man. there have been some good weddings this year. and by weddings i mean ceremonies. i have heard speeches, vows, songs & poems where i do everything i can not to loose it behind the lens. 

finding love & celebrating marriage is beautiful. being surrounded by your dearest people is an experience like no other. marriage isn't always rainbows and sunshine. you will fight, you will loose your temper. you work on your patience, adapting to living with someone else who isn't just a roommate.

but in those moments, we rewind back to your wedding ceremony and think THIS is why we did it. THIS is why we are in love & are together.

for me, capturing these newborn moments of a marriage is critical to your own love story.

i can't help but think of my own marriage. how amazing it is to be with darling david every single day. he makes me laugh from the moment we go to bed (and he tells me how excited he is for coffee in the morning. or pets my head and calls me his My Little Pony) to the time when he wakes up and jumps out of bed excited for coffee & i hear him singing 80s songs in the shower. 

my mother will be the first to tell you i have never done anything normal my entire life. my wedding and love story was no exception. here are some quirks about my own wedding i am excited to share.

1. i was never proposed to. 

everyone daydreams of international love. i never did, it just happened. with that, comes the very un-romantic reality of life. you're in love? you live in another country? boarder patrol is breathing down your neck to ensure you DON'T fall in love. or worse, GET MARRIED IN THEIR COUNTRY! (*gasp!*)

it was a rainy wednesday night in malmö, sweden when i had just come back from a dinner with some american girlfriends. i declared i couldn't live in sweden anymore. i was ITCHING to get back to states to photograph weddings and start my photo career i left behind after photo school.

that puts a lot of pressure on an international relationship since it leaves options of: breaking up. going back to long distant. or getting married.

it was a ruling out of what felt right, what we did & didn't want to do. & stay together is what we both wanted. he cried & i made tea while it poured outside. there was no ring, (in fact i bought my own), no long script of how much he loved me, no one knee, no big question. we came to the realization organically in that moment and it's the start of our marriage. (but don't think i don't live vicariously through my own couples! i eat up every.last.detail!)


2. FEB 23.

city hall or stadshuset in swedish only had weddings on saturdays. feb 23rd was solely chosen because it was the first date my two best friends caitlin & andy could fly in from boston & kenya to be our witnesses. this gave me about 5 weeks to plan everything. :) i was completely heartbroken no one from my family could join but understood the timeline and logistics wouldn't work. until my amazing mother jumped on a plane last minute with caitlin! 


3. my wedding dress was $60 on ebay.

i typed "white wiggle dress" & went with the fanciest dress to pull off with a beehive hair-do. 


4. the reception was in our apartment.

17 people were cozy on that cold february day. we told stories, drank, sang songs, drank, danced, drank, ate spanish cheese, drank david's homemade beer,  an entire bottle of tequilla was consumed between my best friends in less than 10 mins., my father-in-law who works as a mind-reader gave us a private performance which WAS NUTS! (how many people have a mind-reader at their wedding?), oh, and the inside balcony was nicknamed: "the american scream room" because the swedish friends were in shock of just how loud the americans really are. 


5. my wedding flowers.

nothing leaves me on cloud 9 more than my wedding flowers. the entire wedding put together in 5 weeks with a guest list of less than 20 so it obviously wasn't the most extravagant, but i was excited to plan for colors, decor and girl things. my colors were shades of white - creams, ivories, nudes. i wanted off-white flowers. i had them in my head but didn't know what COLOR they were. 

i went to the market square one morning (because that's where you shop when you live in europe) and found them! MY DREAM FLOWERS! they were in rough shape. 2 dozen off-white/yellow/nude roses! i was drooling. they looked really sad. i asked for them. the gentleman said he was about to throw them out but he would sell them to me for 10 swedish krowns (about $2 for the 2 dozen.) i brought them home and picked away the dead coated petals and freshened up their leaves. they lived in david's beer keg for 3 days before the wedding and they survived. 

erin from nectar + root preps me a bouquet every year for our anniversary. she educated me of their name: quicksand roses. the bouquet is dried from this past february and replaced every feb 23rd with fresh.  


6. decorations. total d.i.y.

i literally cut up books into small hearts and hot glued them onto danty off-white satin ribbon. now a-days you can BUY THEM. since our guest list was on the small side & not everyone who we would have loved to be there with us so i put together images of our parents and grandparents' wedding photos as a tribute. talk about a tear jerker.


7. the cake trade.

my life in malmö consisted of the most amazing network of friends and people that i keep dear in my heart to this day. i befriended an AMAZING polish women ewa. ewa was stunning. she reminded me of a movie star. beautiful, witty, charming, sweet & we enjoyed each other's company. i photographed her family, i asked her all my polish-family related questions & got a great sense of home and culture, we met up for fikas (coffee breaks in sweden) and i watched in AWE her insane talent for baking. crafting these works of art with cake. that women worked in fondante like picasso used paints.

she crafted, designed and created my wedding cake. she took samples of the lace from my wedding dress to decorate the cake with. the smell of raspberries, white chocolate & fondante filled my apartment for days. everyone gasped when she brought the cake & darling cupcakes over. the trade? my photo talents, (duh.) i photographed more of her cakes and had the honor of being in her kitchen all day while i saw her create these masterpieces. (too bad for me!)  

ewa, may you know what a beautiful part of the day you had & how people to this day still talk about my wedding cake & i just fantasize about the smell and taste. well done my friend ewa.  


8. there were snowflakes & friends.  

maybe you thought about that being it in sweden in february. but what i hope isn't lost or forgotten were our friends. the people that meant so much to us during our lives in malmö, sweden.

i could not literally invite everyone to our wedding, so the next best thing was to have everyone greet us with a rice toss & group photoshoot when we exited city hall. 

that was the moment that left me breathless. i posted on facebook: we are getting married. we can't invite you. but want you to stand out in the cold at 12pm at stadshuset for a group photos because we love you and want you to be a part of our day.

all of our friends who came by to throw rice at us, give us warm hugs & wishes - you were a HUGE part of the day. please know that. (i am SO getting teary-eyed typing this!) XOXO


9. we were interviewed by the news.

of course there were reporters and photographers when we left the ceremony room at city hall. of course they were doing a story about city hall weddings. of course i was interviewed. one of my favorite photos taken by my amazing photographer lina arvidsson while i was being interviewed.


10. money doesn't buy happiness. 

a wedding day marks the new life journey you share with your love. no dollar amount changes this. this day made my heart explode & preserved our love when i got on a plane 2 weeks later to move to los angeles without him. we lived on opposite ends of the earth for almost 2 years directly after we married. it was hard. but this was the sacrifice you make. i chased after my dream of being a wedding photographer and felt like i hit a fork in road by falling in love unexpectedly.

my heart smiles more when my darling husband pets my head before bed & calls me his My Little Pony.