What feels like a lifetime ago, my home was Ohio. It was my first home away from home. The place I lived for 3 years at 17 when I graduated high school and felt that escaping this small town was the only thing that mattered. I got married, moved again…. and again. After a third move we found ourselves back in OH. This place has a strange pull on both my husband and myself. No matter how much time has passed since being there, whenever we are back we feel like we are “home”. I chuckle because – why Ohio? Why not some white sandy beach place or even a place with mountains on the horizon… nope. For us it’s the great corn fields of Ohio. When we left 6 years ago, I didn’t think I’d ever go back. A couple of years ago, I got this message in my inbox from a woman who was one of my good friend’s – friend. She gave me some pretty amazing compliments and said that when she was ready to get married, she wanted me there to photograph it. I smiled, thanked her, and didn’t believe a word of it. LOL. I don’t mean that is a mean way. It just seemed like such a long shot that someone would actually bring me 700 miles for a wedding. Fast forward a couple of years and I check my inbox again…. and it’s this same beautiful woman… over the moon excited about her engagement – AND ASKING ME TO COME! I was shocked, honored, and excited.
When I stepped off the plane in Columbus my soul recognized where it was. Sound crazy… yep it is… but you likely have a place like that, too… and if you do, you know what I am talking about. I relished every moment I was there. I smiled a lot, cried a lot, and took several long walks down memory lane. One of Malia’s brides maids was that good friend I mentioned earlier. Reconnecting with her and her family was one of the highlights. 6 years changes people… but the only thing that changed about her was the size and ages of her kids. Last time I was looking down to hug them all… Now I was craning my neck to look up at them.
Malia and Matthew’s wedding venue was an old barn. An old barn the way only Ohio can have. Her details were perfection. Her dress was her finance’s grandmother’s – Altered to perfection to fully capture Malia’s personality and style. It was beautiful. As I walked around the venue that day, I took in the smell. So many memories attached to that familiar smell. Farm land, humidity, nearby cattle or goats… Yes, it does sound a lot like VA. In a lot of ways it is… but it’s different. I wish I was a better writer to describe it.
I know I have babbled on about a lot of random things. This day, of course, was about Malia and Matthew and the joining of their beautiful families. But for me, it was so much more. All of those extra emotions I was feeling went into the production of these images. I look at them and smile. Because I love this couple, and because I feel everything I felt when I took them.
I cried… Like sobbed cried when I was packing up my gear at the end of the night. I was already missing this place… these people. I left a piece of it there with them… I hope they feel it when they look back on these beautiful memories…
Love you Malia…. Thank you so much – from the bottom of my heart – for this experience. It means more than you could ever know! <3 <3