Our Love Story...
The story of us.
Many people ask us about it all the time.
"Did you guys know each other?"
"How did you meet?"
"Where did you meet?"
"We were so shocked to hear about you two!?"
"What's your story?"
First of all, I am not a writer. I am terrible at grammar, so if that drives you nuts; there is your warning to stop now! ;) I love reading other people's writing, but composing a document myself does not come easy, therefore, this story is definitely not going to be written perfectly. That's ok though. God wrote our love story perfectly and I am so incredibly thankful for His amazing "author abilities".
Without God beginning to write our story 3 years ago there would be nothing for me to even be writing now!
This is where our story began. Coppes Commons in Nappanee, Indiana.
Justin worked here as a facility manager for the family business. Coppes is a old cabinet factory that has been restored and turned into retail shops and restaurants. There is also a event center on the upper level that is rented out for weddings, parties, meetings, and other events. Occasionally they also rent the room to photographers who want to do photo sessions indoors. That is how I met Justin the first time.
I was shooting a wedding March 11, 2017. Instead of spring weather, it decided to snow that morning. I had to make a last minute decision to take the photos inside Coppes instead of the original plan of going to Goshen. We needed to start taking photos fairly early to stay on schedule, but when we arrived at Coppes the doors were still not unlocked. I was pretty stressed, because so far things had not been going as planned and I was feeling like we were not going to have enough time!
I whipped out the business card of the guy that was supposed to be there to unlock the doors and dialed his number on my cell phone. He answered, and I basically vented a lot of frustration into his ear! (I had no clue who he was at this point!) I was pretty much at my wits end when he finally got there and I had to try to get myself back on my tight time schedule.
To be very honest, my first impression was not good. In fact, after this ordeal I was pretty embarrassed of how I acted on the phone with him and then I found out he lived here in my community and was a brother to a guy who went to my church!! I was quite mortified that I had been so rude, so I decided that I never wanted to see him again. From then on, I decided if I ever did sessions at Coppes I would purposely schedule them after hours when I knew the "office people" would be gone.
About a month after the 1st encounter I did a senior session around the exterior of Coppes. Like I mentioned above, I went after hours. When I got there I literally could not believe it! This happened to be the day that they were planting the quilt garden and they were staying after hours to finish it! There was literally no way for me to get out of this one.
My client had already arrived and we had to start the session. As I walked around the corner of the building Justin and his brother were standing there and instantly started chatting and being super friendly to me. I really just wanted to crawl under a rug at this point because I was mortified and I really hoped Justin did not remember the way I acted the first time I met him! It ended up not being too terribly awkward, but I did think Justin acted pretty friendly, so I decided he must not have been too mad at me.
Ok... so let me just back up a little bit in this story. At some point after the first meeting, he friended me on Facebook and started trying to figure out who I was. It really had him confused that there was this Mennonite girl in his community that he could not figure out where I came from. He also followed my photography page as well, I guess so he could stalk me. ;)
About two weeks after the "senior session encounter" I get this email through my business account from Justin. He wanted me to come take photos of the exterior of Coppes for marketing purposes. I remember thinking it was a little weird, but then I was like "Oh well, he probably doesn't need anything that great and I can snap a couple pictures for him."
Well, I found out later, He didn't really need the pictures as bad as he wanted to try to get me there so he could ask me what I thought about starting a relationship. :) I went to Coppes that evening totally oblivious to any kind of interest that he may have in me. I remember thinking " Let's just get this over with ASAP and then hopefully I can put all of this behind me!"
When I arrived Justin came out and explained what he would like photos of and then left me to do my work. When I was finished he asked me to come get a USB to put the photos on and then he started giving me a tour of the building. It was pretty cool and I remember wondering why he was being so chatty and spending all this extra time when I was sure he was ready to go home for the day!
Finally right before I was ready to leave he dropped the bomb question and I was shocked so much I honestly couldn't think of anything to say! ( Strange thing for me, I know... I normally am never at a loss for words! ;) ) I told him I needed some time to think about it and left. It was an interesting week after that. I decided I had to give him at least a chance because I felt so terrible telling him 'No' without any good reason! I also felt a peace from God about it, even though I told myself I did not have to go on a second date if the first one was a fail.
One week after he asked me out, we went on our first date! It was not near as bad as I expected... We literally talked for 5 hours straight and neither one of us felt like it was awkward at all! We literally had so much to talk about because we knew absolutely nothing about each other or our families. He took me to an Italian restaurant for supper and I couldn't even eat my salad because I didn't stop talking. ;) Afterwards we went to the river walk and just sat of a park bench and talked some more... Before he brought me home we got ice cream and called it a night. I was pretty impressed with the fact that it was not scary at all and I even surprised myself at the end of the night by agreeing to try a second date too!
So that's the story of how we met... We dated, went through our fair share of challenging times, got to know each other very well, and fell in love. Fast forward to February 23rd, 2018, Justin set up a beautiful space in Coppes and shocked me once again in the same place when he asked me to marry him. :) I was so excited to be marrying my best friend and of course I said "YES!" We got married August 4th, 2018 at ( Guess where?) COPPES COMMONS! Oh yes... one more interesting note, we also lived the first year of marriage in a little blue house right across the street from Coppes too! (We really couldn't get away from that place!;) )
Thanks to all of you who have read our story so far... It's one of those stories that we look back on and say "Only God could write that". He has been so incredibly faithful in our relationship and marriage and we are so thankful He brought us together!
Thanks to each and everyone of our friends and family who have invested and still are investing in our lives! We love you!
First Date: 5-9-17