SAIJE + MATHEW | LA PUSH, WASHINGTON ELOPEMENT

We pulled up to a small beach hotel in the tiny beach town La Push in the late afternoon. Amy, my friend and also the florist of this elopement (who totally rocked it), walked up to meet Saije in her room and were met by her maid of honor at the door. She was tying up Saije's dress in the bathroom. It was quiet and peaceful as we exchanged some hugs and quick nice to meet you's. Worship music played in the background on a phone. 

The air was cool and the ocean gave off salty mist as Saije and I walked through the driftwood to meet Mathew, who was waiting with his back turned at a massive piece of driftwood. Not many people were out on the beach. All we could hear was the rushing of water and crunch of sand under our feet. Saije had this soft, sweet, confidence about her as she walked, Birkenstocks and all, to meet her groom. 

Mathew turned around with the biggest smile on and hugged Saije for a good minute. They then began reading handwritten vows to each other with soft voices, a few tears and some intermittent giggles. Saije had goosebumps. They prayed together. 

Surrounded by only immediate family, Saije and Mathew exchanged wedding vows with their home church pastor. As Saije walked down the aisle, arm in arm with her mom and dad, Mathew played a hushed song on his ukulele. They were both barefoot. The clouds gave way and the sky brightened during the entire ceremony. The beach was glowing. Jesus was completely present, extending such grace to all of us who were there. 

After saying 'I do,' we then walked along the beach, taking photos here and there, climbing on logs and taking our sweet time. Getting to know each other a bit and becoming fast friends. Laughing, and taking time to be quiet and soak in the day and what had just happened. It was absolutely beautiful to be a part of. 

This day was special to me because Saije and I had only talked over e-mail. She found me on Instagram! But those are always the best kind of things. They are designed with purpose and meaning by Jesus. Everything about this, from the process of booking to the wedding day itself was guided by the Lord. Saije and Mathew listened to Jesus with every decision they had to make. They made the day not just about them, but their families, too. They were able to trust and discern Jesus's hand on their day. 

So, driving 10 hours in one day to meet two people I had never met was one of the most rewarding things I have done so far as a photographer. It brought me closer to the Lord. It brought me encouragement that I can do this. It allowed me to see that it's more than just taking pretty pictures, but being the photographer that serves others before serving themselves. 

Saije and Mathew, thank you for choosing me to be there. I will never forget it. Your marriage represents how God can take our messiness and transform it into something utterly breathtaking. Jesus loves you so much and to be honest, so do I. 

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