The day has FINALLY arrived! I get to announce the winning couple for my 2014 Wedding Giveaway . I received dozens of entries and I was taken back by the work and love put into each email I received. When I started this giveaway I wasn’t sure what I was looking for, I wasn’t sure how the winning couple would be chosen. I just knew I wanted to feel connected with the couple through their words and their pictures. I waited until February 1st to read through each entry and after finishing one particular email I knew I was reading an email from a couple that I just had to meet and that I was dying to photograph.
Meet John and Jessie…
“I don’t remember meeting John. He was just there and he’d been there for some time. He lives a few hours outside of Spokane and is very much a creature of habit. He is a flight student working to earn his private license and needed somewhere to eat when he arrived into town each weekend. He came to the restaurant I was managing every Friday night and ordered the same pizza while sitting at the bar and chatting with the people around him.
It took me a while to say hello to him. I remember seeing his bright eyes and genuine smile as I picked up drinks for other tables at the bar. It was a treat when the bartender was behind and I had a minute to coyly look his way from across the counter. After several weeks of exchanging pleasantries, we started talking more as I made a greater effort to slip behind the bar and make drinks when it was busy.
A month had passed before I decided to join him after shift for a beer. A week later we decided to grab martinis at a charming spot nearby when my shift wrapped up. I’d asked him out. Afterwards, he asked to see me again.
On our second date, we talked for hours and the conversation carried like we were old friends. We were at Bon Bon in the Garland District debating another round when suddenly the room filled with men in fishnet stockings wearing makeup. The Rocky Horror Picture show was playing next door. Neither of us had seen it and I was a bit curious about the spectacle. Unsure about what would happen next, we walked to the theater holding hands and fortified by a shot of single malt scotch received certificates and face paint marking us as first-timers. Before the movie began, we quickly exchanged our philosophies and ideals in one line sentences and calmed fears that the show would be too much for the other. He put his arm around me and everything in the world was good.
We went out many times over the next few weeks, always at night after
I’d finished work. One Friday in June, I took a chance and asked if
he wanted to join me for an event the next morning. I’d been eagerly
awaiting the Color Me Rad 5K and one of my friends had just canceled, leaving her spot open. He hadn’t a clue what he was getting into but happily
agreed. I wrote down a video link and told him to meet me the next
day wearing all white. I gave him my phone number for the first
time. Nervous and excited, we jogged and walked through a rainbow of powders and sprays until we looked like we’d been
shaken in a bag of wet Skittles. And we held hands, laughed, rubbed
color across each others’ faces, and hugged. That night he came over
to my house for a small party with friends and he kissed me for the first time,
outside under the night sky.
For a while I called him my guy friend but my friends and coworkers new better. John and I enjoyed day hikes and late night cocktails and found scraps of time to be together between Friday and Sunday each week. We watched movies, we talked about life, we became close. Eventually the crew at the restaurant stopped calling him “Crispy Flathead” (the favorite pizza that kept him coming to my restaurant, which he like cooked a bit longer than normal) and started calling him John.
The first time he called me his girlfriend was on my birthday when he took me out to lunch. He said it while telling a story about his friend. We’d avoided the conversation to that point, perhaps unintentionally, but there wasn’t another person in whom either of us was interested, and we both knew the same about the other. That was July.
The next months were filled with hikes, sitting by the river talking about everything, and building a friendship. He had never been serious enough about a girl to introduce her to his family. I met several of his cousins and other extended family within days of our 5K. And I was opening my heart for the first time in a long while. I’d been married once before and dedicated the previous years to finding peace and happiness on my own following the death of my first husband. Going slow worked for John and me. It allowed us to become partners. Our hours together both flew by and stood still at the same time. After only months of dating, our weekends together felt immeasurable by time, as the way the beginning of forever often does.
One afternoon, while sitting on a favorite rock in Riverside State Park and overlooking the Spokane River, John began to say sweet words. I nuzzled in and he commented on my cold nose. Without missing a beat he asked to make it last forever. Confused on why he wanted my cold nose to persist, I pulled back as he pulled a box out of his pocket. It contained a gold ring that he himself had forged years before, when the idea of a wife was a distant thought but the longing for a love was steadfast. Overcome by emotion, he didn’t initially ask the question that generally accompanies rings, but when he did I passionately said yes.
We’ve been engaged longer than we dated. During this time, we’ve become better friends and integrated our lives further. Our families now know each other by name and joyfully look forward to supporting us in marriage. Life has changed many times over in recent months, and we have begun to take steps forward together as companions. We still live in different towns, but this has forced us to communicate strongly and regularly through phone calls, texts, and other means. We share our dreams and look for ways to support the other in pursuing them. We long for adventure in foreign cities and relish in quiet times watching movies at home. We are happy and we work to make each other happy. We’re still deciding where and what we’ll be in the future, other than together of course.
We may have known each other longer than we recall, but I really can’t
remember meeting John. Now, we’ve got a terrific future before us and we
thoroughly plan to fill it with unforgettable memories. It’s been amazing
falling for one another and establishing a solid partnership, so we are
thrilled to be committing our lives to one another. At this point, I
can’t imagine a life without him by my side. And to think it all
started with this man of consistency finding a dinner that he loved. He
came for the pizza, but he stayed for the girl. ”
I am beyond excited to get to know this couple and to be able to give them images they will be able to look back on forever. Hurry up summer, I have weddings to shoot!