holly & caleb | 3.6.16 wedding.

In terms of commonly thought of love story tropes, ‘boy meets girl’ often comes to mind. The thing is, real life rarely mimics fictional tales of love, nor does it operate in as clean-cut of a manner as these stories often suggest. Real life love is unique to each individual; we all experience it in different ways and at different levels of progression, in the manner that suits each of us.

Caleb is from northwest Iowa, where he works on his family’s sheep farm. Holly is from central Illinois, where she was born and raised, where she went to college, and where she was working as a dental hygienist at the time that she traveled 8.5 hours to a church in northwest Iowa for a friend’s wedding.

Caleb and Holly’s story isn’t a story of boy meets girl; it’s a story of boy sees girl.

Caleb noticed Holly at church that day. They didn’t exchange a look, or speak to one another, or have some unrealistically perfect meet cute moment that we see in the movies or read in romance novels. He just saw her, and he knew.

He considered letting the moment go; he didn’t even know this girl’s name, let alone any details about the intricacies of her life, so he decided unless that information somehow presented itself to him, he would let the idea of this girl he had seen at church pass by. A few weeks passed, and then it happened. Without seeking out the information, Caleb learned the girl’s name. From there, he trusted his faith, and his gut, and his heart – and he proposed to the girl he had seen at church that day.

Real life love is funny, because often times you don’t recognize it until you’re already in its midst. It’s tough to envision or predict, and therefore, it sometimes requires its participants to take leaps of courage, and hope. Holly and Caleb met halfway between northwest Iowa and central Illinois, and they sat down to get to know each other. They talked for three hours. From there, Holly trusted her faith, and her gut, and her heart – and she said yes to the sheep farmer from Iowa.

When I was alone with Caleb and Holly while photographing their bride and groom portraits, Holly started telling a story to Caleb about the time he took her hunting and she got a big buck.

“He took you hunting already?!” I exclaimed, knowing not only that Holly had previously informed me that she wasn’t the farming-and-hunting outdoorsy type like Caleb, but also that they had been living 8.5 hours apart during their engagement.

“No, it’s this thing we do,” she laughed, as she continued to explain. “We like to tell each other imaginary stories about the things we’ve done together, just for fun when thinking about the memories we’ll be creating in our future.” And then they looked back at each other knowingly, and Holly giggled and continued to talk about their future hunting experience as Caleb pulled her in close.

Holly and Caleb’s story is a story of boy sees girl, and a story of finding love when and where you least expect it, and perhaps most importantly – a story of taking an immense leap of faith.

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Chicago, IL


Weddings + Engagements + Life

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