A beautiful first look with wedding portraits afterwards for Robin & Jonathan, such a sweet couple that had to carefully navigate the world of wedding planning after COVID. No longer wanting to keep their small ceremony a secret they celebrated with this portrait session. They choose the location of their first date to have their first look, an amazing parallel that they will cherish for their entire lives.
“Robin and Jonathan were secretly wed last November with plans to announce their legal marriage at an epic May 2020 ceremony in Tullahoma, Tennessee. After both accepting jobs in D.C. Robin said, “We took the plunge and gathered our families on a November evening, the week of Thanksgiving at the church where we met four years ago. At that time, we knew nothing about the word Covid or Coronavirus, all we wanted was to be married and finally be together after years of long distance.”
With Covid quickly changing their plans, they postponed their ceremony to July 2020 which unfortunately led to another postponement to 2021. However, Robin and Jonathan did not want to keep their marriage a secret any longer. Robin dressed in her breathtaking Olia Zavozina gown and Jonathan donned his Navy dress whites and they planned a first look at the location of their first date: the U. S. Supreme Court.
As Robin thoughtfully noted, “If our relationship has taught me anything is to hold onto the ones you love dearly. While I yearn for tradition, sometimes love is worth breaking tradition and other barriers. We were blessed to be able to get married when we did and have our loved ones in attendance without fear of putting them at risk of the virus. We thankfully no longer have to live for the weekends to see each other and now have had almost a year of marriage full of joy, patience, listening and learning to lean on one another. Love will always win.”
And we cannot wait to continue their story on May 29, 2021 in Tullahoma, Tennessee!” – Rebekah Talbot Photography
How did you two meet? What were your first impressions of one another? “Jonathan: We first met at church. We were both in college and had come home for Thanksgiving break. Robin’s family had just moved to my small hometown and I remember going into Sunday school class and seeing this gorgeous girl I’d never seen before. During the class she was so articulated in her answers and just thoroughly impressed me with not only her outer beauty, but her grace and thoughtfulness. That night I got to spend more time with her at a small group church meeting and see the way she interacted with other people. Overall, I was stunned by how this young woman seemed to be too good to be true! I still can’t believe that she chose me to do life with and I’m thankful every day I get to do life with her.
Robin: It really was divine intervention that brought us together. Jonathan and I grew up our whole lives only an hour and half from one another and even attended the same college, The University of Tennessee, but our paths never crossed until my parents moved to his hometown of Tullahoma in the fall of 2015. I wasn’t thrilled at all that my parents moved away from my hometown but I met Jonathan on Thanksgiving weekend at church on Sunday morning. It was a brief interaction and I don’t think either of us thought much of it.
Fast forward to winter break and I started to notice him more as we interacted in the college group at church. One evening, a friend invited me to her house to watch a movie but I barely even knew where my parents lived. Jonathan offered to show me the way and it was a nice evening except that my allergies went nuts from her cat and I quickly excused myself and ran out of the house as soon as the movie was finished. Jonathan followed after me but I kinda yelled at him to leave me alone. I still blame my allergies on that one. I think the theme of our relationship is logistically this isn’t supposed to work. That’s where faith and divine intervention comes in. Little did we know, God had our lives mapped out so perfectly from the start. Our first date was in Washington D.C., because Jonathan was interning at a Nuclear Energy Plant one semester and on a long weekend whim, I decided to come see him after only hanging out with him a few times on winter break. We fell in love with The Supreme Court and that was the first time we held hands, partly I think from the freezing cold January day. I finished up my semester at The University of Tennessee and spent my summer working at a summer camp in Arkansas and we broke up that summer as I was transferring to a new school. We were always still talking and hanging out when we got the chance to drive to see each other, I just didn’t know how the long distance would work. That November we went to DC for dinner for my 21st birthday and he asked me to be his girlfriend again. We officially started dating again.
Halfway through our relationship, Jonathan wanted to pursue something called Nuclear Engineering Purpolision Officer Training. It meant he would become an Officer in The Navy and live in Washington, D.C. for five years. I remember him asking me if this is what I wanted and that was the moment I think we both made the decision that we were going to end up together. Jonathan passed all of his exams and interviews and was accepted into the program in February of 2018. This opportunity along with us both working part time jobs in school provided the monetary means for us to travel to see one another. We continued to date throughout the years of summer internships in other states, child life practice and internships in Texas, Nuclear Engineering CO-OPS and being at different colleges. Our love/hate relationship with driving and flying was at an all-time high. We spent countless nights talking and face timing and consumed countless Chick-fil-A meals while traveling to see each other. We finally both graduated college with honors in the Spring of 2019. Before Jonathan started his Officer Training that fall, Jonathan and I went to DC to go apartment hunting for him. That weekend, he proposed to me at the spot where we first fell in love with the city, The Supreme Court. Jonathan had ordered the ring I have always loved from Heidi Gibson and I will always hold what sweet words he said to me in my heart dearly. We face-timed our families and continued to enjoy the sweet summer day in the city. Jonathan received a change of plans and began his training months sooner than we were expecting so he moved to Washington in August of 2019. I received my first Certified Child Life Specialist in November and I was starting in December. We had our hometown wedding date set for May 23rd, 2020 and it was going to be the southern soiree of the spring! We were hosting 400 family and friends at our wedding and it was planned to be a night of joyous celebration! We would then go to Italy for our honeymoon on the Amalfi Coast. When I was offered the job, we began to think of the idea of what if we got married before May? What if we just had our parents and siblings and did it and kept it a secret? With some incentives from our parents and lots of prayers, we took the plunge and gathered our family’s on a November evening, the week of Thanksgiving at the church where we met four years ago. That Christmas, Jonathan made a last-minute gift for me and hand carved a sign that stated “Normal life 2020” as I had pleaded with him of how I wanted a simple and normal first year of marriage. Little did we know, 2020 would be anything but normal. At that time, we knew nothing about the word Covid or Coronavirus, all we wanted was to be married and finally be together after years of long distance. Then began a season of us both working in our professions and then Covid spread like wildfire in the US. The decision itself to postpone our wedding was logical and it made sense. We didn’t want anyone to get sick and wouldn’t this all be over soon? It was emotionally hard to cancel all pre wedding festivities, showers, and not being able to see our families. We had wonderful vendors, so we decided on July. Then June rolled around and Covid still was rampant so Spring, 2021 made the most sense. Emotionally, I was drained and so sad at letting my dreams of the wedding go. Thankfully, Jonathan supported me throughout all of my tears and frustrations. At that time, we didn’t want to wait one more year by keeping our marriage a secret, so our sweet photographer went above and beyond for us and traveled to Washington, D.C. and helped us capture some blissful moments that we will forever cherish.
If our relationship has taught me anything is to hold onto the ones you love dearly. While I yearn for tradition, sometimes love is worth breaking tradition and other barriers. We were blessed to be able to get married when we did and have our loved ones in attendance without fear of putting them at risk of the virus. We thankfully no longer have to live for the weekends to see each other and now have had a year of marriage full of joy, patience, listening and learning to lean on one another. Love will always win.”
Tell us a funny story relating to your wedding day or relationship! “Jonathan : Very early in our friendship, when I had known her for maybe a month, we were driving around town talking as young kids in a small town do. We had just gotten some snacks and sodas and robin had a ketchup packet she had just finished using. I was driving and before I knew it, she rolled down the window and tossed the ketchup packet out the window! I was honestly appalled that she had just littered so I turned the car around, late at night, and made her get out and pick it back up! I had spent too many days growing up volunteering to pick up trash off the side of the road to let that happen in my own car! To this day we still laugh about the time that Robin had to pick up her ketchup packet off the side of the road, and since then we’ve had no problems with littering!
Robin: Oh that was not my finest moment. I think I was worried about getting ketchup in his car but even then, littering is wrong. I definitely learned my lesson!”
Describe a hurdle you had to overcome in your relationship or during your wedding planning. “Robin: We lived for the weekends when dating as we were long distance. That was a huge hurdle for us as being in a long-distance relationship takes a lot of effort with communication and balancing one’s life in the present with the desire of wanting to be with the person you love. The hardest part for me reframing any negative thoughts about dating long distance into the many wonderful benefits as we were able to travel and see the world together.
Jonathan : We were less than three months out from our wedding, with everything planned and booked, when COVID hit full force. We had a lot of difficult discussions in those last couple months leading up to the wedding about whether it was wise to move forward with the large wedding we had planned. It was a hard time. Balancing the thought of loved one’s safety with our desire to celebrate with our friends and family was extremely hard on the both of us. We ended up deciding that above all else we valued the safety of our loved ones and decided to move the wedding. That experience took a great toll on us emotionally but through the process we grew to rely even more strongly on each other.”
Any special ways you incorporated your family or family history into your wedding day? “Robin : I am looking forward to having a sleepover with my mom and sister the night before our celebration and wearing our Lake Pajamas and watching the father of the bride. I can’t wait to finally have my first dance with my father and hug so many loved one’s that we have not seen in over a year.”
What part of your wedding day was/is most important to you? “Robin: A wedding is a celebration of unity between two individuals and the most important part of it for me personally is the ceremony. I want to be able to look at our family and friends who have loved and supported us throughout of relationship and then look at Jonathan, my husband and vow to him my promises.
Our story is unique as we decided to get married before our wedding day. Jonathan proposed to me in June 28th, 2019 and then moved to Washington, D.C. to start his career as a Nuclear Engineer as a Naval Officer. I spent the fall in Tennessee spending time with my family and planning our wedding for May, 23rd, 2020. I was offered a Child Life position and when I accepted the position at the hospital in DC, we were so excited to finally live in the same city but after four years of long distance, we were both weary. That’s when God placed on our hearts the idea, “Get married now.
It seemed crazy as we were going to have the wedding in a few short months, and wouldn’t it make the wedding day different? The more we talked and prayed, the clearer the answer was. So we gathered our family at the church and had a beautiful intimate ceremony on the Tuesday before Thanksgiving. We celebrated with our families over the holiday and moved to Washington on that Friday!
Then began the journey of working in the Emergency Department & Coronavirus and after everything that has happened, we truly have been able to love and support one another in the months of changes and challenges.
During that time, we kept our marriage a secret. We kept on with planning for a wedding in May but then we postponed to July, 2020 and then spring, 2021. Now when writing this, we have yet again postponed our celebration to Spring, 2022.
Our sweet photographer Rebekah came up to D.C. in August, 2020 to capture us having a first look as we have postponed our blessing of the marriage and celebration until it is safe to have all of our family and friends gathered together. Rebekah coming to Washington was so special as it is where our love story began, and it let us tell everyone the joyous news about our marriage!”
What is the best thing you’ve learned from one another? “Jonathan: The best thing I’ve learned from Robin is how to better express my feelings and communicate them. I grew up very much internalizing how I felt, and it took a long time for me to get comfortable communicating my deep desires. I still struggle sometimes fully expressing my feelings, but Robin is always supportive and supports my growth.
Robin: Jonathan has taught me the value of resting and not believing the lie of perfectionism. My career is as a Certified Child Life Specialist, and it is an emotionally intense career, and I instinctively seek to solve problems. I love helping others in their time of need! Jonathan has helped me learn how to rest and how I cannot serve other’s well if I do not take care of myself.”
What is your favorite thing about each other? “Jonathan: Robin has a heart like none other. That’s one of the things that initially drew me in. Watching the way she interacts with others makes me more and more sure I picked the most wonderful woman in the world to be my bride.
Robin: Honestly, how can I pick just one thing about him? He is an intelligent, thoughtful, trustworthy, hilarious, spirited and strong-willed man who loves Jesus. We were long distance for four years until marriage and he continuously perused me and still does. He has always brought so much laughter to my life and patiently corrects me lovingly if I need to see another perspective or have done something wrong. My favorite thing? He makes me want to be my best self for him and others.”
What was your favorite part about planning your wedding? “Robin: I have loved the relationships I have made with my vendors and I deeply value how they have continued to support with all of the changes and postponements we have made to our wedding. My biggest advice to any bride would be really think about who you want on your team on your wedding day. I specifically selected people that I knew would support our vision and would-be kind in all of our interactions. Our wedding was originally set for May, 2020 then postponed it to July, 2020 then to May, 2021 and now our final postponement for the celebration is May, 2022.”\
If you had one piece of advice for other couples, what would it be? “Jonathan: Learning to communicate with your partner in a way that makes them feel valued is one of the greatest things you can do to strengthen your relationship together. Robin and I are still learning how to best communicate with each other in the way the other needs, but we are intentionally watching how we communicate and talking with each other to make sure we are meeting the other’s needs.
Robin: Give forgiveness freely and be joyful with one another! It goes without saying that life is challenging and there will be wrong doings in every relationship. It is so important to forgive one another and seek advice from wise council whether that is good friends, elders or a counselor, every relationship needs a strong support system encouraging them.
I do not want a single day of my life to go by without laughing with Jonathan or hearing his laugh. It has been the biggest blessing of our relationship is the pure joy and lightheartedness he brings to me.”
What is the most honest thing you can say about love? “Jonathan & Robin: Love is a choice that you make every day and love requires action and sacrifices for it to grow. Love is not balanced. There will be seasons where one person gives more love than receives and vice versa. Love is learned and greatest of all loves is learning continuously.”
Photographer: Rebekah Talbot
Venue: Washington D.C Lincoln Monument, Jefferson Monument & Supreme Court
Floral Designer :Bouquet created by bride, Robin Farmer
Dress Boutique: The Olia Zavozina Flagship Boutique
Dress Designer: Olia Zavozina
Men\’s Formalwear: US Navy Dress Whites
Accessories / Decor Bride’s Wedding Ring: Heidi Gibson
Film Lab Photovision Prints
Vow Books: Rebecca Green Design
Pottery Dishes: Susan Gordon Pottery