I "officially" started Shale Photography on January 1, 2008, after much encouragement from family and friends that I could turn my hobby into a money maker. This past year has been a whirlwind; I never, ever thought I'd be as busy as I have been. I've met amazing people, photographed beautiful weddings, shared in the happiest day of people's lives, and had an amazing time. Thank you to everyone that has been a part of that.
In celebration of the completion of my first year in business- because business, like a marriage, is supposed to be roughest in its first year- I am happy to announce the winner of the Free Wedding Photography contest.
I received some fantastic entries. Really, really fantastic. I decided I would choose the entry that brought out the most raw, honest reaction in me, and frankly, a lot of them did just that.
Connie started her entry with "This seemed overwhelming; how could one story sum up three and a half of the best years of my life?"
Anna and Vinh are high school sweethearts finally marrying one another after eight years together. And Anna was volunteering with Habitat for Humanity, building houses in Guatemala. Anna, you rock.
Lily says, "Life together of course is not all smiles all the time, but even at the worst times we've never stayed mad at each other for more than a day. We are grateful for being able to wake up each day finding out the other has hogged all the blanket and we are ready to take the next step to get married and start a family."
Christine and Enrico have travelled all over and decided to call Calgary home, saying "We decided to start our life together here to enjoy the mountains any time we please."
Shannon and Ryan have a fantastic story of how they met that's too long to reproduce here, but suffice to say that they both ended up alone and broken-hearted on grad night when their dates left with each other instead of them... and then ran into each other 8 years later and, as they say, the rest is history. Plus, their wedding is at the Calgary Aerospace Museum. How cool is that?!
However, after all of those entries and more, one still took the cake:
Allyson and Cody.
Allyson's entry was by far the longest one, but I laughed from start to finish. I've edited out some personal and identifying details, but have a read:
My name is Allyson, and my fiance's name is Cody. We have a home in Airdrie, and one lovely Boxer, Royce. We have lived there for two years now, and love it. We are a pretty chill couple, we like to try everything, we kinda of just go with the floooow...
Cody and I met Camping August Long ’05 (We actually cant even remember the date we started dating, so we make it up.)
So we have been together for almost 3 years (On August 3rd we think), and engaged for a little over a year (March 15th). We are quite the couple, at first the engagement basically turned into a competition. Let me explain. I thought it would be cool to ask Cody to marry me, I told my brothers, and my family being kinda old fashion, my brothers completely disagreed and leaked the secret out to Cody, so Cody having nooooo idea when, where or what I was doing, he felt the pressure, because he to would not have that either... So a couple weeks went by and Cody could not take the pressure anymore, and within 4 days, he asked my parents if he could marry me, he bought me the PERFECT ring, rented a gorilla suit, and with my Mom’s help coordinated the proposal. I went to my parents' house, walked in the door, and there was Cody in a gorilla suit on one knee with a pink rose... Needless to say, after I laughed for what probably felt like an eternity to Cody... I said YES. When I am nervous I can't stop laughing. The following day is when his ring was going to be ready, so I was one day shy of winning the competition... but I have to admit, it was more then I ever imagined, so I'm glad I didn’t win! Now, to explain the gorilla suit: I am weirdly obsessed with gorillas and monkeys, and I always said I wanted to be proposed to by a monkey, and he pulled it off. It was amazing!
So at the end of the day we are just two young freaks MADLY in love, and can't wait to spend the rest of our lives together.
So, the wedding plans are starting, we are going to Mexico to get married, and coming back here for a reception and dance for people who simply cannot afford to go away. I think it is very important to have all your loved ones at your special day... So we are having our Reception & Dance on May 23rd ’09. It’s going to cost us a little more, but I get to wear my dress twice and it will be worth it to see everyone.
If anything I hoped I made you smile, and maybe even giggle a little. Just so you know, we are having VERN’s pizza at the reception, and I promise to feed you, if you have had Vern’s Pizza, you will want to come just for the Pizza, and if you have not there is more of a reason to PICK US... Mmmmm.
I have attached a couple photos of our life together, ENJOY!
Thank You for taking the time to read this!
Have a good day.
Did I mention we are having Vern’s Pizza at the Reception?? Ha ha!
-Allyson & Cody
Congratulations, Allyson and Cody!