While those of us who make up the older segment of the group known as millennials often begrudgingly accept the title, there is one way in which I must admit we are similar to our younger counterparts. The younger portion of our generation went through high school with social media and apps at their fingertips, allowing them to get to know and communicate through phone screens with one another. The older portion of us did something quite similar, but through a different type of screen, and with a program that came before iPhones and Snapchat – we often got to know one another through AOL Instant Messenger.
This is how I first got to know Cody (and really, as a timid underclassman without a driver’s license, how I got to know most of my friends from 2001 to 2003); while we went to high school together, where we really became friends was through the internet.
Cody was hilarious, and thoughtful, and conversationally engaging, and he listened to music that my 14-year-old, somewhat sheltered self had no idea even existed. As he introduced me to Pink Floyd and The Big Lebowski through our computer screens and we chatted about the kinds of things teenagers chat about, we became friends. While the years passed and life took us in different directions, Cody and I’s conversations lessened, but I’ve always continued to consider him to be a friend, regardless of the level of frequency. And the thing about those friends you knew when you were younger is that you always hope for the best for them – you ultimately want to see them happy, and healthy, and surrounded by people who help them be the best version of themselves.
So when I found out last year that not only was Cody engaged, but that his fiancée was interested in booking me as their wedding photographer, I could hardly wait to meet her. As Rachel introduced herself via email, I learned that we actually worked at the same college at the time, and we set up a meeting in her office one day after I wrapped up teaching a class. I took the elevator a few floors up, and met my high school AIM buddy’s fiancée. Rachel immediately felt like a friend – she told me all about their plans to marry in a walnut grove across the road from Cody’s parents’ home, how much music meant to both of them and how they planned to incorporate it into their day, and how they were going to a concert together that weekend. She was radiating excitement and joy, and I couldn’t help but want to share it with her – which I soon learned, is how Rachel makes everyone in her life feel. Over the course of their wedding planning process, I got the chance to know her more through our meetings and emails, and I quickly realized how truly wonderful she is. I learned that she is an absolute stud at her job, and that she is one of the most thoughtful people I’ve ever met, and that she has an incredibly kind, giving heart. Cody had met a girl that shared his love for music, and for the Cubs, who perfectly balanced his laid back nature with her propensity for a schedule, and who not only laughed at his jokes, but made him laugh, too.
Later in the night during their reception, Cody pulled Rachel out onto the dance floor, got the microphone from the DJ, and serenaded his new bride with Total Eclipse of the Heart. Rachel looked back at him with so much adoration, and as they both danced and laughed and sang together and beamed at one another, I knew these two had found everything their friends and family members could have possibly hoped for them, and then some.
Ceremony Venue: Crum Walnut Grove
Reception Venue: WyHi Community Center
Florist: Stark County Design
Cake: The Sprinkle Boutique
DJ: Jaso Productions
Catering: Nick-N-Willy’s Pizza + Michelle Gosnell (cocktail hour)
Photo Booth: Diamond Dan