As we find ourselves suddenly engulfed in a sea of love, falling into it feels as though it is the easiest thing we’ll likely do. Yet staying in love – keeping the deep, warm amber of its glow lit – is one of the most difficult endeavors of our lifetimes. Largely, we fail at it. Until one day, we don’t. The ease of the fall into love, coupled with the fight to hold on to it, is what makes the journey worthwhile. Few people understand this better than Bri + Vern. Amidst heartaches and hardships, through joy and adventure, after all that came before they came together as one, Bri and Vern have grown into two of the most giving and kind, loving and gracious people I have the pleasure of knowing and the privilege of calling my friends.
I didn’t think Bri and Vern would get married, or at least I didn’t feel like I needed to nag them or ask “So, when are you guys going to finally make it official?” Since the moment they met they’ve been official. That was apparent to any and all who know them. Deep down, however, I always knew they’d be together for the rest of their lifetime, and that marriage itself was never the goal for these two. They spent years building a life together, and a home beside and within one another, and they were content being rooted to one another in their own deep and profound ways. So when Vern called and asked for advice in choosing Bri’s engagement ring, tears welled up in my eyes and my heart burst out of my chest as I told him whatever ring he chooses for the moment he asks her to be his wife will be absolutely perfect. Because to her – for her – he is absolutely perfect.
Every year in February Bri and Vern take a vacation together. Their only criteria is that it is somewhere warm, somewhere off the beaten path, and a place for them to reconnect and rediscover each other – preferably where turquoise waves lap softly against ecru shores. Two years ago they discovered the island of Holbox, Mexico and it proved to be the perfect backdrop for their wedding, which was infused with the same vibrant color and ease of life that is so richly present on the island. Bri + Vern tied themselves to one another in a beautiful and traditional Mayan ceremony as the sun set against the calm gulf waters. I witnessed – through my heart as their friend and my camera as their photographer – as they promised not simply to love each other the rest of their days, but to remember why it is they chose each other to battle the seas and seasons with. That together they will weather the rise and fall of each tidal ebb and flow of their love, and shelter another through the warmth and chill of each season of growth and hardship, of love and joy.
Bri and Vern have taught me, and all those around them, that the fight for love – of love – is worth it. They inspire me to love harder and bigger and deeper, in every single way I can and I’m forever grateful to call them friends and to have been entrusted with the telling of their wedding story. These are a few of my favorite images of their remarkable wedding day: