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Thanks again to everyone for the patience this week as our family and friends decided on our winning couple for the Free Wedding Photography Contest. We heard plenty of feedback from everyone who was in on the judging expressing how important of a decision this was for them.

Stacey and I continue to regret the fact that we can’t shoot all of the finalists’ weddings! It weighs on our hearts as we read the stories of how much of an impact these people have on each other and those around them. That said, we don’t want to leave our couples who didn’t get selected empty handed. So we offering to give you guys a free engagement or bridal shoot, or 25 percent off any of our packages. We wish we could do SO much more for each of you, but we hope that this little gift might help you in some way as you prepare for your big day!

As for the winning couple…..we’re excited to announce that our parents, sibling and family friends have selected Ben and Cassidy as the winners of our free wedding photography contest!!! We’re SO excited to work with this awesome couple as they begin a new chapter in their lives! Stacey and I had a chance to talk with Ben and Cassidy earlier today and feel like we’re going to have an awesome time with them during their marriage celebrations!

We wanted to share their submission with everyone in it’s entirety….

Brandon and Stacey,

First let me say that this concept of giving away free wedding photography is amazing. Your obvious heart for people is going to bless some couple greatly. Second I LOVE YOUR WORK, absolutely beautiful! Now I will tell you the story of mine and my lovely fiancé relationship.

Cassidy is a hardworking, loving, and compassionate person. She is in her last clinical rotation of graduate school at UAB to become an occupational therapist. She desires to help people with disabilities and to show them love and compassion. We have been dating for 5 amazing years and I love her more every day.

Now for the classic question, “How did you meet?” Well I have been playing music for many years and one day in early May (‘03) Cassidy heard my music and lucky me, she liked it and we began to talk. At first it started with a few emails and moved to daily phone calls. I lived in Greenville, Al and she was attending Auburn University. We began to alternate weekends and travel to see each other. Things were great, other than being 2 hours apart.

Soon after we met I started traveling to play music, became a local student minister and started at a local junior college. Life was busy. Cass and I continued to have a long distance relationship for 2 ½ years. In that 2 ½ years we had many hard times. One was our puppy, Hayden, being hit by a F250 truck. Hayden was Cassidy’s world! She loved her dearly so when the vet said she had slim chance to survive Cassidy’s mother, Peggy, said to do whatever it took to save her. Hayden spent weeks in the intensive care unit with bills totaling well over six thousand dollars. Hayden is now a happy dog living in Birmingham with Cassidy and is almost 5 years old, but they are probably still paying off that visa bill.

After 2 ½ years of dating, Cassidy graduated from Auburn in Rehabilitation Services and was accepted into graduate school at UAB, so she would move back to live with her mother in Birmingham. I couldn’t take much more time apart and I knew something had to change. So I took a job as a part time student minister and picked up to move to Birmingham to be in the same town with Cassidy. What an exciting time it was!! I was now, after 2 ½ years, in the same town as my love, and I could see her every day.

Grad school started and I started my new job at Cahaba Heights United Methodist Church. Money was tight but we knew through our faith that we would be fine. Student loans piled up for Cass and my job did not pay the bills. So I started giving guitar lessons along with my student ministry, traveling with music, and going to school. Times were hard but what a relief to live close and see her amazing smile every day! It was all worth it.

July 21st 2007 we got engaged!! Our relationship was great, but everything else was in shambles. When it rains it pours, in the next three months Cassidy’s mother lost her job that she has been at for over 30 years at Saks Inc. due to downsizing. She is a single mother with 3 children and has now been without a job for well over a year. In the midst of this Cassidy’s car that she had been driving for 7 years died. She purchased an old used car, which the transmission fell out of within weeks of buying it. She had to take out loans to purchase a transmission that cost her about the same as the car did. All the while my car also blew up after putting 270,000 miles on it as we were leaving to play music in North Carolina. We still knew God would provide.

A few months later Cassidy began her clinical rotations and got to show her amazing compassion to people with disabilities and we also began wedding planning. I decided to stop traveling and playing music so that I would not be a husband on the road. I earned my degree in biblical studies and continued to do student ministry and local worship music. I have recently taken a large pay cut and had to take on more guitar lessons. Peggy, Cassidy’s mother, was unable to find a job for well over a year. She recently got an administration position at a church making less than a ¼ of her previous salary. Because of this Cassidy’s family is losing their home, her mother can no longer afford it. They are working hard to clean it up and are preparing to move in with Cassidy’s grandmother. My mother is also a single mother of 3 children and she is living off of a teacher’s salary; my father died when I was younger. With money so tight for us all, I as well as our families have no idea how to give Cass the wedding she deserves. As the wedding draws closers, Cassidy decided to take an additional student loan to finance the wedding and pay it back slowly with the rest. Sounded like a fine plan and our love grew deeper daily. Cass is made for me, she is PERFECT and after 5 years she still knocks me off my feet.

Three days ago Cassidy called me in tears. She says we couldn’t get the extra loan that was going to finance our wedding, because she isn’t enrolled for the entire school year (she graduates in December). I started frantically searching the internet for caterers, photographers, and dress shops we could afford I ran across your site and saw your free wedding. I showed Cass your photos and she fell in love, I think she told me she even asked if you guys were available, she said it was “wishful thinking.” (I intentionally did not show her the free wedding competition portion; I hope she didn’t find it). The two things Cass cares most about with our wedding is all our family being there and a photographer who can catch this special day just right. I hope you consider us as a candidate for your amazing gift.

Either way God Bless you for what you do.

-Ben-

… Ben and Cassidy, we can’t even begin to express enough how excited we are to be part of your day! We’ve never met you in person, but already we can tell that we’re going to have an awesome time on your wedding day! We’re flattered that you would include us in such a special moment and promise that we will do our absolute best to help your big day become a lasting memory!!!

-Brandon and Stacey

5 Responses

  1. Gresham Photography’s Simply Colorful Blog » Cassidy and Ben [...] and Cassidy at Oak Mountain State Park. You might remember these two as the big winners from our Free Wedding Photography Contest! We were so excited to finally get them in front of the camera for a nice long shoot! Thank you [...]

  2. North Coast Photography Hi Brandon and Stacey, this is such a great idea and I will look to do it next year over here in Australia. My only issue is, did you really have to select the Tigers fan? Really? Yes it's true, the whole rest of the world are Tide fans. :o) Cheers, Antony, Australia

  3. Alice and Mike Very eloquent and straight from the heart. We are pulling for you!

  4. Talley Images Congrats Ben and Cassidy, what an amazing story!

  5. BrookieCookie Congrats guys :) Most definitely deserve it!!! Can't wait to see the pictures!