The overwhelming sentiment of marriage advice we’ve gleaned from our couples is this: take time for one another. Lean into your time, adventure together, make memories — you really can’t go wrong! And when you get the chance, go explore a German castle… because if your love radiates half as beautifully as these two amongst the aged walls, you can count yourself blessed in endless measure!
A word from photographer, Abbey Roberts of Abbey Leigh Photography:
“Not even the picturesque architecture and landscaping of a German castle dating back to around the 1200s could rival Shawna and Chris during their anniversary session. Being a husband and wife photography team themselves, posing and capturing them was a breeze. We spent around 2 hours walking around the castle and its grounds, finding any little spot with great lighting. I especially love the contrast of Shawna’s dusty blue dress against the beautiful stone and greenery around the castle. Chris is the joker of the two and easily kept the couple’s energy light and fun! It was easy to see why they make such a great match! I loved being able to capture this season in their marriage with them.”
Love notes from the couple, Chris & Shawna:
How did you two meet? What were your first impressions of one another?
“We have known each other since grade school. We are unsure which grade we first started talking to each other, but we always remember being friends through grade school. We actually went to prom together as friends senior year of high school. Shawna went to college in Ohio for a year, and then returned to Pennsylvania sophomore year, transferring to the same college as Chris. It was nice to have a familiar face there for her transition and that is when our friendship evolved into something more!”
Chris: “The first time I saw Shawna, I wasn’t into girls. Everyone knows that young boys primary interests are being cool. I did notice Shawna more when we were in high school. She was always smiling and laughing. Also, she was really good in math, which is my kryptonite.”
Shawna: “Since we went to school together since grade school, it’s hard to remember. When we became even better friends in high school, I thought he was very funny and his artwork was very impressive!”
Tell us a funny story relating to your relationship!
Shawna: “We don’t have a funny, true story. Chris always likes to say that I played hard to get before our relationship started by saying that I turned him down multiple times and that I abandoned him at prom. True story is that we did go to prom together, as friends, but Chris secretly was too nervous to ask for more and he did ask me, 2 years later, I only made him wait a day for her answer.”
What is your favorite thing about each other?
Chris: “My nickname for Shawna is ‘Lil’ Red’ I have always been attracted to redheads. Something the vibrant red hair against the stark white skin…. Also, she is really easy to make laugh, even if the comment or joke isn’t a ‘rib cracker.'”
Shawna: “Chris’s humor and willingness to put others before himself. He is also so confident in all he does and very outgoing. He brings me out of my introvert shell.”
What is the best thing you’ve learned from one another?
Chris: “The best thing I learned from Shawna is to take risks. She has always supported my educational aspirations. She was very supportive when I went back to school, twice. She never questioned the decision, she just knew it was right. It makes sense that she had dream of being an entrepreneur. It takes a lot of guts, trust, and confidence to do something like that.”
Shawna: “Chris has helped me to be more confident and believe in myself. I wouldn’t be the person or business woman I am without his constant encouragement and support.”
If you had one piece of advice for other couples, what would it be?
“Cherish your time. I understand that money is necessary, but memories are invaluable. So make sure you ‘budget’ accordingly… see what I did there!?
Also, communication is so important, take the time to truly listen to one another.”
What is the most honest thing you can say about love?
“You either have it or you don’t. It is really obvious when you love someone. Through all of life’s challenges and celebrations, you never can imagine it without them. That’s love, that unimaginable void that makes your heart race and will not even allow you to imagine a day without that person. It’s almost like life wasn’t real or didn’t matter before them.”
photographer: Abbey Leigh Photography / venue: Lichtenberg Castle in Kusel, Germany / film lab: The FIND Lab