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Katharine & Laura

Today's the day we introduce to you our finalists for our Free Wedding Photography contest!  Yay!  After reading through all of the submissions we have narrowed it down to two lovely couples with wonderful stories to share with you!

To vote for your favorite, please comment below!  Voting will be open until July 27th at 7 p.m!  Good luck to both contestants!  We are really excited about this!


Meet Katharine and Laura!  Here is their story!

Laura and I met in Knoxville, Tennessee, a few months after I returned to the U.S. from teaching English with the Peace Corps in rural Kazakhstan. Neither of us was looking for a serious relationship: I was making plans to move to New York City in January, only two months away, and Laura was applying to graduate-level refugee and forced migration studies programs in the United Kingdom for the coming fall.
We intended to keep things casual, but from our very first date, when we found out our December birthdays were three days apart, our mutual passions were world travel, social justice, and good brunch, and a passing flower-seller gave us a rose just because we seemed like a happy couple, we knew that promise would be hard to keep. Within a month, we were taking trips to bed-and-breakfasts in Asheville, meeting each other’s families, and admitting we had fallen in love, despite all the reasons we knew that we shouldn’t.
            We decided we’d visit each other in the spring, and that Laura would come to live with me in New York for the summer before she left to study at Oxford. I didn’t know it at the time, but Laura already realized how strongly she felt: she wrote me an letter on the day I left Tennessee that she didn’t show me until a hot July night in our Brooklyn apartment, when I told her she was the woman I wanted to marry, afraid even as I spoke the words that I was moving too fast for her. “I’ve loved you since the day I met you,” it read, “and I’ve known I was going to marry you almost from the beginning of things. I can’t imagine my life without you.”
            Though we couldn’t keep ourselves from joking about red velvet wedding cakes and white dress alternatives, we still weren’t officially engaged: it seemed too early, and we hadn’t yet had to deal with an international long-distance relationship, only a domestic one. But when we went to her friend Sarah Moran Nevarez’s wedding in South Carolina a few weeks before Laura left for England, I told her again how serious I was about spending my life with her, and how seeing their amazing ceremony had made me think again about our own.
            The fall was tough for both of us, but it only made us more certain about the future and about how we felt. When Hurricane Sandy hit and I was in stranded in the city, with Laura unable to get to me even if she’d tried, it drove home to both of us how important it was to protect what we had, and to recognize in an official and profound way that we were each other’s family. So a week before Laura was due to come back for Christmas break, I picked out a ring at a downtown jeweler’s: a blue topaz, the birthstone for December, set in a hammered band by a jeweler from Turkey, a country I’d lived in and longed to take Laura to, among the many other countries on our future travel list.
We’d been apart for our anniversary, so as a present, I’d booked us a night at New York’s Library Hotel, where each room is numbered and themed according to the Dewey Decimal system (a perfect set-up for book geeks like us). Among the art and museum books stacked on our room’s shelves, I’d hidden a travel book with a hollowed-out heart in its center and the ring nestled inside. I’d had to do all the crafting and hiding with Laura always close by, and thought she might suspect my plans, but when she flipped the page that concealed the ring and revealed the question—“Will you go around the world with me?”—her eyes grew wide, and it took a few moments before could answer: “Yes!” So we celebrated, in true New York fashion, by ordering late-night delivery food, and enjoyed the free bottle of Prosecco the hotel had provided for our anniversary, with a card hilariously (and presciently) addressed to “Mr. and Mrs. Duckett.”

In April, Laura took me to Paris, where, after a perfect day of café hopping, museum wandering, and gourmet food savoring, she gave me a sapphire ring of my own, and asked if I was still on board for that whole spending-our-lives-together thing (it’s always good to double-check, after all). We’re getting married in September 2014 in Western Massachusetts, where I attended college and where Laura and I took one of our first vacations together. The rolling hills and sleepy towns remind us both of the Appalachian landscape where we grew up, and while we’re still not able to have a legal ceremony in our home state of Tennessee, we’re thrilled that DOMA has been overturned in time for it to have a tangible, immense effect on our new life together. We want to celebrate with friends, family, a beautiful setting, and a day that reflects everything we are to one another, and promise to be long into the future.

99 comments:

  1. Love this. Vote!

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  2. Can't wait to see you guys make your vows! As individuals, you are each inspiring, but as a couple, it remains to be seen how much you will change the world!

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  3. Thank you for sharing - that was a beautiful story, and I hope you love one another for longer than a photo lasts.

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  4. They have my vote for sure!

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  5. I got here by Meg's link on Fb. Loved your story. my vote is for you! :)

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  6. Such a cute story and a cute couple! A vote for my fellow book nerds. :)

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  7. My vote definitely goes to this beautiful couple!

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  8. Love you guys! My vote is here.

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  9. Great story and fabulous proposals! :) Wishing both you a wonderful and happy marriage!

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  10. Fabulous people! Just fabulous!

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  11. What an amazing love story (and an adorable couple)! You've got my vote and best wishes for a lifetime of love, adventure, and abundant joy.

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  12. You amazing ladies have my vote!!!!

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  13. Such a great story; lots of happiness to you both! Vote cast!

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  14. So excited for you!! You make a beautiful couple and I loved reading your story!

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  15. Lovely story. You girls will make the world better together and I am excited about that!

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  16. You're both such amazing people; I have nothing but the best wishes for you and your future together! Congratulations, friends. I'm glad you found each other :)

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  17. You two deserve the most wonderful life together.

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  18. Such a beautiful story.

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  19. Wishing the two of you the best of wedded bliss!

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  20. Love you both so much! Can't wait to see you do wonderful things together!

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  21. To the continuation of Katharine's and Laura's wonderful story!

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  22. Next Sept seems far away, but it will be here before we know it. Exciting!!!

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  23. Laura has been one of my closest friends for years, and I am so excited that she has found a woman as amazing as Katharine to share her life with! They both deserve all the happiness in the world, and you can tell they have it each time they are together.

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  24. So happy for both of you! Laura, your passion and welcoming nature were driving forces for me throughout my time working with you. All the best in the coming year and for your wedding!!!

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  25. Congrats to this happy couple! I know Whitney will capture the memories from your special day beautifully!

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  26. So happy for you guys! You deserve all the best Laura - you've got my vote!

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  27. I love your story :) It's so perfectly you two! I'm so excited for you!

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  28. This is the most adorable thing I've ever read. Good brunch! Laura and Katharine, I love you both.

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  29. You've got my vote! This is the best!

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  30. they've got my vote! love you laura :)

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  31. Vote! You both are beautiful people who bring out the best in each other. Can't wait for the day!

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  32. Vote! Vote! Vote!

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  33. love it. Congrats, you two!

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  34. Amazing story! Love it!

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  35. Beautiful story! Vote!

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  36. You are a beautiful couple and you deserve to have your wedding day captured by a professional photographer. Congratulations and best wishes.

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  37. I hope that the biggest failure of your relationship will forever remain to not have been able to keep things casual, and I'll go back to my sword training ;)
    And of course, I vote for you!

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  38. A wonderful story and an even more wonderful couple. You have my vote!

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  39. What a lovely story, You certainly have my vote!

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  40. Beautiful story, adorable couple. Vote!

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  41. Great story (adventure! travel!) and adorable couple. :D This is my vote.

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  42. Beautiful, fun, quirky, travel-loving, wonderful couple - vote!!

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  43. Love you both! You've got my vote. Good luck!!!!

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  44. You've got my vote!

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  45. Two beautiful ladies! They have my vote!

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  46. Vote Vote Vote! Yay!

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  47. I can personally vouch for how awesome these ladies are. Yay for love!

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  48. Enjoy your life together and be happy

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  49. This has my vote!

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  50. Here's my vote!

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  51. This has my vote!

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  52. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  53. what a sweet story!

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  54. LOVE the proposal with the ring in the book!

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  55. No question--you've got my vote!

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  56. Loved you ladies before I read this, now even more! Vote!

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  57. Love your proposal! Hope to see you both in NYC sometime soon. :) - Sarah Janeski

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  58. Hope you win! Vote for you both!

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  59. Vote vote vote! : )

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  60. Beautiful story - Vote!

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  61. I love this! Vote!

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  62. This is a great plan! I'm excited to be a part of it!

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  63. Oh these ladies are so rad. VOTE!

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  64. Have a wonderful life together. Voting

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  65. What a beautiful story. Wishing you two a lifetime of happiness together. Glad you can legally tie the knot in my home state!

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  66. It would be great to see your photography talents applied to this beautiful couple.

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  67. The best wishes to you both!

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  68. You guys deserve this! So honored to get a shout out in your post, and I know Whitney would do just as amazing of a job on your wedding as she did on mine!

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  69. Good Luck! Vote :)

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  70. What a beautiful story, very fitting for two ladies with shining hearts and brilliant smiles. Hugs to y'all, you have my vote! --KK

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  71. The fact that the initial chapters of this love story were written in homophobic East Tennessee is a minor miracle. The fact that this lovely couple can't celebrate their wedding day in their East Tennessee homeplace is a major travesty. Wishing you well in this contest, but, most of all, in your life together.

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  72. amazing! can't wait to be at your wedding!! And Laura you have to wear a dress, as discussed!!!

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  73. Beautiful sorry! Best wishes, Jenilee Dolder

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