With all of our focus on how to make your wedding special, we thought it was important to highlight some ways to make your marriage awesome, too. Introducing “Snapshot of a Marriage,” a series from contributor Emily Westbrooks, who interviews couples on some of their secrets for a strong and successful marriage.

 Though their paths first crossed when they were just babies, it wasn’t until a local teen dance that Dorothy and Brian really connected. After a few months of dating, though, Dorothy’s mother thought the teenagers were getting too serious about each other. “My mother thought I should be seeing loads of boys,” explains Dorothy. “She thought Brian was monopolizing me.” Taking her mother’s advice, Dorothy decided to break up with Brian, but she was really quite upset about it, so she looked to her uncle, who gave her some welcome advice: “Feel with your heart. It’ll work out if you go with your heart.” A quick phone call later and the two were back together. Dorothy explains, “We really only broke up for a few hours,” and Brian interjects: “No, you broke up. I didn’t!”

Back together, the young couple spent a lot of time together. Dorothy’s family lived out in the countryside and Brian would sometimes stay over in her brother’s room. Dorothy had a trick to make sure Brian always said goodbye in the morning before he took the bus back to his house – she would take his shoes at night so he would have to find her to say goodbye!

A few years later, the two went with their hearts but were also practical about their engagement. They decided they wouldn’t get engaged until they were out of college, and that they would get only married once Brian’s probationary period at his job was over. Even when Brian asked Dorothy to marry him, she stayed grounded, replying, “I’d like to think about it.” But there wasn’t much to really think about. They were married and spent their honeymoon on a skiing holiday. (Well, one of them skied. Dorothy claims she spent most of the time skiing on her butt! Says Brian, “We enjoyed it, didn’t we?” and Dorothy replies, “One of us did!”)

Over more than three decades, Dorothy and Brian have learned what works for them as a couple. Certainly no more skiing holidays, but Dorothy says it was important for her to learn that it was okay for the two of them to be traveling on “parallel tracks, instead of on the same track;” that they didn’t have to share all of the same interests as long as they were moving forward together. The couple used their fridge as a station for messages during years when Brian was working late shifts and they saw little of each other, and found ways to stay close when his work took him outside of the country. To Brian, geography wasn’t too important, “I could live anywhere, as long as I could get her to come with me.”

Dorothy and Brian are set to watch their first daughter marry later this summer. Have they given her any advice ahead of the big day? Dorothy says, “We’ve told all the kids, whoever you’re with has to make you laugh. Does he light up your heart when you see him? Your heart has to skip.” With a loving look at Dorothy, Brian concurs, “And long may it keep skipping.”

SNAPSHOT SUBMISSIONS  Do you know a married couple whose relationship you admire? Or maybe you’re married and want to share your words of wisdom! We’re now accepting submissions from couples who have been married for ten years or longer. Email Emily at emily@fromchinavillage.com with your first names, how long you’ve been married, and a few sentences about why you’d like to be interviewed for our Snapshot of a Marriage series.
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Looking for a wedding photographer who will capture your day in creative, dramatic, and emotional images? Introducing You+We Photography, a talented team who brings a photojournalistic style to each event they shoot, resulting in one-in-a-lifetime moments caught on camera…

You+We Photography You+We Photography
You+We Photography You+We Photography
You+We Photography You+We Photography

Located in both California and Europe, You+We Photography shoots weddings around the world, so no matter where you’ve decided to tie the knot, they’re available!

You+We Photography You+We Photography
You+We Photography You+We Photography

How darling is this shot?!

You+We Photography You+We Photography
You+We Photography You+We Photography
You+We Photography You+We Photography
You+We Photography You+We Photography
You+We Photography You+We Photography
You+We Photography You+We Photography

You+We Photography wholeheartedly believes that each couple is unique and that every moment of their wedding day is important, they focus on details both big and small, capturing moments and preserving memories. Want to see more? Check out their blog for the very latest!

 

This post sponsored by You+We Photography.

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Lauren Kinsey Lauren Kinsey

Alison and Cory were wed in a simply lovely ceremony in the romantic town of Seaside, Florida. Thoughtful details (the groom sent his bride a love note in a bottle!) made the most of an already beautiful beach town setting.

Lauren Kinsey Lauren Kinsey
Lauren Kinsey Lauren Kinsey

Says Alison, “I had ten bridesmaids, and it was important to me that they have just as much fun as I did. I stuck to a color scheme but ultimately let them choose what they felt the prettiest in.”

Lauren Kinsey Lauren Kinsey
Lauren Kinsey Lauren Kinsey
Lauren Kinsey Lauren Kinsey
Lauren Kinsey Lauren Kinsey
Lauren Kinsey Lauren Kinsey
Lauren Kinsey Lauren Kinsey
Lauren Kinsey Lauren Kinsey

The bride’s bouquet consisted of white hydrangea and ranunculus, plus ostrich feathers for a little drama.

Lauren Kinsey Lauren Kinsey
Lauren Kinsey Lauren Kinsey
Lauren Kinsey Lauren Kinsey
Lauren Kinsey Lauren Kinsey

 

Why did you choose this location for your wedding?  Seaside, Florida is a beautiful, relaxing beach town, and it was always our dream to have our guests stay in the pastel-hued cottages, walk the narrow streets with white picket fences, and make a vacation of our wedding weekend. Perfect weather and having everything within walking distance really made for the perfect wedding scene.

What was your favorite moment or part of the day?  Walking down the aisle. (Alison) That day, we chose not to see each other up until that moment. My beautiful bride dressed in the perfect wedding dress. (Cory)

Did you include any traditions in your wedding?  Our mothers lit candles at the altar, which we used to light a unity candle during the ceremony.

What was the best advice you received as a bride?  In the early stages of planning, my fiancé and I made a list of what was important to us for our special day. During the planning, we revisited the list to make sure we were saying on track and remembering the important things.

Is there anything else that helps tell the story of the day?  We were blessed with perfect weather!

 

See all of Alison and Cory’s Florida beach wedding in the gallery.

Photographer: Lauren Kinsey / Event Planner:  Heather Archdeacon- Williams / Venue: Seaside Chapel / Dress: Lazaro / Shoes: Bettye Mullet from BHLDN / Earrings: Broque Revival / Tuxedo: Jos A. Bank / Bridesmaid Dresses: J.CrewBHLDNDillards / Stationery: The Paper Moon / Floral Designer: Bella Flora / Getaway Car: A Brides Ride / Music: The NashVegas Allstars / Catering: Café Thirty-A / Cake: Confections On The Coast / Videographer: Diva Productions
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Akil Bennett Akil Bennett
Akil Bennett Akil Bennett

Carrie and James’s wedding is such a clear representation of their fun-loving personalities, starting with the custom “Honey Badger Don’t Care” postage stamp used on their invitation suite…

Akil Bennett Akil Bennett
Akil Bennett Akil Bennett
Akil Bennett Akil Bennett

James wore a custom Kente bow tie.

Akil Bennett Akil Bennett
Akil Bennett Akil Bennett

The best part of the day? “Our favorite part of the day was the first look before the wedding events began. We were able to share a very personal and touching moment for just the two of us.”

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Akil Bennett Akil Bennett

Tables were decorated with candles and dramatic black calla lilies.

Akil Bennett Akil Bennett
Akil Bennett Akil Bennett
Akil Bennett Akil Bennett

From a cigar roller to a caricature artist to a stand-up comic to a photo booth, Carrie and James kept their guests entertained all night.

Akil Bennett Akil Bennett
Akil Bennett Akil Bennett

Guests enjoyed late night snacks, including miniature versions of chocolate chip cookies, nutella cookies, ice cream cones, and Coke floats.

Akil Bennett Akil Bennett
Akil Bennett Akil Bennett
Akil Bennett Akil Bennett

Why did you choose this location for your wedding?  We liked the modern, edgy feel of the space and the floor-to-ceiling windows with views of the city.

What inspired you when you were planning your wedding?  We wanted everyone to walk away with a sense of who we were as a couple by the time they left the reception through the elements we planned for our wedding day. We also wanted to celebrate our guests as well by providing them with plenty of entertainment and personal gifts to take with them.

Did you include any traditions in your wedding?  After being pronounced husband and wife we incorporated a Ghanaian tradition where the bride and grooms hands are tied together with traditional Kente Cloth signifying two becoming one. During the reception we incorporated the traditional money dance where we were showered with money, signifying prosperity for our future. The day before the wedding we did the traditional Ghanaian Knocking Ceremony where the groom’s family comes to ask the elders (the bride’s family) for the hand of the bride.

What was the best advice you received as a bride?  Make sure you eat before the ceremony! By the time you get to the reception many hours have gone by. If you haven’t eaten beforehand you might be in danger of fainting. Also, make sure you tell yourself in your head what is coming next (such as “I’m about to walk down the aisle to meet my husband.”). That way when you think back to that moment you’ll be able to remember it and how you felt.

What advice do you have for other brides?  Make sure to create the day that you and your future husband want. It’s okay to listen to advice or tips, but stay true to the vision the two of you created together.

 

See all of Carrie and James’s super fun wedding in the gallery.

Photographer: Akil Bennett / Event Planner: Resha Zazueta with Something to Celebrate / Venue: Hotel ZaZa in Houston, Texas / Officiant: Pastor Remus E. Wright / Dress: Pnina Tornai from Kleinfelds / Shoes: Jimmy Choos / Earrings: Zales / Suit: Vera Wang / Stationery: Tangerine Paperspace / Music: Tiana HallDJ Lewis GrellHard Proof Afrobeat / Comedian: Godfrey / Cigar Rollers: Houston Cigar Rollers / Caricature Sketch Artist: Keith Amador / Photobooth: Cupics Photobooth
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We just shared a few beautiful pics from Jen Huang‘s latest workshop, so if you’re a photographer and loved what you saw, you’ll be super excited to hear this… In addition to offering professional wedding photography workshops, Jen has created something totally unique: a Workshop-in-a-Box!

Jen Huang Jen Huang

 

Jen Huang Jen Huang

The box is like a DIY workshop full of goodies. Each one includes a copy of Jen’s new Guide to Fine Art Photography book, plus a DVD audio interview with Jen and Richard Photo Lab, medium format film, sample papers for fine art prints, InDesign album templates, a Dear Jendo correspondence kit with a rubber stamp, and handmade cards for clients.

Here’s a little sneak peek inside the book…

Jen Huang Jen Huang

“… When shooting digital, I choose a jpeg format. Constraining myself to shooting jpeg, in manual mode, with prime lenses, is one of the best things I did for myself in my first year of work. It made me a stronger, more confident shooter, and it allowed me to understand my equipment much better than most photographers who have been shooting on program or auto mode for years. It also gave me the type of control that I needed to create a seamless transition between my digital and film work…”

 

Jen Huang Jen Huang

“…If branding is the first impression that clients receive, presentation would be the lasting impression. In my work, presentation plays a huge part in how my images are viewed and perceived, not only from the moment my clients see their images, but years later. It also plays a vital role in helping me price myself as a high end photographer. To me, presentation doesn’t mean bows and ribbons or wrapping paper, but craftsmanship – whether it is the type of paper that I print my images on, or the binder who puts together my album…”

Jen Huang Jen Huang

If you’re a photographer who’s interested in learning more from Jen’s experience and skill, the Workshop-in-a-Box is a great place to start. Head over to Grey Likes Weddings for the chance to win one, or to 100 Layer Cake for a discount code on the book!

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