While I was in California with a group of new friends, we photographed a styled elopement in the town of Joshua Tree. Although this was a styled elopement - meaning our couple didn’t actually get married, it felt as real as any wedding I’ve ever been to. Sophia and Chad are so so in love. They have gone through the difficulty that is a long distance relationship and have come out the other side stronger than ever. Chad was a missionary in Spain for two years and recently returned home. They started dating just a few months before Chad left for Spain, and their communication was limited to speaking on the phone or through email only a couple of times a year! Their relationship is a true testament to the power of dedication and commitment.
The couple wrote “vows”, aka incredibly sweet letters, to each other to read at the ceremony. After they had both gotten ready, the photographers dispersed through the house until we started to hear guitar music coming from the bedroom. We walked up to find Chad serenading Sophia quietly as she smiled on and teared up. I cannot make this stuff up, y’all. Sophia cried during the first look and, truth be told, I think I saw a glint or two in Chad’s eye. We all audibly gasped and our hearts exploded when we heard chad emotionally say “You look so beautiful! Aw, it’s like it’s the real thing. It’s like we’re actually getting married!”
More tears were shed at the ceremony site when Chad and Sophia read their vows to each other. Chad sweetly wiped away Sophia’s tears. The rest of the afternoon was spent by telling each other stories and laughing. My cheeks were already sore from smiling before Chad even recounted the story of how he made his first “move” on Sophia. Not all things have to be shared on the internet, so I’ll let them keep that story ;)
Chad and Sophia: You were such a joy to meet and photograph. Your love and commitment to one another is inspiring. Thank you for letting me capture these special moments, even if it is only a trial run for the real day soon to come!