Last night I announced on my Facebook and Instagram feeds the top three finalists for the 2015 Wedding Photography Giveaway! Today, with the sharing of this post, you and anyone you know who wants to participate in choosing the final couple, will be able to cast your votes via email, my mailing list, commenting below here, or with a comment on Facebook and Instagram.
All of the couples who entered the contest were asked to share a little bit of their stories and wedding details with me. This was a crucial part in my narrowing it down to three!
Here I have shared with you some of the key elements that persuaded me to choose the couples I did, as well as a photograph of each couple. If you would be so kind as to take the time to read about these beautiful people and then, using all of this information, vote for your couple of choice, it would be so so appreciated!
NOTE: ANYONE CAN PARTICIPATE!!! you DO NOT have to know these couples to cast a vote! You may vote on any platform, but only one of your votes will count! (I will be writing down names). Voting is open through the weekend.. I will be announcing the winner Monday February 16th 2015.
Thank you all so so much for being a part of this event and for sharing your personal stories with me(us). I have thoroughly enjoyed getting to know a little bit about every one of you.. I hope to be able to meet all of you in the near future.
Jamie and Steve
names: Jamie Koehnlein (31) and Stephan Connor (27)
location: Montpelier, VT
wedding date: Saturday June 20th 2015
wedding location: Old West Church in Calais, VT - reception to follow in a tent in a large open field nearby
THEIR STORY: (I tried to shorten this one a bit, but I just adored the way Jamie wrote it out and sort of felt like every detail mattered.. so here is the 'long version' of Jamie and Steve's story!)
"I wound up in Montpelier after a 7 year relationship came to an abrupt end. Prowling the downtown scene (which is a very small scene) a couple of months later with friends one evening, I spotted across the pool table a tall, handsome, blonde giant. I immediately asked a new friend (and now bridesmaid and future sister in law), "Do you know that boy in the red hat?" She giggled, grabbed her fiancé, Chris, and said, "Jamie just asked me who the boy in the red hat is!" Chris stopped laughing, stared me straight in the eye and replied, "That's my brother." Oh. I slinked back into the corner on my newborn single legs and stared at him from afar. We did not meet formally that night.
This was late May. I finished up my school year (I'm a HS English teacher), traveled around all summer so that I was not depressed and indoors as I worked to process the recent upheaval and relocation, and day and night dreamed of this boy I affectionately referred to as "Thor." (Accept he's even more handsome than Chris Hemsworth in the movie.) When I returned to VT in August, after celebrating friends' weddings, solo, I wound up as the fifth wheel with Chris, Emilie, my teacher friend Hayley, and her boyfriend James. "Steve is coming down tonight," they casually mentioned. I'm sure I turned bright red, but after playing a few games of pool, entertaining awkward conversation about the high-top basketball sneakers he was wearing from 8th grade, and meeting his younger sister, we had our next date lined up to attend a BBQ in celebration of Chris and Emilie's dog, Annie's', birthday party.
I learned Steve had just returned from Martha's Vineyard and was claiming that he was "emotionally unavailable." This worried and relieved me. I didn't think I was ready for something "serious" yet, and so I think we both proceeded with caution. Despite not asking me for my number after a party on Labor Day, I asked his sisters for his, and have no regrets about it. He entertained yoga for our real first and second dates. I was hooked, and knew he became emotionally available after introducing me to his cousin as his "girlfriend." We talked and giggled about being a "couple." We remained as such after he traveled to Panama with friends in January, but returned weeks early because he knew he'd rather be on a great adventure with me.
We moved in together in July. We have two silly dogs because Steve graciously took on the responsibility of caring for his sister's 90 pound deer/dog named Sampson after she moved to NYC to fulfill her dreams. Life already feels like an adventure but I think we both feel very lucky to want to help each other overcome any struggle, from picking up dog poop to rebuilding the ceilings in our rental apartment."
"Flash forward to Christmas morning, 2014. While I proactively requested a nap in between opening presents and an evening party, he suggested a hike. "No," I said, "It's been raining. It'll be all wet." Strike one. I had no idea he was preparing to propose and so we got out of bed, made coffee, and I worked to finish his dad's knit hat. He turned off the overhead lights to let the Christmas tree sparkle. "No," I said, "I just need five more minutes to finish this hat. Can you please turn that back on?" Strike two. He turned the light back on and composed himself in the kitchen, ring in his pocket. I hadn't even looked up from the needles and yarn to see him sweating. He turned the lights off again. "What are you doing? You're driving me crazy!" I screeched. I imagined he had forgotten that I needed the light to see, and instead was thoughtfully saving energy. I looked up as he was dropping to one knee, presenting the ring and sweetly saying, "I'm sorry to interrupt your knitting, but I was wondering if you'll spend the rest of your life with me?"
After screaming, laughing, asking, "Are you sure? I was just so mean!" and "Is this for real!?" I said yes. We hugged, kissed, hugged, turned on music. I think I must have blindly tied yarn together in thoughtless knots, as I floated out of my body experiencing a joy I had never experienced before. Arriving at his family's house with champagne, his sister spotted the ring and his family also screamed, cheered, laughed, cried and exclaimed, 'This is the best Christmas present you could have given us.'"
WHY IS PHOTOGRAPHY IMPORTANT TO YOU?:
"I've heard the wedding day is a whirlwind. Having been part of Chris and Emilie's wedding-palooza that took place after dating for 11 years and saving for at least that long, Steve and I do not have the 3500+ budget for engagement and wedding photos that will allow us to relive the special day(s). However, having a professional capture with an artistic eye some of the details and moments that we will inevitably miss as we anticipate saying "I do" is worth it. I'm not interested in candid table shots. My friends can use Instagram for that. I am, however, highly interested in you finding and capturing the beauty in the moments leading up to the ceremony, the moments during the ceremony, and the celebratory moments after with care and thoughtful attention. Rather than flowers, or even the dress, I've heard and believe that the photographer is worth the investment."
- rustic, 1800's church
- romantic and sweet details
- budget friendly(DIY)
- outdoor celebration
- loose and whimsical hair
- live music
- large bridal party
- 150-200 guests
Irish and Jay
names: Irish Gallagher (32) and Jason Moore (35)
location: Bristol, CT
wedding date: Saturday October 3rd 2015
wedding location: the White Memorial Conservation site (the Carriage House) in Litchfield, CT
THEIR STORY: Irish and Jay first met in 2005.
"I met Jay when he moved into his sisters house, two houses up from mine. I was married at the time and just had my second daughter. Jay's sister had a daughter a month earlier so we hit it off pretty quick ...each of our families this is, I had no clue at the time I would ever leave my ex or that Jay would be there for me in ways I could never imagine. We had an amazing friendship before we had anything."
Five years later, after overcoming many personal struggles and obstacles as individuals, Jay and Irish found that their love for each other went beyond friendship. They knew from that point on that they were meant to be together.
"He calls my girls his angels because they saved him from his self destructive ways. He has become more than a father to them. He gives them goals and structure that they have never had before. He gives them unconditional love and support. I know they love me but they often look for him instead -he is a better bear hugger I guess... lol"
"Dec 7th 2013( it was a Saturday): the girls were at there dads for the night. Jay and myself were talking about life in the kitchen as we often do. We talked about our dreams and goals and our love for each other ( and the girls of course). I sat down on the couch. Jay shortly there after almost threw himself down in front of me and asked me to grow old with him -----tears! I had NO idea. My ring is the most beautiful thing I own. The whole night was just us and perfect -at home, sweats on, listening to music, it was an amazing cloud that I loved being on.
Dec 8th: we picked up the girls to go hunting for our Christmas tree. I showed them my ring and they were so excited. My oldest daughter Ashlynn already knew because Jay asked her for her blessing and my youngest Leaf was already asking to be our flower girl. I went to bed that night with so much love in my heart but I felt a little off... with Christmas around the corner I was not paying attention to other calendar events."
Dec 9th: I had to pick up a child I had been watching, on the way home I stopped at my sisters work and used her bathroom and sure as shit I was pregnant. I put the test into a travel tooth brush holder and wrapped it with a bow.
That night was a special night - we as a family decorated the Christmas tree. Jay surprised the girls with beautiful necklaces with a wonderful speech about his love for them-and how grateful he was to be in their lives. Then I said since everyone is getting early gifts I have one for you too, its still very small though. 'awwww a tooth brush!', he said as he opened it and was instantly in shock.
Our family grew on August 1 2014. We had a boy and named him Hendrix. He is such a ham and we just love him so very much. We wanted to wait for him to not be a baby anymore for the wedding."
WHY IS PHOTOGRAPHY IMPORTANT TO YOU?:
"Wedding photography is important to us because we don't normally do for ourselves. We have never gotten a professional family photo. My family is everything to me and I get agita thinking about a wedding- with planning, paying, food, decorating, people and craziness. I'm still counting down the days to marry my best friend, the love of my life, and the father to my children. Winning this could ease the blow of money that we really don't have much of to begin with, but will spend it to get those artistic pictures that I have never had before."
Jessica and Henrique
names: Jessica Carrique (25) and Henrique Rodriguez (31)
locations(s): Delaware(grad school) and Long Island, NY
date of wedding: Sunday August 16th, 2015
location of wedding: Church in Massapequa and a Restaurant in Farmingdale, New York (Long Island)
THEIR STORY: Jessica and Henrique met in April 2014 at friend's wedding rehearsal in Long Island, NY.
"When I arrived at the church, I saw Catherine's fiancé standing outside with a man I had never met. I approached them, hugged Catharine's fiancé, and then noticed the other man was carrying a purple basket full of bubbles for the wedding guests to use after the wedding ceremony. I looked at this man who was a stranger to me and said, 'You look so manly with your bubbles.'. Little did I know that those were the first words I said to my future husband (and also best man at the wedding!). Later at the restaurant, Henrique and I sat next to each other, created numerous inside jokes, and basically clicked instantaneously. We haven't looked back since and are now planning our own dinner to be held at t he same restaurant from the day we met."
"About six months later, Henrique proposed. Although some people were a bit surprised that the proposal came so quickly, family and friends who know us well were not shocked at all. many said things like; 'I knew it.' or 'I saw this coming!' and 'You guys just seem so great and happy together.' Henrique did an amazing job planning the proposal day. He planned a scavenger hunt full of fun clues, some of our favorite places, perfect music playing in the car as we drove from place to place, and finally the proposal in my favorite park and gazebo. I truly felt like the luckiest girl in the world(and still do!)."
WHY IS PHOTOGRAPHY IMPORTANT TO YOU?:
"At first we were planning on waiting close to two years for our wedding. However when we started thinking about the wedding details..., we realized that a big wedding is not important to us. What is important to us is our love, our relationship, starting our lives together, and working towards having a family."..." Since we are now planning a wedding for much sooner than we originally expected, we are trying to 'cut costs' wherever possible (such as making our own wedding invitations and favors!). However, we both agree that photography is not something we can skimp on. All weddings, whether small or big, deserve to be captured in all of their beauty. Our photos will be the most added keepsakes of our wedding day: they will be meticulously placed into scrapbooks by both myself and my scrap-booking mother, hanging in frames all around our future house, and used as crucial props when telling our love story to our future children. Ultimately these photos, each and every one, will be cherished."
- a mass ceremony in a church in Massapequa, New York
- DIY, budget friendly decor
- homemade wedding cake
- reception and dinner in a restaurant in Farmingdale, New York
- Classic hair, makeup, and dress
- 65 guests
happy voting!!! xo