Like any good love story, our story starts with timing. Some of you may be rolling your eyes already and I get it. I used to say to myself, "That's so cliché. Timing, really?" Until I realized, of course, everything is about timing. I have always marveled at how relevant, and crucial, timing was in some of the most impacting moments of our lives. A simple decision such as, "Yeah, ok. I'll go to that party I didn't really want to go to in the first place," could be the difference between meeting that person you were so destined to be with, or fumbling down a path of failed relationships for a while longer. (A little dramatic, but y'all get the idea) Yes, I believe coincidence is a thing, but this post is not about getting into existentialist talks and contemplations about fate and our future. This post is about love, in its purest form. The love two individuals share for each other.
This is the story of Josh and Vanessa
Vanessa jokingly speaks of their first official encounter together like this, "I entranced him in an instant, and he knew then that he wanted to open my drinks for the rest of our days." They were at a going away party, and while they had met once before, timing would say; this is not it. They were both going through some complicated relationships, figuring themselves out, you know, the essential growing young people all go through before we find that right person; the one that makes everything right.
So as fate and timing would have it, they both ended up at the same party; They clicked instantly. Yes, Josh opened Vanessa's beverage and simultaneously opened the door to a new beginning that, at the time, they both could not imagine would transcend into the Mr&Mrs they are now.
The couple dated for two years before Josh popped the question, (not without informing both their parents of his big decision first, as any good gentleman should!) "I took her out to dinner, Red Lobster I think," Josh remembers. "We went to the McAllen Convention Center to walk around and I brought down my guitar and played and sang ‘Hard to Concentrate’ by RHCP to her and after I got down on one knee and proposed. I cried and she didn’t of course, but she said yes.”
I think you can guess where the story goes from here.
In high school I knew both Josh and Vanessa separately, but never as the couple they are today. When they asked me to photograph their wedding I was honored and terrified all at once. "Will I be able to accurately and effectively document their wedding - this most meaningful day?" It's an incredibly important for most people and I wanted nothing more than to make them both feel absolutely special. As it turns out, photographing their wedding was easy. And it wasn't because of any skills I possessed as much as it was due to them and the ease with which they carried themselves. Their love was real. In fact, it was oozing out of both of them. But not in that gross, "I am attached to you by the hip, please never leave me" type of dependent love. It was something more than that, more genuine. It wasn't 100% visible, unless you were really paying attention, which as a photographer, you kind of have to do! Their love was fluid and organic. You could tell this was the type of couple that knew each other inside out, imperfections and all. So I let the photos speak for themselves.
In honor of their one-year anniversary, I reached out to the couple and asked them some questions. Simple things, but things that I have always been curious of myself and anticipated other young couples might be curious about as well.
"We’re a team, only now it’s official, like with cool matching shirts and everything."
What has been one of the best things about being married, and why?
We dated for quite a while before we got married, 6 years to be exact. In that amount of time, you’re able to get to know someone, to observe their strengths and weaknesses, and to really experience life with them. We could overcome and move past some hardships in our relationship, and through that, I think we saw some of the most beautiful qualities in each other. Forgiveness, empathy, understanding, selflessness, love. I think that one of the best parts about being married to your best friend, is the added sense of unity that comes with it. Like, we are each other’s family. And I know some people don’t need marriage to solidify that feeling, nor did we really, but being able to call your love “my husband” or “my wife” reiterates the importance of this person and the importance they will have forever. For us, it has been a humbling experience knowing that God blessed and bonded us, and that our troubles and happiness are each other’s. We’re a team, only now it’s official, like with cool matching shirts and everything.
"I firmly believe that we have enough experience, enough years we’ve spent together to know that we can get through anything."
What has been one of the most difficult things about being married?
Honestly, being married doesn’t really add any more difficulties than those you can potentially have when you’re in a committed relationship. I mean, technically maybe, seeing as how you’re now taking on everything together, including lovely, new debt. Maybe I feel this way in regards to difficulties because we have only one year of marriage under our belt, but I firmly believe that we have enough experience, enough years we’ve spent together to know that we can get through anything.
"We’ve been together since we were 19 years old, And through it all, we’ve stood by each other, supporting one another."
I've heard the first year of marriage can be a very challenging one for couples. Would you agree? and if so, how did you two survive your first year of marriage?
This first year of marriage has actually been one of our best years. Not to say that we don’t have troubles ahead of us, but I know that we’re so very capable of getting through anything together, with love and truth in our hearts. We’ve been together since we were 19 years old, And through it all, we’ve stood by each other, supporting one another. Our first year of marriage was a year of firsts for us, as we added being first time homeowners together. All in all, our first year of marriage was a year of retrospection for us, marveling at how fast time has gone by and looking back fondly on that perfect day in March, surrounded by people we love, having the best time ever. I love that whenever our wedding comes up, we both talk about it with such a light in our hearts; it never fails to make us smile.
"If you want to marry someone, marry the person that not only makes it easy to love them but who also makes you feel so easy to love."
Any imparting wisdom/nugget of knowledge you have for young couples who may be seeking marriage in the near future?
What we'd like to remind people about love and relationships, not just for those wanting to get married, is that it’s more about what you can give than what you can get. That’s a truth that’s not always easy to live by, especially when you’re feeling tired and moody, but as long as the good intentions are there and you aim to give the best of yourself to your significant other because you love them and because you see how deserving they are of every good thing, then you’re solid. Also, good communication! Yeah, you hear that advice all the time, but there’s a reason for that: IT MATTERS. If you want to marry someone, marry the person that not only makes it easy to love them but who also makes you feel so easy to love. I’m not saying this as some sort of way of advocating that relationships don’t require work because they do. However, loving someone shouldn’t feel like something you have to do, like a job; it should be organic, kind of like breathing. Just love relentlessly and lose your ego.
Josh and Vanessa were married last March on a beautiful spring day in South Texas. Here are some images from that "perfect day in March" as they like to describe it. Enjoy!