ericamay photography blog: thought studio.

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The day it became official. January 16, 2009

Today I was thinking about how I always love to know the story behind an engagement or the path that took people to their wedding day. What brought two people together, how it all started, who they were then and why they started down this journey together. It’s important for me to know all of my couples on a more personal level, so I can really capture the personal, emotional moments of their wedding day or really preserve the essence of who they are together in their engagement shoot. When I ask questions like this, it’s because I’m interested (hello, I’m about as girly as they come!) and because it really gives me perspective on your personal story for a wedding day.

Which led me to think… here I am, asking you all sorts of personal questions, yet I never give YOU the chance to find out about MY love story with Jeff. :) So today, on the three-year anniversary of when we officially became “a couple,” I’ll share some of that with you, complete with random snapshots I found on my computer. :)

We met waaay back in 2001 when we attended Kansas HOBY in high school. We didn’t date then, we were just really good long-distance friends (we lived about 3 hours away). We saw each other maybe twice a year at volunteer training workshops and the four-day HOBY seminar each summer, where we now served on the staff.

We e-mailed each other quite a bit. We talked on the phone (including on Christmas Eve one year which alerted my mom that this was serious!). We even had “National Jeff [or Erica] Loves Mail Week” where we sent each other real mail for a whole week. I think every piece of mail included reasons why one of us should move to the other’s city (at this time, I was in Manhattan, KS, and Jeff was in Springfield, MO). And this whole time (like almost 5 years), neither of us actually told the other how we felt. We hinted at it a few times, but basically I just thought that there’s no way this cool musician/hilarious story-teller could ever like dorky old me! :)

Fast forward to New Year’s Day, 2006. Jeff planned a trip to Wichita (I was home for college break), and I just knew that he was coming to tell me something big. Confess his undying love. Bring his suitcase and transfer to K-State. Whatever. I just felt it. I spent hours getting ready. My whole family knew that I was going to see Jeff. So I showed up at the mall, where we were going to meet, and hurriedly ran inside to buy new shoes that looked much cuter with my outfit. So I did (silly me).

(photos from that day):


(notice the cute but painful shoes):


The days leading up to the “reunion,” Jeff started calling our other HOBY friends, turning it into a big group get-together, which was awesome, but I wondered how he would tell me that he just couldn’t live without me if everyone else was around too… am I right? :)

So we spent the afternoon walking around downtown Wichita. Seriously. On New Year’s Day. It must have been warm. Or my heart was pounding so fast that I didn’t notice the cold… OR the fact that my new cute shoes were seriously ruining my feet. I don’t even want to tell you the details. Let’s just say that by the end of the night, I had permanently damaged the skin on the back of my foot (silly me). As the night went on, Jeff acted all spaced out, I knew that he didn’t like me for sure, and it was time to go home. He hugged me like a million times… still nothing. I walked to my car… no shouts of “Erica — WAIT!” (you know, like the movies?). I got in my car… yet he didn’t create a human roadblock to keep me from leaving (what was the DEAL?!).

Finally, the next day, I realized that he just didn’t feel the same way. So I told all my friends that I was going to have to stop talking to him on the phone, because my little heart just couldn’t take it.

And then, a few days later (during the Rose Bowl, to be exact), Jeff called… small-talked a little bit… and then said, “Erica. I have to tell you something.” (Oh great… I just knew he was dating someone else!). I squeaked out an “Okay…?” and waited in the silence that followed. “I, um… I’ve had a really big crush on you for years…” And just like that — whoosh — a wave of relief, of joy, of shock, of oh-my-gosh-it’s-about-time came over me. “Me, too.” :)



He planned another trip to see me the following weekend, in Manhattan. He came and stayed with our good friend Nick and we spent all sorts of time exploring Manhattan, being all nervously giddy and just reveling in the one-on-one time that we never really had before. It was the 10th time we’d seen each other in person in 5 years. :) And on January 16, 2006, Jeff asked me to be his girlfriend, right before he left to go back home. It was the beginning of our long-distance relationship (and it stayed long-distance until less than four months before our wedding!). I was just joyful.

And today, three years later, I can still feel it. I can remember how wonderful it was to finally — finally! — be able to start a journey with the person I admired and loved so much. Oh boy, if I only knew then how much it would continue to grow. :)





The best part about stories is that they keep evolving. Eight years ago we met. Three years ago started a new path for us. A little over a year later, we got engaged and our path expanded. Six months later, we got married. And here we are right now, looking back and looking forward… together. :)



17 Responses to “The day it became official.”

  1. everythingforareason Says:

    I just love your story! I’m a girly-girl too so I just eat this stories up. They give me hope. :-)

  2. rachel Says:

    I can still remember sitting in your dorm room shortly after we arrived back to K-state and hearing you share the story. I remember Jeff visiting for the first time… I remember the two of us and our countless conversations in the previous months over the whole topic of dating and how delicate our little hearts were. I love the evolving story…

  3. Emily Beaty Says:

    Such a sweet story!! :)

  4. Jeff Says:

    I can’t believe I chickened out in Wichita! Your beauty was just SO intimidating :)

    Erica May SHORT… I still can’t believe that you’re mine — forever and ever. You are such a constant blessing and amazing source of encouragement.

    I love our story as much as I love you.

  5. Beth Says:

    Oh my gosh…what a perfect story! Loved it!

  6. I love it! Wow, your hair was so long! You two are a blessing!

  7. kasie Says:

    oh erica may.
    you two… :)
    y’all bless my heart.
    (hope you had fun on your date!)

  8. klsumpter Says:

    aw, how incredibly cute!!! I love all the engagement pics of you guys (esp the one in the grass! how sweet!)…and seriously loving the brown dress! hehe.

  9. Mandy Hank Says:

    You two are so adorable. That story put a smile on my face today! Thank you

  10. Kristen Says:

    That is the cutest story ever! You guys are too freakin’ cute.

  11. Betsy Says:

    Okay, see, that’s just nice. Really nice. Thanks for sharing with us! (And your husband’s comment is just nice, too. Really nice. ;)

  12. ericamay Says:

    thanks for all of the sweet comments! :) we feel so blessed in our relationship! it’s also just awesome to be a part of so many other people’s love stories!

  13. Heather Says:

    I just love your story so much…I remember hearing about it while you were still in town…and I was just thinking about you two the other day and ended up sharing your amazing story…on Friday actually…who would have known I would hit the day on the dot?!? You two will continue to touch the lives of people you meet, as well as each others. Miss you guys :)

  14. Lacie Says:

    I enjoy your blog SO much! you’re a great writer and i love all of your stories! Especially this one! I love LOVE stories! ;-) Im glad to see you so happy and growing from day to day. Can you believe how big we are getting! lol. I hope to own my own little house someday and have a cute little family like yours….and of course, Im meaning a Molly pup! ;-)
    love your cousin,
    Lacie May

  15. Cara Goedecke Says:

    I think this is the first time I have actually heard your story! It is just like a movie, hey maybe you should make a movie and you could be the photographer! :)

  16. Nathan Vallette Says:

    wait a second….you’re MARRIED!??!?! ;)

  17. Melinda Says:

    In all the beautiful things you did in your teen years, nothing lit you up more than when you were talking with Jeff on the phone. Your laughter and joy warmed my heart. I hate to be the one to tell you this, but when you were talking Christmas Eve, I knew you would marry him! He just didn’t take my advice and marry you in May!

    To other Moms…may your daughter be blessed with the love of her life and a man with the character Jeff demonstrates daily. By waiting, they are experiencing the joy and devotion God gives to a man and a woman. I love you both dearly, Mom

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