In Sickness And In Health
Nearly two years ago, Matt and Laura contacted me about photographing their wedding day. We decided to meet in person when they came to visit Shin Pond Village in Mount Chase, Maine. It was so nice to meet them in person and begin to help build their vision for their special day. I was so excited this out-of-state couple chose Maine.
Everything was set and ready to go for their wedding day. We exchanged emails monthly and began planning for the greatest day of their lives. As the planning process began, obstacles arose. I received an email from Laura one day and my heart sank. She was facing something that a newly engaged couple never wants to experience. Seeing a loved one in pain isn’t easy, but their love grew stronger and stronger through it all. Their story is absolutely beautiful.
“Matt and I both grew up in the same small Rhode Island hometown, but our love story is not your typical high school sweetheart one. Matt was in the graduating class above me, and although we knew who each other were, our lives did not exactly cross paths until the timing was right. I truly believe God sends people to you when you need them, and Matt was sent to me when I needed him most. Matt and I met through mutual friends when I had just recently moved back home with my parents after college.
My great grandmother owned a small camp on Shin Pond in Mt. Chase, Maine my entire life. Every year my family would make the seven hour drive north into the beautiful vast wilderness for a summer vacation in the mountains. We would camp, climb mountains, go on hiking adventures, canoe and fish. My favorite pastime is driving miles into the woods on the back dirt roads to look for moose and bears and the occasional glimpse of a beautiful mountaintop or sunset.
My great grandmother always said that when you find the person you think is the one, you must bring them to camp to make sure. I knew I wanted to bring Matt to Maine after our third date when he took me fishing. After only a few short months of dating, I asked Matt to join me on our annual summer trip. Matt and I fell in love this weekend in my favorite place in the world.
The first year of our relationship was full of adventure, passion, and love. Matt and I went camping every chance we could, and made the trip to Maine many times. We had only been dating for a little over a year when the unthinkable happened and I was diagnosed with a life changing, chronic disease. I remember not feeling quite right, and it was Matt that urged me to go to the doctor. It was then that they found a cancerous tumor on my pancreas that had to be removed immediately. Throughout this intense surgery, I suffered many complications that left me spending months in and out of the hospital. Matt did not leave my side. There was not a day that he did not visit me in the hospital or come to my parents house to take care of me. I truly do not believe I would still be alive today if it were not for Matt and the care he took for me. He kissed my wounds and gave me something to keep living for. He is the reason I fought every day and continue to fight today.
If our love could make it through this horrible disease, then I knew our love could make it through anything. When Matt asked me to marry him, I immediately knew we had to get married at Shin Pond. I had always dreamed of having my wedding in my favorite place in the entire world. Matt took me here to feel better during my battle and it brought me back to life. He agreed that it was the perfect place to start our lives together.
Although Matt and I started planning our wedding almost two years ago, our plans changed drastically throughout the process. My health faced many battles along the way which forced us to postpone our large destination wedding that we were planning to have at Shin Pond Village. Matt and I knew we needed to focus on my health, and that no matter what, our love would still be strong for each other. It was during this difficult time that life gave us the greatest blessing. Matt and I were blessed with a beautiful miracle baby that we never dreamed was possible! We knew that we needed to start the next chapter of our lives as soon as possible.
I immediately contacted Morgan, the photographer we originally planned to use for our Shin Pond wedding. When she told me that she had saved our wedding date just in case; we knew we had to keep it! Matt and I knew that we could not plan a large wedding, but wanted the day to be special. We decided to elope with just our parents there to witness. We wished we could have shared this moment with all of our loved ones. We felt their love and prayers blessing us with the most magical night of our lives as we started our new family together. We can’t wait to continue the family tradition of annual Shin Pond summer trips”
When I received Laura’s email telling me the wedding was back on, I was elated! I felt so privileged to be able to make their wedding day come to life, just as Laura had pictured it in her head for so long. I wanted to make it perfect for them, and it was. Every part of that day with them was perfect. My eyes watered as I greeted Laura that afternoon and she said, "I woke up and told Matt, 'I actually feel great! Today is a good day for me’.” It was the best news any of us could of received from her. The rest of the day ensued as planned. Portraits started and details were photographed. Nothing could top the beauty witnessed during this couple’s ceremony! It wasn’t planned. Every part of it was spontaneous. I chose a song to play during her walk down the aisle because she didn’t have one picked out. She walked out of the cabin and everything about Matt's face said it all. Matt held so much love for Laura in his eyes. She was the woman he longed to be with through thick and thin. Laura’s smile was full of joy when she saw Matt and her heart was full of love for him. Matt and Laura are two of the most kind hearted, genuine people I’ve ever met. Their ceremony was a beautiful testament of their love for one another. Everyone was crying and embracing the beauty of the moment. Her mother even planned a surprise butterfly release. Their wedding day will forever hold a special place in my heart. I am so blessed to know Matt and Laura. I only hope that others see the beautiful testament of loving one another in sickness and in health.
Photography: Morgan Lynn Portraits
Venue: Shin Pond Village
H&MU: Brianna Landry
Bridal gown: Alexandra’s Boutique in Fall River, Massachusetts
Groom attire: Men’s Warehouse
Flowers: Simply Elegant Florist, Greenville Rhode Island and bride/groom DIY
Food: Ellis Market, Patten, Maine
Cake: Amy’s Apples, Greenville Rhode Island