There were over 300 love letters in that box, all beautiful hand-written notes from her prince charming. In the beginning, they had developed a friendship but she wasn’t looking for romance. He continued writing her letters, one by one and she slowly began to open up her heart to him. It was a cold October evening and the northern lights were brilliantly dancing across the sky. They walked down the long country road together, hand in hand when he leaned in for their first kiss. Their friendship grew into a special love for one another and she soon realized there was no way she could ever live without this man in her life.
I guess those love letters worked because on this day 30 years ago, my parents began their life together as husband and wife. My mom showed me all the letters dad had written to her and I couldn’t help but smile as she told me about the romantic ways he won over her heart years ago. To this day, they still hold hands and giggle with each other like young teenagers who had just fallen in love. And after years of watching my dad open the car door for my mom, bring her flowers, lift her up in prayer, laugh with her, honor and treasure her…I guess you could say he set the bar pretty high. I never imagined I would find a man like that, but I am blessed to have found a husband who is more than I could ever ask for. I thank my parents for showing me a true example of what a strong, Christ-centered marriage looks like. I’m able to love because of the love they showed us and the love they showed each other.
My family recently found a bunch of our old VHS films and I was able to convert them to DVDs. I’m not exaggerating when I say that it felt like I had just discovered a priceless hidden treasure! I spent hours and hours watching my parents’ wedding film and old home videos from when we were kids – all precious memories that I will cherish forever. Thank goodness my dad carried around that silly VHS camcorder and documented all those little moments in between. Our goofy conversations at the family dinner table. Basketball games in our front yard driveway. My ballerina dances (you can clearly see why I chose photography, not dancing). And so many other priceless moments that I would have never remembered from my childhood.
Life carries on and memories fade as each fleeting moment passes. But one thing that we will never forget is the love that my parents showed each other through their words and actions day in and day out. I’m sure it wasn’t always easy raising four rambunctious children. Without a doubt, we were a handful! But regardless of the tough times or the amount of money we had, I always felt like we had it all. The older I get, the more grateful I am to have been raised by two amazing people who value the foundation of marriage and have created a legacy of love to carry on – an inheritance more valuable than all the money in the world.
To celebrate thirty beautiful years of marriage, my stunning mother whose beauty never ages ;) put on the SAME wedding dress she wore when she walked down the aisle. And my dad wore my favorite suit ever, the one he wore on my wedding day as he walked me down the aisle. We got an incredible floral bouquet made up of my mom’s favorite flowers (thanks to the lovely Sadie’s Florals) and I had so much fun doing their anniversary photo session and of course, they were giggling the whole time! Thank you to our friends from At Last Wedding Films for helping us create this beautiful film as a tribute to my parents. We met Jason and Mary while working at a wedding together a few years ago. Pat and I were impressed by their professionalism, hard work and artistic ability to create an emotional film. They were so fun to work with, so Pat and I ended up hiring them to video our own wedding! We cherish our own wedding film so much, so I couldn’t think of a better cinema team to help tell my parents’ love story of thirty beautiful years. Jason and Mary put many hours into crafting this amazing film and I will never be able to thank them enough. It is a gift that my parents and our entire family will cherish for years to come.
I hope that one day, my children and grandchildren will come across this film and these photos and see the way their great-grandparents loved each other with an unwavering confidence – truly and deeply and without fail. I hope that whatever the world looks like 50 years from now, they see the importance and joy in building a beautiful marriage, and not just planning a beautiful wedding. In a world of instant gratification, easy way outs and noncommittal tendencies, they will commit to a lifetime of loving and serving their spouse, selflessly and unconditionally.
Thank you Mom and Dad for this legacy of love that will be passed down from generation to generation. Happy Anniversary. We love you!