Our wedding is so much more than one day in a white dress… whether we are standing in front of our family and friends, or alone in Alaska with only the mountains to hear, God is saying, ‘See! Listen here! My party is going to be like this times a million because I want to celebrate the love I have for you.’
I need art. I need it to express what words can’t. I need it to capture something complicated and make it simple.
I needed it to articulate to myself, and to others, the plans for our marriage that cross 8,000 miles across the pacific. I couldn’t think of a better way to articulate our decisions than asking my friends at The Wells Makery to bring our vision to life. Seeing it like this helps me share with others the beautiful array of events we’re having to celebrate our wedding across the world.
When Camron and I starting dating we knew where we would marry would be a hard decision. Both of us are super close to our families and have so many ties to where we grew up. Besides the obvious complications that come with loving someone long distance, choosing where to marry and live was the hardest complication of all. Although Camron and I reached a decision with great peace, sharing that decision and the fallout from that was one of the most difficult times of our lives.
We prayed for months leading up to our engagement, and over time it became so clear what we were meant to do. For us, honoring Jesus, each other and our families would look like throwing two identical reception parties – one in Sydney and one in Seattle – each with the fullness of celebration a wedding would normally have (confetti, cake and everything else wonderful). Sydney will be shot by James Simmons and Seattle by Benj Haisch.
As for the moment we’d actually marry, we decided to have a small ceremony with just our immediate family. This way, both of our families would be invited to celebrate our marriage with us equally, and we would still be able to elope (which has been our dream from the moment we met!).
Choosing where to do it was the easiest choice we made – we would elope in Alaska, our favorite place in the whole world. The week we spent there in early 2016 was the holiest week of my life. Disconnected from the entire world in a town populated by only 2000 people, it was the slowest I’ve lived, enjoying every tiny infinitesimal moment with Camron in the mountains and snow (see our photos here). Words can’t really describe it – we’re connected to that place now, it fills my dreams.
Our Fiance Visa required we legally marry on U.S. soil anyway, and having it half way in Hawaii wasn’t a viable option for Camron’s family (plus, tropical isn’t really our thing). So a few months before our engagement we chose our amazing wedding photographer India Earl and paid for her and her husband to shoot us in Alaska. We booked in April 30th as our wedding date, as it was originally the only week in many months that would have worked for both sets of parents. It was a dream come true, and every time I thought of that first look in our favorite place in the snow my heart overflowed with joy.
Our hearts believed, in faith, for this to happen, right up until the last moment we could. My visa was taking so long to come through, and April 30th was drawing closer. We fought to believe God – He made it so tenderly clear to us that we were to trust Him. But the time came and passed that we could make it back to America in time. It was devastating, but that’s a whole other blog post! We rescheduled with India (her only other availability was mid-August, a lifetime away to us), and waited.
During that time a few things were made clear to us, including the fact that it would be much easier for our families if we were to elope in Seattle instead. We were already going to Alaska for our elopement photos with India (and our honeymoon!), but we knew if we wanted our parents to watch us get married without causing difficulty for them, that we would need to elope in Seattle before we left for Alaska.
So then began the fourth and final part of our wedding plans. We had the privilege of asking the legendary Benj Haisch to shoot our elopement on August 10th in Seattle, a few days before we’re leaving for AK. He’s Seattle-based wedding photographer and his elopement photos are out of this world good. We began to see how beautiful it will be to elope in the place we’ve built a life together, with our immediate family present.
So, over the next 4 months we’ll celebrate our marriage four beautiful times with the people that we love.
We believe God chose marriage to reflect who He is and how much He loves us. Our wedding is so much more than one day in a white dress. Over the course of our four events, we’re reflecting the love that Jesus has for us and the huge party that He’s preparing for His bride. He chose marriage to uniquely tell the Church their true name: ‘Beloved.’ So whether we are standing in front of our family and friends, or when we stand alone in Alaska with only the mountains to hear, God is saying ‘pay attention, I’m coming back, and it’s going to be like this times a million because I want to celebrate the love I have for you.’