Win Wedding Photography from Em the Gem!

emthegem

Today we would proudly like to introduce a new sponsor, Em the Gem! Em the Gem is the brainchild of Emily Scott, a California based wedding and portrait photographer whose images are truly engaging and magical. Emily fell in love with photography on a mission trip to Japan and soon began seeing life and beauty through her lens on a daily basis.  Once engaged to her now husband, Aaron, Emily funneled her passion into wedding photography.

Emily appreciates the beauty that natural light and film photography brings to images and looks forward to collaborating with couples that appreciate the same. Emily loves to see new places outside of California so she is available for national and international weddings as well as local ones. Emily’s design aesthetic is gorgeous, and her photographs are light, lovely, and happy and will capture the essence of your wedding day!

Emily has just relaunched Em the Gem and is excited to celebrate this momentous occasion with a giveaway! She is looking to give an 8 hour wedding photography session away one lucky couple. Em the Gem is local to California, but will travel internationally for this giveaway to the right couple (couples getting married outside Northern California will be responsible for travel costs).

To enter to win 8 hours of wedding photography, leave a comment telling your love story and why you would love to win a session with Emily!

 

59 Responses to “Win Wedding Photography from Em the Gem!”

  1. alaina castillo

    The first backpacking trip that we ever took was on Vermont’s Long Trail. Some hiking, fishing, s’mores and a night under the stars… Our trip was full of unforeseen obstacles, and this one night adventure turned out to be the beginning of a journey far greater than the Long Trail itself. Our tent nearly floated away, the mosquitoes were out in the hundreds, and no fire=no dinner (thankfully we had Zinfandel!). This first trip will be forever etched into our memories. It serves as a reminder that no matter how much it pours, the rain will end. The path is always riddled with unforeseen obstacles, and that it is how you get over those obstacles that matters. Seth and I got engaged on the slopes of Sugarbush in Vermont last winter. Emily’s style is beautiful, natural and has a vintage vibe that would really capture our fall VT wedding perfectly.

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  2. Kromeklia

    My fiance and I have been togther for 12 years. We met at Kinko’s in the 90′s and didn’t start dating until the fall of 2000. Broke up in early 2001 and got back together later on. We have weathered many things that come from being togrther for so long, sickness and health in full force here. We don’t often get to travel together and have few photos of us as a couple. My wish is for the best photos that can be taken of us on our wedding day.

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  3. May-Anne S. Guiamano

    Hi Ms Emily

    First and foremost congratulations to your engagement and your soon upcoming wedding :)
    For our love story :)… We are both physicians by profession, I being a radiologist, while Paulo, my fiancé is an internist, our world, let us just say, collide in Med school… He is from another section however only having 2 sections in med school, let us just say we move in a very small group. But I never saw him and he never saw me in the 4 years we spent in proper med… By the way I already have a very beautiful daughter who just celebrated her 18th birthday last April… I gave birth to her when I was only 16.

    Going back to our story, we finally met during our senior internship year, I don’t know what happened then because I was supposed to be assigned to a different hospital which is a prestigious government hospital here in the Philippines, but I chose to be transferred to small and quiet hospital managed by the sisters of the holy spirit. I was 4 days late, and the groupings were already assigned… The groupings were alphabetical so having a “G” for a surname, out of nowhere I was placed to the group with “S” surname.. And that is how we met, probably the hands of the Almighty was doing his work. :)

    But during that I time having a relationship was never in my mind, having a daughter to take care of, training for a long term career, and being single for the past 12-13 years… I am a true candidate for being a one of the single blessedness. So in other words having a boyfriend is a super no no… But then Paulo, being 3 years younger than me and him during that time having a steady relationship of 2 years…. It is a shoot in the stars to think that we could be…. And so we became group mates…Paulo, being one of the youngest in the big group and him having a boyish look, no one would have thought that we could be… But then we became good friends to the point that we confide on each other… During those time, everything was simple…at some point we became true best friends…our training ended, next came is the review for the boards…so in other words each of us went on our own separate ways… However it became routine for the two of us to text each other until the wee hours… I would be studying in the school library, and lo and behold he would also be there… I never had the courage to ask him why he is there, but probably he saw the question in my eyes and he would just say, I just want to see you… I never took it seriously,again not in the plan…. But came was the day that I wanted to see him as well… And so we both passed the boards and I thought once again that it would end there but of course I was wrong…we have been in a relationship for the past 5 years now running 6, until we came to realize that we can no longer live without each other… And was engaged last year. I never thought that I would be accepted by anyone, but my paulo proved me wrong… He converted into my religion last year, and accepted me and my daughter whole heartedly…he fought for me and became my knight in shining armor ever since… He would always say he loves me for who I am and loves everyone and everything connected to me. :)

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  4. Cathy

    Would love to win a session with Emily because other than the fact that she has the courage to pursue and cultivate her newly found passion (while doing such a great job at it..!), she’s not afraid to step outside her comfort zone (i.e. taking international clients). This shows her commitment and character as an open individual & professional (open = flexible = easy to work with), and as a hopeful winner I believe she’d deliver an exceptional job. Also the fact that she uses film photography is something that I really look for and not many photographers (especially in Asia) do this yet! :)

    my love story:
    Cathy is Melbournian, King is Canadian, and they’ve been together on a three-year Long-Distance-Relationship ever since they met in Beijing. From worlds apart and through modern technology, stringing together experiences like Cathy & King’s relationship is nothing short of marvellous. The pair first met at a Christmas party where they exchanged very little words. It wasn’t until a year later at a church small group where they “officially” met. And not just their eyes, but hearts too. Their divine ‘match-making’ process took place during a small group activity of Rick Warren’s 40 Days of Love, where King happened to pull out Cathy’s name on his paper. The rule was, everyone had to practice a brotherly/sisterly act of care to whomever name they got. Three weeks of Skype chats later, say hello to a new couple in the group!

    After 3 months of dating it was time for Cathy to return to Melbourne. Not wanting to let the epic moments go, they decided to embark on the unknown journey of Long-Distance-Relationship; by faith that if they were meant to be together, God would do miracles. It turned out to be the greatest risk with most fulfilling rewards they have ever experienced yet. Just two weeks before Christmas 2012, King flew to Melbourne with a mission that would bring them a huge step closer to their future together. He popped the question and of course she said “Yes”. They are currently still in a long-distance but are planning their wedding for sometime mid-next-year.

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  5. Ca

    Here goes…

    Cathy is Melbournian, King is Canadian, and they’ve been together on a three-year Long-Distance-Relationship ever since they met in Beijing. From worlds apart and through modern technology, stringing together experiences like Cathy & King’s relationship is nothing short of marvellous. The pair first met at a Christmas party where they exchanged very little words. It wasn’t until a year later at a church small group where they “officially” met. And not just their eyes, but hearts too. Their divine ‘match-making’ process took place during a small group activity of Rick Warren’s 40 Days of Love, where King happened to pull out Cathy’s name on his paper. The rule was, everyone had to practice a brotherly/sisterly act of care to whomever name they got. Three weeks of Skype chats later, say hello to a new couple in the group!

    After 3 months of dating it was time for Cathy to return to Melbourne. Not wanting to let the epic moments go, they decided to embark on the unknown journey of Long-Distance-Relationship; by faith that if they were meant to be together, God would do miracles. It turned out to be the greatest risk with most fulfilling rewards they have ever experienced yet. Just two weeks before Christmas 2012, King flew to Melbourne with a mission that would bring them a huge step closer to their future together. He popped the question and of course she said “Yes”. They are currently still in a long-distance but are planning their wedding for sometime mid-next-year.

    I Would love to win a session with Emily because other than the fact that she has the courage to pursue and cultivate her newly found passion (while doing such a great job at it..!), she’s not afraid to step outside her comfort zone (i.e. taking international clients). This shows her commitment and character as an open individual & professional (open = flexible = easy to work with), and as a hopeful winner I believe she’d deliver an exceptional job. Also the fact that she uses film photography is something that I really look for and not many photographers (especially in Asia) do this yet! :) Currently doing my wedding planning so pick me maybe! xx

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  6. Carol Liang

    My fiance and I met when I was a freshman & he was a senior at UT Austin. We semi-dated (it was probably a relationship out of convenience at that time for him) for about 3 years starting from my sophomore year. During those 3 years, we were so immature, selfish, and naive that I ultimately broke up with him. I felt so liberated after we broke up and really got a chance to grow up and experience adulthood on my own. In this way, I’m glad we spent the resulting 4 years apart and out of contact. After becoming smarter adults, we eventually got back together. 11 years after we first met & after adopting two pups & a mid-country move from TX to CA, we are now engaged and getting married next year.

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  7. Robyn Wiggill

    I would love to win the photo session with Emily so that I can have amazing pictures to document the love between my fiance and I. He is American and I am South African. We met in Nov 2010, and that first night he told his best friend that there was something different about me. The first time we hung out one on one he told me he would marry me one told, I told him he was crazy. It’s turns out he was right.
    A year and a half later he came with me on a visit home, so he could meet my family and see my country. That meant so much to me. When he knew he was ready to propose he made sure to get permission from both my parent’s which meant so much to me. When he proposed I knew there was no one else in this world more perfect for me. We are planning a double wedding so that all our family and friends can share this special time with us.
    A picture speaks a 1000 words and I would love to have our story as a visual reminder of all we are, and one day something we can show our child. And tell them our story

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  8. Lauren Miller

    Mitchell and I met at the University of Tennessee as undergraduates. In 2009, my roommate insisted on taking me to a charity date auction. Feeling rather impish, I wore my pajamas. The first few young men stepped out in dandy attire – dashing suits, sharp ties, and impeccable shoes. Interestingly enough, the next young man to step out was wearing only a cowboy hat, Daisy Dukes, and cowboy boots. I was so entertained that I bid a few dollars on this young man, albeit unsuccessfully.

    We ran into each other on campus a few days later. A few days after that, we went on our first date – complete with dinner, ice skating, and a very awkward hug at the end of the evening. The rest, as they say, is history. We fell in love hiking in the Smokies, taking roadtrips, heading to concerts, and trying new foods. Nearly three years later, we moved with our two dogs to Memphis for grad school, continuing our education and furthering our passion for the open road, fresh food, and live music. This past spring, he showed up (unbeknownst to me) on a girls’ weekend trip to the Biltmore. I was walking through the gardens when I happened upon my beloved, eight hours from home. He got down on one knee, asked me if he might have the honor of spending the rest of our lives together, and I couldn’t have been happier to say yes.

    We would be ecstatic for the opportunity for Emily to photograph our wedding day. We are keeping our wedding budget modest so that in turn, we can spend our money on our passion – traveling on our honeymoon. Emily, come photograph our Nashville wedding! We would love for you to tell our story!

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  9. Robin Smith

    Love Em the Gem! In fact I’ve already booked her for my wedding in Nov- can I still win? Pretty please…weddings are expensive!
    Here’s a snippet of our story…
    So I’d been going to a small group at my church led by Rob and Amy (Mark’s bro-in-law and sis) for about a year before I ever met Mark. They never even mentioned him! The first time I ever laid eyes on him was at Wed night classes at our church. He was holding his one year old niece Nina and I thought to myself, “Who is this guy holding Nina?” I kind of pride myself in being a baby-whisperer and over the past year I had never been able to convince Nina to let me hold her. So I walked right up to Mark and introduced myself. From there, we started sitting next to each other every week at the Singles class at our church- it was so easy and fun to talk to him. I was trying to be patient and wait for him to ask me out but well if you know me I’m a go-after-what-I- want kind of girl and I knew I wanted him.
    So I asked him out on a triple date with two other married couples (what in the world was I thinking?!) for our first date and even though the dinner ended up being quite interesting- we went to play pool after dinner just the two of us and we had so much fun. Favorite quote from the night, “Do you always take boys to play pool, tell them you really don’t play much and aren’t good, and then royally beat them :)”. From then on out we were inseparable and 7 months later we were engaged. I knew I loved him when my independent, introvert, love to be by myself, travel the world alone self wanted to be with this BOY every moment of the day. I love him and can’t wait to marry him in Nov!

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  10. Kate

    Eli and I met online, which was surprising as could be. I’d just been dumped by my long-term boyfriend and I was looking to get back into the dating scene and have some fun. In the beginning, Eli was exactly that: he was engaging and sweet and we always had the best time together. But as we continued to see each other, it evolved into something much deeper. Eli lived an hour away from me in a small coastal town, and after awhile, I realized that every time I drove up to see him, even for a casual weekend stay, I left in the best possible mood. The other dates that I was going on were only a distraction.

    Eli and I eventually confessed our love to each other. He moved down to Boston to be with me after a year and a half, and though it was a leap of faith, it’s the best choice we ever made. Eli proposed three years after our first date, on a sailboat in the middle of Marblehead Harbor. We’re getting married in Maine next summer.

    We would love for Emily to come photograph our wedding next summer. Emily captures the exuberance and excitement of a wedding day perfectly – we love how natural her style is. Please, Emily, come work with us next summer!

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  11. Samantha

    Steven & I met in a high school center at a church. He played drums & I sung & played the guitar. From there on he would give me many comments about how my voice was better than the top artists & he would always talk about how we should form a band together. Now, I must admit my voice wasn’t the greatest & my skills weren’t probably the best, but he was a little scared of telling me that he liked me at first, so he would say things like “forming a band” or “we should play music together”. Now, at the time I did think he was an amazing drummer & just a wonderful man but I was ready to venture off into a a new adventure away at college, being only 2 months away from moving away. He was sad & though he was a bit shy & took some time to finally tell me that he liked me, he promised he would wait for me, while I was away & I promised him too. And that, I believe, was the greatest form of “I love you”. I would have never thought that anyone would love me enough to wait for me all that time I was away & I am so blessed to know him & to call him my best friend. He is a genuine, sweet man that loves God with all His heart & now he is away at school & working so that he can provide for an amazing wedding & future for us. We are both so thankful for each other & that God picked perfect matches for us. We can’t wait to spend the rest of our lives together & enjoyour passion to play music & even to go where ever it might be that God will take us in the future to embark in the greatest mission of loving people. We would love if Emily came & photographed our wedding & this love story that I believe she could capture through her lense.

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  12. Mary Cruz

    Our love story was unexpected and very romantic: He friend requested me on Myspace. I thought he was another creepy guy. But I accepted. And I swear to you up and down that I remember laughing to myself and thinking “Watch, I’m going to marry this guy” as I clicked the accept button. I don’t even think I ever told Kyle this. Any who, after a year and a half of talking online, making him guess my phone number because that was the only way I’d give it to him and transitioning our friendship to Facebook, I finally agreed to meet. We met at my college at the time and he pulled up in the cul-de-sac in this beat up white car with a suit on (he worked at Enterprise at the time–very ironic). We talked for maybe half hour and after he left, I thought “Well, I’m never seeing again.” We just didn’t hit it off. Years later, we found out that we had NO interest in each other; he talked a lot, I didn’t; He was preppy, I was going through my rocker/gothic stage; He was 23 and out of college, I was just starting college. So it was a month before we started talking again. But things were different: I had a new boyfriend. When I told him, he said he missed my personality and our relationship. I was shocked. I don’t know why I agreed to meet one more time, but it sealed the deal. I broke up with my boyfriend a week later (I know! I’m a horrible person!). But it has been almost 6 years now and we are planning our February 2014 wedding. We cant get enough of each other, he’s my best friend and everything is an adventure with him; from getting groceries from the local bodega to zip lining in the mountains. We would love a chance to have our unusual love story photographed so we can remember that in life, if things are meant to be, it will.

    Thank you! -Mary

    PS: Did I mention he’s a magician? He wasn’t so creepy after the first fire trick ;]

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  13. Dionna

    My fiance and I met my junior year of college at Chico State, and have been inseparable since! In college, we both happened to be group leaders for a volunteer organization on campus called CAVE. Every summer, CAVE takes the group leaders on a retreat in the mountains to bond before the school year starts and I was dreading it because I knew no one in the program. When getting on the bus, I sat down next to my (now fiance). The day we got back from camp we started dating, and the rest, as they say, is history. Fast forward five years and we’re recently engaged and very excited to get married!

    We are hoping to tie the knot this November at my fiance’s parent’s (very rustic) ranch in Northern California, and the only thing holding us back is cost! My fiance and I will be footing the bill for most of the wedding, so winning this 8 hour session with Emily would be a HUGE help! After poking around Emily’s portfolio, I fell in love with her photography style, and would be absolutely thrilled to have her as our photog for our big day.

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  14. S. Lee

    This is the first time I’ve seen Emily’s photography and I love the artistry and thoughtfulness she seems to put into each picture. We are just beginning to plan our wedding, but it will be a more intimate and smaller wedding, but one thing I’ve always known that would be important for my wedding was the photography, even with a smaller budget and wedding. As a musician and art-lover myself, I appreciate artful and beautiful photography and would love to win a session for our day!

    My fiance and I met at my former roommate’s engagement party. He had actually spotted me in a crowd at an Easter service months prior, and one more time prior to that, but there had been no opportunity to meet. So when he saw me show up to my roommate’s party, one that I almost wasn’t able to make, he knew it was his chance to meet me. As I was laughing and catching up with a friend at the party, he tried to enter the conversation by laughing along and standing by us. But I have no recollection of seeing or hearing him, and obviously he realized that wasn’t going to work. Makes for a funny reenactment in my mind, though. He then proceeded to stick his hand out and introduce himself. We’ve been together for almost 3 years since that initial meeting. A funny side story: he had told his friend that he saw a pretty girl at the easter service and described me to his friend. That friend, I happened to be an acquaintance, as he would frequent the coffee shop I worked at at the time. When my, now, fiancé heard that i worked at that coffee shop, he jumped from his seat, and quickly drove to that location. He tried a few more times to stop by to see if he could catch me, but fate didn’t have it in her stars to meet until later.

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  15. Melinda Owens

    Melinda & Tristan <3

    Tristan grew up in New York City and I was from a very, very, small town called Clifford, Pennsylvania. I'm still so happy and lucky that our two paths to met… Tristan wanted to move away from the city life and looked into a college in Pennsylvania. I personally wanted to travel away to school but stayed close to home and thankfully I did, because Tristan and I met our sophomore years at Keystone College.

    We were involved in a lot of campus events and had mutual friends but it wasn't until senior year in 2008; we went out dancing and we been together ever since. Enjoyed our final semesters of undergrad together and were starting to prepare for what was in store once we graduated and started onto our new lives.

    After graduating the two of us lived long distantly between Clifford, PA and NYC. We were both looking for jobs and trying to save money for our "someday" dream of being together in one place again. I took on an internship, that developed into a full time Graphic Design position; mean while Tristan was working in Manhattan at Central Booking. We patiently waited but had no idea how they would wind up together with such limited job opportunities and just be fresh out of school. We knew it would take time and patience. Than Tristan decided to start the process of becoming a Pennsylvania State Trooper. Meanwhile, my {just-in-case} backup plan.., kept looking for jobs in the NYC. After 3 long years process Tristan was excepted into the academy and went away for 6 really long months to the State Police Academy. During a one of the few weekend visits right after my birthday, on the morning of July 28, 2012. He asked me to slow dancing, he is silly so I didn't find it strange that we were dancing with {no music playing} Than he got down on his knee and asked me to marry him. I still can imagine that moment, it was perfect. :)

    Than in December 2012, he graduated from State Police Academy and is now a Pennsylvania State Trooper. {I'm so very very proud of him} We are stationed 3 hours from both our homes and loved ones in Central Pennsylvania. I resigned from my position as a Graphic Designer, unfortunately still looking for a career where we are now located. Thankfully and finally we have a place to call our home and share our new address together. With his busy schedule we just started planning our big awaited day this Oct. 20, 2013. Which will be our 5th anniversary of when started dating, we will be getting married!

    That is just the beginning of our story but I'm happy I got to share it with you :)

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  16. Marcie

    Long story short, because theres just too much love to pack into this box here. We met when we were 5, our moms worked together and He was the dorky chubby boy that would play with his dog out in the front yard and I would watch him from the tree above as our mother mingled. Then as middle school rolled around, that dorky boy because prince charm in and in 7th grade, he told me he loved me, straight up told me that, and so we fell in love that year and have been together ever since. there is a twist, a HUGE twist. So in high school, we both converted to a church together as the only ones in either of our families that attended any church, and right out of high school, he made the decision to serve a mission, and to leave for 2 years of his life to go help and serve others, which meant postponing and sacrificing all the plans we had to get married after high school. He returns in 5 month! were almost to the finish line!!! We are getting married in january God willing. We only communicate through letter, but our relationship and spiritual bond only grows so strong with this distance in between us, its nothing compared to the eternity we will share together. <3

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  17. Marcie

    oh no, my comment got cut off because my slow computer keeps crashing :( We would love a session with Emily because, one, I adore and follow her work and admire the beauty and realness she captures in every photo. Shawn and I are paying for our wedding ourselves, because neither of our families can afford it, so its going to be small, so were hoping to at least have beautiful pictures, but finding a photographer, as you already know is so difficult and I feel emily does such a pure, perfect job capturing love.

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  18. Tara Katherine

    I met Michael on June 30th 2011 in Barcelona. We had both set forth on a European adventure to help regain our lives after a hard year of divorce, separation and too many close deaths. Neither of us intended on meeting someone. Neither of us intended on falling madly in love – but I suppose these are the things that no one ever really intends. Our love story is so perfectly who we are and testament that soul mates do exist – and perhaps most importantly, a true belief in second chances.

    He lived in San Francisco and I in Montreal. He was traveling for a few weeks and I for a few months. We both sought the same repose out of our trip – we wanted to get our breath back. We wanted to feel like ourselves again, or better understand the new version of who we now had become. We never expected, 4000 miles apart and just as many emails later that it would be with each other.

    Despite finding him immediately attractive, I tried to blow him off at first. That didn’t last long. I remember some of the first conversation but mostly I recall laughing and smiling so much my cheeks hurt. His eyes light up like a marquee sign every time he laughs and witnessing that, after the sad and painful year I had experienced prior to my trip, was the best medicine I could have asked for. Michael and I spent the entire night eating, drinking, walking and talking – which is still how we spend every night. I left the next afternoon around 5:00 pm – less than 24 hours after meeting him. Within an hour of my departure I emailed him. He immediately replied. We have spoken every day since then and have exchanged over 4000 emails. Throughout our trip, as we spoke more often and emailed long, lovely emails to each other on a daily basis we both realized something that had been lacking in our lives. We both decided to choose “happy”. As simple as it sounds, it is not always the natural reaction to situations in life and yet it is as simple as choosing the opposite. That, along with a quote he said to me on our first date post Europe, over some terrible Chinese take-out: “All we need in life is some food to share and a room to call our own” is the reason I said yes when we proposed – oh and I think he is oh so dreamy too!

    We maintained a long distance relationship until I moved to California from Montreal a year and a half ago so that we could be together. As difficult as being apart was, it taught us how to really communicate. We felt like we had an advantage over other couples that got to see each other everyday, as we got to really speak to each other without the distractions of everyday life – I mean, what else were we going to do 4000 miles apart! Not willing to get married just for the visa paperwork that would legally keep us together, I used my savings to go to graduate school and stay in the US on a student visa. Without legally being able to work, we are trying to plan our wedding on as much of a budget as possible as we are working to build our life together. He is my person and I am his (actually he calls me his EPIC – Exclusive Partner In Crime – when we decided we were in an exclusive relationship, basically right away, I told him he had to work harder to be my significant other, so until then he was just my exclusive other). But we both knew right from the get-go that we had found in each other lifelong partners in crime.

    Our wedding will be filled with love, joy and happiness regardless of whether or not we are the lucky winners. We both love Emily’s style and feel her use of light and contrast truly captures the essence of the moment without feeling any intrusion from her or the lens. We do not have a photographer for our December 2013 wedding in Sonoma yet (!) and our budget would scream of joy if someone threw it a bone – please consider us and either way, enjoy reading all the wonderful love stories!

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  19. Kate Reeves

    Where to begin?
    ….Well our love story begins before we met; before we were created really… I believe with all my heart that Chas was The One I was created to be with for the rest of my days… I believe the author of romance, God himself, wrote our story in the beginning of time.
    Fast forward a few thousand years and through a divinely timed meeting, Chas and I are introduced for the first time, although we’d seen each other before In years past; Yes, I had seen him at his fathers’ church, and he had seen me in ballet performances his family attended, but neither one of us knew at the time that the boy I wished would notice me, and the girl he thought was out of his reach would soon enough be one ours…
    After being introduced he gave me his number because he didn’t want to ask for mine just yet, he escorted me to a fundraising dinner and asked if unsweetened tea was okay or if I’d prefer something else (Ladies, you get big points for that if you’re in the south!), he wore button ups on our outings, asked my opinions on facial hair (to die for!) and always paid for my coffee. He even spent time with my dad and came to Thanksgiving dinner before we where a couple. After two months of intentionally getting to know one another, he took a risk, asked me out, and the rest is roller-coaster-style-love-history! We have been through some difficulties and some of the most amazing days of my life, like the night he whispered “I love you.” for the first time, after one of those not so great days. I was in a head on collision that could have left me greatly wounded soon after beginning the relationship, and only months later he saved a drowning older gentleman at the beach. I wish I where making this up, but I think it speaks to the fact that he and I have a purpose. I think we where meant for each other and meant for the world. And I know he knows this too.

    Something that sets us apart from some of our peers is our decision not to kiss until our first wedded-bliss-filled-kiss on our date of holy matrimony. Yes, you read that right! And that is why a photographer who is gifted at her craft is so very important to me. This is the first man I held hands with, the first man I danced with, and he will be the first I have kissed. “I have found the one whom my soul loves.” (Song of Solomon), and I want someone to capture every moment. Every shared romantic glance at the dinner table of our reception, every tear shed walking down the isle with my wonderful father and then my smokin’ hot husband, every smile that will be utterly un-keepable, and most definitely, every new kiss shared by the love of my soul and I.

    The last thing I’ll say is thank you for your time and generosity! I knew in my deepest heart that God had made, prepared, and given this young man to me before I ever officially met him, and I have loved watching our love story unfold. I didn’t date around, on purpose, in my younger years, and I could not be more fulfilled with the relationship God has given. He was worth my wait.

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  20. Alli

    What a wonderful idea to offer a contest to travel anywhere in the world! I would love for you to visit upstate NY in the beautiful Lake George region a year from September to photograph our wedding. The Adirondack mountains are a very special spot for my fiance and I, and we are excited to share this location with others. Your portfolio is everything I love about wedding photography- beautiful and real. There is no need for any fisheye gimmicks or crazy angles. You seem to be able to catch both the big and small moments.

    Taylor and I met on the first night of college at Skidmore in Saratoga Springs, NY. A mutual friend brought me to watch a movie in his dorm. We became friends and as the weeks went on we continued to get closer and closer. A family friend had given him a gift certificate to a fancy restaurant in town to use for “his first date in college.” One night we were hanging out in his dorm. He casually reminded me of the gift certificate, and asked, “do you want to use it with me?” Flustered, I said, “no, no it’s for a date.” Then, when my brain caught up with my mouth, I realized that he wanted to take me on a date, and I had said no! Quickly doing some damage control, I told another mutual friend what happened and asked her to encourage him to ask me out again. When he did, I was ready and said yes this time. That was almost 10 years ago, and next year I will be ready with my answer when it’s time to say “I do.” :)

    Reply
  21. Stef L

    My fiance and I are high school sweethearts and have been together 11. He stole my heart when, at a theatre play, he looped my arm through his to settle our argument over who would use the single armrest between us. In the end, we both won! Since then, my love for him has not wavered. I would love for Emily to photograph our special day to capture the love and happiness that will be shared between us and our family and friends!

    Reply
  22. Corinne Morgan

    Hi Emily!

    You have had quite a few fabulous love stories to read and consider already and while I do love mine the best (!) I have loved reading through so many wonderful moments.

    My fiancé and I met at church when he moved there about 10 years ago. He was a little older and didn’t pay me much attention but I always thought he was something special– and super cute too! He moved to upstate New York for school and I went to James Madison University. Almost two years ago he moved back to Richmond and as soon as we saw each other we both knew. It was all my prayers answered. We fit perfectly together. We are both so playful and goofy and do almost everything together. We even adopted a boxer puppy Hooch last week! We are so in love and are loving every minute of wedding planning.

    While we do have some help from my our parents, most of the money for the wedding and honeymoon is coming from us. My finance owns a contracting and home renovation company and amazes me every day by how much he accomplishes, continues to learn, and goes out of his way to make sure I have everything I need. We decided we each got to pick one thing we would have at our wedding that would be the most important so that we could spend the money we have on what we feel is most important. He chose to have a lot of groomsmen and a very fun bachelor trip and I decided my most important thing was photography. We are ecstatic just to be getting married and the fact that we are able to have a beautiful wedding makes the marriage and wedding day even more amazing. Having you as our photographer would be making my dreams come true. Caleb works so hard to make sure I’m having the wedding I’ve always wanted and if I could have such an amazing photographer at such a small cost I would blow his mind and you would be making our wedding!!

    Thanks for taking the time to read our story. You are doing a wonderful thing for a very lucky couple.
    Xx

    Reply
  23. Jessie Beebe

    Hi Emily! Here’s the story of my fiancée and I:

    In the tenth grade, I was the nerdy girl who liked literature and Cory was a punk who rode skateboards. As a couple, we were unlikely. Cory was so shy that he read books in class, hoping that I would ask about what he was reading (I fell for it, sucker that I am. But I really *had* been meaning to read Orwell’s 1984). He also did the not-looking-at-you-from-across-the-room-kind-of-thing. I finally caught on. After becoming good friends in our sophomore year of high school and surviving the tough ups and downs of early teenagerdom, we began dating in their junior year. He taught me how to take photographs, drink tea, and appreciate public radio. I inspired him to attend plays and be a lot dorkier.

    We thought things were going pretty well, so we decided to attend the same university in Seattle, WA, away from our native southern California. Cory studies journalism and is interning at the local channel 5 station this summer. He works insanely hard (sometimes 50+ hours, not including school), saving so that we can have a more secure future. I am also working as the editor-in-chief of our school’s arts and lit magazine, continuing to read my thick novels, and exploring the possibilities of teaching and writing. My dream is to attend graduate school. Together, we are discovering lots of coffee, dreaming out taking backpacking trips abroad, and bolstering their savings. We have been dating for over four years — we never looked back.

    Things are going so well that we kind of want to make it last forever, starting in June 2014. My wedding vision is “Tuscan elegance meets Kinfolk”: timeless, romantic, natural, and focused on friends and family. Cory’s wedding style is California beach-y: relaxed and tons of fun, with a very casual bent. (He’s also determined to sneak in elements of his favorite movie, Up.) There will be lots of doing-it-themselves and help from friends and family. We think our wedding will be the best thing ever. We would like to be married in Cory’s grandparents’ backyard in the Pacific Palisades. Cory parents were married there too.

    We would be ecstatic about having you shoot our wedding for 4 reasons: 1) your use of natural light and the dreamy, organic approach; 2) Cory and I are suckers for film; 3) we have big plans after the wedding (including, grad school and hopefully a move back to SoCal and our families), so we need to keep our wedding within the budget; and 3) we simply think your work is beautiful. That last one is the coolest bit of all.

    Thanks so much Em, hope you choose us!

    -Jessie

    Reply
  24. Barbara Richards

    First of all, I have to say I am so happy to know there are other photographers out there who still love the way film looks! I don’t do much photography, but film is a lovely hobby of mine…
    My fiancée, Myles, and I met…well…I guess you could say we met through this very popular Starbuck’s in the little corner of San Diego known as Fletcher Hills. My best friend since kindergarten, Allison, worked there, and Myles was the tall, handsome, mysteriously quiet yet very friendly, Bible-reading regular who made all the girl employees curious. Over the course of a few months, Allison discovered they had a few mutual friends and that Myles for a while attended the same church she was attending at the time (not surprising since it’s just a few blocks away from that Starbuck’s). Seeing that Allison and I were very close at the time, I began hearing about this guy and that I myself might be interested, especially since we had one major thing in common: height. I’m 6ft 1in, and he’s 6ft. 5in tall. Long story short, I met him one night as Allison’s coworker Melissa’s new boyfriend Myles. Melissa introduced me to him like so, “Myles, this is Barbara, y’know, the girl we’ve been trying to set you up with.” Luckily for me, Myles thought that strange enough (among many other things) to break up with her only a few weeks after.
    Shortly after that brief and rather awkward meeting, he began attending a small, college-aged Bible study that I had been going to with Allison and a few other people from her church. I quickly learned that he read a lot, and had no fear of sharing his opinion with others, no matter what they may think. Because of this, and his demeanor when speaking, I developed large distaste for him. I thought he was arrogant, thoughtless, and cared nothing for the reality of people’s struggles and only cared about what was ‘right’. At the time, I was very much the opposite, caring far more for people’s feelings than for what may be truly good and right. Over the course of about three years, we argued a lot. So much so that I began feeling bad that we seemed to take up most of the Bible study time just between the two of us and gave no time for anyone else to share their thoughts too! So, Myles and I would stand around in the parking lot of that Starbucks (the meeting place, ironically, for carpooling to Bible study) for hours afterwards, and meet up before if we had time. Soon we were hanging out nearly every couple days or so. All the while, I was convinced I hated him.

    However, slowly but surely, this arguing began to be a conversation of trying to understand one another. Later I learned that he found me fascinating, that he had never known anyone who thinks like I do, and that’s why we could talk for hours. I now can admit that truly I too was fascinated. Over those three years, we balanced each other out. He got me to have some kind of solid opinion besides reacting to what hurts, and I taught him how to love deeply those around him.
    One day after a couple months of back and forth in my mind “I love him”, “I don’t love him”, and so on, I basically decided that I loved him, and that I would never question it again. So I asked him out. That was two years ago. During those two years, I was away in Canada twice for three months each time, with very little communication to the outside world. From that I believe I learned much about patience, and how to trust that he will always be there no matter the distance or how long it’s been since we last talked. He keeps me grounded and consistent, while I provide the adventure and fun. It’s a beautiful relationship, and he just popped the question yesterday! To top off the whirlwind of ups and downs of our relationship, we’re getting married August 18th. Just can’t wait to make him my husband!
    Thanks for offering this giveaway. I hope even if you don’t pick our story, that you enjoyed hearing it as much as I enjoyed telling it. Blessings!

    Reply
  25. Christine

    Oh my Honey. :)
    We met almost ten years ago at a Coffee Bean where I worked and he was a caffeine addicted customer. He came in every morning and afternoon,always at the same times, ordering the same drink as we exchanged “Hello’s!” and polite conversation.
    I was a ballet dancer and always invited him to my shows. He went to every single one.
    We quickly became good friends. And then that turned into best friends. My family loved him but I had no interest in moving us into something more romantic. Although, without my knowing, my ENTIRE family was pulling for him!
    There were times where Neil and I seemed to lose touch but we would always run into one another. 4 Valentines Days ago we ended up together at a bar just chatting about life and our kittens.
    Some force was always pulling us into the same space. Into the same room.
    One evening in a parking lot on the way to the car, he grabbed my hand.And he hasn’t let go since.My life has completely changed.
    We knew within days of dating that we were done. We had finally found one another. We were complete.
    I didn’t find out until we started dating that Neil had been waiting 7 years for me. My heart melted. He loved me that entire time and I hadn’t the slightest idea. Now that is what love stories are made of!
    My heart fills up with love as I think about how lucky I am to have such a patient and silly man in my life. To have someone that understands how important my family is to me, how much I need animals to love and puts up with me chasing him around the house and scaring him! Everyday is filled with so much playing and laughter!
    He asked me to Marry him only 3 weeks ago. I still can’t believe it. I still can’t believe he chose me. Our lives are going to be beyond enchanting!
    He asked me on the beach in front of my Mom and my sister and I am forever grateful for that moment. My family is my life and I am so thankful that he included them. He got down on one knee and said, “I waited 7 years for you. And then I waited 2 more.Will you Marry me?” I had no words. I said yes with tear filled eyes and a hug.
    We have been together for 2 and a half years and best friends for 10! Life has already awarded me the best gift of all. A man that is walking love.
    He is absolute perfection. He has been nothing but supportive of my Yoga Business. Always encouraging me to continue my Yoga education and do things for myself. He works so hard to keep us all afloat and happy while I work to make my dream come true. We have 3 fur-babies.Ronaldo the pup and Georgia and Patrick the kitties. Clyde and Fred, our fish are part of our silly little family too! Ronaldo will be bringing Momma and Poppa the rings at our wedding!
    Neil and I spend a lot of our time going to estate sales and open houses. Day dreaming about what our future holds and making plans to make our crazy little ideas come true. We want a farm one day! It’s going to be quite amazing! We can’t wait to hear baa-ing and moo-ing outside our kitchen window.
    We would be so honored to have you photograph our wedding. You capture the sweetest moments and I love how candid they are. You are truly amazing. What you have really is a gift! We are already so blessed and feel so lucky to have one another and all the love from our family and friends but would be besides ourselves if you could capture our sweet day.
    We are looking to have it in Old Town San Diego and love the Mexican culture and architecture. We are looking for a space that already has the character but just needs us. <3 We want something natural and sweet. Something easy and colorful. Our relationship has been nothing but a sweet little natural chain of events and we believe that our wedding should be the same.
    Crossing our fingers! xox
    -Christine and Neil

    Reply
  26. Sabrina from Germany

    Hi Emily!

    I really love your work and would be honoured to have you as a photographer for our wedding in Nashville, TN. Especially cause your way of taking pictures is exactly what I am looking for: simply and beautiful (I am a graphic designer and therefore I am really picky concerning pictures. Most wedding pictures in fact make me wanna gag!)

    Here is somehting about me and my fiancée: we met 3 years ago while I was an intern at the company where he’s working for. Ever since then we had a challenging long distance relationship with lots of hello’s and goodbye’s, both followed by even more tears. We got engaged a while ago and are now in the painful process of getting a visa for me to be allowed to finally get married and spend our lives together. This will hopefully happen this fall (cross your fingers!) and I would be beyond happy to start this new part of my life with beautiful pictures of me and my love. Besides that I am sure a german/american wedding would be super fun for you too!

    Thank you so much!

    - Sabrina -

    Reply
  27. Shelby

    Sam and I have been together since I was 18. In the winter of my senior year in college, as I was making a mess in the kitchen trying to make cranberry scones, he proposed. I had knocked over a bowl of water, was on my hands and knees saying naughty words, when he got down on one knee with me. It was the perfect moment.

    Sam and I are best friends, and have been so since I was 17. We attended college in different states, but stayed together (distance, ugh!), but now, the distance is finally ending. Last month, we adopted our first puppy and next year we’ll be moving into our first apartment. Life moves fast, but man is it exciting!

    We hope to get married at his grandfather’s home in Arkansas. His grandfather is an architect and designed the most beautiful home in the Ozarks, and we hope to have a small wedding. My brother will be the officiant.

    I hope you choose us! Thanks :)

    Reply
  28. Theresa McCullough

    We have been on again off again for 8 years. I have never had a doubt in my mind that we were meant to be. We both come from difficult backgrounds with hurts and fears. When we are together we just know. Life will not always be a cake walk. There will be struggles and let downs. We also know there will be joys and tears of laughter. Above all of these things we know beyond a shadow of doubt that we want to grow old together, wake up to each other, serve and love each other for the rest of our lives. I love him and he loves me, this love runs deep because we know who we belong to and we trust in His promises of a hope and a future.

    Reply
  29. Lacy

    I would be honored to win a wedding photography session! Especially after studying many photographers online as I have started planning. I love natural light photography and Matt and I want to take a little time before the ceremony to get pictures of us 2. I got engaged 2 weeks ago and am one of 4 girls- the 3rd to get married. Matt and I met 5 years ago at a dive bar in Atlanta (oddly enough). We have been dating ever since and are planning our wedding for 2014. We both come from big families and are the 2nd oldest out of 4 children.

    He was out with a group of friends and I was out with a group of girls for a birthday party. I walked around the bar to see if any of my other friends were there and the table he was sitting at asked me a question as I passed by. I ended up talking to Matt and was interested in him because he had just moved from Seattle and I had never known anyone from that far. It was during football season, which is BIG in the south and as a former college player, he was interested in me because I didn’t have a “team,” much less know the difference between college football and the NFL.

    Matt knew in order to surprise me when proposing it had to be something that wasn’t out of the ordinary, since I can take control over situations. We normally walk around the block on Fridays for exercise after work and it was in a little park, with nike shorts on that he popped the question. Matt grew up in DC and I grew up in Alabama so we are excited to plan a southern wedding. His family and parent’s friends have never been to Alabama so I want it to be the perfect mixture of southern charm.

    Reply
  30. Hannah Warman

    My fiancé and I met in the fall of my junior year of college. I majored in French with a concentration in Sub-Saharan African Studies and spent some time studying in Cameroon, West Africa. One element of the program was home-stay families, and in one of my families I became close with a “brother” who was around my age. At that time Franck was studying Biochemistry at the local university, and so we would walk together every morning to school. Every night we would stay up late talking and it was hard to say goodbye when I moved to a different region as part of my academic program. We were apart for a month but would talk on the phone almost every night. I had a bit of a crush on him and thought he might be interested too but I wasn’t positive so when the time came for my independent study project I knew I had to go back to his city to find out. We fell back into our rhythm instantly and finally, just one week before I had to come back to the States, we confessed our feelings for each other.

    It wasn’t much of a question for us to do long distance because we were pretty serious (and pretty crazy) about each other. It would be eight months before we saw each other again but we stayed in touch by emailing back and forth and making long (and expensive!) calls. I wasn’t sure when I would have enough money to go back to Cameroon but my prayers paid off because I received a grant to do research in Rwanda the summer after that, making the extra plane ticket within reach. Spending the summer with Franck and his family made me even more certain about my feelings for him, and towards the end of August we decided to take the plunge and get married! I had to go back and finish my Bachelor’s degree so we did long distance once again and in February of this year we submitted our application for a fiancé visa so that we can settle together in the States. Visa applications are slow, frustrating and expensive, so winning photography would mean the world to us! I have always dreamed of everything I wanted my wedding to be like but because of the extra costs of Franck’s immigration we have to stick to a modest budget. I don’t believe that you have to spend a lot of money to have a breathtaking wedding and I intend to prove it when we get married next summer at my parent’s farmhouse in Washington State.

    Thanks for this opportunity!
    Hannah + Franck

    Reply
  31. Helena

    A wedding photography session would be a dream!

    A and I met at a graduation party (actually three in a row in one evening) in San Francisco. I told him he had kind eyes and that we should be penpals (I was leaving the following day to attend school in London (UK). We wrote to each other through snailmail, facebook messages, gmail and aim in the following months. I returned back to the states for the following semester but had gotten an internship opportunity in New York. After texting and calling for a few months while I was in NYC and he was in SF, he decided to fly out to sweep me off on a whirlwind weekend of magical dates. After having only met him in person once but having fallen in love with him through our long distance chats, the trip only solidified that I was truly in love with this charming, quiet man.

    Four and half years later after moving for work from San Francisco to Boulder to New York City to Portland together, A proposed to me on my 30th birthday under the stars in tropical paradise. He’s the love of my life and I’d love to be able to have beautiful professional photos from our wedding to document it for us when we get old and senile.

    Thanks for giving us this opportunity,
    H

    Reply
  32. Kat

    Fall of our senior year in college, the same day Tonye moved into his first off campus apartment, he asked me out on a date . He picked me up in a Uhaul truck and made me laugh all night, until my face hurt and my eyes started to tear.

    Although our first attempt at dating lasted 8 months, we were able to grow a strong, genuine friendship. I eventually moved to New York and he stayed in Boston. While years past and we casually and not so casually dated other people, he was always the person I loved to talk to.

    About two years ago, we both ended long-term relationships that seemed to be heading towards marriage. That summer, Tonye moved to New York and we became inseparable.

    We call what we have “full circle love” because 7 years after our first time around, we’re now getting married. We’re blessed to have a second chance at true love.

    We’re saying “I do” this August in the mountains of Washington. Emily’s photography style would perfectly compliment and capture the natural beauty of the location and the subtle intimacy of our wedding.

    Reply
  33. Kelsey Scarbrough

    My fiance and I met 7 years ago in 10th grade math class. The day of high school graduation we finally begin our relationship. Our love has lasted 4 YEARS of college & finally led to a proposal one month ago in the fields of our favorite park.

    We have traveled the US together as well as most of Western Europe. We our adventurers and teammates. I am a photographer & he a financial analyst. A true right brain // left brain relationship.

    We would love to win a wedding with Em the Gem because we believe she can capture the true beauty of our relationship and special day. Her photos tell a story unlike any other photographer. As a photographer, I get the goosebumps when I see her images.

    We are finally joining together as one on May 3, 2014 at the The Henry Ford in Dearborn, Michigan.

    Reply
  34. Kami

    Emily, what an incredibly sweet “gift” to someone. And what an incredible gift you have! The photography is actually the only part of our wedding that we both dream about. Our entire courtship was long-distance — phone calls and pictures and cards — so capturing our moments has always been everything to us.

    We will be having a fall wedding, getting married in November 2013 in Big Sur by a cypress tree. It’s “ours” and it feels good to dream about the day. I don’t even have a wedding dress yet, but I just imagine the soft details of the wedding… The ocean and tall trees, wispy pieces of hair blowing in the wind, colors, and the sweet wrinkles from our smiles. Simple and gorgeous, that’s all we want.

    We’re from opposite coasts and we’re just so very appreciative that we found each other in life. This won’t be his first marriage, but it will be mine, and we’re imperfectly perfect for each other. My fiancé is an incredibly selfless and adorable and loving man… I wish I could do more for him in terms of big gestures, but for now I shower him with kindness and hugs. I’ve been in a career transition and he’s been supporting me and my studies for what feels like forever now. He never complains. Who IS this guy and how did I get so fortunate, I wonder. He’s so good about making sure that we always have something to look forward to.

    Let’s not do this for me, let this photography session be for one amazing man. We’re a team, best friends, and I know that no matter what, we’ll always be holding hands and finding a way to make things work. Thank you for giving us hope!

    Reply
  35. Meifania

    Our love story, spanning 13,763km and 3.5 years.

    http://vimeo.com/61842195 – 14.03.2010

    “It was love at first sight between the exchange student from Germany and the free spirited Australian girl. What they thought was going to be a summer fling turned out to be so much more. 2 weeks after they met, he returned to Germany, but always carried her in his heart. Against all odds, they triumphed over distance, time difference and loneliness. As soon as she submitted her thesis in Australia, he asked for her hand in marriage. She said yes, and, without hesitation, packed her bags and booked a one way ticket to Germany (with her little dog). At long last, they have begun their new lives and adventures!”

    Exploring foreign lands and cultures are our mutual passion. We embrace new experiences and appreciate the simple things in life. Such as a gentle breeze, a cold beer on a hot summer’s day and a good book. And light, lots of light, to reflect our positive nature and bright personalities. We would love for Em to capture our love for each other and tell a story about our journey towards being man and wife, through her lens!

    Reply
  36. Tina T.

    Hi Emily!

    First of all, thank you for offering this wonderful giveaway and congratulations on your success this far.

    My fiancé, Tony, and I met back in middle school but we weren’t very close then. We went to school together until I moved to another high school still having not been real close as friends. Two years later, we randomly ran into each other at the grocery store and just hit it off. We started talking on the phone and chatting online before he took me out for our fist movie, A Walk to Remember. We then went to dinner at his favorite Chinese restaurant. We still frequent this restaurant now. The staff there recognize us and always ask if we’re ordering the usual :)

    After becoming close friends, Tony moved to another state for school. We knew the upcoming months would be hard as there were many obstacles to face with long distance. We actually didn’t officially become girlfriend/boyfriend status until after he left CA. Little did we know we would endure many more years of our long distance relationship as he went to college away from home. He’s almost done with his degree in medicine now and we couldn’t be more excited.

    We’re hoping to have a fall wedding in 2014 in CA. The only thing that could make this even more special and exciting is having a wonderful photographer to capture our day :)

    Thanks again for the opportunity!

    Warm Regards,

    Tina

    Reply
  37. Tina T.

    I completely left off some major details about our love story. We’ve been together for 11 years now (just celebrated our 11th Anniversary on 06/17 which is Tony’s birthday as well. He ordered a custom made cake with a jewelry box on it containing the ring for my birthday, 08/17, two years ago. The candle was a question mark. I know that we bring out the best in each other and if we’ve endured so much already, nothing can break our strong bond.

    We’d be honored to have you as our photographer capturing our big day without missing the spirit of candid shots as well as attention to details. We will keep our fingers and toes crossed for this opportunity to work with you :)

    Respectfully submitted,

    Tina & Tony

    Reply
  38. Kelly Hughes

    My fiance CJ and I met while I was in school in Arkansas. I was moving to Georgia within the month and not looking for any type relationship, but when he surprised me by driving 1,000 miles in two days time just to be my date at my best friend’s wedding, I decided to reconsider! For the next 16 months we navigated the difficult waters of a long distance relationship, but began to see how Everything had been planned out perfectly for us to be together forever. In that time, CJ learned that he would be deployed to Kuwait for 9 months, and as marriage conversations became more serious, he secretly decided to ask me to marry him before he had to leave. In early February, with the help of the same friend whose wedding brought us together in the first place, CJ surprised me by showing up unannounced at my favorite local winery and reserving the whole vineyard just for us (I had been taken there for what I thought was a late birthday outing). It was intimate and special, just like we want our wedding to be. The wedding will be in August of 2014 in CJ’s hometown of Searcy, Arkansas (not quite Tuscany… sorry!), and because I am in graduate school studying to be a child psychologist and he will be in architecture school while still continuing to serve in the Army, our funds are somewhat limited. I am wearing my mother’s dress that will be rebuilt by a seamstress in Georgia, and we want our special day, which will include about 100-120 guests, to reflect our personalities and devotion to friends, family, an our love for one another. It will be an outdoor ceremony and an indoor reception at a rustic venue, and the grey and yellow color scheme will be accompanied by DIY elements as well as simple, yet elegant rustic decor. Winning this contest would be a great blessing, as the one thing I’m not willing to “pinch pennies” on is excellent photography. I love your personal, bold, elegant style, and it seems that you would be the ideal choice for a photographer. Thank you so much for offering this service!

    Reply
  39. Brigetta

    I love your photos so much! We are getting married next May in the Paradise Valley of Montana, and well, the scenery is so beautiful, I’m a little worried that nature will outshine us on our Special Day. Your style would be such a compliment to the natural beauty, I know we wouldn’t get lost in the wilderness.

    Jon and I met almost 6 years ago at a playwriting intensive at the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC. On the second day, he asked me to dinner. To be honest, I didn’t think much about it. After all, it was a playwriting conference and I didn’t expect to go there and meet any (straight) men, much less my soulmate. So yes, for a little while, I thought he was gay. On the last night of the conference, I asked him if he wanted to go with me to a bookstore at midnight to pick-up the final Harry Potter book when it was released. He assumed this was our first date and we would go out for a drink after. I, however, snatched up my copy and promptly said goodbye. He was cute for sure, but come on, this was the FINAL Harry Potter! I had priorities (which meant staying up all night binge reading).

    Our first actual date happened two days later, when we were back in NYC, where we both lived (we saw a terrible movie at the Sunshine Theater). Over the next two years we fell in love going to the theater, movies, concerts, and sharing books. My friends would often comment that our every day normal Thursday night is most girl’s special date night. I can’t believe how lucky I am to find someone who not only enjoys the same things that I do but is also pursuing the same career that I am–as a writer. It’s a difficult, frustrating, and often lonely profession with a lot of rejection, but we’re so fortunate to have each other to fall back on when we’re struggling. He encouraged me to go back to graduate school, even though that meant moving to California and spending two years long distance. While incredibly difficult, that experience brought us closer together, improved our communication, and cemented our commitment to be in this forever. He joined me here in California two years ago, and now we are taking another big step!

    Reply
  40. Reena

    Hi Emily,
    I met my fiance at UC Irvine. His college radio DJ name was “Wally Llama” and I was also a college radio DJ at the time (DJ Jellybean). His real name is Walter. I really didn’t pay attention to him at all but I first heard of him when my long time friend Ziba said she was going to a Squarepusher show with DJ Wally Llama. My reply was, “DJ Llama who????” Lol.

    A few months later, I realize we had to volunteer and promote the radio station on the campus for an hour together during our lunch hour. I thought he was really nerdy, being a computer science major and all. I’m not gonna lie, I studied pre-med stuff for my pathway towards pharmacy school and that is pretty nerdy too, but I thought he qualified for Big Bang Theory-ish (the TV show) nerdiness, the highest level of nerdiness in the hierarchy of nerdiness. He was into electronic music, I was more into the indie scene at the time. I was the talkative one (think of Mindy Kaling’s character from The Office but not as annoying haha) and he just sat there and said, “uh huh” with an occasional “yeah.” After a couple other encounters he started opening up and I appreciated the times he broke me away from the library (the one place I studied at pretty much all the time). I considered him a friend and we just talked here and there for about a year.

    During my junior year of college, I had a foreign exchange roommate from Germany and we threw a pretty big party in our room to send her off. I got pretty drunk that night and Nale (my roommate’s name) dared me to kiss our party guests. One thing led to another and I kissed Walter in front of Nale and all my dorm roommates! Walter took good care of me and made sure I got put to bed when the party ended. The next day I got a call from him and he asked me out. Our first movie together was Napoleon Dynamite and the rest is history. Walter didn’t mind that I had to study a lot, and he has been with me through good times and bad. We have been together for 9 years.

    I like the simplicity and elegance of your photos, and I like how they’re not too cheesy. I like how every photo that I saw in your portfolio has an obvious focal point. Your photos are absolutely gorgeous! An amazing photographer ranks high in what I consider important for my day.

    I have been looking at venues still but I have late 2014 in mind for my date. I am 70% sure I will pick the Heritage Museum of Orange County in Santa Ana.

    It has been a pleasure looking at your website and I think it’s beautiful!

    Reply
  41. Ellen Chang

    Thank you so much for this opportunity, I absolutely love your work!

    Nate and I first met as youth group counselors at our church. I didn’t think much of him at the time because he was 6 years older and I was still in high school at the time. Over time, I gradually began to fall for him but was unsure of how he felt towards me so I thought I would just brush off my feelings and move forward as I headed toward college. Luckily, he was courageous enough to approach me right before I left for college and admitted his feelings for me too. We officially started dating 5 days before he left for Haiti. Our first six months, he was serving in an orphanage in Haiti while I was going to college in PA. Despite being long distance for all of our relationship (aside from summer vacations!) and all the ups and downs of navigating those challenges, we are so excited to finally be getting married and building a life together.

    We are planning our wedding for June 2014 on the beautiful campus of Gordon Conwell Theological Seminary (in MA). The campus is so picturesque with its green rolling hills and open fields. We would be so blessed to have you photograph our wedding. Your style and emphasis are natural light and simplicity would be perfect to capture what the wedding truly symbolizes.

    Thank you again for this amazing gift!

    Reply
  42. Nicole F.

    Andrew and I started as mere Match.com profiles, floating in the digital abyss of San Francisco— I was a “capuccino-swilling graphic designer” searching for a “pun-loving fella to share cabernet sauvignon and grilled cheese sandwiches”; he was a UCLA-trained engineer looking for a “fun-loving main squeeze”— after a few emails (containing quite possibly the worst, most dorky, geometry-related puns EVER ; p) we met for an evening that I now remember as the best first date I have ever been on. (And now I’m thrilled to say it was my LAST first date!) We instantly connected at The Hidden Vine, over a flight of reds, sharing stories of our international travels (Italy is a particular favorite) and tales of growing up in the Bay Area (I’m from the East Bay, he’s from the Peninsula). One glass turned into two, two into a twilight walk, and a walk to thai food. It just kept getting better. …And it still is. : )

    Now, almost 4 years later, we are newly engaged (woohoo!) and living in SF. We’ve attended countless Giants games, moved each other in & out of 5 collective apartments, and just got back from an “engagement-moon” trip to Europe. I take countless photos myself, and my anniversary present to him each year is an iPhoto album with empty spaces between the photos where I can hand-write silly musings and remembrances of our adventures together. We’re still goofy in love, and we feel like more of a perfect fit each day. We’ve also realized that we could have met through friends-of-friends in a very Kevin Bacon-way, if we had only tried. ; p

    He proposed on a hike (for his birthday, I thought) from Land’s End back towards the Legion of Honor. We stopped at a bench (I’m innocently taking pictures of the Golden Gate Bridge), and he leans in and says, “Sooooo, this is where my Dad proposed to my mom…” and then flows into some of the most beautiful things I’ve ever heard, and pulls out a ring box. Inside is his great-grandmother’s ring, that his dad proposed to his mom with. (I like to call it the “Italian ring” because it has mini gems & pearls in the almost-shape of the Italian flag. Its sweet, and beautiful, and fits perfectly). THEN, he said, “but I didn’t think this ring was quite you… So I got you this one as well…” and pulled out my DREAM ring. We’re both crying, and he runs off across the path and comes back with a bottle of my favorite champagne (Mumm, blue label, Cuvee M), which he had hiked out there and hidden that morning! NEXT he tells me that he was hijacking the birthday party I had been planning for him that evening, and that it was really an engagement party. He had planned everything, and even flew in my siblings and some of our best friends from as far away as NYC just so they could be there to celebrate our joyful news. We’re both on cloud nine, even months afterward.

    He’s a keeper. For sure. :)

    We’d love to be considered for Em’s Photography giveaway for a number of reasons. I’ve been trolling wedding blogs for years, and am smitten with the dreamy-light, editorial style of photography I see so often on Once Wed, 100 Layer Cake, Green Wedding Shoes, Snippet and Ink, and Grey Likes Weddings. I actually heard about the giveaway on Delbarr Moradi’s blog. I stumbled upon her work a few years back, and we follow each other on Pinterest. She’s the cat’s meow. I’m a graphic designer by trade, and work on the visual merchandising team of a corporate retailer here in the city. That coupled with the help of my Home-Ec-Major mother will tell you that I want to fill our Wedding Day with special, personal touches, and I know Emily would capture them beautifully. I love her mix of thoughtful still lifes mixed with emotional candid shots and beautifully-framed poses. She’s got a knack for capturing timeless moments. : )

    We’re planning a wedding for early spring (February?) 2014, in SF (hopefully the Presidio, where he lived when we met, and where my grandparents met during WWII). We’ve just nailed down our budget, and I’d like to prioritize the photography, but we may not have enough to hire the caliber of photographer I’ve always dreamed of. We’d be thrilled to be considered. Thank you so much. You’re a gem! : )

    Reply
  43. Kira

    Wow, what a fantastic opportunity! My fiancé, Marcus and I share Emily’s love of the great state of California, I feel like we would all get along well!

    Marcus and I met in Boston during our freshman year of college when we both lived in Kennedy Hall. I WISH I could tell you a romantic story of how we fell in love at first sight, but unfortunately, neither of us can remember the first time we met! Believe it or not, we were just friends for three long years before we both realized we were perfect for each other, and I accepted Marcus’ invitation to go ice skating on the Frog Pond in Boston Common. Now I say that he’s the Chandler to my Monica (minus the awkward nineties fashion choices). We just needed some extra time to figure out how great we could be together.

    It’s been five years since we made the leap to more-than-friends, and we have survived college, meeting the parents, living together, living apart, adopting a crazy orange kitten who thinks she’s a dog, and moving cross-country TWICE! Finally on April 4th of this year, Marcus popped the question in front of fifteen of our closest friends in the middle of an ice rink.

    We would love for Emily to join us for our Massachusetts wedding! We’re crossing our fingers!

    Reply
  44. Lindsey Neese

    Dear Em,

    First off, Hello! Nice to meet you, my name is Lindsey and my fiance is Paul. I am so so so excited you’re doing this giveaway. When I got engaged a girlfriend sent me a link to your website and there I’ve been camping since. You’re blog is so fun to get lost in!
    I have a love for photography, but when a photographer can sincerely share his or her heart as well I am that much more enamored. Your style of photography is something I dream of adding to our wedding day.

    This is our story,

    After youth group on a Tuesday night, where I was a junior high leader, my girlfriends and I went to a local coffee shop to unwind. There, outside enjoying the summer night was a group of guys from another local church. Mutual friends among both groups, we ended up outside with them drinking coffee and tea. I was at ease and happy to be with friends when from inside the shop walked out a very tall and handsome blond with icy blue eyes. Standing taller than the rest of his friends, it was hard to take my eyes off him, let alone form words to introduce myself. He shook my hand, introduced himself as Paul and I, Lindsey, was toast.

    For the rest of the summer we met up with our Hope Chapel buds at Coffee Cartel on Tuesday nights. It was weeks of small conversation, shared snacks and dopey smiles before he asked me what I was doing the next day. I was elated, let me tell you girl I could not get the shakes out of my hands to exchange phone numbers, let alone set up a time and place for our date.

    The next day I skipped class and got to Starbucks an hour before our scheduled meet up I was so nervous. As anxious as I was, when Paul sat next to me and smiled that genuine smile (the one that still makes my heart stop almost two years later), it all went out the door. He asked real questions, listened, and gave genuine feedback. I was talking to my best friend, I just didn’t know it yet. I found out he was an avid musician, could play any instrument he picked up, whereas I can’t hold a tune least of all hold a guitar correctly. He’s the youngest of 3 and had lived in Sacramento his whole life before moving down to Torrance with a dream to work his way up to be a paramedic in the fire department. I was almost embarrassed to tell him I was an only child, that I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life and farthest I’d gone was Minnesota for a week.

    He had drive and ambition and I had general ed at a community college.

    What was an apparent lack luster life to me seemed to interest him. Paul pursued me, took me on cute dates and started coming to Kings Harbor Church with me. We became chronic picnickers and found a mutual love for thrifting. He was a dream I didn’t know I had. Prince Charming but with a few tattoos and more guitars.

    That summer was blending into fall when he finally asked me to be his girlfriend. My heart was so full and overjoyed. I had never known the happiness like the one I had when I was with Paul.

    We walked through a beautiful year together before Paul received his acceptance letter to paramedic school in November. A feat in itself to be accepted, it was quite another to walk through. In January he would leave for eight months of intensive studying, hospital rotations and an ambulance internship. To me it meant the dream I was living was about to be put on hold. I cried. Of course I was excited for him, he had worked so hard and put so much time into preparing for this career, but my selfish love didn’t want to share him.

    With some assurance I couldn’t understand, he comforted me. He should have been beside himself with nerves but instead he held and affirmed me.

    I put on a brave face for him but I couldn’t get over the miserable feeling.

    I, of course, didn’t have the assurance he did. I wasn’t in on his plan.

    December 3rd 2012, a Monday morning, Paul picked me up. He was sweating, his hands wrung the steering wheel. I had never seen him this way, I couldn’t put my finger on it. He was not himself when we grabbed lunch and took it to our favorite picnic spot, a huge hill overlooking the local beach cities. It was gorgeous as always. He was unusually quiet and fumbled with his guitar like he’d never held it before. He picked a few strings before tossing it aside and began fishing for something in his guitar case.
    He set in my lap a hand made book titled, “The Fairytale.” Every page was a scene from our relationship drawn by our friends and family. Our first date, cooking together, babysitting his nephew. Every page was a different and hilarious portrayal by our friends.

    The second to last drawing was Paul and myself, stick figures with clothes, sitting at a picnic on a hill.

    Goosebumps rose on my arms.

    I turned the page and saw cartoon Paul on one knee, a speech bubble off to the side reading, “ And then the boy asked the girl the most important question he would ever ask….”

    I read that line three time before I looked up at him.Tears in his eyes he whispered, “Lindsey…will you please marry me?”

    I couldn’t speak through all my tears so I nodded my head vigorously.

    I felt like the wind was knocked out of me. It was so quiet and I couldn’t see anything except his teary eyes. Yet there was a rush like nothing I could ever articulate. So much love and appreciation and joy for this man who for some reason picked me.

    We held each other and marveled in the moment. It was so perfect.

    Paul and I have been engaged for six months and are planning for an early April 2014 wedding. He’s been in paramedic school for our whole engagement and I am not kidding when I say every day gets better. Every day I am assured that the perfect moment we experienced is only a foreshadowing of the day we marry. Through the distance and stress we’ve only grown closer and I am beyond blessed to be able to marry my best friend.

    We plan our ceremony to be at Wilderness Park in Redondo Beach California, there’s a small rustic amphitheater surrounded by wild flowers and trees that melts my heart. For our reception we’ve almost confirmed the Redondo Beach Elks Lodge. It’s about 5 minutes from the park and is beautifully located near the ocean. The lodge has a rustic 70’s charm that we both love. Both of our locations in spring time lend to our light yet rustic theme. Mixing both the pretty pastels of spring with woodsy rustic accents.

    Thank you so much for taking the time to read and consider our story, I know there’s a lot out there.

    Much love,
    Lindsey Neese and Paul Jeremica

    Reply
  45. Char

    I’ll try and keep it brief : ) My fiance and I met seven years ago on a MySpace chat-room for the college we were both about to attend as freshmen. Very 2006, right? We wrote all summer and started dating almost immediately when we finally got to school. For him I think he would tell you he was in it for keeps right from the beginning (or at least that’s what he tells me), I needed a lot more convincing. I didn’t want to partner off right away, I didn’t want my college boyfriend to turn into my husband. Make plans right?
    Somehow though it all worked. Inexplicably, an indecisive and emotional art student took a logical and please-don’t-cry-it-makes-me-uncomfortable teacher and turned her world upside down.
    Seven years and a poodle-mix later he proposed with my grandmother’s ring and there wasn’t a single second between “Marry me?” and “Yes.”
    Sometime in May 2014 (exact date is as of yet undecided) we will officially tie the knot on an extremely limited budget. The opportunity to have someone like Emily capture our wedding is one we could never replicate on our own and is too impossibly good to pass up.

    Reply
  46. Claire Marshall

    Warrick and I met two years ago in Melbourne, Australia. We bonded over childhood obsessions with dinosaurs, music and mutually ridiculous senses of humour. We both knew within months that we’d grow old together. He proposed on a hot spring day, while I sat on my bed studying frantically for a law exam. He was blushing and awkward, fumbling with a ukelele. He sat and played a song he’d written. It was funny and loving and managed to reference our cats, zombies, and how much he wanted to marry me. He gave me art deco engagement ring with a black diamond, and I said yes through giggles and tears, recording it on my phone as he sung. That little recording became my most precious possession while I almost lost him.

    We made a rough plan to get married in December 2013, and spent Christmas driving around the country telling family and friends. Twelve hour car trips were somehow enormously fun, and we settled back at home in the new year. We were 26 and ridiculously in love.

    One hot night in January we were making dinner when Warrick complained of a terrible headache and collapsed. I rushed him to hospital. Within hours he stopped responding. A whir of ICU, MRI’s and emergency surgeries showed that he’d had a massive brain hemorrhage. His family flew in from interstate, and we spent endless hours at his bedside. No one could tell us if he would survive. We were both 26. It felt too young.

    That tiny video of him proposing was my comfort. I watched it hundreds of times over the next few weeks. I memorised every word and smile and facial expression he pulled. I watched it with his family while we cried together, terrified while we waited through dangerous surgeries to try and fix the artery in his brain that was determined to kill him. The proposal became everything to me, three minutes of video of the man I loved while he teetered on the brink of life and death. I laced his fingers between mine and sung it to him while he slept, tubes pouring from his body. He had a tiny chance of surviving unscathed. I waited by his bedside, watching the other patients in his room succumb to their illness while he was scheduled for more surgeries. Life fell quickly apart.

    One day he turned over and asked me to give him a cuddle. I climbed into bed with him, carefully avoiding the drains and needles stuck to his body. I wrapped my arms around him for the first time in weeks. We cried and said how much we loved each other, and something seemed to shift in him. The next day he had his final, most hazardous operation, requiring the doctors to perform open brain surgery near his brain stem. The eight hours we waited were the most agonising of my life. When he came back and woke up, he opened his eyes through his bandaged head and grabbed my hand. A few days later, he started to learn to walk again. It was awkward and clumsy and he could barely make ten metres without falling, but day by day it got better. His speech was garbled and slurred from the stroke he’d suffered with bleed, but it gradually it improved too. On a brilliant, sunny day he was sent home.

    His recovery was extraordinary. Nearly six months after the hemorrhage, he is back at work and close to back to normal. We have booked our December wedding in Kyneton in Victoria, and the ability to plan silly details like what cheeses we’ll serve and what beer to drink is wonderful. I can give him an enormous cuddle with the knowledge he’ll soon be my husband, and brush over the scars of all the brain surgeries he had with my fingers through the hair he has finally grown back. That is the most amazing outcome I could have ever wished for. Every now and then I feel overwhelmed by nearly having lost him, but then I watch the little video of him asking me to be his wife and my heart swells.

    The gorgeous work of Em the Gem would make an incredible, unlikely wedding day even more special. Kyneton in early December is a glow of natural light and old architecture, and to have Emily capture the most wonderful day of our lives would make a beautiful end to a tumultuous year. Thank you for letting us share our story.

    Claire and Warrick x

    Reply
  47. kacey friersono

    We would love to win wedding photography because me and my wife had a civil union on April 7, 2012. The in April 2013 we had 8 legal same sex marriages in New York, Connecticut, Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Mayland, Massachusetts and Washington DC. But for all of our so far 10 ceremonies, we don’t have any photos except for the ones we took with our camera and cell phones. We still have 6 more ceremonies to go, Washington, Iowa, Rhode Island, Deleware, Minnesota and California; but I would love to have photos of at least one of them. With us having 7 children, professional photographs tend to get left out of the budget. Thanks for your consideration.

    Reply
  48. Kacey Frierson

    We would love to win wedding photography because me and my wife had a civil union on April 7, 2012. The in April 2013 we had 8 legal same sex marriages in New York, Connecticut, Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Maryland, Massachusetts and Washington DC. But for all of our so far 10 ceremonies, we don’t have any photos except for the ones we took with our camera and cell phones. We still have 6 more ceremonies to go, Washington, Iowa, Rhode Island, Delaware, Minnesota and California; but I would love to have photos of at least one of them. With us having 7 children, professional photographs tend to get left out of the budget. Thanks for your consideration.

    Reply
  49. Monica

    Thanks for this opportunity and for reading this probably lengthy comment :)

    My fiance, Nick, and I met five years ago at youth group. He was a freshman in college working as an “intern” and I was a senior in high school who had been attending for years. It had gotten around to just about everyone that I wanted to ask Nick to prom but I was painfully bashful. A mutual friend had let him know that I wanted to ask him to prom and the moment my friend told me that, I was in a Sunday School room hiding under a table from being so shy and awkward. When I finally got over it and asked Nick to prom, he was really cool and said yes swooning yet confusing my friends and I by stating he already owned a tux.

    Four years later, Nick and I have been dating faithfully. He’s really the best guy God could have put into my life and everyday we really learn how to love each other more. A month after Nick and I had been dating, my dad passed away from cancer. Nick never had the moment to meet my father but, I believe that he has all the qualities that would have made my father proud to give me away to him. I at least know that my mother is very fond of him and had quite a quirky lunch with Nick when he asked permission to ask me to marry him.

    My fiance has always been supportive of me and I of him. I’m currently involved leading the youth group at my church which takes up more hours of a week than just a Friday night. He never complains however and if anything is a strong encouragement for me to keep pursuing God and building into the lives of the kids at my church.

    We both love to travel and for the past two years on our anniversary have taken a day trip to aquariums and zoos. Nick proposed to me on our anniversary trip on June 2, 2012. We had driven down to an aquarium in NJ and spent the afternoon walking around, particularly loving the hippos there :) On the way back up he surprised me by stopping at Carlo’s bakery, we love watching the show on TV. From there we drove up to NYC where we stopped to visit Central Park. I had never been before and it’s such an enchanting place. Before leaving, I really wanted to see the Balto statue as it was my one of my favorite childhood movies and I always remember seeing the statue in the beginning of the movie. It was in front of the statue, Nick got down on one knee and asked me to marry him. We then celebrated with some NYC calzones and a long drive home :)

    We’re currently planning our wedding for June 1, 2014. We’re planning to have it at a art center and make it like a festival with lots of activities we enjoy by incorporating art, music, and different lawn games with hopefully an ultimate frisbee game (Nick’s favorite!). It all seems chaotic but our main goal is to remember that it’s a day to celebrate our love and marriage by doing things that we love. Our budget is very tight as I currently do not have a paying job, I volunteer my time at church with the youth, and my fiance is a hard working man but he lives by himself and has a lot of expenses outside of the wedding to pay for. I simply adore Emily’s photography and would love our photography to be done by her. Her style is exactly what I love but unfortunately am unable to afford. Thank you for giving us this opportunity and reading this, what I had figured would be, lengthy comment :)

    Reply
  50. Jessica

    My fiance Steve and I met online. I think I’m not supposed to say that…I think I’m supposed to say we met in NERT (Neighborhood Emergency Response Team) training, which prepares you to help your neighbors and community in an emergency. We got to know each other because we independently were enrolled in the training—do-gooders!—which started just a few days after our first date, and the weekly meetings were really how we got to slowly get to know each other.

    But I say, tell ‘em it was OKCupid, why not? I was on the site doing something I was calling the “Ten Stranger Experiment.” I was sort of done with dating the people I knew (and the people they knew), but I was having new-person anxiety, so I assigned myself the task of meeting ten strangers through OKCupid with the idea that I would sort of inoculate myself to that fear. Steve was Stranger Number 3. The first one was lousy, the second one was great, but the third one was the one for me! Anyway, I abandoned the experiment shortly thereafter.

    Steve and I have both lived in San Francisco—in and around the Mission even—for 10 years, but never met. We know people in common, go places in common, and like things in common, but somehow… After driving home from our first event weekend away that convinced me I wanted to date him, I asked him if he wanted to be my boyfriend. He thought I asked “Do you want to MEET my boyfriend” and we got in our first fight. Anyway, we straightened that out and have been together now for three years. We got engaged last December on the beautiful bluffs at Sea Ranch.

    We’ve faced some medical emergencies and stresses in the past months that have thrown a wrench in the wedding planning, but today I started thinking about it and looking at photographers and I just stumbled across Em the Gem AND the final moments of this contest. Fate?

    I like what I’ve seen of Emily’s work so far—her pictures are clear and light-hearted and she seems present without being obtrusive. It’s clear that she’s genuinely interested in people and she clearly has a generous nature not only to step into people’s wedding stress but also to offer this gift.

    We will most likely be married next May in the Presidio in San Francisco. It would be great to have Emily there.
    Best of luck to Emily with the contest and to all the lucky, happy brides and grooms!

    Love, Jessica

    Reply
  51. Lucia

    This is an amazing opportunity to have one of the most talented photographers in my wedding, yay! I’m photographer too, so I know what I’m talking about.

    My boyfriend and I are from the south of Spain. We’ve been together since the 15 years old, we were just a kids! Now after 9 years of relationship, we’re waiting our first baby boy, who comes into the world in November. Before this beautiful surprise, we were preparing our wedding for 2014, so the marriage continues but with a baby on our side! :)

    The wedding will be in a beautiful garden next year, in june, with the close friends and family (about 60 or 70 persons). For my job, I have seen a lot of weddings and I want the most magical day in my life and if Emily is my photographer, it will be sure!

    Thank you so much for this wonderful opportunity.
    Lucia & Miguel

    Reply
  52. Hannah

    I started working at Trader Joe’s a few months after moving to the Bay Area from the East Coast. I quickly became friends with a coworker named Olivia. We decided to go out after work one Friday night, and she and her boyfriend predicted that I would really like their high school friend Thaddeus. Well, Thad didn’t show up that night, and I hit it off with another friend Sean. We started dating and that gave me the chance to hang out with their friends pretty regularly. It wasn’t long until I met Thad, but he was so shy that it took a while for me to get to know him. I could tell he was very sweet though, and one night after a few drinks, I asked him how it was possible that he didn’t have a girlfriend because he was such a great guy. Foreshadowing there, folks. He sheepishly brushed off my question like a gentleman. As Sean and I went from dating to just friends, Thad and I began talking more and more. I could tell that he was special. He was hilariously funny, sensitive, and made me feel so comfortable. I was a little hesitant to date one of Sean’s friends so soon, but I knew that I would be missing a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity if I let that stop me from pursuing such a wonderful man. I waited for him to make the first big move, but my shy guy was pretty slow moving, and I just couldn’t wait any longer. I invited him over for a talk and, in a nutshell, told him that I wanted to date him and asked him to give me a shot. He said yes, and we are still together more than two and a half awesome years later. After a little over a year of dating, we moved out of our respective parents’ houses and into an apartment together. Having privacy and our own space was a welcome change, and we loved it. Then, last summer, we had a big decision to make when I was accepted to school in southern California. We knew that we didn’t want to do long distance, so Thad agreed to move with me. I am so grateful that he was willing to uproot his life to stay with me. Going back to finish my bachelor’s degree, after years of being out of school, has been difficult, and I don’t know if I could do it without Thad’s constant support and encouragement. Slowly but surely, I am working toward my dream of being a high school math teacher. We can’t afford for me to not be working, so I still work at Trader Joe’s and go to school part time. I also babysit to make a little extra money. He works full time, also at Trader Joe’s, and we make it work!

    I didn’t intend to wait until the last day to enter the contest, but it has been a whirlwind week because Thad just proposed a week ago today! I have known for a long time that he was definitely the one for me, and we had talked a lot about getting married someday. I was still beyond excited when he surprised me with the sweetest proposal when I came home from a very long day of babysitting last Friday. I immediately said yes, through very happy tears. He gave me an beautiful vintage ring that I had fallen in love with on a day trip to Carmel last spring. We were headed to the Bay Area the next day to spend the week visiting friends and family. We figured that we might as well get a jump on wedding planning, so we booked our favorite little winery for the big day! We are getting married on June 21, 2014 at Picchetti Winery in Cupertino, California. The venue is our big splurge. My parents are very generously helping us pay for the wedding, but neither of them has much to spare. Thad’s parents are unable to contribute financially, so the rest is on us. We’re going to serve pizza, play music from an iPod, and buy flowers at the wholesale market and make our own arrangements. We had planned to find a family friend to be the photographer, so when Em posted on Instagram about the contest, I knew that I had to enter! We could never afford to have such a wonderfully talented, professional photographer. It would be such an honor to have Em as part of our special day. Thad’s brother Ben and his fiancé April are getting married in October, and Em will be their photographer. After hearing April rave about her, I looked Em up and absolutely fell in love with her style. It is so natural and beautiful, and she seems to truly capture the essence of the couples she works with. I now follow her blog, Instagram, Facebook, and The Refined Woman. This would be a dream come true! Thaddeus and I would be humbled and eternally grateful. Thank you for this opportunity and for considering us.

    Reply
  53. Hannah

    I started working at Trader Joe’s a few months after moving to the Bay Area from the East Coast. I quickly became friends with a coworker named Olivia. We decided to go out after work one Friday night, and she and her boyfriend predicted that I would really like their high school friend Thaddeus. Well, Thad didn’t show up that night, and I hit it off with another friend Sean. We started dating and that gave me the chance to hang out with their friends pretty regularly. It wasn’t long until I met Thad, but he was so shy that it took a while for me to get to know him. I could tell he was very sweet though, and one night after a few drinks, I asked him how it was possible that he didn’t have a girlfriend because he was such a great guy. Foreshadowing there, folks. He sheepishly brushed off my question like a gentleman. As Sean and I went from dating to just friends, Thad and I began talking more and more. I could tell that he was special. He was hilariously funny, sensitive, and made me feel so comfortable. I was a little hesitant to date one of Sean’s friends so soon, but I knew that I would be missing a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity if I let that stop me from pursuing such a wonderful man. I waited for him to make the first big move, but my shy guy was pretty slow moving, and I just couldn’t wait any longer. I invited him over for a talk and, in a nutshell, told him that I wanted to date him and asked him to give me a shot. He said yes, and we are still together more than two and a half awesome years later. After a little over a year of dating, we moved out of our respective parents’ houses and into an apartment together. Having privacy and our own space was a welcome change, and we loved it. Then, last summer, we had a big decision to make when I was accepted to school in southern California. We knew that we didn’t want to do long distance, so Thad agreed to move with me. I am so grateful that he was willing to uproot his life to stay with me. Going back to finish my bachelor’s degree, after years of being out of school, has been difficult, and I don’t know if I could do it without Thad’s constant support and encouragement. Slowly but surely, I am working toward my dream of being a high school math teacher. We can’t afford for me to not be working, so I still work at Trader Joe’s and go to school part time. I also babysit to make a little extra money. He works full time, also at Trader Joe’s, and we make it work!

    I didn’t intend to wait until the last day to enter the contest, but it has been a whirlwind week because Thad just proposed a week ago today! I have known for a long time that he was definitely the one for me, and we had talked a lot about getting married someday. I was still beyond excited when he surprised me with the sweetest proposal when I came home from a very long day of babysitting last Friday. I immediately said yes, through very happy tears. He gave me a beautiful vintage ring that I had fallen in love with on a day trip to Carmel last spring. We were headed to the Bay Area the next day to spend the week visiting friends and family. We figured that we might as well get a jump on wedding planning, so we booked our favorite little winery for the big day! We are getting married on June 21, 2014 at Picchetti Winery in Cupertino, California. The venue is our big splurge. My parents are very generously helping us pay for the wedding, but neither of them has much to spare. Thad’s parents are unable to contribute financially, so the rest is on us. We’re going to serve pizza, play music from an iPod, and buy flowers at the wholesale market and make our own arrangements. We had planned to find a family friend to be the photographer, so when Em posted on Instagram about the contest, I knew that I had to enter! We could never afford to have such a wonderfully talented, professional photographer. It would be such an honor to have Em as part of our special day. Thad’s brother Ben and his fiancé April are getting married in October, and Em will be their photographer. After hearing April rave about her, I looked Em up and absolutely fell in love with her style. It is so natural and beautiful, and she seems to truly capture the essence of the couples she works with. I now follow her blog, Instagram, Facebook, and The Refined Woman. This would be a dream come true! Thaddeus and I would be humbled and eternally grateful. Thank you for this opportunity and for considering us.

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  54. Hannah

    I’m sorry for submitting my story twice. I thought the first one hadn’t gone through. Oops!

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  55. Hannah

    Oh no! I submitted an entry late last night when I got home from work, but it’s not showing up. Was it received?

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  56. Akiko

    hello!

    So here’s our story…
    I met Michael one night while out with my friends. I spotted him in the crowd and decided we must dance (after a couple drinks of course), so I “bumped” into him and we ended up hanging out the rest of the night. Our first official dance was the stankey legg, keeping it classy. From that night we didn’t see each other again for about 1 month but one Angels baseball game changed it all and the rest of the courtship is history. We always talked about getting married and having children but we must have put it out in the universe prematurely because we got pregnant pretty quickly. Through stress and a ton of emotions, I gave birth to the most amazing little boy we named Koji. He is the light in our lives and we continue to beat the statistics as a family.
    A couple months ago Michael proposed to me! He surprised me while I was doing business/family trip in Arizona with a beautiful vintage ring. That night we danced to…the stankey legg (all the details are on my blog!). It was great fun. We are planning on having a destination wedding in Sept. 2014 in either Mexico or Ireland. We love to travel, are young, fun and very visual so the top priorities for our wedding will be location and photography. It would be an honor and a dream to win a session from someone I admire so much!

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  57. Ashley R.

    Eight years ago a group of my friend decided to go out dancing in Rhode Island and another friend asked if he could meet up with us and bring a friend along. That night was the first time I met Greg. At first we were friends and I kept trying to make him go on dates with my other girlfriends until finally he said “Will you stop trying to set me up with your friends… I want to date you!” At first I was very hesitant to jeopardize our friendship and I cautiously said “sure… we can go on a date.” Greg felt as if he only had one shot to sweep me off my feet so he pulled out all the stops and made it an ALL DAY first date. I was very taken aback and a little apprehensive, but I am so happy I went along with it. We went to the beach, lunch, F1 go cart racing, and even had dinner. After that date I was already head over heels and didn’t know what to do as I never felt that way before.
    One of the first nights that Greg met my family and friends was when we went camping… in the backyard before we all went off to college. Myself, I am type A and get embarrassed fairly easy, but Greg always makes people laugh and really is always himself. That night Greg pulls out a headlamp and starts putting the fire together and for some reason that headlamp was so embarrassing as that was the first time I was introducing him to everyone. My mother turned to my sister and said “that is the man that Ashley is going to marry.” I guess mothers are always right huh?
    We went to college together and continued to grow as a couple, teach each other new things, supported each other through health scares, and fell hard for one another. At the end of college it seemed in many ways we had chosen different paths for our careers, Greg pursued marine biology, whereas I was going to attend graduate school in Georgia. Greg and I broke up and it was very hard on both of us to remain just friends. Quickly we realized that we needed to be together even if distance was going to keep us apart for two years during grad school. Despite the distance Greg would go eat dinner with my family take my brother fishing or help out if my mother needed it (yes my family loves him!). After countless plane trips, care packages, and late night calls we moved in together. In October 2011 Greg proposed at an apple orchard as apple picking has been a yearly tradition since we have been together. He was so nervous, so adorable, and so incredibly happy when I said “yes!” Later that month we bought our first home and the renovations were the priority before the wedding. At last the house is finished and we set a date! June of 2014 in Rhode Island by the water and truly cannot wait to spend our lives together.

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  58. Caroline

    Caroline: When I moved to rural Colorado as a wide-eyed, fresh college graduate, I was not looking for a life partner. I was 22, full of ideals, and ready to go to work for change! I didn’t have time for romance, or so I thought…
    For the past four years I had studied psychology and sociology, focusing on the effects of racism and gender-based oppression. I wanted to put my studies into practice and so I committed to a year of volunteer service with Americorps. I was placed in a program called, PALS, which serves children ages 5 to 10 who had been sexually, physically, or emotionally abused or neglected. We worked long hours and volunteered many weekends; I left work covered in tears, sweat, peanut butter, and glue- but it was all worth it. My life was forever changed by my year in Colorado, in ways I had never expected. I remember pulling in to this small dusty town cradled by mountains, feeling like I was on the cusp of a great adventure. Little did I know I was to lay eyes on the man I’d marry for the first time that night at our welcome pot-luck.

    Alex: I had been volunteering for Americorps for 6 months before I met Caroline. I was working for a homeless shelter as a case manager. Our shelter served families as well as men and women. In the winter, there were so many guests that we had to make pallets on the floor. The community was very poor and alcoholism is a big problem for lots of folks there. The work was hard. I learned a lot about human suffering and about myself. When I wasn’t working I was hiking with friends or playing my banjo. I wasn’t in the market for anything serious. When I saw Caroline for the first time at the welcome dinner I was captivated. She had the most genuine smile I’d ever seen. I thought she was out of my league but I knew I had to give it a shot. To my surprise, she agreed to go on a date with me, and then another! In no time I realized there was much more to Caroline than a bright smile. She is the most caring, compassionate person I know. She is always thinking of little ways to show people she cares about them- making them cards, leaving them little presents. And she never gives up on anyone. No matter what has happened, she holds on to her belief that all people are good. She inspires me to withhold judgement and to always look for the good in others.

    Caroline: I knew Alex was the gentlemanly sort when he asked to take me on a walk for our first date. He took me walking by the Rio Grande we watched the sun set over the mountains as we shared about our families, our past, and our ambitions. It was easy to be open with him from the beginning. After we’d been dating for a while, he invited me on a camping trip with some other volunteers. We stopped at the homeless shelter to check-in before leaving town. I remember sitting in the car, waiting while our friends ran inside. Alex saw someone slumped on the porch next door and went over to him. I watched Alex put his arm around the man and help him stumble inside. It may seem like a simple gesture but that was the moment when I knew what I was feeling for Alex was love. He always does what he feels is right, regardless of what others think. I’ve never known anyone so comfortable in expressing themselves and so willing to befriend

    Alex: Caroline became my best friend. We always had a great time together and we enjoyed the same simple activities, like playing music, going for walks, and cooking. But more importantly, we could lean on each other when times were tough. Our coworker and good friend, Chloe, was riding her bike one afternoon when she was hit by a truck and killed. Loosing her was a horribly dark time for the entire community. I have never known such pain. Caroline and I grew together as we helped each other through the grieving process. A week before the accident, Chloe and Caroline helped me pick out a dog from the pound. I named her Satchel after the greatest baseball player of all time, Satchel Paige. She is our dog now and besides being the best dog in the world, she’s a wonderful reminder of our bond with Chloe. Satchel braved the cross-country move with us when we left Colorado and headed back south, where we both were raised.

    Caroline: We landed in Wilmington, NC–Alex’s hometown. We hadn’t planned to stay long, but I found a terrific job with a wonderful organization, DREAMS. DREAMS provides top-notch art classes for youth living in poverty. As the program coordinator, I was able to get to know over 150 different amazing kids. To see their passion for art and to help them find a creative outlook for their emotions was a beautiful experience. Alex found work as a house manager for a shelter serving men and women who had recently gotten out of prison. We lived in a tiny, garage apartment and counted our pennies. We didn’t have much but it was a wonderful time. I’ll always have fond memories of dancing together in our tiny kitchen on Sunday evenings.

    Alex: We’re both now in graduate school. We felt like we were helping people through our work but that we could both be giving much more if we had more education. I’m currently at Duke Divinity School studying to become an Presbyterian minister and Caroline is at UNC getting her masters in social work. We both believe that our calling is to work along side people facing oppression. Caroline and I fit together in so many ways but I think what will make us last is that we share a commitment to working towards social justice.

    Caroline: We are simple people. It’s important to us that our wedding reflects who we are. We’ve rented a small, beautiful farm in the mountain for a week that lets guests camp on the grounds so that friends a family can take a break from their busy lives and come relax with us as we celebrate our commitment to one another. We don’t have much to spend and it certainly won’t be a fancy affair but I know it will be beautiful. A friend who was recently married told us not too let the stress of planning get to us. She said, “Sure, it’s a lot of stress. But when you walk into the room and see literally every single person you love smiling back at you…it’s totally worth it”.

    When we told our families we wanted to get married we knew they’d be thrilled but we had no idea to what lengths they would go to make sure we had the wedding we wanted. Our wedding wouldn’t be possible without the support of our friends and family. Everyone is pitching in, whether by sending us money, offering to bake the pies, do the flowers, or play the music. Having a wedding photographer isn’t even something we considered in the beginning. It seemed like a luxury we couldn’t afford. Three months after we announced our engagement, my father fell and was hospitalized. He has been in poor physical health for the majority of my life but things have become much worse recently. For the past few years he hasn’t been able to travel and now he cannot leave the house. We are very close and it breaks my heart that he won’t be able to be at my wedding. One way we stay in touch is through pictures. I’ve been sending him pictures online and in albums so that he can see what my life is like, even though he can’t come visit. Most recently, a photographer volunteered to shoot dozens of my students wearing his ties, which he donated since he doesn’t need them anymore. The kids loved them and had a blast and the album turned out wonderfully. My dad keeps it by his chair. I’d like to give him a similarly treasured gift of beautiful wedding pictures that really capture the story of our day.

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