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Along with half a dozen guests, they visited orphanages, Masai schools, and a center for the deaf and differently abled, all with an aim to put their wedding money toward a higher cause. And with an average American wedding costing $35,329 in 2016, according to The Knot, there is a lot of good the couple was able to do both before and after the trip for the local community. And to capture their unique 10-day journey, Van Sise found himself thrust into a unique circumstance, having met the couple for the first time in Tanzania after flying in from New York. Luckily, the situation was a perfect fit for the photographer, who also works for The Village Voice and Buzzfeed and is a Nikon/AFAR travel photography ambassador. “I'm a social creature and we all got to be friends, which was pretty lovely,” Van Sise tells My Modern Met. “It was sort of like bonding boot camp.” Jumping in with the group as they moved between activities and the brief wedding ceremony, Van Sise had the challenge of sussing out the situation and determining just what sort of story he wanted to tell. For him, it was an assignment that called upon his work as both a professional travel and wedding photographer. “It wasn't really a destination wedding—there was so little ‘wedding'—and it wasn't exactly a travel story (nobody really went to see the sights, per se, and there wasn't really a tourism-facing component to the story). So I ended up shooting it as two different stories; first, the story of this really interesting, unique thing these folks were doing: the humanitarian aspect of it, going and meeting and helping people and sort of the positive human story of it, of which there was a lot. But there was also the idea that, at the end, there's a love story going on—this couple blew their wedding money to go do this crazy kindness but hey, at the end of the day I want to make something beautiful too and there's zebras running around and I've got a gorgeous bride, so let's have some fun with that, too.
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