I first met Maria and Sam about two weeks ago by what seemed to be pure happenstance. I was managing American Eagle Outfitters for the day and they had come in from Foley,Al looking for some holiday socks. When they began explaining that they were hoping to find some Christmas socks for their wedding, I began asking questions. Questions like "Ooh, when is the big day?! Who is your photographer?!" They told me that they were getting married on Christmas eve but that due to budget hold backs they were unable to hire a photographer & were just going to have their mom snap some shots on the iPhone. My immediate reaction was to hand them a business card & told them to contact me regardless of budget. I had worked with couples before that had budget hold backs and had always been able to find something suitable for everyone.
After a few days, I was reminded of Maria and Sam and contacted them. There was something about them that I wasn't able to "shake". Maybe it's just the pregnancy hormones but I think it was something more. Maria replied to my email explaining that the biggest reason they were having so much trouble with finances was because she is having to begin payments for some health issues she's been having and that although they desperately wanted to use my services, it simply just wasn't an option for them at this point.
I couldn't take that. I couldn't let my encounter with them go. I told Maria then and there that I wanted to be at their wedding and I wanted nothing in return. I wanted to give them something that will be cherished for their lives. They inspired me.
Christmas Eve came quickly, and I have to admit, I wasn't in a very Christmas-y mood. I had gotten sick that afternoon after spending the day running errands and caring for a 7 week old kitten. She's adorable-but needy. However, I got in the car and drove out to Foley and I am convinced that it was one of the best decisions I've ever made.
As you can see from their images, Maria and Sam are the real deal. They have a deep and unconditional love that simply exudes from their beings. The wedding was small and simple but it was so overwhelmingly beautiful and precious. I was crying about 20 minutes after arriving and was completely blessed by them.
It sounds like this is a charity that I have extended to a couple of strangers but in reality, the charity case was me.
Thank you SO much Maria and Sam for letting me be a part of your wedding. Your images are ones I will treasure for all of my career!