Let 2019 Bring Love: Married in Chesapeake Beach

A few days ago I got a text asking if I could take some pictures on New Years Day. “I’ll just be coming back to town,” I responded. “Why, what’s up?”

“We’re going to get married.”

So I left my plans a little early to drive home to the other side of the bay and watch as Brittany’s granddad officiated her wedding. A family already in the making came together before the people closest to them to say they do.

It was without a doubt, the most laidback wedding I have ever been witness to. Planned in a few short days, with venue and time changes happening only an hour out. But none of that ever matters anyway, right? Because the best weddings aren’t about the wedding at all; they’re about the marriage.

If these photos are giving you a little bit of deja vu, it might be because this wedding is remarkably similar to my sister’s wedding this summer. When you come up with a good formula, why mess with it?

Get Happy: Sarah and Brady's Deale, Maryland Wedding

A quirky venue.

A killer DJ/ playlist.

A mildly daunting bridal party boat ride.

A fun-loving couple who just so happened to be easy on the eyes.

Sure it, rained, but I’m pretty sure that not one single person cared.

Because it was that fun.

Venue/ catering: Happy Harbor

Dress: BHLDN

Suit: Indochino

DJ: Eddie Walk

Bakery: Kelly at Bell House Bakery

Married on the Front Deck: My Little Sister's Chesapeake Beach Wedding

I've been rooting them for more than a dozen years.

They said they do on the edge of the bay, surrounded by parents, grandparents, siblings, spouses and a whole lot of kids.

It was so simple. 

And honest.

And I think every one of the thirty-two of us who were witnesses would agree: it was damn near perfect.

just around the bend

I can get bored with the most marketable love story. You know the one: a boy and a girl meet when they are in their physical prime. They're fit and their skin is clear and they both have full heads of hair.

And they date for a respectable amount of time before he proposes at a point that is both reasonable but still exciting. She hasn't started to drop passive aggressive hints and her friends aren't whispering behind her back.

And they marry at a point when their careers are well established and finances are stable, but not so late that their parents worry if grandchildren are ever going to happen.

The story continues after the "I do's", although the credits have rolled. We all know what happily ever looks like. They grow old together with only the normal sorts of disagreements, both content and healthy until they die peacefully in one another's arms in their 95th year.

It's the story I want for my children. A story that doesn't involve fear that love might never find them. The story that doesn't scare me for it all happening too soon. A story with no heartbreak.

But love isn't always pretty and it doesn't always come to us in a perfect package on our 25th birthday when we are fully recovered from the breakup that happened nearly a year ago and ready to start again. And love doesn't end without at least one person's devastation.

Love comes and goes. It must be fought for and worked at. And sometimes, despite everything, it evades us for a time.

But it can return. It will. In new forms and in unlikely packages, hidden in plain sight or found on the other side of the world.

And lightning can strike twice. Happiness can find you more than once.

You can be happily married for decades and suffer the deepest heartbreak, and on the other side, there is love for you again.

I want to honor all the love stories, in all their forms. Because sometimes when we don't see these stories or hear them, we start to wonder if they actually exist, wonder if they could ever happen to us.

They do exist.

They can happen.

Have faith.

Patapsco State Park Pop-Up Wedding

They hiked into the woods with their friends following behind, looking for the spot they knew had to be there somewhere. And when they found it, they read each other Camus and talked about cubed ham.

She wore metallic Birkenstocks and golden beetle earrings and he carried their son.

Afterwards everyone went back to their house for tacos and hand pies. Music played quietly in the background as conversation took centerstage. 

They took only what they wanted from tradition. Abandoned the rest to make room for their truth.