price for kids. I bought my first DSLR camera in high school and began to teach myself during high school and college. I took engagement photos for friends in college, but it wasn't until I was married that my husband really began to encourage me to start a business."
You ladies are friends. How long have you known each other? It's awesome that you're friends and that Laura was able to capture all the lovely details of the day.
"We've known each other for little under two years now. We both have kids the same age and met through a local mom's group."
Dalton, everyone is going crazy over the photos. Did you know all along that you wanted to babywear at your wedding?
"It was definitely not the first thing on my mind. We had a pretty short engagement - only about five months - so I planned out the whole wedding in like a week.
Once I started thinking about the finer details, I started thinking about my daughter, Ellie. She was under two at the time and quite rambunctious. The mass was going to be during nap time, and she also gets easily overwhelmed with large groups of people. I knew I wanted her to be with my husband and I the whole time. All of that made me want to wear her. She would be with me without me having to worry about her running around. Wearing her was a natural choice."
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I know that you're a very natural mom. Has babywearing always been part of your parenting?
"Babywearing has pretty much always been a part of my life. My mom wore my brother in a ring sling, and she gifted that same sling to me at my baby shower. She gave me a stretchy wrap that I loved. I have worn my daughter since she was about a week old."
I love seeing how a parent's direction plays a part in our lives. Laura, your parents gifted you a camera that led you down the journey to be a photographer, and Dalton, your mother influenced you to babywear your children. That's a beautiful thing. I'm curious, Laura, did Dalton let you know ahead of time she was going to wear Ellie at the wedding?
"When I met with Dalton before her wedding day to go over some details, I asked if she was going to wear a veil for her wedding, and she said, "No, I'll be wearing Ellie." I immediately thought it was a fantastic idea!
Being a fellow mother of an active toddler, I totally understood the practicality of wearing your child to church. It keeps them happy and contained. She mentioned that the wedding Mass would be during Ellie's naptime, so it was the perfect solution.
I was excited to capture photos of Dalton putting Ellie on while she was getting ready. It would be a unique twist on a bride putting on her veil, completing the bridal look."
Laura, you captured the special moments between mom, Ellie, and dad. Did Dalton tell you anything, in particular, she wanted from the photos?
"When I asked Dalton about what some of her "must-get" shots would be for her wedding, she specifically asked for ones of her wearing Ellie, kneeling and praying in the church before the tabernacle. We took them before any guests came into the church, and it was such a special moment to capture her praying before her wedding.
Those are some of the most shared photos, and I think it's because there's something simply beautiful about a mother, wearing her child, praying before her wedding. It strikes people's hearts, and they want to share it. I'm so glad Dalton asked me to take those photos.
The rest of the photos from the wedding were caught as they happened. I like to capture the details and emotions of the moment. So, Ellie taking the flower out of Dalton's hair and giving it to Jimmy Joe wasn't planned, but I saw it happening and captured it."
Speaking of the shots that you took, everyone is going nuts over that wrap. It's beautiful! What made you pick that particular wrap, Dalton?
"Our wedding colors were basically just bright colors. I wanted a wrap that would play off that, but I didn't know exactly what I wanted. I looked at different wraps for at least a week before I decided. It took me longer to pick out a wrap than to plan my wedding. I just realized that!"
During a few moms' nights, you talked about babywearing at your wedding. Did any of your friends or family members tell you not to wear Ellie?
"I did tell lots of people I was going to wear her during the wedding, and some really didn't like the idea. They thought it would take away from me. There were also people who were worried about Ellie still wanting to get down and run around. Then, I would have to deal with that. That was a very valid concern, but I was willing to take the risk."
You just had a new baby, your first home birth. Congratulations! You were pregnant during your wedding, so how was planning the wedding and being pregnant at the same time?
"Well, the wedding was fully planned before baby #2, Briar, was conceived. I was a pretty laid-back bride though. I knew everything was going to work out perfectly, and I was okay with that! My only worry was my dress. I started showing right around my wedding date; I was 12 weeks. You can see a little bump in some of the pictures."
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How is little Briar doing?
"He is doing great! He is definitely a mommy's boy, and he just wants to be with me and nurse, all the time. I love this newborn phase."
Going viral must be crazy for both of you! Have you gotten mostly positive reactions?
Dalton - "Yes, most people were very positive. While I was in labor, I was actually getting negative feedback. My friends joked that it started my labor. There is always someone who will have something negative to say, so it didn't bother me. I was so overwhelmed by all the positive feedback."
Laura - "The reaction on Facebook has been overwhelmingly positive! I had never expected this post to get so much engagement, but clearly, there's something about it that makes people stop, click, comment, and share! The most common response I've gotten on the photos is that they're beautiful.
Beauty is something that is captivating, and it speaks to the soul. I think people crave true beauty and when they see it, they're changed by it and want to share it. I've really enjoyed reading people's comments about how they want to do this in the future. It's also been neat to see photo comments posted by mothers who did this at their wedding too!"