Sam & Hadley | Coast Guard Wedding in Eugene, Oregon

Please note: weepy, sentimental blog post brought to you by Susannah, not Peter.

Of all the love stories out there, Sam & Hadley's is one of my very favorites. I've known Sam since next-door-neighbor, running-around-playing-outside days, when we were great pals and I was nightmarishly bossy. Our families have always been close (my brother married his sister, which we'd all been anticipating for years & years). He's been an honorary brother since ever since I can remember. When we both got a bit older and less mean to each other, he'd tell me all about his plans for the future, always including one of my best friends, Hadley. He's astonishingly driven, and he had a lot of tactical plans for pursuing this girl he liked so much, as soon as possible.

Hadley came around around 6 years ago, and after some sketchy first impressions of each other (I figured she was way too smart and sophisticated to be interested in being friends with me), we became inseparable. Our friendship contains staples such as talking until 4 am, pizza, Disney movies (specifically High School Musical), and sending each other hilarious things from the internet. We've spent an enormous amount of time going out to coffee to talk about serious and exciting things (Jesus, boys, etc), and google-chat-debriefing each other about everything. And one of the highest-priority topics was always Sam, since she had a giant, for-real-and-serious crush on him. 


There were lots of church camps, dances, and parties full of "subtle" hanging onto each other's every word, which was all observed with delight and then thoroughly talked about later with Hadley.

Of course, I wasn't allowed to tell either of them the truth, which was DON'T WORRY, THE OTHER PERSON TOTALLY LIKES YOU TOO. So the whole situation was my greatest cover-up to date, especially since they both asked me several times "do you think she/he likes me? do you think there's even a chance?" Me: *hearing wedding bells in my head & picturing their future babies* shrugs nonchalantly,"maybe! I don't know."

Eventually, Sam's plans started to solidify--including the long-standing dream to join the Coast Guard. Hadley was just getting more & more eligible and stunning, and he was eager to hurry up and get his foot in the door. It was just a few weeks before Peter & I got married that they OFFICIALLY and at-long-last started their relationship. And I think it took all of 3 days for them to be 100% sure they were going to spend the rest of their lives together. Not too much later, Sam left for bootcamp, and they started the delightful process of a long-distance relationship, with all the months-long absences, facetiming, missing out on events together, letter-writing, surprise-flowers-being-delivered, and happy-to-bursting reunions.

He pulled off a perfect proposal, and then they got to wedding planning! I was so excited that they chose Peter as their photographer, and even though I was going to be a bridesmaid, I hoped to be able to second-shoot in between things a little. As it turned out, Peter ended up with a nasty health saga over the last several weeks, which resulted in vicious gout in his ankle. He hadn't been able to walk on it for a month, so we shifted gears, lined up assistants, and planned for me to shoot the whole wedding. And I fed him every nasty smoothie, juice, and healthy meal I possibly could to get him better.

The day before the wedding, Peter could finally walk/limp without crutches, and somehow, with an enormous amount of help from friends and from a handy-dandy scooter, he managed to shoot almost the entire day. We tag-teamed more than usual, but I got to stand up there for the ceremony and jump in for the bridal party photos in between shooting! I'm so glad I was able to photograph so much of it though, because both of these crazy-attractive people have been photography guinea pigs for years (and my long standing couple crush), so it was absolutely perfect to finally get to take pictures of their wedding. It was impossible not to take pictures of the classiness & loveliness these two had going on. Plus, the camera helps me keep it together--as soon as I passed it off right before the ceremony, I immediately started crying.

Sam has turned into such a hard-working, tough & tender guy, and seeing him decked out in his Coast Guard uniform made me so proud of him I could have exploded. Hadley's always been beautiful, but she level of happiness and radiance on her wedding day was out of control.

Getting to tell stories is the greatest honor of our job, and this one was such a wonderful one to capture. This day made me fall in love with weddings all over again. Bittersweet happiness of families, hilarity of the bridal party, anticipation of getting ready, bride & groom just utterly in awe of each other, cheers and celebration of the guests. 

Peter's scooter provided some entertainment for the groom...

I don't know if I've ever seen two people so thrilled to be getting married. They went over two months without seeing each other until the week of the wedding, so even being able to spend the whole day together was rare and that alone was enough to make them happy! 

They did have to make up for 2.5 months of kisses, after all. :) Our favorite couples are the ones that can't keep their hands off each other!

In keeping with Hadley's soul, Beauty & the Beast was watched in the morning, and Frozen kept the bridesmaids entertained before the ceremony. Hadley even joined her niece in resounding choruses of "let it GO!"

I'm pretty sure all six bridesmaids were in tears, myself most hideously and uncontrollably. Like I said, as soon as I didn't have my camera for emotional protection, I was just a mess. My brother Benjamin covered for me and helped Peter out for the ceremony. 

The reception was full of candy, cheesecake, a weep-worthy slideshow, and the sweetest/craziest dancing. I had to power through my unhelpfully intrusive feelings, but loved getting to take photos again (plus, the distraction helped me pull myself together). 

I love it when a bride and groom have time to just hang out/make terrifying faces together at their reception. Sam & Hadley were attached at the hip and had such a good time together during the whole night.

The entire morning had been beautiful weather for photos, but in the evening it started pouring in the way a good old Oregon spring likes to do. Changed our car decorating plans (you can't write with soap on a soaking-wet car...), but running around in the rain is always a good time.

Mr. & Mrs. Samuel Payne. Rode off into the sunset/pitch-black-pouring-rain to start their brand-spanking new adventure together. These two are going to be dynamite, and I can't wait to see the amazing things God does through them.