Love is simple. It’s isn’t fancy, or pretentious. It doesn’t demand too much for itself, but it demands everything for another human. It’s thoughtful and slow, it’s quiet and subdued. True love doesn’t provoke or rail, but it fights fiercely for those that it loves.
Today we are journeying with Alyssa & Brian on their engagement session at Fairmount Park in Philadelphia, named by William Penn for the greek words philos (love) and adelphos (brother) – meaning brotherly love. It’s a joyful and light session, and we hope that their interview below inspires you to greater relationships with each other!
from the photographer, Matt Genders: Alyssa and Brian’s film engagement during one of the first beautiful days of spring at Fairmount Park in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. We started out at the Fairmount Park Horticulture Center, an area known for its incredible cherry blossoms and moved to Philadelphia’s Water Works, situated right on the Schuylkill River next to the Philadelphia Museum of Art. We found a cliff overlooking the river, with the sun setting directly behind. We concluded the session walking dow the Ben Franklin Parkway to Brian and Alyssa’s rooftop deck with the skyline reflecting the last of the evening light.
How did you two meet? What were your first impressions of one another?
We met in high school, specifically at our Freshmen Year orientation. I (Alyssa) recall thinking, “Omg, this guy is cute, don’t be a doofus”, while Brian thought I was really pretty, and really smart – “Like, waaay smarter than me”. Despite worrying we were both out of each other’s league, we became fast friends and would spend hours after school courting one another on AIM (to be fair, it was 2005). What drew us both in was how easy it was to carry a conversation with one another, and how much we made each other laugh.
Tell us a funny story relating to your wedding day or relationship!
Having so much history together, it’s hard to pick just one story – our entire relationship has been full of funny moments! We really do make an effort to make each other laugh every single day, which we think is really important. When it comes to wedding planning, comedic relief is a necessity. For example, finding out our Save the Dates mistakenly got shipped to Chicago, and not to our home in Philadelphia, required a joke or two to take the sting out of that news.
Describe a hurdle you had to overcome in your relationship or during your wedding planning.
Though we both went to the same high school, we attended different universities. Dating long distance was incredibly tough, and it really tested our relationship. Despite the challenges we endured over the course of that time, we’re grateful for the lessons we learned about ourselves and how we’ve used those experiences to better our relationship. The love we have for one another runs deep, and through every high and low, we’ve forged a strong foundation for our partnership.
What part of your wedding day was/is most important to you?
We’re both genuinely looking forward to the wedding ceremony the most. Throughout the planning process, we’ve made a commitment to each other to not lose sight of the fact that our marriage is the focus of this day. Of course we’re so excited to celebrate this big party with our family and friends, but at the end of the day if all of our plans go awry, the most important thing is that we said “I do” to one another.
What is the best thing you’ve learned from one another?
We think that we’ve taught each other to varying degrees about the importance of self-care, practicing gratitude, staying in the present moment, and giving back. There are so many good qualities that we as individuals already have within us, and it’s about finding the right partner that can highlight those traits. For us, it’s not about teaching someone to be a better person; it’s showing them that they already are a great person, and pulling out the best in one another.
What is your favorite thing about each other?
We both feel that we admire each other’s intelligence and ambition. That being said, neither one of us takes ourself too seriously and we just love to be in each other’s company. There’s such a sense of comfort that comes with finding your person. It’s like being home, and never wanting to leave.
If you had one piece of advice for other couples, what would it be?
Communication is so important. It’s fundamental to the success of any relationship, and though it takes practice, it’s well worth the work. Love each other with your whole heart, and laugh together as much as you can. Also, don’t leave the house without a kiss and an “I love you”.
What is the most honest thing you can say about love?
Relationships aren’t always easy, but when you’ve found the kind of love that you can’t live without, you have to do everything you can to protect it. Love always wins out when you give it the right nourishment to grow.