As a wedding photographer, I get to hear a lot of love stories. Sweet ones. Funny ones. Grand ones. I love them all because love stories have always spoken to me. As a kid I loved reading about romance. I loved watching romance. I loved going to weddings. I have always loved love, and from a young age I was aware of the difference between loving BEING LOVED and actually loving someone. It was nice to have attention and affection from other people, but I wanted to ACTUALLY love someone. This is my story of finding that true, actual love where not only did I love being loved, but I loved back.
When I met Charles, or Chuck as we called him back then, I immediately was drawn to him. He had this calm, cool demeanor and he was kind of a mystery. He didn't really date anyone, but kind of flirted with everyone in a im-not-actually-interetsted kind of way. He was a challenge. So I flirted back in the same im-not-actually-interested kind of way. Thats a dangerous game guys! This story has a happy ending, but I don't recommend you do that because it took us 9 months to finally start dating. Just be real about your feelings. Don't play games. Thats my dating tip for you all :)
I remember the first time I saw him. My friend Sam Pond invited me over to his house to hangout, so I headed over and we waited outside for some other friends to arrive. Chuck pulled up in his white ford taurus. For all of you who don't know, thats NOT a cool car. But man he made it look cool. He sat in the drivers seat with his arm out the open window in his blue and white pin stripped shirt with a toothpick in his mouth and his sun kissed skin and golden blonde hair. Guys. HIS HAIR. My husband was known for his luscious locks and had the hair flip DOWN. He sat in that car until we came over to him and he played it so cool. What a dork.
We went to a party that night at Sams friends house, and Chuck and I didn't know anyone other than Sam and another friend named Jorge. It was one of those parties where everyone knew everyone. Except us. So we sat awkwardly, not really talking because we didn't know each other either. The group watched a movie and then I decided to go home. I drove separately and Chuck was in a car with our friend Jorge. They left at the same time and were driving in front of me when they suddenly stopped. Chuck hopped out of the car and told me Jorge wanted to go to another party and wondered if I could take him back to his car at Sams house. I told him I was hungry so if he didn't mind getting dinner I would take him to his car after.
He thought I was asking him on a date.
I drove to Arbys. He thought we would go inside and talk.
I went through the drive through.
He thought we would go sit and eat our food together outside Sams house where his car was parked.
I pulled up next to his car and waited for him to get out. I didn't even put the car in park. It was awkward.
I drove away and thought I would never see the kid again. And I didn't even think anything of it.
Then the next weekend was my best friends birthday party. She was having a dance party at her boyfriends house in smithfield and she said to spread the word and invite people. I met Sam at his house so him and the friends he invited could follow me out to smithfield since I knew where the party was. And surprise! Sam had invited Chuck to the party.
That night at the dance party, I again found myself being drawn to him. I would see him across the room dancing, and I would dance across the room to be closer to him. We chatted casually, but it wasn't any special love connection. In fact, the most memorable thing from that night was that I reconnected with an old friend, Cam Davis. Fate would have it that Cam and Chuck had met just a few weeks before that, and had become good friends. Through Cam I started hanging out with Chuck more and the three of us became best friends. Inseparable. We spent all of our time together.
Chuck and I flirted quite a bit. Again, he was a challenge. It was fun to flirt with him. We even held hands a few times. I told him I liked him, but we were never more than friends. Then I made a last minute decision to move to Alaska to take a job for the remainder of the summer. I was only gone a few months, but those months changed things. When I came home, it wasn't just the three of us any more. School had started and our circle of friends expanded.
I became interested in other people. He got jealous but didn't tell me that. Again, he never really dated anyone, so I didn't have much opportunity to get jealous, but when other girls would flirt with him, MAN I would get jealous. Back off! He's mine! Even though he's not, and we aren't dating, and he's free to do what he wants, HES MINE!
One night our friends Cam and Jono were teasing us about how we should just date already. I pulled them aside and sternly told them to stop, because it wasn't ever going to happen and it was easier to not even think about it.
You see, I was falling for him. But I didn't want to! I wasn't interested in him! At least not really! He's just a good friend. Thats what I told myself out of fear that he wasn't actually interested in me. He was flirting but he didn't really mean it. But man he made it hard. He was so kind and funny and so easy to be around. Thats what I liked about him most. He just let you be you. He was unassuming and just easy. Once or twice I would let my walls down and tell him that I actually liked him. And he would tell me that he actually liked me. But then he wouldn't do anything about it. So I told myself he was just being nice when he said he liked me too. He just didn't want to hurt my feelings. So I would go back to just thinking of him as a friend. And be ok with it. I really was. Until he would do something to make me fall for him again.
In march 2008 my younger sister Missy had a birthday. Chuck was a good friend and he had been around my family and my younger sister had taken a liking to him. In fact, she would even call him to ask him to take her to go get food when no one else would take her. So on her birthday something terrible happened. Her good friend Josie passed away in a skiing accident. It was really tough on her and so I asked my friends to send her a happy birthday text so she would know she was loved. Chuck not only sent her a birthday text, but went out and bought her a present and delivered it to her. That touched me. What a good guy! He didn't have to do that for his friends little sister. But he did. And what was most impressive to me was that I knew he wasn't doing it to impress me, he was doing it for Missy. Because he cared about her. Then a few days later was my older sisters wedding. The night before the wedding I planned to hangout with Chuck and my friend Carlie. But before they came over to my house, I could see my mom and sister were stressed trying to prep everything for the wedding. So I told them that if they wanted to help with wedding stuff they could still come over, but otherwise I needed to stick around and help and couldn't hang out. He came over and helped for hours to prep my sisters wedding. Again, I knew it wasn't for me. He wasn't trying to prove anything to me. He was just being nice. Because he's a good guy. I fell so hard after that you guys. I knew this was a man that I could really love. Not only because I would love how he loved and adored me, but because of the way he treated other people. The way he takes care of other people.
He came to my sisters wedding the next night and we hung out at our friend Mikes house after. I was love sick. The kind of love where you can breathe because you just want to be with someone. He was right there. But I couldn't have him. He wasn't mine. As we were walking to the door at Mikes house I wanted so badly to just reach over and hold his hand. But I couldn't. That night, as he drove me home I was just silent. I couldn't say anything at all to him because the only thing I wanted to tell him was how much I wanted to be with him. And I had told him that before, and it didn't matter. But as we approached my house I realized that something about that night was different. I knew that if we were EVER going to happen, it would start from that night. So of course I said nothing.
As soon as I got out of the car I knew I had blown my chance to tell him. So I took the cowards way out and I just texted him. It would be easier to get rejected over text. But he didn't reject me! I told him i liked him. He replied that he liked me too. Like we had done so many times before. So then I got brave and I texted back "so what? are we actually gonna do something about it this time?" It was so late at this point, so he said we would have to talk about it in person the next day. We had plans to go see a friends band play at a local pizza place.
I was so nervous that next day. I couldn't wait until the night so we could go see each other and FINALLY start dating. That night at the pizza place my friend Erin asked why i was being so weird and I told her it was finally going to happen. Chuck and I were gonna start dating. She acted like , well duh. Everyone acted like, duh you guys will end up together. Everyone saw it. We even saw it, it just took us a long time to actually do anything about it. But this story has a little twist you guys. HIS GORGEOUS EX-GIRLFRIEND was there that night. She was spending all her time with him. I hardly even got to speak to him that night because she was just catching up with him and chatting his ear off! (She's actually a really nice girl, but I hated her that night. Haha. Sorry Hannah!) It was devastating to me you guys. This is the only girl he had ever actually dated. And the girl is gorgeous. And she was giving all her attention to him. And him to her. And I didn't stand a chance.
Then when our friends band finished playing some friends suggested we go to my house. YES! Lets continue the night and see if I can make this happen! Everyone was invited, but the ex couldn't come! YES! But then she asked him to give her a ride home. NO! NO NO NO! I thought for sure she was gonna express her undying love for him and they would get back together or something. So we all go to my house and I sit in my kitchen like a wet blanket. Seriously, I was being such a downer. Plenty of time had passed for him to drop her off and get up to my house, so OBVIOUSLY they were sitting in his car making out. Ugh. I was such a sad sack. To the point that my friends were like, welp. This isn't fun. Were gonna leave. So literally as they are walking out my front door, CHUCK PULLS UP.
Im like in panic mode at this point. It has been such a roller coaster of emotions! Chuck comes in and asks where everyone is. Did I say "Oh I was just being super depressing because I thought you were making out with your ex girlfriend so everyone left." No. I made up some lie about how they were all tired and went home. Then my sister Missy comes down stairs. I wanted to be alone with him so that we could talk and start dating! So I suggested that we go outside on the trampoline (even though its MARCH IN UTAH and freezing cold)( I wanted it BAD you guys). So we go out there and of course Missy follows us. I was being so rude to her trying to get her to go back in the house you guys. Sorry Miss! Chuck went back in the house to use the restroom and I immediately tell Missy she has to leave because Chuck and I need to have a conversation! So what does she do? She stays. He comes back out. And she stays. I FINALLY got her to go back in the house. FINALLY ALONE! So what do we do? Lay down on opposite sides of the trampoline and freeze our butts off in silence. Seriously we didn't make a peep. Finally Chuck says "What are we doing Kris?" and me, being the smart A that I am replies "Uh, were just laying here" and he says "You know what I mean" so I stood up and walked over to him and layed my head on his shoulder. After a minute, he lifts my chin up with his hand and HE KISSED ME! It was a short, sweet little peck. It was perfect. And we talked for a minute about how no matter what happens, we will always be friends. If dating didn't work out, we would go back to being friends and we wouldn't let anything ruin that. Even that night, as we talked about 'what if this doesn't work out' I knew that wasn't going to be an issue. I knew I had found the person I could actually LOVE and not just love being loved by him.
After we had been dating for a few months my friend Erin told me that she could see us being together for a long time. That she didn't see us breaking up. I felt that way too, and it was nice to hear it from an outside source. We dated for almost a year before we started talking about getting married. I was talking to my mom about it one day and she told me that she approved because she saw that we made each other better. We cared for and respected each other but that we complimented and pushed each other to be better as well.
He proposed on a sunday in May after we had a nice lunch with some of his family that was in town. Right after dinner we went up to his bedroom to grab something before we headed out to my parents house and I saw a ring box sitting on his dresser. "What is that?!" I asked. He grinned and grabbed the box and said "Do you really want to know?" I told him no, not to show me what was in the box because I KNEW what was in the box, and I wanted him to be able to ask me to marry him however he had planned, not just off the cuff because I happened to see the box. So he put the box back and we headed to the car. He said he had "forgotten" something in the house and ran back in. I knew he was grabbing the ring. He thought he was being sly, but I knew. And the whole rest of the day I knew that everything he was doing and saying was leading up to him asking me to marry him. He later told me he thought he was doing a good job at being sneaky, but I'm pretty hard to surprise, trust me. So when he asked me to go on a walk, I knew. When my sister called him and "randomly" needed to know where my camera was, I knew. We walked down to a special spot by my house on cliffside where you can see the entire valley. We sat and talked for a while. He said it was time to go. I stood up and when I turned around he was down on his knee. He asked me to marry him and I said of course. My sister was "hiding" behind a dirt mound the whole time taking pictures. I edited those pictures super weird because at the time I was just getting into photography and playing with colors in photo shop was the coolest thing. Don't worry. I won't edit your photos like that, I swear!
We were married August 8th, 2009.
Our first son Wesley joined our family on January 8, 2013 and our baby Sawyer came along Feb 23, 2016.
So thats my love story guys. Whats yours? Id be honored if you let me tell it through photographs.