The honeymoon. That sweet respite of joyful bliss when you’re thinking about nothing but relaxing with your newly married lover. It’s a special time that sticks in your memory and and always gives you the warm feels when you remember it. Dylan and Courtney were lucky enough to have photographer Natalie Malis pop in during their honeymoon for some sweet photos, and they shared with us about how their relationship with each other and God developed during their years of growing together as well! We hope you enjoy …
from the photographer, Natalie Malis: “I met Courtney and Dylan at the California coast at sunrise just days after their Grand Rapids, Michigan wedding. It was an absolute joy to photograph their newly-wedded bliss as we wandered down One Thousand Steps beach and paused often for snuggle breaks & fits of laughter. They told me there were several people who wanted to see them that week in Santa Barbara, but I was the only one they were planning to spend part of their honeymoon with! Needless to say, I was honored to watch that gorgeous sunrise with them & witness the beginning of their sweet marriage.”
How did you two meet? What were your first impressions of one another?
Courtney: Our story is admittedly unique…. because we first met in the second grade. We were in the same class, and even started a secret coloring club together (you know, like cool kids do). I thought Dylan was so smart because he laminated us business cards (remember, cool). To this day, he claims he had a huge crush on me all of that year. I waited until seventh grade to reciprocate the feelings.
Dylan: For the record, I did have a huge crush on her during that year, but she had a crush on every boy that wasn’t me. I had much better luck in seventh grade, and even managed to convince her to be my girlfriend. We’ve aged gracefully since then.
Describe a hurdle you had to overcome in your relationship or during your wedding planning.
Our hurdle: long distance. Some days that felt more like a mountain than a hurdle. We attended college in different states, but agreed that it was worth trying to maintain our relationship. Spoiler alert: it worked out, and five years later, we are married. It was harder than either of us expected, but honestly the best thing for us. 700 miles of separation forces you to into independence, and into communicating well—a skill we had to hone when planning a wedding apart, and something that definitely translated into our marriage.
What part of your wedding day was/is most important to you?
We adore our friends and family, but a lot of them are scattered throughout the country. It was so incredible to have them all in one room celebrating with us on our wedding day. The reception was as much a reunion as it was a time of celebrating our nine years together, and that was really special to us.
What is the best thing you’ve learned from one another?
Courtney: I’m often quick to worry, but Dylan has taught me to be patient in times of stress and anxiety. He is always the calm amongst any storm—whether it be internal or external, he is there with a steady mind and a wise heart.
Dylan: Courtney is great at pulling me out of my head, and allowing me to care for and serve others more than I may otherwise be inclined to do. She’s also taught me (and continues to teach me) that it’s okay to lean on others. I should mention that I’m still learning from her. We’ve got plenty of years ahead of us, right?
What was your favorite part about planning your wedding?
We were really lucky to have the full support of both of our families throughout the process, with no pressure to adhere to any tradition. This allowed us to create a ceremony and reception that truly represented us and our relationship, which was very fun and something we are incredibly grateful for. The whole wedding felt so personal. We were able to incorporate our faith in a way that reflected our unique relationship with each other and with God. Plus, we got married in a venue on top of our favorite Mexican restaurant, and served margaritas at the reception. (We highly recommend that last part.)
What is the most honest thing you can say about love?
Two things (sorry). The first: love, as best as I can tell, is manifested out of vulnerability. There is nobody who knows me as well as Court does. There’s also nobody who could hurt me as much as she could—but that sometimes fearful tension of being truly known by another human has created some of the most beautiful expressions of love I could ever imagine. Second, and in the same vein: love is truly dynamic. It’s always changing, it’s always growing you. The way we loved each other when we started dating is so vastly different from the way we love each other today. I think that’s part of the beauty of love. And there’s nothing about this journey together that I could ever imagine wanting to change.
Photographer: Natalie Malis / venue: One Thousand Steps Beach / film lab: The Find Lab / Dylan’s Ring: HOLDEN