My eyes widened as I walked into the Benson Hotel in Portland. I just stopped there for a moment to take in all the gorgeous historic detail. I adored the European style this hotel displayed! The quintessential beauty was something I really wanted to highlight, so I scouted some locations before Amber and Joe arrived.
When Amber put on her dress and walked out of the changing room, Joe instantly began gushing at how beautiful she looked. These two are surely a power couple. I watched them interact while I was photographing them, and felt no one could make Amber smile as wide as Joe did.
I loved listening to Amber and Joe tell me their love story- the way they teased each other and playfully grinned at each other. I could tell that they not only loved each other dearly, but they were truly each other’s best friends. Here’s the story of their relationship told through Amber’s words:
We met at the St. Paul Rodeo July 4th, 2014. I was attending the rodeo with my mom and sisters as we do every year for our fourth of July tradition. Joe was attending due to the fact that he had to pull a rodeo shift for the fire department as a fire-intern. My family and I were walking around the rodeo before the show when from a distance Joe caught my eye and I smiled not knowing that next, he would attempt to TALK TO ME!! I kind of froze thinking OH MY GOSH he is coming over, what do I do next!? As he came to where my family was he tried selling me a t-shirt where I kindly 😉 denied the offer. Later that day as we parted ways I kept talking about the handsome firefighter that I saw. Well, my mom and sisters got tired of the daydreaming and sent me on my way to find the man who I said was probably my future husband and I’ll never see him again. We met up at the intern booth where I could purchase a t-shirt… where he then asked for my number and we have been dating ever since.
Joe and I are best friends. We didn’t start off that way. Two strangers trying to see if this could maybe work. Now we cannot imagine our lives without one another. Joe and I complement each other… for example, where I am weak, Joe is Spiritually, physically, emotionally strong. He is not my opposite but my better half. We could not have found a better life “lovey’s” (what we call each other) if we wanted to.
I saw his heart. Joe early on without knowing it gave me glimpses of who he truly was the way he selflessly puts strangers needs before his own. He is dedicated to every aspect of his life, whether that’s the gym, work, family, and I wanted that for us and our future family. He knows how to love so well. I am so thankful for a man like him. The earliest memory I can think of is when we went on a Drive-in movie date about 8 months into us dating. It was the middle of summer and I did not even think of the weather as the night grew darker and colder. We had used every blanket we brought as padding for the bed of the truck. Joe was able to pull one blanket out from under him to provide some kind of warmth. When he went to cover my back, he felt my legs and said, “Oh no, that’s NOT okay how cold you are” and proceeded to take the blanket from around him and used what was available to cover me. Again, putting my needs above his own.
We were wanting to go to a corn maze having it be October 10th. I had scheduled my dentist appointment earlier in the day and needed something to be happy after a stressful morning. Before Joe and I were to go on our date, I needed a nap. Little did I know during my nap Joe had planned on driving to both of my parent’s jobs to ask for my hand in marriage. By the time I had driven to Joe’s house he had just gotten home from asking my parents if he could be mine forever and always.
We had mentioned marriage before as most couples do after dating 4 years. Joe wanted to daydream with me and walk around the farm to come up with possibilities of how we could make having a backyard wedding work. As we walked around the farm and he is painting this beautiful picture he asks me about an area of trees if I thought they would be suitable for photos. I was taken back due to the fact that some of the background trees where dying. Joe was being overly obvious that he wanted me to focus on a specific shorter tree that had a blush color ribbon tied around the top trunk with my wedding ring on the other end. After Joe’s persistent attempts of trying to let me figure it out without just telling me, he had me reach inside what he called the “giving tree” where I found the ribbon and turned around to find him down on one knee asking me to be his forever and always.
My ring is STUNNING. Joe did such a good job. I had an idea of what I would like as every girl does, but the more I talked to him about it, I wanted it to come from him. He chose it because it reminded him of me. He said as soon as he saw it he knew that that was it…”That’s Amber’s ring.” I am still in shock about the rock that will forever be on my left hand.
Planning is stressful, but I LOVED the feeling of planning our wedding. I kept telling people I am totally okay with carrying so much weight on my shoulders because I am only going to get married once! I felt a huge relief off my shoulder once we figured out a venue. Once we established where we wanted, which ended up being at Papa Allen’s farm, everything started to fall into place. The farm where we got married has been in the family for 3 generations. Being able to tie in all this meaning within one another still makes our day so much more special. It was a labor of love from everyone who volunteered hours and hours in the heat preparing for our special day. We could not have done it without those who went the extra mile to make us feel loved.
Amber and Joe, your raw love is truly a delight to witness, and to help bring to life with these images from the Benson Hotel and I can’t wait for you to see them! <3