Oh, you’re reading that correctly — The White Wren is officially ONE today! Good gracious, the time has flown! One year ago today, we launched this lovely little site with hungry hearts and anxious souls seeking to cultivate authentic love stories and share them with all who were willing to listen. Now, our team has grown and so has our thankfulness, and we thought we’d take this momentous occasion to reflect on some of our favorite features and celebrate a year’s worth of crazy beautiful!
“Breathtaking Mountaintop Anniversary Session in the Canadian Rockies: James & Ashley” by Mason Neufeld
This feature has always stuck out to me — an impeccably-dressed couple on the loveliest of mountaintops? Could you really ask for more? I loved witnessing James & Ashley’s love in its tenderest, simplest existence: watching their smiles play cross their lips in their sweetness moments of bliss, or else looking out unto the sprawling sea of peaks before them, content to be in one another’s presence. More than that, I love that James & Ashley scaled a mountain in formal attire to take pictures with their love — it’s the kind of quiet magic that feels real and a fairytale all at once. But the images soon gained a far larger purpose than delivering serious eye candy: they served as a breathtaking reminder of the arduous endeavor and awesome wonder that is marriage itself.
When their photographer, Mason Neufeld, described capturing these two for their anniversary, she spoke of perhaps the most poetic experience of it all: the climb. You see, we’re all so easily content to marvel at the result, but very few feel the need to wonder at the toil, and marriage is the greatest effort of all. This pair knew full well the beauty in the ascent. They were to each other an unwavering support of assisting hands and gentle words of encouragement, the truest champion of the other for every clamoring rock and grueling summit. It’s a picture of raw, human togetherness that painted across each frame we were privileged to feature, and it inhabits a special place in this Editor’s heart!
The White Wren is, as ever, a place of love. We built it a year ago today as a bright spot for romantic souls to come and rest in the grace of authentic marriage — in all its quiet beatitudes and crude edges. Since then, we have had the unimaginable blessing of featuring more love and more blissfully imperfect humanity than these humble hearts could ever have imagined! It’s a formidable summit all its own, but your sweet words of encouragement and support have been the outstretched hands to lead us over each scaling rock face to today: Year One. Done. A labor of love, a work of fierce determination — but my, is the view lovely!
With all my love and deepest thankfulness,
Morgane Erisman, Editor
“Charming Florida Seaside Engagement Session: Kristen & Alex” by White Wren Collaborative member Kenzie Packrall
As I thought back over all of the features that we featured this past year in search of the one that stood out to me the most, I kept coming back to Alex & Kristen’s engagement session, captured by White Wren Collaborative member Kenzie Packrall.
When we first featured their engagement last November, this statement from them about love really stuck in my mind, and I’ve kept coming back to it ever since. It’s honest and true, and deeper than the superficial interpretations of love that we typically hear spoken of in popular culture.
“Its easy to think of being in love as finding someone that makes you happy. But, if thats the extent of love, its very conditional and the other person will always fall short. True love calls us to look past ourselves and our own happiness in order to care for the other. It’s committing to each other in the everyday things and the big things. True love requires action in spite of how one person is feeling that day.”
I love the simplicity of their session, and how it focuses on their connection with each other. It goes along with what we believe – that love doesn’t have to be filled with grandiose gestures or extravagant gifts. It is, quite simply, caring for someone else more than you care for yourself. It is giving and sacrificing. Love doesn’t delight in another’s shortcomings, but offers a helping hand instead. Love is not flashy or showy, but steady and reliable.
Kristen and Alex’s session and wise words remind us this fact, and I feel like with this core value at their center, their relationship and marriage will be blessed and fruitful together! It was an honor to feature them!
Brent Deitrich, Founder & Publisher
When this feature hit the blog, it stopped me in my tracks. It’s difficult to pick a favorite because we have the honor of featuring so many beautiful images and stories on The White Wren. But this feature has always stuck with me in a special way. The images are beautiful and different on their own, but Ben and Carin’s story is so compelling in its own way.
The first thing I’ll say that I love about this feature is the fact that it’s an anniversary session. Here at The White Wren, we have a special place in our hearts for anniversary sessions. It’s a celebration of love and marriage beyond the wedding day. And can we talk about Ben and Carin’s style? So classy and elegant. I love that this shoot has so many clean lines and modern elements, yet it feels so organic and intimate. From Carin’s undeniable style in that Alexandra Grecco gown to the way Ben’s gentle affection for her is so apparent, this feature is what dreams are made of! The black and white details and the urban location make these images by Lauren Renee Designs truly striking.
But what makes this feature meaningful to me is their story. Ben and Carin fell in love through a period of rehearsals for a play that Ben was directing and that Carin was cast for as the female role. They fell in love doing what they both loved and were passionate about. That’s the best kind of love. Their story is also special to me because Ben and Carin spent a lot of time apart, commuting to see one another. My fiancé and I have been long distance for a large part of our five years together. Long distance is hard. It has its own set of challenges. But it’s oh so worth it. Even though you spend so much time away from your loved one, you learn to love them in new and deeper ways from afar. And it makes time together even sweeter.
Ben and Carin’s story is such an encouragement and a beautiful representation of the longevity of marriage, through all the seasons of life. Their story is just one of so many different (yet equally meaningful) stories that we get to share on The White Wren. As we’re celebrating our one-year anniversary, overwhelmed and blessed doesn’t even begin to cover how we feel. Thank you a million times for your support and love!
All my gratitude,
Jenna Markiewicz, Brand & Relations Manager
I’m a dreamer — to a fault sometimes. I fall in love way too quickly with my head often times hitting the cold floor of reality. It’s easy to get lost in the lush weddings, the polished engagements, the awe striking editorials — something about that imagery sweeps me off my feet and into another world where I can prance around in a flowy dress and elaborate tiara.
Then I stumble upon features like this one — where reality meets the fantasy world and I remember that true love is raw and reckless and — most importantly — real. Josh and Meghan word it in a way that brings tears to my eyes as I dream about the marriage I may one day have — the marriage my heart desires:
“Love is not always exciting. Sometimes it’s way too much Netflix and just the right amount of pizza. Sometimes it’s having pillow fights in your bedroom or having water fights in your bathroom. Sometimes it’s essays and midterms and crying and hugging and venting and sleeping and praying together. It’s finding so much joy in the simplest things in life because you’re doing it all with YOUR person.”
I’m still waiting on MY person — my person who will do life with me, put in just as much effort as I do, cuddle up on the couch and enjoy the intimacy of just being together. I feel like Emily Michelson did a unique and impressive job of creating images that capture Josh and Meghan doing just that – being together.
Amanda Penwarden, Social Media & Communications Manager
I was drawn to this particular feature initially because of two things. The first, I grew up with ballet and I think it is an incredibly delicate and strong artform. The second, well, who doesn’t love Paris? After I was drawn to the images, I dove into the words. McKeely and Graham seem to be a couple come alive from the pages of The Royal Ballet School Diaries I read when I was younger. Graham’s quote especially shone out to me,
“I feel I am learning to love, and that includes loving myself. I think love is about the present moment, and there can be no limitations. You can share the loving part of your soul freely, with your partner, with your family, with your friends. Love can be a constant outflowing energy, we need to allow ourselves to give it away and be grateful when it comes to us in return.”
As a newlywed myself, I’m learning a lot about love. One of the most incredibly rewarding parts of marriage, I have found, is showering my husband with kind words and deeds without wanting anything in return. When he does the same to me, it makes it that much sweeter because it isn’t an expectation or requirement. Loving lavishly is fulfilling in itself.
I’m overwhelmingly thankful to be apart of The White Wren and their first anniversary because I know what they believe in, love: True love, not just elegant poses and pictures.
Here’s to real and here’s to love,
Ashley Watters Gartner, Spring 2018 Intern