Verne and Monique
"Are you sure this is the place?" Grant asks as he pulls up outside the facebrick house.
"I think so," I say, though I'm unsure myself. It's not all that different from the houses around it - nice enough, but not exactly the wedding venue that I had been imagining. I know that it's going to be a small wedding, but from this perspective, it doesn't look like the house could fit more than 20 people inside it. Maybe 30 at a stretch. I ring the doorbell, expecting a confused voice on the other end when I say that I'm there for Verne and Monique, but instead I'm met with the groom himself making his way down the steps to greet me. As he leads me through the house, I start realising just how much effort has been put into the day by Monique's family - champagne glasses line one table while a candy station that rivals even the best Sweets From Heaven lines another. Beautiful bouquets of hydraengas dripping with pearls sit atop collections of books making up the centre pieces for each beautifully laid table. A bright blue pool filled with white roses begs you to jump in. More roses held in glass teardrops sway from the side of the tent in the breeze. The more I look around me, the more I realise just how perfectly the space suits the two of them - it's simple, but stunning. I pull myself away to go and see the bride.
Monii is nervous, not used to being fussed over or being the centre of attention, but she's hiding it well. On the other side of the house, Verne's almost as bad, but both are handling the excitement and nerves by remembering one important thing - today is the day that marks the beginning of the rest of their lives together. As they come together and walk hand-in-hand onto the balcony to the applause of the family and friends that have gathered to celebrate them, it's as though a weight has been lifted off their shoulders. The speeches are filled with recollections and advice, the conversations with joy and laughter as old friends meet far-away family members and drinks are shared from picnic baskets filled with goodies. Some notice the geeky details like the Skyrim theme being played for the first dance (though few realise that the inside of the rings are inscribed with "Player 1" and "Player 2", a reference which I delight in) while others comment on just how beautiful the bride looks in blue. By the time the couple are ready to slip away for a short sunset photo shoot, the atmosphere has slipped into comfortable relaxation making it easy to sneak out almost unnoticed.
It's the first chance that they're really had to be alone all day, and as they watch the lights turn on over the city, the lean into each other and I step back, letting them have the moment to themselves. They talk, out of my earshot, but I can see it in the faces and their smiles. They could be talking about the cars, about games that they want to play, about work for all I know, but their expressions and the small gestures that they share speak volumes. It's the little things in life that mean that most, and it's clear to me that Verne and Monii mean the world to each other.
I would like to thank Verne and Monii for inviting me to be a part of their day, and would like to thank both the Mulholland and Franszen families for making me feel so welcome!