Sophia and Ben got married last year. And one of the funny things about this Chicago engagement, is the fact that it all started about 3 years ago, completely unlike any other wedding inquiry.
Normally a couple either finds me online, or someone tells them about me, they contact me, we exchange a few emails, we Skype, we get to meet each other, and then, if we are each others spirit animals, we book the day.
But here, it was completely unexpected and quite telepathic too… and I can’t wait tell you all about it.
Can you ride a bike? Then jump on one, and please, keep us company!
How I met the bride while doing something other than photography
A lot of you might not know this, but in Lisbon, before I moved to London, I also spent my time being an alternative tour guide.
I used to do it twice a week for an amazing company called We Hate Tourism Tours, and it was how I kept myself sane, by escaping the computer and editing for a few hours, catching some sunlight and a warm breeze, while at the same time meeting new exciting people and showing off the city of Lisbon, which I know like the back of my hands.
It was on one of these tours, the dinner tour to be more specific, that I met Sophia. She was spending some lovely days in Portugal with her mum Terri, whom I now proudly call ‘Mamma T’, and they both ended up in the van I was driving.
During the entire tour, every time we spoke, there was a connection. Either we liked the same things, or we had had similar life experiences, or I brought up a conversation they had been talking about earlier that day.
It was like we were finishing up each others sentences.
In the end, after a lovely typical Portuguese dinner, some night time sight seeing, pastéis de nata and Fado, I told Sophia and ‘Mamma T’ that I was a wedding photographer, and that I also had a personal blog they could take a peek.
For my surprise, I woke up with a text message from Sophia the next morning, asking if we could all have lunch together that day. I loved them already, so I answered ‘yes’.
Sophia promised me I’d be her wedding photographer before being engaged
During this lunch, Sophia and Mamma T explained me how they had read my blog and learned so much about me. How they felt such a strong connection that couldn’t be ignored. I truly felt the same.
Sophia told be she had been dating this boy Ben for quite some time, how he was the love of her life, and how she felt like he would pop the question soon.
I normally try not to encourage my expectations to wander… but when Sophia said that she really wanted me to be her wedding photographer in two years time, I couldn’t help but to wonder if that could really happen.
I mean, one thing is liking my work, which makes me feel very happy and honoured. But were they considering everything else? The arrangements of flying me from Portugal to Chicago, taking care of accommodations and everything else?
Turns out they were. Ben proposed to Sophia not long after she returned, and she asked me again to be her wedding photographer.
Life changes, but kindred spirits make it work
A lot can happen in two years. And in that time, Sophia and Ben lived apart while she finished her studies, I moved to London, and they still kept their promise.
The time came when it was time for us to go to Chicago, and I felt so strong about my team that I couldn’t hide my excitement. I would bring my videographer Hugo to tell the story in a cinematic beautiful way, and I also convinced my husband to be part of the team, since he is a sound engineer and it could be really helpful in different situations. See, Ben is a professional trombone player, and the last thing I wanted was to deliver him bad sound!
The tour guide became the tourist and vice-versa at this Chicago engagement
Sophia and Ben, like me when I was a tour guide, have part-time jobs in deliveries. Cycling is part of their routine and they also love to do it when outside of work… so when Ben suggested that their engagement shoot and video was done while they toured us around Chicago in rental bikes, my heart sang!
It made total sense.
Instead of making them pose, or having to try and relax them in front of two cameras, how about having them doing what they love, and just capture the simplicity and love for each other in the most natural way?
And on this day, our parts changed, like in a beautiful sequel. And it was now time for them to make us enjoy their alternative tour while we became the tourists.
It was one of the happiest days of my life. And Chicago is forever in my heart, because now Chicago in our hearts means Sophia and Ben.
Now that’s how you scream at what’s holding you back!
The song I picked for this post is called ‘Chicago’ by Sufjan Stevens. Buy it here.