Carrie & Peter | Their Story & Wisdom on Featured Fridays

I first met Carrie and Peter on the other side of the camera. I attended a workshop by Amy and Jordan in Phoenix this past March, and these two beautiful people were our models! Soon after they were in front of our cameras, they switched gears and attended the remainder of the workshop as a husband and wife photographer team. Though I adore their photography and can relate to their husband and wife team, what I've enjoyed most about them since we met is how open they are about their marriage, their parenting, their joy and their frustrations. I respect how authentic they are with such a passion for Jesus at the center of their family.  

Because marriage has been the focus of my new Featured Fridays series, I wanted them to share their wisdom on the blog. Having 8 years under their belt, they have more to share than Jordan and I and are able to articulate their journey so well. Marriage is truly a blessing, a refining tool, an adventure and a fun commitment. They share their heart for marriage so beautifully and encouragingly. 

I'm happy to have them featured today! Their story is shared below! 

"As the sun peeked through the windows, I rolled over and began to open my eyes. There he was. My husband. Twelve hours earlier we had gotten married followed by a night of dancing and celebrating. I stared at him as he slept, thinking, “holy cow, that’s my husband!” Loving him was easy.

As the honeymoon came to an end, we boarded our flight home to start the every day. Life as husband and wife. Being young, we had plenty of people warn us that the first year could be pretty hard and to be prepared to work at it. So we waited for it. And waited. And waited. And finally when it didn’t show up we cheersed to our first year and went on our way.

You see life with Peter was sweet. It wasn’t complicated. It wasn’t strict or rigid. It was home. We stayed up late watching our favorite TV series. We went to Taco Bell at 2am. We laughed, we argued, we wrestled, we learned. We sang “even though we ain’t got money I’m so in love with you honey” as we walked hand in hand to the apartment office to drop off our rent that we scraped together with scholarship money and a part time job.

For us, the first several years of marriage were pretty simple. It was just us. Our needs, desires and hopes. We fought from time to time but never long or deep enough to question if we wanted to stick it out. It was a season of life that “you make loving you easy” could have been playing in the background and we both would have been tapping our feet with the beat.

Fast forward a few years. Throw a few kids in the mix. As well as a new business venture, a promotion at work, house projects, business deadlines and three growing, loud and energetic little girls. Whoa! Life went from simple to world spinning crazy in what felt like a blink of an eye.

We both recognized that this was a perfect time for our marriage to take a back seat to the busy lives we were leading. After all, the kids need to be fed, played with, invested in, and loved. Not to mention the growing business needs attention and the new position at work takes more diligence and energy.

And yet, God in His overwhelming grace and love, gently reminded us that he was with us. That our marriage was his. That loving each other well and putting our marriage back in focus was a choice. That loving each other well was a choice. A choice that he alone gave us the strength to make and he alone gave us the ability to execute.

And so, all praise and glory to God, we continue to make the choice to love each other every day. Continuing to prank one another, pursue one another and be passionate about one another. Because when life gets crazy, busy, and hectic….well we just think there ain’t no better time to run in the arms of your spouse and like two kids running through a splash pad for the first time say “1,2,3 goocooooooooooo!” Because together, you are so much greater than apart.

-Carrie Zimmer

Stephen & Bronwyn | Featured Fridays on the Sieberts

Today's Featured Friday post is on Stephen and Bronwyn's whose wedding took place last June 7th in Scottsdale, AZ. Their wedding was held at Stephen's family church and their reception took place in his family's backyard--making for such a sweet, relaxed and beautiful venue! Jordan and I remember how loved we felt as we shot their wedding and got to know their wedding party and family. Joy. Total joy emitted from everyone celebrating the joining of Mr. and Mrs. Siebert. 

And today, a new kind of joy is experienced by these two as they just announced the expecting of their first little one! Talk about a complete joy and blessing! They will make such sweet parents!

I always love when I receive the answers to these questions, because I can either relate (like Jordan looking just like Stephen when he's around wood working stuff) or be encouraged (like their reminder of what the Bible tells us marriage is a reflection of). So happy Friday as you're encouraged by a former couple of ours!

Mr. and Mrs. Siebert 

What is your favorite memory from your wedding day?

-Stephen: Walking back down the aisle together after the ceremony because it meant we were married!

-Bronwyn: During our ceremony, everyone sang the hymn “ My hope is built on nothing Less”. There was something so beautiful about Stephen and I, along with everyone we love, singing about how Christ is where our hope lies.

What one piece of advice would you give to a bride & groom planning their wedding right now?

Make it what you want and focus on what is important to you. You don’t have to do things for the sake of tradition or because you are worried other people won’t understand your choice. 

Describe one of your favorite dates since you’ve been married? In your home or out on the town?

Our favorite date nights are usually ones where we get to make dinner together and sit at the table talking about real life, our dreams, the future, etc. 

What is your favorite meal your spouse makes? 

Stephen- Caprese (Mozzarella, Basil, Tomatoes, Vinegar Reduction) Sandwiches

Bronwyn- Red Chili Sauce- great over eggs or a burrito

Tell me what makes marriage worth fighting for?

The Bible tells us that marriage is a reflection of how Christ loves the Church. Marriage is worth fighting for because we have promised to love each other and be a reflection of the gospel to the world. 

What has been the best piece of advice you’ve received since being married?

Communicate well, don’t assume your spouse knows what you are needing in a particular situation. 

What makes you giggle about your spouse?  

Stephen- The way she is dorkier around me than anyone else

Bronwyn- The way he acts around woodworking tools- like a kid at Christmas

What piece of advice would you share with a future husband and wife? 

Go on adventures together, laugh a lot, and surround yourself with a good community.

Taylor & Lindsey | Featured Friday on the Harris'

A couple weeks ago, I began my Featured Friday series where we featured the McGuires. We interviewed them with some fun and serious questions and loved their responses! I truly love the idea of reconnecting with past couples and letting them share with (us!!) future bride and grooms planning their own marriages and weddings. Plus, you if you've been following us for a while, they'll probably look familiar to ya! ;-)

So today, we featured Taylor and Lindsey who married last year on May 24th at the Roswell Country Club. Like they'll tell you, they were surrounded by loved ones who were all so joyful--including us! They just celebrated their one year anniversary, and we're loving the wisdom they have to share in their interview--as well as hearing the silly things that make them laugh at each other!

What is your favorite memory from your wedding day?

Lindsey: I loved my whole wedding day, but one of my favorite memories was getting to greet all of our guests in the receiving line. Standing with our parents, Taylor had a brief chance to meet a lot of my aunts and uncles for the first time and I got to meet some of his family friends for the first time. It was awesome to see how many people truly cared about us, and supported our marriage. It was almost overwhelming how loving and happy everyone was. 

Taylor: I remember standing with Lindsey and looking out on all the people in the audience who were there to watch us get married.  That feeling of being surrounded by so many friends and family all in one place who are there to support you and love you is an extraordinary feeling and a memory I won’t forget.

What one piece of advice would you give to a bride & groom planning their wedding right now?

Lindsey: Hmmm… I think I would tell them to make sure they are planning their marriage, not just their wedding. While wedding plans take up a ton of time, they also take up a lot of conversations. My advice would be to take a date night with your fiancé at least once a week and make a rule to talk about other things… wedding plans are off limits. I mean, you don’t need to be legalistic about it, but make it a point to work on your relationship…because after all, that is the point, right?

Taylor: Always register for the NON-STICK pans! Otherwise, you will hate yourself.

Describe one of your favorite dates since you’ve been married? In your home or out on the town?

Lindsey: Some of my favorite dates since we’ve been married have been the “unplanned dates”. We try to have date nights once a week, but that doesn’t always happen. One of my favorite dates may seem pretty ordinary, however, to me it was really fun. One time we were in the middle of a busy/stressful week, it was Wednesday 8:00 in the evening after a meeting at church when we realized 1) we had to make dinner and 2) we would not be able to have a date night that week. So we decided to just go eat at our favorite Mexican food restaurant. It was almost 9 before we got our food, but it was nice to break the routine and spend quality time with each other in the middle of the week. 

Taylor: I really enjoy biking to the NMSU pool from our house, swimming some laps, and catching some rays before we bike home.

What is your favorite meal your spouse makes? 

Lindsey: Taylor makes a simple meal called “10 can soup” that is so yummy to eat on cold winter days. 

Taylor: Pretty much any recipe she gets from Pinterest is a homerun!

Tell me what makes marriage worth fighting for?

Lindsey: The fact that marriage is a reflection of Jesus’ relationship with His body of believers makes my marriage totally worth fighting for.  In the Bible, Jesus never leaves or forsakes His believers, no matter how many times they mess up. He fights for His bride, and gives His life for her (the believers). Knowing that Jesus would die for me, even though I disappoint Him far more than Taylor could ever disappoint me, makes my marriage worth the fight. Not to mention that Satan hates and tries to destroy everything good. And God made marriage to be good.  God is stronger much more powerful than Satan, therefore, I can rest secure that there is no situation that Taylor and I go through that can break us apart if we are truly seeking God. No matter how much we can hurt each other, God has the power to bring healing. Having that security in God makes me secure in my marriage. 

Taylor: The vows we made to be committed to each other, when life is great and when life sucks, is worth fighting for.

What has been the best piece of advice you’ve received since being married?

Lindsey: Always continue to date. It is so true that we need good quality time together every week. The busyness of life gets in the way of quality communication. Date nights are a perfect excuse to hang out and have uninterrupted alone time. 

Taylor: Don’t go to bed angry- especially with the big issues.  Taking some extra time to wrestle through our arguments has been worth the sleep lost in order to prevent resentment and speed the healing process.

What makes you giggle about your spouse?  

Lindsey: Oh there are many things that Taylor does that make me giggle. But one of my favorites comes when I am riding with Taylor on long car rides. When we go on trips Taylor makes me giggle because he mouths the words to all his favorite songs and makes up hand motions to go along. I have my own personal concert, and even though he is being silly, it is very attractive. ☺ 

Taylor: Lindsey’s cute grumpiness in the morning often makes me (silently) giggle.

What piece of advice would you share with a future husband and wife? 

Lindsey: I am no marriage guru, I’ve only been married a year. One thing I have learned in that year is something very simple, but good to remember is to always be honest. Marriage is unique because it is a safe place. It is an environment that should be free from judgement, therefore, it is okay to be honest. Talk about everything, even the awkward stuff. 

Taylor: Never stop being a student of your spouse.

Spencer & Ali | Featured Friday on the McGuires

I had this idea. This idea that somehow past brides & grooms could encourage and share their joy and wisdom with future couples and others who click to open the blog posts on Fridays. Now I can't claim this idea fully, because even though I had the desire, I didn't know how to fully execute itMy business/creative/blogger/encouraging buddy Jessica Paxson and I were walking in Uptown Dallas last week when she shared this idea with me. The idea that I can feature past couples on my blog, and they can share the funny, the real, the advice they feel is appropriate for those planning weddings and more importantly diving into marriages. An interview basically. 

As a wedding photographer, it's so much more to Jordan and me than just documenting a wedding day. We hope to not only document the undeniable joy, presence of family and friends and labor of love put into the wedding day, but we hope to create relationships with our couples. Relationships that can continue on after the wedding day. We are on their team. Being married ourselves, we understand that support and wisdom is a huge blessing in this crazy adventure, and we want to provide that to our couples. So....we created Featured Fridays! 

We're letting past couples who have anywhere from a few months to a year of marriage under their belts share with all of you! The first couple we featured is the McGuires. Spencer and Ali married nearly a year ago on July 26th at the Farm and Ranch Museum. Their wedding was beautiful, and their interview is the perfect post to kick off the features! We ourselves were encouraged!! Enjoy and share with any engaged ladies who are planning not only a wedding but a marriage!  

What is your favorite memory from your wedding day?

The first look, definitely. Spencer’s nerves had been building and building as the day progressed, but when he saw me (Ali) it was a huge relief. It also was just such a sweet moment to be able to see each other, tell each other how beautiful/handsome the other looked and share an intimate moment together before the ceremony. 

What one piece of advice would you give to a bride & groom planning their wedding right now?

Stay organized, but go with the flow. It’s really important to be on top of everything when planning a wedding because disorganization breeds stress for everyone involved, but it’s also important to go with the flow because not everything will turn out exactly as planned. This is such a sweet season of life-you never get to plan a wedding again! So plan it well, but have fun with it too. :)  

Describe one of your favorite dates since you’ve been married? In your home or out on the town?

For Valentine’s Day, Spencer took me to a restaurant in town called The Funky Door. You see, he originally told me that he would cook me a meal at home because eating out on Valentine’s Day gets too crazy.  Not going to lie, secretly I was a little bummed. Well, Spencer ended up surprising me with a reservation at this restaurant I had been dying to go to for weeks! We each indulged in a 5-course meal (dessert + drinks included). YUM. 

What is your favorite meal your spouse makes? Ali? Spencer?

Ali: I LOVE when Spencer grills. Fish, chicken, asparagus, you name it. Deliciousness!

Spencer: My favorite meal that Ali makes is jambalaya. (It’s actually a recipe that was passed down from my (Ali’s) youth minister!) 

Tell me what makes marriage worth fighting for?

Honestly, marriage is an awesome opportunity to know and be intimately known. You share literally everything from finances to the same bed, so you will come to learn everything about each other (good and bad). To know and love someone deeply is so rewarding and absolutely makes marriage worth fighting for. 

Also, marriage is worth fighting for because you know that your spouse will have your back. There may be times that having your back means that your spouse doesn’t side with you on things, because it is not the right thing to do. But during those times, you see (eventually) that your spouse was right, even though you may not admit it, and they were just looking out for what is best for you and your family. This relationship and the promises that are made on your wedding day to be there for each other, in good times and bad, sickness and health, is what makes my marriage worth fighting for. It’s a permanent best friend by your side, who doesn’t want to fight for that?

What has been the best piece of advice you’ve received since being married?

While we were on our honeymoon, a friend sent us a blog with some advice (along with adding her own two cents in). The one thing I remember from that advice is to always make an effort to go to bed together. With Spencer working and me being in school, I had just assumed that we wouldn’t go to bed together very often. After that, I made it a point to almost always go to bed at the same time as Spencer, and it’s been awesome. It gives us an opportunity to debrief about our days, do our devotional together, and pray together. Going to bed at the same time is really rewarding!  

What makes you giggle about your spouse?  

Ali: When Spencer is about to tickle me, act like a turd, etc., he always makes a certain face. I know what’s coming so I almost immediately start giggling when I see the little hidden smirk on his face. 

Spencer: I am a very light sleeper, so when I feel Ali get out of bed in the middle of the night, only to find out she is sleep walking, makes me giggle. There are times when I let her wander aimlessly around the room, and watch her as she tries to form sentences from words that don’t belong together. Then there are times when all she does is jumps out of bed, throws open the curtains, then violently jumps back into bed. That definitely makes me giggle.

What piece of advice would you share with a future husband and wife?

Jump into a bible study/devotional together right away. It’s a little awkward at first, but it just opens the door to sharing struggles and victories; and it continually reminds you that you guys are on the same team, fighting the good fight together. 

Thanks so much Ali and Spencer!