Defries GardensEric + AmandaNew Paris Indiana

“Our first date (if we don’t count late night Taco Bell runs where I was totally oblivious to the fact that he liked me as more than a friend) was an out of town wedding. As the beautiful couple exchanged vows I could feel him staring at me. I’ll never forget that moment. His hand grabbed mine and he smirked. I knew he was the one I’d marry. I texted my mom shortly after saying ‘This wasn’t supposed to happen, but he’s it.’ Fast forward a few years and each wedding we attend as husband and wife those moments still occur and I know he’s it. Mine forever.” – Amanda

Marriage was intended to be a picture to the world. A representation of something greater than ourselves. Even though many will go through their wedding day never understanding the weight of the vows they’re making, the timeless words still hold their true meaning. “For better or for worse, for richer or for poorer, in sickness and in health…” Commitment, perseverance and loyalty are something that our world desires to admire but rarely wants to put the work in to implement. Marriage is tough, there is no doubt that it takes LOTS of patience, LOTS of grace and LOTS of forgiveness, but it can be the best earthly gift you’ll ever receive. I have been given (in a completely biased opinion way haha) the best job ever! I get to capture the best day of a bride and grooms life as they get all dressed up in white lace and freshly ironed suits. The joy on that day is unlike anything else and the emotions run high! I love being able to give the couple the ability to relive each moment of the day through their pictures, showcasing for years to come the time he cried when he first saw her glowing in that dress or the sweet tear-jerking moment when her father gave her away. Definitely the best part though is being able to see the after effects once all the lights are taken down and the cake is eaten up. The vows exchanged give the man and wife a security that they are each others for the rest of their days. Even when he leaves the toilet seat up for the 23rd time or when she hasn’t done the laundry for a week, they get to live life together and practice friendship on a very intimate level. Through each trial and victory they get to know and love each other more and more. Today we so easily turn on a romance movie with our popcorn and tissues in hand falling deeper and deeper in lust with the thought of “falling in love.” Put A Walk to Remember on and I will shed tears every time. It’s easy to get swept up in and to desire the fairytale story, you know the happily ever afters that we all “deserve” right? But what happens when the cameras stop rolling and the curtain closes? What happens when you have a disagreement about which house to buy or when you should start a family? Life is hard, people are innately selfish and a man and wife are human. We’ll make mistakes, and hopefully learn from them. And in the midst of all of that we can CHOOSE to love, CHOOSE to show grace and CHOOSE to forgive. The most freeing thing I was ever told in high school from my bible teacher was that love is a choice. We don’t fall in and out of love… we choose to love someone and choose to commit our lives to them. I don’t know about you, but when I start realizing that I have the ability to change my thoughts and choose joy and perseverance, that’s freeing!! I’m sure lots of you ladies know what I’m talking about but my feelings are MESSED UP!!! Somedays I like something that the next day I don’t. Sometimes I have absolutely NO IDEA why in the world I’m upset or frustrated, I just am. Who can trust feelings like that? The fact that we are allowing our feelings (that are all over the place) dictate a monumental decision such as loyalty to our husbands, is kind of scary. Each day we can wake up and choose to love and serve each other well. And that’s a choice worth making and fighting for!!

Amanda and I grabbed some coffee earlier in the day before the shoot where we got to know each other and chatted about testimonies, hubbies and dreams. Amanda is a very inspirational blogger and up and coming author (go check her page out here). She has a powerful testimony filled with lots of hardships and temptations followed by grace and redemption. I first got in touch with her when she messaged me about the model call I had for my up and coming styled shoot which her and Eric will be the models for in August! I then spent the next little bit getting lost in her posts getting encouraged and excited about the fact that we were going to be able to work together. The expectation was definitely exceeded when we got together a couple weeks back. These two make you feel like instant friends as we laughed and joked a lot. It was easy for me to see the friendship they shared and refreshing to experience the unconditional love they give one another. I CANNOT wait to get these two in front of my camera again here soon when Amanda gets to put on her dress and Eric puts on that black bow tie and suit jacket. Make sure to stay tuned for some goodness from that shoot in August.

A goal of mine with this business is to make my photography so much more than just about pretty pictures. I really want my actions and words to represent a true passion for not only my bride and groom and their wedding, but for their marriage. Amanda and Eric were my first anniversary session so far but won’t be my last. Starting now, each year I will offer 10 anniversary sessions at half off my regular engagement session price. Engagement sessions are amazing and I can’t get enough of weddings, but I LOVE marriage the most. If I can in a small way represent the fact that marriage needs to be celebrated just as much (and even more) than the wedding day, then I’d be ecstatic! If interested in having one of the 10 slots, shoot me an e-mail at hello@ariellepeters.com!

Enjoy the adorableness (yes it’s a word I just googled it) that is Amanda + Eric! Congratulations you two!! One year down, Lord willing 60 more to go!!