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It’s been a challenging few weeks for Stacey and I as we tried to narrow down our picks for the three finalists of our Free Wedding Photography Contest. I cannot even begin to express how difficult it has been to choose between all of our more than deserving applicants.

We’ve read a ton of stories of strength and perseverance during hard times, love lost and then found again, and couples who’ve given up the “big wedding plans” to pursue their dreams. We never thought this would be an easy choice to narrow down to three, but we also could never have imagined some of the amazing and heart-felt stories that people were willing to share with us.

We wanted to both thank all of the couple who submitted their stories, and apologize to those we weren’t able to put in our final three. Each and every one of you is deserving of a gorgeous wedding, and if Stacey and I felt like we could do all of your weddings (And still make a living!) we most certainly would.

We want to encourage everyone who applied but didn’t make the final three to PLEASE still contact us about your wedding. We’re more than happy to try and work with you and customizing a package that might be able to fit within your budget, and the least we can do is refer you to some other photographers in the area who will give you gorgeous pictures at a great price. We’re more than happy to refer you to any other affordable vendors we know!

And now for the big announcement….

After a lot of arm wrestling, late night discussion watching Olympic replays, and back and forth disagreements….here’s who Stacey and I have selected as our final three couples (in no particular order) for the Free Wedding Photography Contest:

JOHN PAUL and ALLISON


John Paul and Allison have been on a journey of perseverance, and their true love shines through in the words they shared with us about their love story. Stacey and I were treated to a bunch of pictures that highlighted their relationship’s journey through good times and bad. From the first date, to the fairy tale proposal.

This awesome couple has dedicated their lives to the the ministry and the arts. From John Paul’s various endeavours in sharing God’s word, to Allison’s teaching of the piano, these two have both taken on lives of service to others. With a father who is also a preacher, I can more than understand not only the stresses and strains that come with a live in the ministry, but also the financial hardships that can happen when your primary goal is sharing the Word rather than saving for retirement :-)

Thank you John Paul and Allison for taking the time to tell us your story!

BROOKE and DAVID


Brooke and David have had what should be consider THE long distance relationship. David, who is a member of the United States Marine Corps (Oorah!), recently returned from his second tour of duty in Iraq and Afghanistan. The two have dated for five years or so, after growing up only miles apart but never officially meeting until 2003!

David’s time away and dedication has been a constant challenge on their relationship, but with his last tour being his final scheduled assignment, Brooke and David now have some time to focus on starting the family that they’ve both been hoping for. Brooke is also currently working towards her nursing degree, leaving slim pickings when it comes to wedding funds.

Brooke and David, we very much enjoyed your wedding proposal story, and thank you for sharing such an awesome moment with us!

BEN and CASSIDY


The trials that Ben and Cassidy have been through in the past few years are more than many could imagine experiencing. This awesome couple has weathered some heavy storms during their relationship, and come out closer every time!

While Ben has diligently pursued his musical career over the pat few years, Cassidy has been working hard here at home to earn her degree in Occupational Therapy. It seems like every time something goes right for this couple, something also decided to go wrong. From having both their cars die when they need them most, to family financial strains that have left the scrambling to pay bills, when it rains it seems to pour for these two! Through it all, however, Ben and Cassidy have been able to rely on each other for support, and decided recently that they wanted to make their commitment to each other final.

Thank you guys for your touching story!

—–

Thanks again to all who submitted their story! Please note that while we haven’t included each couple’s full story, we will be publishing the winning couple’s submission. Now we hand the decision making off to some of the closest people in our lives, including both our sets of parents, my brother and his wife, and our best married friends. They will have the extremely difficult task in selecting our winning couple from our three finalists!

Have a great week everyone!

19 Responses

  1. Cat Ben and Cassidy have been through so much, winning this prize would make their day even more special. Ben is our youth minister and all that have heard him preach know that he has a true passion for what he does. He has changed my family life forever. I wish them both luck and I hope they win.

  2. Anonymous I've known both Brook and David for a few years. They have been through a lot of hardships and difficulties and I am so happy to finally see them happy. I know how low funds are for them and sincerely hope that this comes to be part of their happy wedding! They are good people,good friends, and deserve to have good things come their way.

  3. Anonymous My vote is for Brooke and David! I know how hard it is to have a loved one serving overseas, as my family experienced this also. I hope that they win this contest as they have been through so much and are truly deserving of this. They are such an awesome couple!

  4. CrazieChrisa I vote for Team Brooke and David!!! They really have been through alot! I'm also a Marine Wife so I know how tough it can be at times. GO BROOKE AND DAVID!!!!!~CHrista

  5. Anonymous I vote for Allison and John Paul! They are such a sweet couple! I'm so excited that they're finalists!Julie

  6. Irma Theyre Such a great couple I cant think of anyone who deserves this more than Brooke and David

  7. Heather I am also for team Brooke and David! They are a great couple that have truly been through a lot to deserve this. Love you guys and am thrilled that you have been chosen as a finalist for this wonderful opportunity! <3

  8. Anonymous i totally think ben and cassidy deserve this 100% ben is an amazing youth pastor who really knows what hes doing and is also the most outstanding musician! i know cassidy works so hard with kids and loves it so much, both of them are very good people and love god with all there heart and soul! cahaba height united methodist would not be half as what it is today with all there hard work!

  9. Brandi Team Brooke and David!I was fortunate enough to be able to go to high school with Brooke, and I am so happy that she has found someone that can make her happy! Even though I haven't met David they definitely deserve to win this! You can tell that this couple is truly in love just by the way they look in pictures. Good luck you guys!!

  10. Jessica tigrett I haven't had the pleasure of meeting David, but I can tell he has to be a great guy to keep Brooke so happy. I am a Marine wife and that is how I met Brooke. The commitment it takes be in a military relationship is deeper than most. They have been through a lot together and deserve this!

  11. lisa This is such a wonderful thing for the two of you to do. I think the three couples are all special!!! But, my favorite is Ben and Cassidy. They have brought so much life into our church. They will drop everything to help someone in need or to give someone a listening ear, from the older members to the youngest. I think they truly deserve this wonderful gift. They are a inspiration to all!!! God Bless Them!!!

  12. Nicole Go Brooke and David! I am a classmate of Brooke's and got to know her while David was deployed. Seeing the excitement in her eyes as she counted down the days until his return was enough to convince anyone that their love is true. I know from my own wedding how truly important it is to capture the moments of your special day to relive for years. This prize would be such a blessing for Brooke and David and would give them that opportunity to savor their wedding day forever!

  13. Anonymous Ben and Cassidy have done a lot of great things with the Youth at our church. All of the couples you have on your list look like nice couples but I hope Ben and Cassidy move to the top spot! May God bless them all!!!

  14. Anonymous I met Brooke through my husband, whos best friend is David's brother. Over the past few months Brooke and I have become what I consider to be pretty good friends. I know how hard Brooke works towards all her goals and how much she stresses to make all her hopes become reality. I talked to Brooke throughout David's time overseas and saw her wait patiently for his return home. There is no better couple that deserves to win this competition!

  15. BenNelson Brandon and Stacey,Cassidy fell apart when she saw the amazing news. To see this possibility become more of a reality is unbelievable. God moves BIG! WHAT A DAY OF CELEBRATION! God bless you both! Thank you so much for your heart, time, and love for people. Your compassion is evident and may God pour out his blessings out on you and you marriage. Thanks again. -Ben

  16. April I am also a marine wife and meet Brook through the last deployment of my husband to Iraq. This couple deserves any blessings they can get. When it comes to that kind of distance, pictures and memories are what gets you through. This is the perfect couple and very deserving of a great gift! -April

  17. Kristy Brooke is my best friend... We met during this last deployment while our men were over there together in Iraq. I love them both so much and they need this more than you can imagine! They are soooooo excited about their marriage and, as their maid of honor, I can't imagine a better couple. Kristy

  18. Jane I am for team Brooke and David. I have a fiance in the Marine Corps too, so I can relate. I know how hard it is to have a long-distance relationship. I hope Brooke and David will win this contest, not only because they deserve it, but also because they are wonderful people.-Jane

  19. BrookieCookie Tears came to my eyes when I saw our picture up as one of the three finalists ... Thank you soo much for selecting us :) Best of luck to you all in the rest of the selection process and to the other couples as well! - Brooke and David