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Abigail and Chris were always going to have a Catalina Island Wedding. Catalina is where they met, where they have shared many life changing experiences together and Catalina is where they made many deep and lasting friendships. It also just happens to be where they fell in love and a great place for a wedding!

The actual setting for the weekend was Howlands Landing, home to the Catalina Environmental Leadership Program and Catalina Island Camps. Howlands Landing is where they used to both work – it brought them together. Usually this outdoor adventure community plays host to excited groups of kids who leave with more life skills then they arrived with, a better appreciation of how to respect themselves, others and the environment. I can tell you that all the adults left just as enriched by the experience after this weekend, slightly more sun burnt no doubt, a few headaches, possibly, but enriched nonetheless. I’m also fairly confident that everyone boarding that ferry on the Sunday had a similar feeling – why did that weekend have to end…?

I have no doubt that in ten or twenty years time when I’ve shot more weddings than seems possible now, I won’t remember them all, I just won’t be able to.  This weekend though, it will never leave me. I was so lucky to be part of such a beautiful, natural celebration in such an awe inspiring location. This experience serves as another reminder that no matter what you’re doing or how stunning the location is, it’s always about the people and the connections you witness and are a small part of.

I was with Abigail as she practiced her vows minutes before walking down the beach to marry Chris. I don’t think she got past the first few words without having to stop and fight back the tears. Witnessing and feeling that raw emotion first hand was something very special indeed. It’s at times like that I remember how privileged I am to be allowed in to capture such moments. I will never take that for granted. I got the ok to include some of the vows they shared at the end of this blog. I just think their story deserves it and they should have something to remind them of how they each felt that day.

This wedding was epic and best of all, I now have two new incredible friends. I’m so very thankful for that.

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The Vows

Chris, I choose you.  I choose you when our love is easy and effortless, and I also choose you when it is a bit more of a challenge.  I choose you because of your ability to make me laugh constantly, because of your thoughtfulness (always filling up my water glass on the nightstand before bedtime), and because of your unwavering love for me. I remember very clearly the beginnings of our relationship, how everything with you not only just seemed to make sense, but it was so good So good that I didn’t know that having a relationship that good was possible.  So good that I was secretly, anxiously, waiting for the ball to drop, but it never did.  I remember how even after we celebrated a year together, I thought “Can life be this good?  Can I be this happy?  Is this for real? I then came to the conclusion that YES! it can and it is.

I remember when you first told me you loved me.  We were about two miles from here at cherry cove and we had just woken up. I was still sleepy and did not know what was coming, and I wanted to savor that exact moment, to hear those words on your tongue…  so I asked you to say it againSo here today in front of all our family and friends, I will happily say it as many times as you want: I choose you.  I love you.  I promise to see our needs as equal, to love you in feast or famine, in a house we rented in Guatemala or in a tent in Tennessee, and to adventure with you for the rest of our days.  I can’t wait to grow old with you, but also to grow with you.  Thank you for showing me that this kind of love exists.  I will love you to the end of my days.

Thank you for marrying me.

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AbigailI take you as my wife, my partner in life, and my one and only true love.  You are my match and my other half.  You are the best part of me and I love you.  I love you every day.  On our good days and on our great days. I love how thoughtful you are, always the first person to say thank you, to send a postcard or a gift, and you are always putting others before yourself. You are strong and you are so tough.  I remember when we were hiking a section of the Appalachian trail and you couldn’t wear your boots anymore and had to wear your crocs bc you had 12 blisters on your feet.  You still wanted to keep going bc you knew how much it meant to me.  I turned around at one point and you just had tears streaming down your face and I thought, “I have got to get her out of here!”  I wanted to carry you home.

With you and through you I have learned so much!  I have learned to travel in far off lands and even to communicate in other languages.  Ich liebe dich.  Ich heisse Chris.  I obviously still have a lot to learn.  I cannot wait to continue on this journey with you wherever it takes us.  I know with you by my side we can do anything, we can get through whatever comes our way. I will always be here to make your coffee in the morning just the way you like it and to find your long lost bobby pins.  I will strive to be the husband you need and deserve.

I cannot wait to write our next chapter together

Thank you for marrying me.