Earlier this week I found out that one of my past grooms had suddenly passed away and I am devastated. Not only was Todd & Amy's day one of the most beautiful & special days of my career, it was the day I got to bond with and get to know two of the best people on this planet. After all, they were united in the mountains of North Carolina and I was the only person with them the entire day. We laughed a lot. We cried, well, I cried a lot. Joked. Listened to music. Ate delicious food.
I knew Amy a bit since she was a friend & co-worker of my sister's in Green Bay and I got to know her while I was photographing another wedding for a friend of theirs. Amy was at that wedding with Todd and I remember sharing a dinner table and dancing the night away with them once I was off-duty. Fast forward a few years and Amy emailed to say she and Todd were engaged and in need of a photographer. I was so excited for them! We met in Sheboygan for their engagement session on a rainy June day and I had a blast getting to know them better. I drove back to Madison, really excited for their wedding day. Time went by, the wedding plans changed and soon enough I found myself heading to the mountains outside of Asheville, N.C. They were legally married at their home, in their apple orchard, the week prior but I would be spending the day with just Amy & Todd while they proclaimed their love and their vows to one another atop a beautiful mountain. The whole day was perfect. I got to photograph them getting ready in their cabin, putting the finishing touches on their vows, their first look, the rock-paper-scissors match that lead to them deciding who would read their vows first. The thoughtful, meaningful gifts they exchanged. The most heartfelt, raw, sincere and tear-filled vows I have ever heard. A wine picnic in the mountains, dancing outside of an abandoned shack. Winding mountain roads, waterfalls and streams everywhere. Picturesque 360 degree views. The entire day was a dream come true for my photographer self. My favorite moment from that day, besides the rock-paper-scissors, was the two of them holding hands in the car whenever we were driving. The photo I took of the moment is so simple, but it resembles so much to me. That quiet moment while they were listening to music, driving up the mountain, and just the two of them (and me!) eagerly awaiting to spend the rest of their lives together.
Not only was it my favorite wedding I've ever photographed but Todd and Amy are the kindest and most thoughtful people I've ever had the pleasure of knowing. Their love story is one I hold dear to my heart. I will never forget this day. These moments. I look at these photos now and realize just HOW important they are. For Amy. For Todd's memory. For their boys and the little one who never got to know him. My heart is hurting so badly, especially for Amy, and I can't help but feel I need to honor Todd's memory with this post. In loving memory of the ultra-talented Chef Todd Bowman, one of the kindest people I have ever met. He was one of the good ones and I loved how much he loved Amy. It showed in every possible way. I feel like the world needs to know about this love, and the man whose life was cut too short. When we're constantly bombarded with negative events in the world, it's nice to know that people like Todd made the world a better place and that itself is worth remembering. I'm remembering you the best way I know how, Todd. Rest easy, friend.