It wasn't his high school reunion, but he was there anyway. When a bunch of his friends had mentioned that they were going, he decided to go along for a fun night out. Little did he know that night would change his life forever. Even today they can both still clearly point out the exact spot at the bar where they started talking that night. (I like to think that sometimes, even if you're not entirely sure why you're doing it at the time, you mentally freeze a moment in your mind to make sure you'll remember it later because you know something big is about to happen.)
As he talked to her that night he couldn't believe that there was a girl this perfect for him and he hadn't met her before. A girl who played soccer (she was practically a pro in college), was laid back and easy to talk to, who laughed at his corny jokes and ALSO happened to be stunningly beautiful? Where had she been all his life?
Well that's the funny part...she had been pretty much always right nearby. As kids, they grew up just ten minutes away from one another. They probably shopped in the same supermarket, went to the same movie theaters, played in the same parks. When they got a bit older, she was in the very same high school as a lot of his friends. There is a good chance they might have been at the same party or dance at one time or another back then. The real kicker is that they actually attended the same college - at the same time. You would have thought they may have met each other over the course of eating in the same cafeteria, studying in the same library or maybe even sitting in the same classrooms.
Sure, they could have met in any of those occasions, but it wouldn't have been the right time. That night at the high school reunion was the right time. It was the moment that they had been just missing up up until this point, driving past one another on the road or passing each other in the hallway of a dorm. Which is probably why they both remember that moment so vividly because even though it was the very first time they talked to one another, it seemed like it was a meeting that was a long time coming.
The first time he met her family, her mother brought out a picture from her childhood to show to him. When he looked at the photo, the last thing he expected was to see was his own face staring back at him in a group class photo from preschool. He had met her before, when they were both four years old. Maybe way back then those two four year olds had noticed something about each other across the blocks and toys in that preschool classroom. Something so strong that even though almost twenty-five years went back, they both recognized it when they saw it again - when they met for the "first time."
MAREN & MICHAEL
It's safe to say that I have never seen Michael happier than he was last weekend, which is really saying something...I've known Michael my whole life - he's my brother. As soon as we met Maren, Rob and I could see that they were both crazy about each other and it was just a matter of time before they got married. It had always been Maren's dream to have her wedding in the backyard of her parent's house and it's safe to say that after all of the hard work and planning - the reality was better than anything she could have dreamed of.
Maren & Michael exchanged vows they had written themselves in a big white tent surrounded by all of their closest family and friends. Shortly after, the party got started with Michael front and center on the dance floor most of the night bringing his crazy energy and wacky dance moves. Whenever Maren would join him his energy level would get even higher and his smile was even bigger. And she would just look over at him and laugh and smile too.
The best part of having the wedding in her parent's yard? Every time they are sitting there in the future, they'll be able to look over and point out the exact spot they became husband and wife. Something they'll get to do every time they go and visit family.
Since I was part of the wedding party, Rob and Sue photographed the day. Hope you enjoy looking through the pictures of the day as much as we enjoyed being there.
I arrived to Maren's Parent's house (the house she grew up in) long before the ceremony. The girls were still getting their hair done at the salon, but I wanted to get to the house to get started on the details. I immediately grabbed Maren's dress and hung it in one of her parent's trees in the front yard. The sun coming through was absolutely perfect.
Since it was a backyard wedding, Maren had bought flip-flops for any guest that wanted a a pair, and of course she had a white pair just for her.
The flowers in the front of the house were just one of the perfectly manicured landscape details that guests were welcomed with.
There were white lanterns and tooling throughout the yard and right up until about a half hour before the ceremony Maren's Dad was working on finishing touches to the yard. It was totally worth it because everything came out beautifully!
Their absolutely delicious lemon wedding cake was made by a friend of Maren's family who just so happened to be a wonderful baker.
As soon as Maren and the girls got back from the hair salon, they all got their make-up done.
Michael sent over a gorgeous pair of diamond earrings to Maren before the ceremony and as you can see here she is clearly very happy! :)
Right before she got her dress on, I caught this photo of Maren finishing up with a couple of last minute details.
This was truly one of my favorite moments of the morning. Maren came down the stairs where here Dad saw her for the first time in her wedding gown. His reaction was absolutely priceless!
We headed over to Holmdel Park where we met up with the guys and photographed a "first meeting" of Michael and Maren. I love the hint of Maren in the background as Michael waits for her. I really liked this moment. It was especially special for me to be able to photograph my brother-in-law as and almost sister!
As she touched his shoulder and he turned around, he was in complete awe of how beautiful she looked. He immediately grabbed her and gave her a big kiss.
Holmdel Park is really beautiful and had a lot of great photo opportunities. I loved this dirt road and the clouds above added some nice color.
I moved in a little closer for this nice black and white shot.
There were these corn fields right in the park. Since Kathleen was in the wedding party, it was just Sue and I photographing Michael & Maren's Wedding. I immediately looked at Sue and we brought Maren and Michael into the fields.
This may be one of my favorite images from the entire day. I love the feeling between Maren and Mike and the textures of the corn plants!!
We took advantage of this barn also at the park for a relaxed bridal party shot...
...and then this fun one.
There was this great pond where I took a couple bridals of Maren...
...while Michael looked on with a huge smile on his face and my other brother-in-law Billy captured the shot with his iPhone.
We took a walk down that awesome dirt road...
...where at the end was a great aboretum that provided some shelter from the hot sun and also a place for a nice portrait.
Seriously the grounds of the park were awesome and we could have spent all day there but of course we had a wedding ceremony to get to! :)
Before we headed out Michael and Maren paused for another kiss...
...and Sue captured this great photo of Michael with his groomsmen.
After spending a while at the park, we headed back to ther house to captured details inside the tent before their guests arrive.
Their place settings and center peices were filled with a lot of color, perfect for a late July wedding.
There were plenty of different types of beers chilling as guests arrived and certainly no shortage of Guiness!
As guests arrived, a family friend of Michael, Kathleen and her other brothers (Tom & Bill) played the bagpipes. The cool thing was that he also played bagpipes for our wedding almost 2 years ago.
Maren's Dad walked her down the aisle...
...as Michael waited up front. I know I say it often but I always love this moment.
Maren's Dad gave Michael a big hug he handed his daughther's hand over for marriage.
They way they looked at eachother as their wedding ceremony began was so sweet.
Michael could not keep his eyes off Maren, and who could blame him!
Maren's older sister Kerry and twin sister Michelle watched on as Maren and Michael exchange rings.
Sue captured Maren's parents watching on during the ceremony.
Their first kiss!!
Officially married!! How perfect is their reactions. :)
Michael had a pair of custom Converse sneakers made just for the occasion.
Doesn't Maren look amazing in this shot?!
As a wedding gift Maren's siblings brought them new bikes so of course we had to take them out for a few photos.
Right before heading in, Michael came behind Maren and gave he a kiss. This was such a great moment.
They did an incredible job dancing their first dance song to "I Believe in You and Me" by the Four Tops. They also had really wonderful dance teachers which really showed in their fancy footwork! I absolutely love the way Maren is looking at Mike in the bottom right one and how her dress is flowing so beautifully in the top right one.
Maren's two sisters and Kathleen made toasts as well as...
...Michael's two brothers and Maren's brother. I thought it was so nice of Michael and Maren to incorporate all of their sibilings into their wedding party it was such a great part of the day.
They obviously agreed!!
A couple of fun cake-cutting shots. Our favorite by far is the bottom right one! :)
Maren danced with her dad...
...and Michael danced with his mom (my mother-in-law) :)
There were so many really fun reception moments, but here are just a few. Thank you Sue for capturing all of these!!
Maren & Michael - Your day was really something wonderful. We feel very lucky to have shared it with you. We hope you had a great time in Jamacia and can't wait to come down to the beach and hang out soon! Congratulations Maren & Mikey! We love you and couldn’t be happier for you. ~Kathleen & Rob~