Can I just say – after 12 years of marriage, 3 kids and life’s ups and downs thrown their way, these two still got it. I’m talking about that madly-in-love glow you only get when you’re with the one who makes your heart full. They planned an anniversary session in New York City with one beautiful Nha Khanh tulle gown to celebrate the love, and Julie Paisley came along to capture. Read their amazing love story and go peek through every image inside THE VAULT!

It’s probably not common to actually end up with the boy whose name you wrote on your high school notebooks, but I did. Michael and I dated through high school and college, and six years later we got married. Michael proposed to me in November in the middle of an empty field with candles and flowers, but, the best detail of all was a propane heater. That’s one of many things I love about this man, his biggest concern was always taking care of me, but now after twelve years of marriage and eighteen years together, it’s taking care of me and our three children. 

Michael was in an accident a few years ago, and after a stint in ICU and a couple of surgeries, perspectives changed for both of us. We both realized that this person that we had by our side for so long could someday not be there. We started to travel more, and do more of the things that we didn’t make time to do.

We traveled to NYC so that we could have a vacation to date each other. We had not planned on this shoot with Julie Paisley. In fact, part of the trip was for me to attend her photography workshop because I’m a photographer. At the time it seemed like a strange turn of events, that we became the subjects of her photography, but now I know it was because there was something so much better waiting for us. As soon as we found out that Julie would be photographing us, I enlisted stylist Krissi Farrimond to style us, and she arranged for Kiara Hargrove to do my hair and make-up.

So, here we were in New York City, one of my favorite places, and I am literally about to live out a fairy tale after twelve years of marriage with this gorgeous man. A few kinks came in the timeline, and we were in a mad dash to get to Central Park for the shoot. We sprinted through Central Park, dressed as if we just fell right out of a Disney princess movie where the prince wears J.Crew and the fairy godmother is a talented stylist. I tiptoed through falling leaves in Central Park while my husband, dressed ever so handsomely, held my hand. We had just experienced one of my favorite memories of us together.

Our wedding, the three amazing births of our children, there are so many special memories, and that night we created a new memory for just the two of us that we could share with our children. After the shoot we went to dinner at one of our favorite NYC restaurants. I will never forget the feeling of that night. Even after we got home from New York City, I still couldn’t believe it happened!

There’s just no way to write a love story that you’ve lived because words could never adequately describe the heart break of him being hurt and the joy of him being okay. I could just never even tell you what is invested in the years we have together. If I started from the beginning, eighteen years ago when we started dating, I couldn’t bring your heart to feel what we do now. I can’t paint that picture with words, but man I feel like Julie captured it with film.

And now our children and grandchildren can have these images to remember our love story! My advice to brides and grooms, is don’t overlook this. After the wedding is long over, still get dressed up with your spouse, hire a fantastic photographer, document this time in your life, and go to dinner. Date each other, because daily life isn’t a fairy tale, it’s kids and work and everything else begging for your attention. You have to make time to have a fairy tale. You have to put effort into a fairy tale. I dreamed about marrying him back when I was writing his name on my notebooks, but there was something so much better waiting for me. It’s so worth the effort!

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Photography: Julie Paisley Photography | Event Design: Krissi Farrimond | Dress: Rent The Runway | Hair + Makeup: IndiVidualized Beauty | Groom's Attire: J.Crew | Venue: Bethesda Terrace