The day before Karlee and Shawn's wedding, I sat on the floor of an old church in the middle of downtown Charleston, stringing lights 4o0 lights through the balcony columns above. Karlee, Shawn, their friends Ashley and John and I spent four hours putting candles in vases, eating chips and laughing about how we didn't actually know about the things that were "supposed" to happen during the ceremony.
The following day, I spent the morning with Karlee and Ashley, a morning that will always remain one of my favorites. We ate quiche, listened to Matt Redman and watched Karlee's eyes well up when reading Shawn's note. I heard this sweet friend of mine say over and over how blessed she was, how excited she was to see her man later and ask to borrow Ashley's lipstick because she thought the red would be pretty on her too.
I've been a part of so many wedding days, but rarely invited into celebrations so gentle and intimate. I've heard photographers often say that it isn't until after weddings, looking through images that they realize the weight of their job, how truly special it is to be let into the beginning of a relationship. While walking down Tradd Street taking photos with these two, I fully realized this weight. The realization washed over me-how I was witnessing the beginning of love that does things, that takes action and that loves others so, so whole-heartedly.
If you've wondered what genuine, authentic, unconditional, gentle and easy love is, I can only hope that you see it reflected in Karlee and Shawn, as I always have. Their love is rare-not frequent in our society but not also not extinct; I believe it's the only kind of love worth striving, reaching and pushing for. And I hope you realize that it's what you too, deserve. So if you ever doubted that this kind of love existed, I hope that these two will be some sort of proof.