You know what has been extraordinary? Watching their love actually blossom. I met Aundrea and Erik through one of my old friends who also happened to be living in the same area as me in California when I made my move a few years ago. They were a new relationship, and I took their first professional photos together. Then came their anniversary, and I took some more. We both parted ways from California and somehow ended up back in Washington together.
And then the email came... they were having a wedding and they wanted me to document that too! I felt so honored. We planned for over a year. Finally the day before their ceremony came... and Washington was on fire. I planned to drive the 6 hours West the night before, but right before I was supposed to leave they declared the air unsafe and the general public was told to remain indoors. I am not kidding, you couldn't see more than 5 feet in front of you. So being the ridiculous person I am, I set my alarm for 3:30 am hoping that it would clear by then, cutting it extremely close. It hadn't cleared AT ALL. I started the drive anyway, determined to not even worry about it and just power through. 3 hours into the drive, the smoke was creeping into the car so badly that I had a full allergy attack and had to pull off of the road for awhile. I have never been so sick to my stomach from a smell. I gathered myself, pumped myself full of my inhaler and started the drive again. The road was missing. I couldn't see anything ahead of me more than 10 feet... stressed out and panicking that I wasn't going to make it on time, let alone at all....I finally got to Snoqualmie Pass. I drove up, and it was like a whole other world. If you've never been to Snoqualmie or the North Cascades, I truly recommend that you take the time and do it. It's magical.
I made it to Graham, WA with an hour to spare before the pictures needed to begin... and I am not kidding you - I could not have been happier to be there. Their love and devotion together really drives it home to a person and makes you realize nothing else in this world matters. They have been through countless moves, deployments, and now are finally able to start their life full of love together. I am just wanting to take a moment to say THANK YOU to them for showing us how it's done... and showing us that no matter what... make it work. Stick it out. Each person deserves a love like this, and I love that they are my example.
Here's to you, Aundrea and Erik.