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Stacey and I were nothing short of blown away by the response to this year’s Free Wedding Photography Contest 3.0! We’ve seen the number of submissions and interest in the contest grow from year one to year two … but this year we saw the lid get blown off. More than forty submissions later, we found ourselves earlier this week making one of the toughest decisions that we’ve been confronted with since we started this little picture business back in 2005. There were just too many good stories.

We’re so grateful for each and every person who took the time to open up to us a little, and share some happy, sad, wonderful, difficult, awkward, and inspiring moments with us. From being forced to meet your fiance for the first time while singing “My Humps” at the karaoke bar, to waiting just a little too long for the “Yes” after getting down on one knee, this year’s stories also allowed us to laugh about some of the wonderful moments that people encountered on their way to finding love.

When all the deliberations were complete, Stacey and I felt like we had found three amazing couples, with three inspiring stories. Not all the relationships we chose started off great, or were without some bumps along the way. But one common factor in each story, is that all three of our finalists inspired us by overcoming great odds, long distances, and difficult moments in life. These couples have, or are, going through some serious trials, but it’s obvious that one thing that isn’t faltering is the love they have for each other.

So for a third year, we want to finish by sending a HUGE thank you to ALL of the couples, family, and friends who submitted stories to our contest. We’re always inspired to hear some of the wonderful ways that love and relationships can persevere and prosper, even through the toughest situations.

Without further delay, we’d like to announce our three finalist, in no particular order, for the Free Wedding Photography Contest 3.0! ….

(Side note for family and friends: Our judges want to hear from you! Use the comments section of this post to let us know WHO you think should win our Free Wedding Photography Contest 3.0, and why. Ready, set, go!)

DREW and JOANNA

drew_joanna

CARMEN and CHARLES

charles_carmen

ADAM and MARILANE

adam_marilane

We’ll be sharing a little bit about our contest winners when we announce them next weekend!

The next step in the contest involves a number of our family and friends, who will now take their pick on who they feel the contest winner should be. We’ll be sending the stories off to my and Stacey’s parents, my brother and his wife, our best friends John and Kara, and our 2010 winners, Jessica and Mark. We’ll be contacting our contest winners next Sunday to share the good news with them, and get to work planning pictures for their big day!!!

For now, we’d like to say one more big “thank you” to all who entered this year’s contest, and good luck with all of your wedding plans!

(And remember, our judges want to hear from you! Use the comments section of this post to let us know WHO you think should win our Free Wedding Photography Contest 3.0, and why. Ready, set, go!)

-Brandon and Stacey

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  1. Southern Wedding Photography | Gresham Photography | Birmingham, Nashville, New Orleans, Atlanta » Carmen and Charles | The Engagement [...] and Charles were one of our two runners up in this year’s Free Wedding Photography Contest, and we were super excited when they took us up on the offer of an engagement session! Carmen has [...]

  2. Southern Wedding Photography | Gresham Photography » Free Wedding Photography Contest 3.0 | The Big Winners! [...] VERY deserving couples. To each of our three finalists … all you have to do is look at the comments sections from our post last week to see how many people care for and love you guys, as well as those who [...]

  3. Mara Carmen has been a big blessing in my familiy's life (and countless others), and I would love it if you could grant her and Charles a HUGE blessing by choosing them. During her time in the states Carmen served family after family at our church by babysitting, cleaning, cooking, or just being around to "chat." I have 5 children, and she helped me with house-cleaning, baby-sitting, or just playing with/reading to my children to give me a few extra minutes. Despite a challenging life and even trying times while in the states, Carmen continued to set an example by serving others. She has a beautiful smile that radiates her love for and trust in her Heavenly Father to take care of her. Even during some of her most challenging times, she would continue to put her faith and trust in God and His goodness. While I do not know Charles as well, he has encouraged and led Carmen through a very hard, long-distance relationship. He has taken care of and cherished her during courtship (even from a distance). Finally, he has spent his adult life serving each of us by putting his life in harms way that we might be safe--a service I, as a mother, am very thankful for. I would love for Charles and Carmen to have beautifully done pictures by (from all accounts) a very nice, talented couple--something easy and stress free in some lives who have overcome many challenges to get to this point. Thank you Brandon and Stacey for your sacrificial offer of such a wonderful gift and for your time and consideration of our comments!

  4. Sarah My vote goes for Carmen and Charles! They are such a sweet couple. I know this would be such a wonderful blessing for them.

  5. Lauren Mangiaforte Have you *seen* Joanna and Drew? No one photographs better. No one. In addition, they are sincerely the nicest people you will ever meet.

  6. Rohan Joanna is one of the nicest people you will ever meet. She always has a smile on her face and you can really tell that she's enthusiastic about everything she does. She's a true American from Alabama but proud of her Indian heritage shown through her cooking and Indian dance, which makes her such a dynamic person. Her wedding with Drew will surely be a treat for everyone and its something that really can't be missed. It should be captured by the best eyes out there so the whole world can see. I wish Drew and Joanna the best of luck in all the years to come!

  7. Emily Drew and Joanna are such an amazing couple. When I think of two people who love each other and are meant to spend their lives together I think of Drew and Joanna.

  8. Mason Marilane is such a great sister. I am thirteen and she has always been so good to me. I already feel as if Adam is my brother, too. They both are outstanding people and will make a fine couple. I love them both so much and I am so happy for them. I know photographs means a lot to them and would be of great importance to them on their wedding day. I know I enjoy seeing pictures of my parent’s wedding day set around the house. I think it would be special for Adam and Marilane to have good photos to show to their kids one day. I think their kids would enjoy the pictures just like I do. I want to thank Gresham Photography for bringing their talent in photography to a special couple for free. Hopefully that special couple could be my sister Marilane and I brother to be, Adam.

  9. Katherine Manget My vote is for Drew and Joanna! Drew and Joanna are two of the most quality people I know. They are both wonderful individuals who truly invest themselves in their relationships with their friends. It has been a pleasure getting to know them the past two years. Drew and Joanna were with my husband, Scottie and me on our first date; we share an engagement date, too! I know it has been tough living apart for the past year and we are so glad to finally get to share in their wedding day bliss soon. What a wonderful gift this would be for them!

  10. Dan Adam and Marilane are a great young Christian couple who are trying to serve the Lord with their lives. I am so excited for Adam, a good friend from college, because he has found a sweet, Godly girl who loves the Lord. I am excited to see how God uses their lives!

  11. Kathryn Cox I met Marilane when we started college, and we were college roommates. I actually knew her when she met Tim and remember when he would come over and make blueberry pancakes for us girls in the middle of the afternoon. I honestly can say that I have never met a stronger, more faithful person, especially with the things she's gone through. She put her faith in God that things happen for a reason, and because of that she has now been blessed with Adam. She is kind, gentle, and loving, and I can't think of a more deserving person or couple.

  12. Lois Matthews With much love and best wishes I vote for Adam and Marilane

  13. Halley Carmen and Charles are so very deserving of this blessing! They will not only be fun clients to work with for the photographers but they will be so grateful for this gift if they get it! Please consider them for the finalists because their stories would touch so many others if they are chosen!

  14. Jonathan Drew and Joanna are some pretty awesome people. I've known Joanna quite literally my whole life. I mean, she is my sister... I have seen how she has grown and changed through out the years. She has been a tremendous blessing to me and everyone she has been in contact with. She is an amazing older sister to me and I thank God that I have her. I've only known Drew for a few years, but i'm so glad that i am going to be having him as a brother-in-law. He's been a really good spiritual role model to me, because he is very real and down to earth, so he knows what to tell me. I'm so so so greatful for both of these people and I think that it would be amazing for them to be chosen for this. Thanks.

  15. Jeff Ingram I have known Marilane for many years as she has grown up in our church. She is a dedicated Christian young woman and I think she and Adam will become even more committed to Christ as a married couple. I know God will bless their marriage and look forward to watching what happens in the future. I hope you will consider this very deserving couple.

  16. Jeannie Ingram I am so pleased that Adam and Marilane were chosen to be finalists. Both of these young people are so talented and outstanding. I have known Marilane since she was a young girl growing up in our church. I have watched as she has grown in character and worked diligently toward her goal of Christian service. Marilane spent a semester in Australia and Thailand doing mission work while still in college. Conditions were rough but she persevered and worked hard to do all that was required of her. (all this with a loving heart and great attitude) She has worked at a church in Birmingham in the media department and has used her talents whenever they were needed. She is also a chaplain in the Birmingham hospitals choosing to be there for families in crisis. She has a servant’s heart and is always willing to help. Adam has also been a joy to get to know. Marilane brought him to church to meet me about a year ago. I could tell in that meeting that he was a fine young man with a heart for Christ. Being a minister’s wife, it is always nice to meet others who love the Lord and are willing to give their lives serving Him. Adam is this kind of young man. He has decided to go into fulltime Christian service and is now serving as a youth pastor. I am excited to see what God does in the future for this wonderful couple. Thank you for considering Adam and Marilane. Sincerely, Jeannie Ingram

  17. A.K. Shauku If anyone deserves this, it is Charles and Carmen. Their love has overcome an ocean, the war on terror, and U.S. immigration! Go Charles and Carmen!!!

  18. Melda Marilane and Adam deserve this honor. I have known Marilane her entire life, and I have seen her develop into a woman of deep faith, great grace, and sincere compassion for others. I have known Adam for just a little while, and already I have seen his faithfulness to God, his service to others, and his tender love for Marilane. Their story is inspiring in many ways. Throughout the years of Marilane's painful grief, she never wavered in her belief that the Lord had special plans for her, and she was determined to serve Him in every circumstance. Adam, likewise, has focused his life on doing what is good and right and of service to the Lord. Adam and Marilane are a beautiful couple, in every sense of the word, and I sincerely hope they are selected for this wonderful gift.

  19. Cathy Honeycutt Carmen has been such a blessing to me and our church!! She is so very outgoing and wonderful to be around. She is a great singer and helped me sing alto on many of the numbers our choir did on special occasions. She has overcome so many obstacles to get to the point she is now and God has blessed both her and Charles but also all the people she is around. I feel very privileged to know Carmen. She is a very special person and has had to deal with so much. She and Charles are a great couple and deserve the best. God bless both of you!!

  20. Mandy Cole My friend asked me one afternoon if I had heard Adam's sermon from the previous Sunday night. I had been out of town that weekend and had missed it. She told me to call the church and get a copy of the sermon because I absolutely had to hear it. It was about bitterness...the bitterness that Joseph could have had toward the brothers that sold him into Egyptian slavery. When I heard it, I was amazed that someone that young could take such a wonderful prospective on this Bible story and life in general. Then I heard Marilane's story. Adam was the one telling it along side the story of Joseph. It was truly God-inspired! Wow! What a beautiful portrait of God's infinite wisdom portrayed in the lives of these two young people. With that said, it would be wonderful if their wedding portrait could be from you, Brandon and Stacey. God Bless!

  21. Loretta I am thrilled to cast my vote for Adam and Marilane. All three couple finalists are deserving, no doubt; but, in my opinion, no couple could be more deserving than Adam and Marilane. At their young age, they are demonstrating a heart filled with love, kindness and compassion. Each is dedicated to helping and serving others. Most important, it is obvious that God is an integral part of their lives. They are more than a great example of a young couple planning a life together. I know Adam and Marilane through Deerfoot Baptist Church where Adam serves as Youth minister. Thank you for a chance to comment about a deserving young couple.

  22. Y.C.Mitchell Congratulations on your upcoming wedding. We pray you will have as many happy years as we have had.

  23. Jessica Carmen and Charles!!! I met Carmen a few years ago when she stayed in Birmingham for 6 months. The main thing I remember from that time is how depressed she was. She was depressed about her horrible situation in Sweden (no job, no family, no money, and bad relationship), and depressed about the fact that she was going to have to leave Alabama and go BACK to the same situation. Fast forward two years, Carmen comes back to the states and meets Charles. I have never seen such a drastic change in a person! Carmen's entire demeanor was so bright, cheerful, but most importantly, hopeful. She was no longer depressed, but excited about life. If anyone deserves to win this competition, Carmen and Charles definitely do. They have overcome such extreme obstacles, and have shown their true love for each other. I have never witnessed anything like their relationship and love for each other! They are both incredible, and well deserving people. Please pick them to be the winners!!

  24. Brady B. McLaughlin As your contest for capturing the moment of marriage draws to a close, I wish to add a few words on a very marked couple: Adam and Marilane. These two have overcome desperate odds apart from each other, yet they have been fused together through their love, determination, and commitment. Their common denominator, the Lord and Savior, is what each strives to show the world. Marilane displays true humility as she witnesses to those who are weary and sick. Adam serves the future of our nation through his ministry in a local church's youth group. Together they form a loving couple yearning to share their love and life with others. Without reservation, I recommend Adam and Marilane as the recipient of your priceless gift so that they may show future generations their true love and joy from the day of matrimony!

  25. Rita I would like to cast my vote for Adam and Marilane. They have such an amazing story and are such a blessing to our church. They have been an inspiration to many and fantastic role models for our youth group. I think your contest is a great idea and that Adam and Marilane are very deserving of this incredible prize.

  26. Timothy Winstead I am very glad to see Carmen and Charles finally getting married. I wish them both well!!!!!

  27. Kelly M From the comments it sounds as if you chose 3 fantastic couples for finalists, but I personally feel that Carmen and Charles should win. I met Carmen a year a little over a year and a half ago when we attended church together while she was here, and she became one of my dearest friends in the 5 months she was still in the US. Carmen has an amazing testimony of being dealt some heart-wrenching situations and suffering over her life and through it all trusting God to work all things for His glory and her good, things that anyone looking in would wonder "How much can one person take?", and the other thing I love about her is she is so honest through it all and open-- she has a unique way of looking at things and making them humorous. In her short time with us, she meant so much to our church, from the eldest down to the youngest; I'm pretty sure she either babysat or cleaned or cooked at some point for every family (she is a VERY talented baker and makes up dessert recipes that are absolutely delicious). She has such a generous spirit-- if you gave her a million dollars she would spend it all buying presents for other people or doing missions (well... after buying a plane ticket to TEXAS!!) Her dream is to come to the US and be able to go to college and be a counselor, so she can help others walk through the dark times in their lives. She'll be amazing at it-- she came alongside me duing the hardest personal loss and trial I've ever faced, even though there was half a world and I think a 6 time zone difference and was a significant source of comfort despite that. it was apparent that the sorrow she herself faced has built a tremendous amount of compassion for those who are hurting. I met Charles a couple months before they were introduced and though it was just briely, it was clearly apparent that he is an equally compassionate and generous person, and truly has a servant heart, in serving our country in the Army, but also in serving Christ. Its obvious that they are right for each other and that they didn't jsut each find someone to serve God with, but that they would not be able to serve God without-- their relationship is a picture of Christ and a testimony to God's providence and grace. Their story is beautiful and I am so ready for Carmen to be able to get her Visa and come back to be with Charles, and have her fairytale and dreams come true. I've definitely taken up too much of your space, but I hope you select them, so everyone else can share their whole story with everyone... its like a movie script :)

  28. ricky Adam and Marilane are 2 of the stongest christian yound people I have meet in a long time, at least for their ages. As a staff member at Deerfoot Bapstist church Adam and his now future wife and made a real change in many of the youth of our church but also many of the adults. There attitude toward responsibilty to themselves and to God is refreshing. It would be a blessing for them to receive this contest. They both have and are working several jobs to pay off school expenses now. Adam would not even propose to Marilane until he had most of his expenses paid off. They would be great role models for other couples.

  29. Henry & Shelia Ricks When you sit in the Chior loft as I do you don't often get to observe the expression on a pastors' face as does the congregation, but I can tell you that the youth a Deerfoot Baptist Church really focus in when Adam speaks on Sunday worship. We look forward to Marilane and Adam's wedding and to his continued ministry to the youth at this church and we wish every happiness and support that will make their wedding as great as possible. Thank you for the opportunity to vote for them!

  30. Nikhita Dear Brandon and Stacey, Even without hearing their stories, from these pictures, it is clear how much each of these couples love each other. To say that one couple is more deserving because their trials seem more severe or their love seems deeper would be unfair because each couple’s experience is so unique. So choosing the winner for this package is definitely no easy task. In my mind, given this specific prize - having every detail of their 'big day' immortalized through timeless photography - the clear choice is Drew and Joanna. Having met Joanna at university this year the first thing that struck me was how bright and beautiful her smile was. She soon became my 'dance partner' and I certainly couldn't have asked for a bubblier person to perform on stage with. Later in the semester I met Drew, and after months of hearing how wonderful and warm he was I was most definitely surprised to see that Joanna's gooey-eyed descriptions of him were nothing but the truth. I was instantly (and still am) so very happy for Joanna and Drew, not many people find their soul mates easily, in this respect the pair are blessed. Here are my reasons as to why I believe they deserve this prize: Firstly, it's hard not to notice that Joanna and Drew have long been interested in photography as a medium of expression. Joanna would lug her bulky camera to all locations, talking about contrast, movement, texture etc, while most of us were happy with our point-and-shoot. Drew and Joanna see and enjoy the finer points, appreciating the technique behind the art. Secondly, their love has grown through pictures. The gift of pictures would be strikingly appropriate for Drew and Joanna, because, given that they've been separated by an ocean for the entirety of their engagement, pictures have been the primary media through which they've been able to see and indeed love one another. It has been by gazing at images of each other that they have dreamed up their life together, and thus the pictures that will record the beginning of that life will have an added poetic prominence. Thirdly, photography has played a big role in keeping her family connected. Joanna’s family (like much of my own) is scattered all across the globe. Being a first-generation immigrant, much of her relationship with her immediate family (grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins) has been built through photographs. Despite the separation, her family is incredibly close and clings to photographs to bridge the distance. In addition to her maternal grandmother passing away unexpectedly in the last month, her paternal grandmother suffered a stroke just 3 days ago. Unfortunately, the unforeseen costs of the family coming together in a recent time of mourning and sadness will inhibit most of them from affording the costs of coming together to celebrate Drew and Joanna’s happiness. These past few weeks have been a debilitating blow for Joanna’s family emotionally. But more importantly, they have demonstrated how important it is to capture these fleeting moments of life with those she cares about. Finally, I myself have witnessed a number of mixed marriages in my own family and there is nothing on this planet that can be as vibrant, multi-coloured and so bursting with aesthetically pleasing fusion. What better way to capture this than through a camera lens? After all, our minds will limit our memory eventually. It saddens me that so many of Joanna and Drew's transatlantic family and friends (me included) won't be able to attend the wedding but we can be there in spirit, after all 'there are always two people in every picture: the photographer and the viewer'. ~Ansel Adams

  31. Jo Self Adam and Marilane are perfect for each other - so caring, supporting, and loving. They are both so gifted in teaching and working with the Youth at our church. Each of them has genuine love and concern for each of the Youth. Our entire church family is looking forward with great excitement and enthusiasm to their wedding! Wishing them the best, Jo Self

  32. Qutina I would like to nominate Carmen and CJ. He has dedicated his life to serving our country and it is well appreciated by all. Congrats Carmen and CJ.

  33. Carol God led Adam to Deerfoot Baptist Church in an amazing way. I "adopted" Adam from the first time I met him. Then the same thing happened when I met Marilane. Such a beautiful and devoted couple they are! What a pleasure it is to put my vote on Adam & Marilane! You could not pick a more wonderful, dedicated couple who really deserve to win your amazing gift!! Thank you for this opportunity to vote for them!

  34. Leah Adam and Marilane are the cutest couple ever! They grew up as children, and now have fallen head over heals in love! I enjoyed visiting Adam and Marilane earlier this year and seeing them work great together with their youth group at their local church. I have been looking forward to their wedding! I'm so excited to gain Marilane as my new sister! I can't wait until the big day! Congratulations, Adam and Marilane on your engagement!

  35. Rebekah Adam and Marilane have the sweetest story ever! We knew each other's families when we were little. We have pictures of Adam and Marilane together even at a young age! :-) Both of our families moved to different places in the country and kind of lost touch for a little while. Last year, Marilane and her brother came up to where Adam was living at the time, so Marilane could start an internship at a hospital. A group of us decided to go to a Royal's game and Adam invited Marilane and her brother to go. The rest is history! They reconnected so quickly and it was neat because our families were able to reconnect too. Now Adam has a youth pastor job close to where Marilane lives and they both work together to make the youth group thrive. I was able to go visit them several months ago and see Adam working-in-action. It was so neat! They're working together and doing a great job! I'm so happy for them both and Marilane is the sweetest sister-in-law anyone could ask for! I'm so excited for her to be part of our family and to be a bridesmaid in their wedding! Love you, Adam and Marilane!

  36. Don As the father of four daughters (including Marilane), I know how important wedding photos are. Brandon and Stacey, your generosity in offering this award is a huge gift. Thank you for including Adam and Marilane in the top three. I know that they, as well as our family, are very grateful for what you are doing. Adam has a wonderful sense of humor and a gift for teaching the youth at his church while Marilane is at her best when she is serving others on the night shift as a hospital chaplain. During times of stress and personal loss, she always has a gentle touch and a soft voice that gives hope. Whether holding a newborn kitten when she was a little girl, or now holding a newborn baby that is struggling for life, Marilane can bring a sense of comfort to any situation. I am proud to be her father. Best of luck to all the contestants. Don (Marilane's dad)

  37. Chris It's very tough to try and write why one couple stands out above the others, knowing that each of them is about to take a very important step in furthering their love and solidifying their promises to each other. I do obviously have a position in who is the best choice, but I do want to wish each couple all the best in their lives together. That being said, Drew and Joanna are incredible, not knowing drew as well I can certainly say that his character is reflected in the love and admiration of his bride to be. Joanna is a fantastic person, down to the core she is loving kind and respectful. Truly, a shinning light to all those that cross her path. I believe that choosing these two to be photographed would truly capture the essence of marriage, of love, and commitment. Their appreciation of such a gesture would certainly be rewarding in itself, understanding that they would never forget their fortunate position in having such a fantastic photographer direct the memories that will stay with them for the rest of their lives. All the best to each couple, both in preparation and in life. I sincerely hope that Drew and Joanna are chosen and look forward to the resulting photographs. Kind Regards, Chris

  38. Rachel Winstead Carmen told me she has never "won" anything before in her life. A couple years ago, she entered the lottery visa in the small hope that amid the millions of entries, she might win the ticket to a new life. She knew that if it was God's plan for her, her Lord is greater than 1 in a million chances. But God chose a more creative story for her, as he usually does, and she won "Charles," for which I know she's eternally grateful! But she's still never won any kind of contest. So I think this should be her 1st win!!!!!!! It would be so poetic.

  39. Haley Joanna and drew were my counselors for a leadership studies program when I was in high school and their enthusiasm and general love for people was what encouraged me to attend the college. Thy are so sweet and great Godly, ministering young people. So I vote for Joanna and drew, all the way!!

  40. Channing So glad to see Drew & Joanna on here! I went to college with both of them and couldn't think of a nicer, more wonderful couple.

  41. Libby Van Gerwen I can't think of anyone more deserving of a beautiful wedding and beautiful wedding photos than Drew and Joanna. They are probably the two nicest people I have ever met and they are completely genuine. I've been absolutely blessed to know both of them and I hope they win this great prize!

  42. Thomas Martin First off, let me say, your photography is amazing. Brandon, you were a blast to work with (and put up with me) at Scottie and Katherine's wedding. And it was a special honor to share our anniversary night with you and Stacey at the rehearsal dinner. Now I am honored to speak to the devotion, dedication, and love of Drew and Joanna. They are "old souls" in the words of those who know them. Yet in the midst of the level of comfort one feels in each of their presences, there is a joy of life they share. They are rooted in love, established in faith, and nurtured by family and friends. They have an appreciation for each other and the accomplishments that each share individually. Knowing Drew well through college and seminary, I have seen him grow. More sentimentally, however, he has allowed me to be his friend, enabling me to see my own growth reflected through him. As Paul writes in I Corinthians, now I see dimly as in a mirror, then I will see in full. Drew and Joanna not only allow those who love them to see dimly in a mirror, they reflect and refract the love they share so that other may know what it looks like to be in relationship with others. I did have the opportunity to play music with Joanna for a while in college as well, before there was a Drew and Joanna, and her smile can light up a room. I know it has lighted Drew's soul. There are many deserving people of this honor being given, no doubt. But for Drew and Joanna, who are continually living lives of service, lives of hope, and lives of love, I could think of no greater honor than to have you, Brandon and Stacey, choose them as the winners of your photography give-away. If they win, I promise to bring my dancing shoes. -Thomas

  43. Anna Little Carmen and Charles have such an amazing story, a beautiful love in a world that is often so painful. Carmen is sweet, spunky, and creative and has shown so much strength through so many hard situations. I wish them a fairytale wedding and a lifetime of happiness!

  44. Donna Brantley Thank you for choosing Marilane and Adam as one of your finalists. They are a beautiful couple. I have only met Adam once but I have known Marilana and her family for several years. She is truly an amazing young lady. She is a very strong Christian and is dedicated to serving others through God. She has went on many mission trips, teaches Sunday School Classes and is serving as a Hospital Chaplain. Adam will be attending Seminary school in the fall. Together this young couple will do awesome things for Christ. I look forward to watching as they work together for the glory of God. Because of their their commitment to ministry they do not have a lot to spend on their Wedding. With your gift they will have a wonderful memory to cherish forever. Thanks again, Donna

  45. Anna W Carmen and Charles have truly graced our hearts with their presence in our lives. Carmen with her kind spirit and bubbly personality and Charles with his amazing love for her. Carmen came from humble and difficult beginnings in Romania and later Sweden, but God has brought her through her sufferings and prepared a greater life ahead of her. I am so excited that Carmen gets to move to the United States and begin her life with Charles. As Carmen grew up with my cousin in Romania, they could have only dreamed that she would one day be able to move to the United States. Now that dream is coming true. Carmen has become part of our family as she has attended many events with my family during her visits to the US. We have immensely enjoyed Carmen's time with our family and now we are excited to see the future that God has prepared for her with Charles. God bless, Anna W

  46. Sarah B Carmen is a great person! Though I do not personally know Charles, I have heard wonderful things about him and know that he must be a great guy to make Carmen happy. Carmen is a genuinely kind hearted person and has a great sense of humor! I consider her part of my family since she has spent Christmas's with us at my grandparents house. She fits right into the family and adds lot of laughs :). I am excited that Carmen and Charles have made it to the final 3 and hope they go on to win the engagement and wedding photos!

  47. Vicki Winstead It is so interesting that I recently saw wedding photographs that had been taken by Gresham Photography. I was so impressed and thought to myself, when my next child gets married, THOSE are the people I would want to capture the beauty and mystery of that day. Truly, the relationship that has formed between Charles and Carmen is providential evidenced by how they met from separate parts of the world. It could have ONLY been from the hand of God. To see so many people's names from Birminghamn on this message board who love Carmen and Charles even though Carmen is half a world away is truly amazing. I can think of nothing better than to see such great photographers be a part of this celebration of God's grace to Carmen and Charles and to the people in Birmingham who will share in it with them.

  48. Meghan Drew and Joanna are one of the most beautiful couples I've known and I can't think of two people that deserve this more. My husband and I have known Drew for about six years now. He is one of the most loyal and trustworthy persons you will ever meet. I knew a few of Drew's previous girlfriends, but as soon as I met Joanna I knew she was perfect for Drew. She has an unbelievable personality and is a kind and caring woman. They both lead unique lives that has strengthened their relationship. I love them both and can't wait to be with them on their wedding day. God Bless, Meghan

  49. Ben I'm so happy that Drew and Joanna are finalists! If anybody deserves to win, they do. Drew has always been a dear friend, and his prayers and encouragement have helped me get through tough times. Joanna is as sweet as they come--she is one of the best dancers I know! Plus, Drew and Joanna have been separated for the last year (including all of the engagement) since Joanna is studying in Scotland.

  50. Sally Park It has been an honor for me to watch Carmen's and Charles' courtship, somewhat from "afar"--but isn't that just a theme in their lives?! The tender care they have shown to each other and to the development of their relationship has renewed my faith in the ability to "court," i.e. truly get to know and love one other BEFORE diving into the emotional and physical aspect which can so often cloud good judgment. And don't we all enjoy seeing people so truly in love! What a tremendous blessing it would be to have their wedding photographed by you all. Such true love will make such lovely pictures!

  51. Kate Miller What a journey you have been through, and are still writing! Carmen im so i excited for you and your new love! A true match! Congrats that you have already made it to the top three, i hope and pray you take the winning! I love you dear! -Kate

  52. Madeleine Hallum Oh, Marilane and Adam! You could not pick a better couple - they exhume love, spirituality, and compassion into the world. The day Marilane and Adam unite in marriage will be a special day. They deserve royal treatment and I hope that you pick them!

  53. lori akin Carmen and Charles, so excited you've made it to the final three! The Lord has been good to bring you together. I know he will continue to provide and take care of you! I hope YOU GUYS are selected! Love, Lori

  54. Kiran Kishore I wish I could make it to Joanna and Drew's wedding - I was fortunate enough to get to know Joanna at university in Scotland this year and she was one of the warmest, sweetest people I know! She is also a beautiful dancer, whether she admits it or not! Sadly, I will be at said university studying on their big day =( Photos are certainly the best way to convey their emotions, so I can't wait to see alll the pictures, hopefully done by Simply Colourful Photography, in order to bring the love all the way to Switzerland (where I live). Kiran

  55. Micah People love Marilane and Adam because of the way they love people. I see them leaving a trail of adoring youth, privileged strangers, inspired marines, devoted teachers, and fond janitors everywhere they go. I get "hey!! you're Marilane's brother!!" a lot. So many people would personally delight in them receiving this gift from Gresham Photography. I vote Marilane and Adam!

  56. Malynda Brandon and Stacey, your photography is incredible!!! What a huge gift you are offering! Congratulations to all three couples! So.....I've known both Adam and Marilane my whole life -- and there's SO MUCH to say! One of the neat things about Adam and Marilane is that their hearts for ministry match pefectly. Adam has served in youth ministry for a few years now (first in Wisconsin and now in Alabama). In a couple weeks he will begin seminary while he continues full-time youth work. (We're praying for you, Adam! :) Marilane also has a heart to serve. I visited her in Australia when she was doing mission work there. She was just returning to Queensland after several weeks in Thailand working with a team in the villages and teaching English. She was running a fever and had a bad strep infection from the trip, but when she came off the plane she was smiling so big! Now, as a hospital chaplain, she works long shifts (sometimes through the night!) caring for families in crisis. She is called to the bedside of those who are suffering and keeps company with people who have just lost a mother or a son. She has held little babies who have just entered--or just departed--this world. She has chosen a path that brings her alongside those in pain--and she has a special heart for this because she has been there herself. I have seen so much transformation in her! Adam and her are the perfect match, and they work together so well as a team. Their callings and desire to serve complement each other so beautifully. One of my favorite memories is Marilane tying my shoes for me when I was a child, and she was maybe 8 or 9. Now I'm 21, and a lot has changed, but she is still serving people wherever she goes. As photographers, you probably can agree that a picture is worth a thousand words, so I've made a small "tribute" album to help you see their hearts. Here is the link: http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=240084&id=548128828&l=fdccf32f21 We love you, Adam and Marilane!

  57. Rachel Winstead My goodness, these are 3 pretty amazing couples! I do not envy being a judge for the final winner. But, I will say it should be Charles and Carmen! : ) As Carmen's best friend and having a life-time of international shared experiences, I can truly say I don't know anyone who has victoriously overcome more than this woman. She's someone who's been dealt some pretty hard cards in life, but she's chosen to allow God to transform her deepest wounds into redemptive beauty for His glory. Everyone who knows Carmen always teases her about her "patience." She doesn't like to wait. But it's ironic. Because when it comes to some of life's biggest and most important things, she's actually had to wait a REALLY long time for MANY an answered prayer. There have been SO many times it would have been easier to just give up, but she has faithfully persevered, choosing to thank and trust God, even when it's been hard and she hasn't understood His greater plan. Carmen and her journey have been such an encouragement and inspiration to me and everyone who knows her, as well as the story of how she met Charles. It's so evident these 2 are meant for each other. They were brought together from opposite sides of the world through the most unique set of circumstances. Their relationship in and of itself defies time, distance, race, culture, language, and they have the community support from people all over the world. They are like 2 polar magnets drawn together despite all the challenges and obstacles. Their wedding is going to be one fun blend of culture and personality - a true, joyous celebration! Charles and Carmen are 2 beautiful people who bring out the best in each other and all those around them. Their story has been one miracle after another. Winning this competition would just add to the list! I really hope they get it. I can think of no one more deserving than Carmen and Charles!!!!!!!!!!

  58. Garfield Charles and Carmen! Their story is amazing and they are a beautiful couple. You won't get more of an international flair, a better story, or more gracious people than Charles and Carmen.

  59. Lauren I am blessed to be able to call Marliane my friend! I met her just after Tim's death and was amazed at her strength and compassion. She is so full of grace, yet remains amazingly humble. I have been inspired by her so many times (and I'm sure she has no idea!) through our various Bible studies, prayers we've said, and simple phone conversations/emails. I am so, so excited that Adam has come into her life (Adam, I know that if Marliane loves you, then everyone else will too!). Their story is just more affirmation that God takes care of His children. I was so very happy to read that Adam had been praying for Marliane before they reunited - what an amazing, compassionate guy! She has such a strong faith that I knew she could only end up with someone who has a faith as equally strong as hers. I can't imagine another couple more deserving of beautiful engagement and wedding photos! Can't wait to share in your special day! In His Love, Lauren

  60. Brooke Adam & Marilane are extremely deserving of winning such a gift as having wonderful photographers to capture their special day. I don't know Adam, but I became friends with Marilane after the death of Tim. She is a woman of great pose, wisdom, and strength. She has continued to display beauty (inwardly & outwardly) throughout the most difficult of times. I've seen this woman soar like the wings of eagles and rise above adversity with a gracious smile on her face. I'm elated to hear that now there is a man that has captivated her heart and that they will share their lives together. It would be a great blessing for your business to photograph these moments for such a wonderful couple!

  61. Priscilla Marilane is a very sweet person!! Though I don't know them very well, I only hear good things about both of them. Marilane and her family are some of the kindest and most genuine people I have ever met and she is a living example to me of pressing past hard times and having a good attitude. Thank you for choosing Marilane and Adam to be in the top 3!

  62. Jennifer Park I was truly blessed to have Joanna as a flatmate during her year at St Andrews, Scotland. At University, it is not easy to come across an engaged-to-be-married friend but meeting Joanna and her AWESOME fiance, Drew, made me really believe in Love. They really glow around each other (of course,Joanna is always glowing because she's just oh-so beautiful) and they are really best friends and the best people for each other. I was so excited and happy to hear about them reaching to the finalists for this competition as they really deserve the BEST. I really hope that they will win this!!! So today, I really would like to give my blessings to Joanna and Drew, and vote them to win this fantastic prize, as they have taught me love, respect and complete trust can happen through the roughest times (aka being oceans away from each other at this exciting time of engagement). Also, they are just the most gorgeous people to look at, so taking photos on their amazing day (no doubt Joanna would look breath-takingly beautiful and Drew as handsome and dashing as ever!) would just be a pleasure to YOU ;) Love, Jenny Benny supporting you all the way from the cold and rainy U.K xxx

  63. Hannah Marilane and Adam, I am SO happy for you! It makes me so excited to see two people after God's own heart fall in love, and in His perfect timing. I know winning this contest would bless you immensely, and you both deserve it! For your perseverance; dedication; and love for God, each other, and those around you. Marilane, the year you lost Tim was the year our family got to know you, and even though I was much younger than you, you always had time for me and made me feel so special. I can't tell you how much you've been a blessing to me! Please know that I'm praying for you both!

  64. Tatyana Pogodina Marilane and Adam!!! With much love from Russia!!!

  65. yash Dear Brandon and Stacey, There is a saying in India, "Happiness is a thing to share with others as together the synergy creates more for all!". It has been great to be part of this journey of Drew and Joanna in the last year as I became friends with Joanna and thus Drew. Now as they reach a major milestone, the reality of geographies gets to me.I realize how much I wish to be there for the wedding, but the real circumstances are an inhibitor. However much I would like to go to the US, the sheer impossibility resigns me to relying on pictures.Thus I eagerly wait for wedding pictures , and hope that by choosing Drew and Joanna, you will capture that happiness which otherwise would be difficult, and help to share that with me and the others that due to distance will not be able to make it. It is pictures that transcend boundaries,and in this hope I wait for the wedding day! Kind Regards, Yash

  66. roxana Carmen and Charles!!!!!!!! They deserve it! It is time for good change!No more of all that it's been! It is time for life and joy and hope! I think they need it and wish them all the success they need to win !

  67. Kimberly McWilliams Congrats CJ and carmen, I wish the two of you the bEST!!! You are such a happy couple!!! I am sooo excited for the both of you!!

  68. KIMBERLY WILLIAMSON CHARLES N CARMEN without a doubt.....perfect example of beautiful people from different parts of the world making a change in other peoples lives....I'M PRAYING FOR YOU GUYS...GOODLUCK N MAY GOD BLESS EACH OF THE COUPLES

  69. Joshua Henson I'm just here to tell you that Adam Carter and Marilane Mesler are the best! I'm a sixteen year old male and I was just about crying my eyes out when they shared their story for my youth group (and by the way, Adam is the best youth pastor any youth group could have!). He has been so helpful to me in many ways with his preaching, teaching, and counsel. In fact, two weeks ago he led me to Christ! Their story is the most touching I've ever heard from a couple...of course I am only sixteen! :)

  70. Sherri Henson Adam and Marilane have lived out a truly wonderful story of how the Lord can bring two people together - teaching them, and portraying to others, how to trust Him, how to focus on the joys of life rather than the sorrows, how to move beyond the death of dreams and look for God's direction and provision, how to walk through sorrow without becoming bitter. These two people are wonderful examples of those things to the youth they now work with. We are blessed and privileged for them to have touched the lives of our teens, inspiring them to reach for God's best ... God's way. All that to say - they would be a great choice!

  71. Esther I'd love to see Marilane and Adam win this competition as they would very much deserve it. I met Marilane a few years ago in Australia during a missions programme, shortly after the loss of Tim who had died in Iraq. We became close friends and it was amazing to see how much trust in God Marilane has and what a strong woman she is. I learnt lots from her and enjoyed our missions trip to Thailand so much. I am so happy to hear that she found Adam and that the 2 of them will get married shortly!

  72. Jeffrey Taylor Marilane and Adam have my vote hands down... I do not know Adam at all but he seens like a great guy but I am great friends with Marilane a.k.a. (Sunshine) which was my nickname for her and I will tell you why. I was Tim's roommate at The Citadel our Freshmen year and as anyone who shares such a unique experience like that, we became close friends. It wasn't until the summer of 2004 that I got to meet Marilane, unfortunately, it was Tim's funeral. Anyone who got to know Tim was devastated with his passing, for some, it took a longer time to heal those wounds. Marilane came to The Citadel Chapel and provided us with words of encouragement and gave us strength through her story. We became close friends over the years and she has always provided me inspiration and guidance when I was having trouble in my life, hence, Sunshine... Her words and Godly wisdom cleared the stormy skies of my mind and guided me back to calm, peaceful place. One example that sticks out in my memory the most was during my deployment to Afghanistan, I lost my Grandfather and Grandmother in a six hour period. I grew up in a small, close knit community where the only difference between your parents and grandparents was a prefix. Needless to say, I was devastated, again... After some phone calls and emails later, Sunshine's beams of hope, kindness, and support founds their way to the small fire base in Afghanistan and showed me the way to get back on my feet and catch my breath and to "Cowboy Up". A long story short, Marilane has done nothing but give and give and give, never with the intentions of wanting something in return. She is the best person I know walking the face of the Earth today. She deserves this. As for Adam, brother, if you are ever in Honea Path S.C. and need a hand, a house, or a table to eat at, my doors are opened to you. May God Bless the both of you and your marriage. Love, SGT. Jeffrey Taylor

  73. Erin Whan I'm voting for Adam & Marilane!!! Being on the other side of the world in sunny Sydney, I haven't had the chance to meet Adam (though if he has won Marilane's heart he must be pretty brilliant!), but I shared a wonderful 6 months with Marilane in North-Eastern Australia doing mission work with Youth With a Mission and I can honestly say I have never met a more genuine, compassionate and beautiful (on the inside and out) person. And I know alot of people!!! Marilane, you've been through so much and yet you are so passionate for life and making it better for others. You deserve the very best, sending all my love, prayers and support, Erin x

  74. Jorge Grajeda It is really awesome that Carmen and Charles have made the Top 3! They are both really genuine and warm hearted people that can make a significant difference in all the lives that they touch. If only they knew how much that they have helped and meant to me... If they didn't know, they do now. Good luck, and I know for a fact that a win is well deserved for these two totally Awesome Peoples! God Bless You! =)

  75. Alisa Brandon and Stacey, Hello there. I hope you guys are doing well, and I'm happy that you guys have had the chance to get to know my friends Drew and Joanna. They are both incredible people. I've spent a ton of time with Drew and his family, and when Joanna came into his life, I had the chance to get to know her. Both of them live such lives of intentionality. It's challenging and beautiful. Marriage is such an incredible gift and priveledge. We are displaying something that is much richer and deeper than we could ever hope to fully understand. I beleive that Drew and Joanna will intentionally pursue living that shadow out for the world to see a picture of Real Love. Any investment in them is something that will yeild a return. Enjoy getting to know them, and I hope you guys have fun!

  76. Kadie Ann & Stefan It's evident from their photograph above that Drew and Joanna make a beautiful photograph together. However, the beauty that's inside of each of them truly out-shines what's on the outside. They are both two of the most caring and Christ centered individuals, and we have been truly blessed to have them in our lives. We can't think of any more deserving couple to win.

  77. Kenzie Golson Marilane & Adam are two of the most incredible people I know. They are so sacrificing of their time, energy, and resources for others. Between Marilane's full-time hospital work helping those in crisis situations and Adam's full-time ministry work as a youth paster, they are constantly pouring themselves out for other people. They are both working very hard to make ends meet, so winning this contest would be a huge blessing for them. It is obvious that God has created them for one another, and I wish them all the best. Kenzie Golson

  78. Josh Busby Adam Carter is awesome!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! :) Mary Lane has been a big help to our youth group at church. I vote for them.

  79. michael busby Adam is my youth pastor and him and Marilane have been a huge blessing to our church ever since they came a few months ago. It would be amazing if they won this.

  80. Amber Adam and Mary Lane are really gueinuley good people. They are very encouraging and they are such a sweet couple, they would be very deserving of this prize I think

  81. Brittany Shipp Adam and Marilane are an amazing couple and they deserve the best! They deserve to win this because they have an amazing story!

  82. Emily Busdby Adam and Marilane should win! they are the cutest couple and this would be such a blessing for them!

  83. Hannah Ward Adam and Marilane are THE CUTEST COUPLE EVER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! This would be such a beautiful blessing to them!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  84. susanna tucker so im definately thinkin adam and marilane because they like they best EVER!! they definately deserve this. so like the obvious choice is them:)

  85. Kat Gamble Adam is my youth pastor at Deerfoot Baptist Church, and his and Marilane's story is an amazing one. God has truly blessed them, and they are sure to have an amazing life together. They deserve to win!! :]

  86. Brian C. I am in Adam's youth group and thoroughly have enjoyed it for the past 2 months. I look forward to many more memories in the years to come!

  87. Shanice Mosley First of all I would like to say that I can't think of anyone that is more deserving to be one of the three finalist like Carmen and Charles. Carmen I would like to personally say to you thank you for becoming a part of my brother's life and making him the happiest person on this planet! You guys are the perfect example that true love conquers all no matter the distance. You bring a smile to his face that I have never seen. I am looking forward to the future family gatherings that we will have and also my nieces and nephews that I am sure will come. I think that winning the contest will just make their day even more special. Can't wait to see you guys again soon! Have fun in Paris!! :)

  88. Kacey Swindell Dear Brandon & Stacey, The reason you should select Joanna and Drew is because they probably shouldn't be together. Their diverse backgrounds, career paths, current zip codes and even ideas on how to best prepare chicken (fried chicken vs. chicken tikka masala) indicate that they would have selected another partner. But that's the beauty of it. You want to cheer for them, and you want to see them succeed together. Because they are so very different, they enhance one another in that unconventional way that makes them great. If their relationship were a recipe, it would be friendship and love peppered with two contrasting spices that together formed an unmistakably great taste. You know what I mean. You've eaten that steak that was marinated in coffee and chocolate. Why would anyone do that? I don't know but it's great so who cares! They are wine and cheese, peanut butter and jelly, hot chocolate and little marshmellows... they just work, don't ask why, just go with it. Another thing that I think is great about these two is their maturity and trust. Many times in relationships people forfeit opportunities that come along for fear of losing their significant other. These two have embraced the possibilities of growing individually, realizing that they are actually opportunities to grow together. They have been able to realize their full potential as individuals making them more suited to one another now then they would have been otherwise. They aren't scared of distance and time separating them, which shows extreme maturity on both of their parts and demonstrates the level of trust they have in one another. It's not a feat that is attainable for many couples. One last note I must make is about the global nature of their family and friends. While many people have relatives and friends who don't live close enough to be a part of a couple's big day, these two take this situation to the extreme. Their wedding invitations will be sent to guests in India, Kuwait, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, Alabama, Tennessee, Florida and who knows where else. Many of their family and friends will not be able to attend due to the expense of travel over such great distances. The only way they will be able to experience the magic of Drew and Joanna's wedding day is through the photographs taken on that day. I hope you will select them so you can, with your creative and talented eye, capture their special day so that friends around the world can experience it with them. Sincerely, Kacey Swindell Friend, Sorority Sister, Classmate, Joanna & Drew Fan!

  89. Eddie Thank you for picking Drew and Joanna as finalists. I've known them for over six years now, and I can honestly say that they are two of the most giving, Godly, and wonderful people that I know. Each has thoroughly embodied what it means to live out Christianity, and in doing so they have inspired and touched numerous lives. In the small things, like their every day interactions with others, I can't think of two people who show such genuine interest and love on such a regular basis. And in grander matters such as choosing a vocation, both Joanna and Drew have committed their lives and unique talents to the cause of bringing light to a dark world. I know it would be an incredible blessing to this incredible couple if they were able to have Gresham Photography shoot their wedding.

  90. Scottie Stone As a current Gresham Photography client, I was very excited to hear that Drew and Joanna were finalists in the Free Wedding Photography Contest 3.0. You guys did an fantastic job at our wedding (we have gotten TONS of compliments on the pictures) and I hope Drew and Joanna get that opportunity as well. They are both amazing people. I'm sure all three finalists couples are great but Drew and Joanna truly are special. I can testify firsthand that they both share a servant's heart and would be excellent recipients of this prize. I had the pleasure of knowing both of them in college before they started dating and have enjoyed watching their relationship grow. Looking back, it seems so natural they they would have eventually come together. Although I was a few years ahead of them at BSC, they both made very deliberate efforts to maintain of our friendships after I graduated, indeed we have become closer friends since our time together on the Hilltop. I am certainly a more blessed person because of them. P.S. From a wedding photography standpoint, wouldn't it be cool to shoot a ceremony and reception that fused our traditional Southern ceremony and an Indian wedding ceremony? I can't wait!

  91. Ashley I’m so happy to see Drew and Joanna in the group of finalists! Drew and Joanna are two of the most giving people I know. Giving of their time, resources and emotions to their families, friends and those in their communities. I admire and respect them both as they are extremely hard-workers and diligent in everything that they do. They have excelled both individually and as a couple not because of where they come from or who their families are but because of the names they have built for themselves due to their diligence, integrity and perseverance through any trials that come their way. Aside from Drew and Joanna deserving to win this because of all the reasons set forth above, you should pick Drew and Joanna because their wedding will be highly unique with multicultural influences. Not only will their wedding be visually beautiful, but I know that the love they have for each other, for their families and friends and most importantly the love they share for Christ will shine through them on their wedding day and be the ultimate display of beauty. I can only imagine how their love and passion will make their wedding pictures that much more stunning. As someone stated in earlier comments, if you choose them, you will benefit from getting to know Drew and Joanna and will experience great joy shooting their wedding day. If that’s not reason enough, knowing Drew and Joanna and their friends, it will be a FUN wedding!

  92. Maria Deasy I cannot think of two people more deserving of this prize than Drew and Joanna. I've known Joanna now for almost a year and we've shared some pretty special moments together. We met while studying in Scotland and immediately became great friends. On December 18th Drew, Joanna and I decided to visit St Andrew's castle. Little did I know, Drew had the ring in his pocket. Now I'm famous in Ireland for being the world's ultimate third wheel as I was literally five feet away when Drew proposed. :) I've watched them plan their wedding and have shared in their excitement. Looking at bridal magazines is a welcome break from our studies. Most of all, I've watched them cope gracioiusly with everything that has happened this past year: the distance between them, the recent death of Joanna's maternal grandmother, and the stroke of her paternal grandmother which we learned about 3 days ago. Whatever life throws at them, their love for each never falters. I know how much winning this prize would mean for Drew and Joanna. The other night while writing my dissertation, Joanna burst into my room so excited she could hardly contain herself. "WE MADE THE TOP THREE!!!" she squealed. I was so thrilled for her and Drew! Amidst all the sadness at this time in their lives, there was a ray of sunshine. Please bless them with this wonderful gift. Sincerely, Maria

  93. Anna Brandon and Stacey, Thanks for offering such a great opportunity for a deserving couple to receive such a lovely prize. I want to tell you a little about Joanna and Drew and why I would be absolutely thrilled if you chose them. I should say, first, that i've only known Joanna since last September when we both moved to Scotland for graduate studies. This year has been a crazy whirlwind, not least being able to share in the joy of Drew and Joanna's engagement and their wedding plans, and Drew's graduation and new job. I was the one who took the photo of them you have posted above! I did a session with them (as a gift) to celebrate their engagement. It was a lovely session and though it was freezing cold they were as generous, smiling, relaxed and easy going as usual. They are a photographers dream - not least because they are so photogenic! But more than that they have great hearts and this comes through in the photos - needless to say, I had just as much fun as they did. Why do i think you should choose them? Because I would love to see them be able to have extraordinary photos of their wedding. Drew and Joanna are working extremely hard to celebrate the beginning of their marriage in a way that honours their family and friends and without this kind of prize I know that they won't be able to have that kind of photography! I would very much appreciate it if you would consider their entry favourably. I would love to hear the stories of the other couples and I'm sure they are equally deserving, but I commend to you my friends, Joanna and Drew.

  94. Christa Spratling Brandon and Stacey, I am so happy to see Drew and Joanna as finalists for your contest. I knew of each of them in college individually and was so excited when the they started dating. Both Drew and Joanna are remarkable people who share life, love, and laughter with all those in their lives and as a couple their impact is all the greater. Their love has endured long distances, which coming from personal experience, is defintely not easy. However, their love has remained strong and grown over the years, and now their big day is finally almost here. Thank you for making them finalists and I hope that you will consider photographing their wedding.

  95. Elissa I am so happy that you chose Joanna and Drew as one of your finalist couples. I am Joanna's sister, and I have just been amazed at God's provision in bringing these two together. I remember as girls Joanna and I used to dream of our respective "princes" and really wonder what kind of man would be able to step into our trans-cultural household. As first-generation immigrants, it was a challenge for us to assimilate while retaining our heritage. This was especially important to Joanna, and it has been so special to see our childhood prayers answered in the form of Drew. He is a strength to her, not only appreciating our culture, but urging her to explore it further. And through this time of crisis with my Amachi, one of the blessings I have experienced is seeing the way they support one another in the midst of tragedy. When I look at the different paths that led them to one another and their shared commitment to serving others, both spiritually and economically, I am convinced that God is using them for something special. Again, thank you for this distinction. The ability to share this special day with our family members around the globe is very important to our family, and I truly hope that you chose this amazing couple. Elissa

  96. Donna I am not in the least surprised that Carmen and Charles are finalists! When you're with these two, they light up your life! They are not only obviously right for each other, but they are so funny and full of life when they're together that they simply bless everyone around them. These two are waiting so patiently through the visa process, trusting the Lord in HIS timing to bring Carmen from Sweden for the marriage they have prayed for for so long. It would be an amazing blessing to have you photograph them on their long awaited day. I know their joy would shine forth from your wonderful photos! Please bless them and make them the winners!

  97. Keiah One thing more...I love the fact that I got to meet Charles, while living in Korea; I met Carmen while she was visiting from Sweden...and now they are together. I cannot help but to believe that this is kismet!!!!!!!!!! YAY! CHARLES AND CARMEN!!!

  98. Keiah Wow, I am excited to see each of the couples that have made it to the finals. I must, however, throw my support behind Carmen and Charles. They have endured so much in order to meet and now to marry. Also, Charles has devoted his life to serving our nation--and I think anything that we can do to show our appreciation is great!!!

  99. Brandy Charles and Carmen! Charles and Carmen! It has been such an amazing journey for both of them and we are so excited that they are going to be able to get married soon! Your pictures are terrific and they would really be grateful for such an amazing gift. It is going to be one fun party when these two tie the knot!

  100. Kenzie Golson Marilane & Adam are two of the most incredible people I know. They are so sacrificing of their time, energy, and resources for others. Between Marilane's full-time hospital work helping those in crisis situations and Adam's full-time ministry work as a youth paster, they are constantly pouring themselves out for other people. They are both working very hard to make ends meet, so winning this contest would be a huge blessing for them. It is obvious that God has created them for one another, and I wish them all the best. Kenzie Golson

  101. Jenny Lusk How exciting for all these couples to be finalists! I'm putting my vote in for Charles and Carmen. They are waiting patiently for all the the details to work out for them to be able to tie the knot. Between needing a fiance visa and working with military duty schedules, they are continuing to trust in the Lord's goodness and his provision for their lives. What a blessing it would be for them to have you photograph their wedding! I just glanced at your website and you two do an amazing job together taking pics. Let's hear it for Charles and Carmen!!

  102. Erin Lindsey I am so thrilled that you picked two of my all time favorite people, Drew and Joanna, to be some of your finalists!! Joanna has not only been my very best friend for the past 8 years, she has also truly been like a sister to me. She is one of a kind and I am honored to know her! I have been so blessed to be part of her life and I know you will be blessed to be part of the best day of her life - the day she marries the love of her life! Drew could not be more perfect for my best friend. He is so very kind, selfless, fun to be around, and not to mention he is so obviously and undeniably in love with my dear Joanna (I wouldn't settle for any less for her!). I know that God has put these two together and I can't wait until the day they become husband and wife! What a wonderful, loving life they will have together! If anyone deserves the honor of having you photograph their wedding, Drew and Joanna do. I vote for them 100%!! :)

  103. Molly Cook Hi Brandon and Stacey! First, I want to say thanks again for helping to make mine and Ben's wedding the best day of our lives. :-) I am writing today on behalf of Drew and Joanna. When I learned that they have been chosen as finalists, I was thrilled! They evidence, both individually and jointly, the kind of agape love that Christ calls us to give freely. I know, if you choose them, they will not only be blessed to have you as part of their special day, but you will also be blessed to get to know them. All the best to both of you!!! Molly

  104. Laran Hello Brandon and Stacey, I am so excited that you have gotten the chance to meet my friends Marilane and Adam. What a blessing they are to everyone they come into contact with. Their love for the Lord and for each other is very visible. If you get to shoot these two not only will it be a gift to them, but also to you. They are so much fun and love the camera; I can especially speak for Marilane's side of the family- you should see all the crazy family shots they have done on Facebook! Also doesn't hurt that they all look like models! If you pick them, you would have such a fun day!!! Pick them, Pick them, Pick them!

  105. Ashley Bradshaw Brandon and Stacey, I'm so excited that you picked Joanna and Drew as one of your top three (and hope they'll be your winner :)! I've known Joanna since she was in youth group at church and I was one of the youth leaders at the time. Joanna was easily one of the most responsible, caring, and respected of the youth. And very talented and intelligent too. :) She is a born leader! She has always been one who strives for excellence in everything she does...she gives everything her all and encourages others to do the same. When she left for college and later met Drew, she told me about him and I immediately had a feeling he was "the one" for her. He seemed perfect for her. Intelligent, godly, a great leader---everything Joanna had always wanted. It would make Joanna and Drew so thankful to be your choice as the winners! It would show that all their hard work has paid off! Also...they're really photogenic. hehe Pick them! I know you won't be disappointed! Ashley Bradshaw

  106. Ms. Jenni I met Carmen on a mission trip to Mexico with Harvest Ministries and founder Rick and Kim Hagans. She was my roommate and we became fast friends easily. Carmen was visiting from Sweden and was about to go back. Departure day finally came and we all cried as we had to say goodbye to one of the sweetest, hard working, loving young people I have ever met. Carmen kept in touch and finally wrote us of Charles!! Charles is a friend of a friend and the two were introduced on line. It was mutual respect and admiration from the start and through friends again ( great to have good friends) Carmen was able to come back for a visit to the USA and meet Charles and his family in person. I'm not sure when Charles popped the question but soon it was announced that he had asked her to be his wife. To win this contest would be a marvelous gift and vote of confidence for them both to continue to follow the path laid out for them. The final reward being a long and happy life together with this fabulous memory included. You will be blessed by voting for CHARLES AND CARMEN!!!

  107. KimC I'm excited to see Charles and Carmen here! They're so sweet together it seems a shame that they live half a world apart. We can't wait for their wedding so Carmen can join her sweetheart and friends here in Texas. Your photography would be a great part of the event!

  108. Sue Perez It is great to see Carmen and Charles as one of the top 3 finalists.They have been waiting so long for this day. I know they would love to have you photograph their wedding as what I can see is that you do great work. Thanks for choosing them. Sue Perez

  109. Manav Lalwani Dear Brandon and Stacey, Thank you very much for choosing Drew & Joanna as one of your three finalists! Yesterday actually marked one month since Joanna's Amachi unexpectedly passed away. I know that for them to receive this great news on that day reaffirmed their faith that, no matter what, they were being carefully looked after from above! Thanks again for playing your part in that blessing, and here's hoping that we'll all have more good news to celebrate next week! Gratefully, Manav

  110. Charles and Carmen We are so excited about this! Thank you for choosing us among the 3 finalists ! A big thank you to our dearest friend Rachel who wrote to you about us! What would life be without the love of family and friends? :)

  111. eileen It's so great to see Drew and Joanna as finalists! Having been there since the first day they met, I have seen two wonderful people become even more wonderful together (cheesy but TRUE)! Their dedication to each other and to their respective callings, both locally and globally is truly inspiring :) I cannot wait until their special day, and thank so much for making them finalists, what a blessing!!

  112. Michala I know Adam and Marilane very well. Adam is a very caring youth minister who impacts the lives of many teens, and Marilane works so hard as a chaplain. She is the most compassionate person I know. They truly care about others and are such a sweet couple. Thank you so much for choosing them to be in the top 3. They are extra special!

  113. Marlene Mesler Thank you for choosing Adam and Marilane as one of your semi-finalists! I wish you could have heard the excitement in their voices when they called to tell me. I'm Marilane's mother and was there by her side when she heard the news that Tim was killed in action in Iraq. http://photo05.citadel.edu/pao/newsclips/archive20032004/3625.html I frantically grasped for some way to put the pieces together of my daughter's broken heart. There was none. I knew that it would be years before she would be ready for the man God would send because she needed time to mend. Over the years, I told Marilane time and again, to be patient. God would send her someone very special. And when he came, he would be a man--one who would faithfully care for her. Adam kept Marilane in his prayers for almost five years before he contacted my son, Micah, about her. After Adam got in touch with Marilane, we looked at photos in our family albums. It was amazing to see that there were so many pictures of Adam. We have six kids in our family, and none of their friends appear as often as he does. It was like he was already a member of the family. His wide grin and faithful brown eyes are everywhere. I told Marilane. "Adam is absolutely perfect for you." Marilane replied, "Yes, he is. And did you know that the name Adam means man?" Thank you for including them in the second round! Many blessings! Marlene (Marilane's mom)

  114. m m johnson How can we make a decision if we don't know their story. Are you going to publish their stories ?

    • Brandon Hey Mary! We're hoping to hear from folks who know the couples and have some supportive words for them. We will be publishing a bit of the story of our winning couple. Thanks so much for stopping by the blog!

  115. Drew and Joanna Oh my goodness!!! We're thrilled and so very honored to have made it to the top three! Thank you so much for the chance to share our story with you! We've seen what a blessing your talents have been to so many people - and this competition is no exception. Let's be honest: we're pretty much giddy at the possibility of you being a part of our special day! -Drew and Joanna