Hi, we're Hunter and Sarah, a husband-and-wife, luxury wedding photography team. We’re also educators, helping other photographers build profitable and sustainable photography businesses.
As wedding photographers, one of the best parts of interacting with so many couples is hearing their stories. Each engaged couple has such a unique journey that’s brought them to where they are, and it’s one of the first questions we usually ask when we sit down to talk wedding photography with new couples. If you follow our blog, you know that we love to share stories as we show off images from our sessions – both our clients’ stories and stories from our time together.
However, it occurred to us this fall that the story that’s featured the least on our blog and social media is our own! Now that the cold weather is settling in and we won’t be shooting sessions three times a week, we finally have space on our blogging calendar to tell our own love story! As high school sweethearts, it’s a long one, but we hope you’ll join us each Saturday this winter as we share our story.
On our second dating anniversary, Hunter gave me a photobook filled with pictures, ticket stubs, and other trinkets that we had collected since we had begun dating. He called the album, “Remember that Time?” and it was filled with little reminders of fun dates and adventures we had had. Unbeknownst to me, just a few months into our relationship he had been making small notes on his phone anytime we went somewhere new or had a fun adventure with friends so that he could one day give me that book. When we sat down this fall to talk about this blog series, we couldn’t think of a title that was more true to us than “Remember that Time?”
My first year of college was a bit of a rollercoaster. The highs of walking onto UVA’s Rowing Team and getting into my major were counterbalanced by a herniated disc that ended my rowing career and difficult classes that made me question my choice of engineering. Plus, Sarah and I’s relationship had been strained by all of the stresses of college life, not to mention the fact that we went from seeing each other every day in high school to not seeing each other for weeks at a time. Looking back on that time in our lives now, our relationship wasn’t healthy, and we were careening towards a messy breakup.
Then, early in the Spring semester, everything changed. Although I had been somewhat involved in a church group for a couple of years of high school, it had been just another activity for me to add to my college application and fill my evenings. It hadn’t meant much more to me than any of my other extracurriculars, and the Christian group that I had been a part of in college wasn’t much different. But that winter, something inside me changed. It’s hard to describe in words, but thanks to the friends that I made and older guys who mentored me through Chi Alpha Christian Fellowship, church as an activity was replaced by faith as a relationship with God. Suddenly, for the first time in my life, I considered myself a follower of Jesus and I not only meant it, but really understood what that meant. And the craziest thing was, it changed almost every aspect of my life, but especially how I treated Sarah.
Throughout that spring, as I grew in my newfound faith and Sarah rediscovered her own at CNU, our relationship blossomed in ways that we had never known before. For us in that time and place, becoming followers of Jesus made us better at loving and serving each other, and made us better friends and classmates to those around us. Of course, we were by no means perfect (and still aren’t!), but it set us on a trajectory that profoundly changed us as individuals and a couple.
Now, more than five years later and as a married couple, as we reflect on that winter we know for a fact that if we hadn’t each found our faith during that season of our lives, we would not have lasted much longer as a couple and never would have gotten married. As we look to the future of our life and our family, it simultaneously blows us away and humbles us to know that everything that we have done and created as a couple – our friendships, our business and all the couples we’ve gotten to serve, and even the children that we may have one day (God-willing), that all of this is and will be a result of what God did in our lives during my second semester in college. In a sense, this was one of the lowest points in our relationship, yet was the beginning of something altogether new.