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Sunday, March 30, 2008

So I'm sorry for not posting the winners yesterday. Our day was jammed packed. Mike and I went to see 2 movies. When you have kids you rarely get to go to the movies so I made it a point that we had to see two. We had a really nice dinner and then went to the bar that Michael and I had met about 7 years ago. We rented a hotel room near by so we could both drink and not have to drive home.
So after picking the kids up this morning, here we are.
I had all intentions of announcing the winner yesterday, even brought my lap top to the hotel, but picking the winner was getting really stressful and was taking first priority over our special day. It's very stressful, I think it even brought me 3 new friends (pimples) on my face yesterday- yuck.
So Michael convinced me to let it go for the evening and we'd announce it today.

I wanted to thank everyone for submitting in your letters- We did get so many and felt so blessed that you all shared your stories with us. This was probably one of the hardest decisions I've had to make, it hasn't been easy. Honestly I wish I could have everyone be the winner, but that just isn't possible. We just really felt for all these couples and had a special place in our hearts for all of them.
But this couple we really felt a connection with. The groom reminds me a lot of Michael- almost to a tee. I feel for the bride and how I know she didn't have a wonderful childhood growing up but she's still determined to find her true love and happiness and wants the life she was probably never given. A stable marriage with her best friend by her side and hopefully one day children. I get the feeling that she wants to give her future children a life she didn't have. And even after her childhood could be describe as something no child should go through family life is still important to her. And I really admire that about her.
And Mike and I feel the same way with family- we are both so close with each of our families and truly feel like it's the most important thing.
I hope I can help her capture her day, the start of a new life, new hope and a new family that she can build on.

Congratulations Chelsea and Paul

You two are the 1st Annual Wedding Photography Contest Winners.
Chelsea and Paul are going to be married on Oct 4, 2008
Here is her submission letter.

Hello there, my name is Chelsea and I am engaged to be married to the love of my life, Paul. So, here’s our story…Paul and I met at a gas station actually. I had been only out of high school for a week and I was working selling perfume out of my car, so I chose to walk up to his car because I thought he was so hot!!! It was June 1st 2003. He and his friend Steve had stopped at the gas station to pick up a can of chew (so gross and no he no longer does that), anyways, Steve was in the station and looked out the window to see me leaning over the car window talking with Paul. Steve then bet the gas station $20 that Paul would get my number and he did. I had given him my home number, not my cell and at the time I was living with my grandmother, so not long after my girlfriends and I left the station and proceeded on our way, my grandma calls and said some guy named Paul had called and left his number, so I took the number and wrote Paul? (That’s right, with a question mark next to his name) on the back of a business card, which I still keep in my wallet with me everyday. We didn’t have our first date until a few weeks later when we went to a park for a picnic. We ended up staying and talking until after the sun had set so when a police officer was making his evening rounds through the neighborhood he actually stopped and asked us to leave so we went to his house and watched Braveheart. Our first song we ever listened to was hotel California from a mixed CD labeled “oldies” that he had in his huge book of CD’s. He has since learned to play the song on his guitar. We have definitely had our ups and downs as well as hardships from both sides of our families. We wanted to wait to get married until after I had finished college, which I did last may 2007, yeah. And Paul will be a forever professional student so thankfully we’re not waiting for him to finish. My father passed away when I was sixteen and my younger brother and I moved around a lot for most our younger years. Our parents divorced when I was only 4, so we lived with our mother. However she had legal/law issues, so that was rarely stable either. I moved out at the age of 15 and have had a job ever since. I moved in with my grandma after my grandfather passed away and finished high school. The thing that probably attracts me most to Paul is his amazing ability to always make me laugh. In order to have accomplished what I have in life I grew up really fast so the childhood simplicity was non-existent with me. Paul is really a child in an adult’s body. We balance each other out and compliment each other in the best ways. We have created a very strong foundation since we have grown with each other the past 5 years. Paul is so supportive. Nursing school and a full time job is a great challenge and he has always been there when I was ready to sleep-in and never get out of bed from sheer exhaustion. Paul is my best friend. I don’t ever want to imagine my life without him. He is a shoulder to cry on, a hand to pull me up whenever I fall and strong arms to carry me when I feel that I can no longer go forward. Since parents are absent in my life, the whole brides family paying for the wedding just isn’t going to happen for us. Luckily Paul’s family is the most amazing blessing for in laws. I couldn’t have asked for more. Both of his parents are divorced and remarried so it’s like having two families. Family is so important to both of us Even though my parents were not always there I do have a huge very close nit family with aunts, uncles and cousins and Paul has the same. So between the 2 of us just our immediate is about 65 people. I was born and raised here in Arizona. I am a fourth generation native. However Paul’s family lives in Portland and Seattle so everyone will be joining us for our wedding and get to enjoy Arizona’s wonderful weather at the same time. Pictures are very important to me. Photos last a lifetime and when I have Alzheimer’s at the age of 90, I want to be able to look back and smile at this joyous occasion. Paul lost most of his pictures from his earlier years when his storage unit was raided soon after he had moved here to Arizona, and I only have one box of memorabilia from my childhood, most was lost with my mom and the unpaid rent and evictions. So we always take tons of photos wherever we go and we have everything backed up and saved in multiple areas. We want to have a story told through our wedding photos. Photojournalism is and art and I am in awe of the talent that you display on your website. I apologize if my story is far longer than you were wanting, but I appreciate the opportunity to tell it. And even if we aren’t the winners it was nice to share our story and be able to add it to the wedding book we’ve been creating.. Congratulations on your anniversary and I will probably be contacting you in a few years to have some maternity photos done when that time comes. Take care and thank you again,
sincerely Chelsea
P.S. our date is October 4th

I look forward to shooting their wedding!

Also for anyone that has submitted your story, if you book with me, I'll send you a coupon for a discount off one of my packages. It was the only thing I could think of to say thank you for sharing your story with us and how truly honored we were to read it.


Courtney said...

Mandy, awesome choice!! are going to LOVE Mandy so much. She is an amazing friend and photographer...your day will be captured through an incredibly talented set of eyes! Congratulations :-)

Andrea said...

How fun! Courtney is right, we just had our family photos done by Mandy and I LOVED them I can't wait to see these wedding photos. Comgrats you two!

Jennifer Radack - O Grace Photography said...

So cool you are doing this:)! You are a giver and I love that! Have fun paying it forward.