Every couple has a unique story and I love hearing them when I meet couples for the first time. I wanted to share our story in this 7-part series to help you get to know me and Weston a little better. I hope you enjoy reading our story from the moment we met until now!
Shortly after Weston proposed, we began our fifth year of college at University of Mobile. We were both in a 5-year integrated program to graduate with bachelor’s and master’s degrees simultaneously. This was our last year of college. The last year before we would get married. It was also the most difficult. Planning a wedding is stressful enough, but planning it while in grad school and running a photography business was a nightmare at times. To top it off, we were also planning to move 3 hours away to Weston’s hometown in Selma, Alabama. A move that I was less than thrilled about, but all that mattered was that I would be with Weston.
During the first semester, we had a full course-load. One of our courses required us to write 20-page papers – weekly. Part of it was to prepare us for our 50-page MBA thesis paper that we would write the following semester. We were involved in Enactus – an international organization for business students. We had multiple projects throughout the year and competed with other Enactus chapters in Atlanta and Kansas City – so fun! Weston and I were also involved in a mentorship program called RamKids where college students mentored high school students in the area. Looking back, I’m really not sure how we were able to juggle all of this. Only God can help us manage so many responsibilities.
The second semester, we only had two courses – one online and one for our MBA thesis. We had both lived on campus for 4 ½ years and now Weston was moving back to Selma and I was moving back home with my family. Even though these courses did not require our presence on campus, they did require much of our time. I pretty much lived in the campus coffee shop and a few coffee shops close to my house for about two months while I wrote my thesis. Weston and I rarely saw each other in person this semester. We talked every day, but neither of us had time to make a 3-hour drive one way. The only exceptions were when we had family obligations and wedding-related activities. The long-distance was terrible. We were accustomed to not seeing each other for a couple of weeks at a time because we both moved home during the summer; however, this was different. Summer is only about two months; this was from the beginning of the semester until our wedding seven months later.
I haven’t really talked about running my photography business during this time, but it was overwhelming. At one point, I remember telling one of my photographer friends that I currently had about 10,000 photos on my computer to edit. I had (and still have) trouble saying, “no,” when it comes to photographing weddings and family sessions. Weddings and families are so important and it’s something I love photographing. I’m a recovering perfectionist and this was only my second year in business, so I was very slow editing. I wanted everything to be perfect. I have gotten a lot better about turning down photography opportunities when I know I have a lot going on, but I still need to work on it. At least I have gotten faster at editing!
As I mentioned before, I was not excited about moving to Selma. I had visited plenty of times before and I loved spending time with Weston’s family; however, it was difficult to picture my life there. Mobile had spoiled me. Anything I could possibly need was just a 10-20-minute drive from my house. The beach, one of my favorite places, was only about half an hour away. Mobile had Chick-fil-a, Hobby Lobby, Target, Starbucks, countless stores to shop in. Most importantly, my family and friends lived there.
I think that was the hardest part about moving away – leaving my family and friends. I cried. A lot. My family and I were so close. Even when I lived on campus, I still saw them multiple times each week. Now I would be moving 3 hours away. How would I adjust to only seeing them once a month or once every few months? College gave us some of our best friends. Friends that knew us from the beginning of our relationship and friends that only knew us as a unit. Some are still very close to us and even though we live hours from each other, we still make an effort to spend time together whenever we can. Thankfully, photography gives me multiple opportunities to travel to Mobile and throughout the state and I get to see family and friends while we’re there.
Did I mention that all of this was going on while we were planning a wedding? I could do an entire series about planning a wedding, which is why I barely mentioned it. Come back next week to read about our wedding day!