Aljo and Luci may never have been.
A few years ago, just a little over a month after they met, Aljo somewhat sheepishly admitted to Luci that he was hoping to go overseas to travel for a while, starting kinda immediately. He obviously cared for her but being a young man getting his first taste of freedom (having come to Australia from New Zealand), traveling and seeing the world was something that was important to him at that stage of his life. I suspect that Luci had a few predictable options – call it quits on their budding relationship or try to talk Aljo out of it. But Luci being Luci, she went for the option made with her heart – one of dropping everything to go with him. That’s how it all started, their international adventure after having been together for just 1 month.
Things could have gone terribly sour, you know that thing about never working/traveling/living with your friends unless you want to hate them. But that wasn’t the case for these two, they spent every moment of their travels together, fell more in love and knew that Melbourne would be home one day. And they also knew that a life together would be what they returned to, forever more.
I don’t believe in fate or destiny – it’s not particularly romantic I must admit, but being a science type, I prefer to think of coincidences and probabilities. Rebecca and Mikael are a couple who fought the fight against probability and won.
Kristen and I often meet people who tell us stories about complicated relationships – the person they want to be with lives in a different city or they’ve got a job which takes them away frequently. There is something that basically makes a relationship difficult, there’s something in the way. But my experience in documenting the weddings of couples who had improbable meetings or challenges in staying together means that I always feel optimistic about the potential of love anywhere, and at any time. It’s that old cliche, love will find a way. I think that the the truth is that us human beings live in this hugely connected world yet sometimes, we are completely alone. But every now and then, there’s a moment where improbable things happen and we end up getting a glimpse of the perfect person that you can imagine being with forever. The come into our lives fleetingly and sometimes for couples like Kristen and I, things just make sense and they’re easy. But for others, it’s a challenge. Some give up and think “this is all just too hard” and then there’s people like Rebecca and Mikael who fight like hell and make it work.
Mikael grew up on a farm in a small town on the north western coast of Denmark. Rebecca on the other hand, grew up about 1km down the road from me, we used to catch the school bus home together. And all those years ago, as we briefly chatted during our walk along the road towards our respective homes, I would never have been able to predict that she’d train to be a teacher and move to a small country town in NSW where she would meet a visiting Danish boy at a rugby game. So many things had to come together for that to happen and this improbable circumstance in their lives changed the course of the rest of it.
Rebecca and Mikael fell in love and realised that it was a life together they wanted. They loved the country but being close to their families, it required courage. It was a brave decision that Mikael made to permanently stay in Australia to be with Rebecca and a brave deicison for Rebecca to stay in the country to be able to support Mikael in his work. These are the sacrifices that they made and the tears that you see during Mikael’s speech are from the memories of his decision to leave everyone he loved back in Denmark. But everyone he loved dearly was there at their wedding at an off-the-grid pottery centre about 25km down the road from the small NSW town of Coonabarabran. About 20 in all traveled nearly half way across the world to celebrate the improbable love of Rebecca and Mikael. Mikael’s father only had a cursory knowledge of English but by the day of the wedding, he and Beck’s dad were as thick as thieves, giggling away like schoolgirls in the corner at shared jokes. And the families and friends came together, I even received an invitation to visit one of Mikael’s friends in Denmark and to stay with his family, something that I hope to take up one day.
But this is the beauty of love I think – it may sometimes only offer us a small glimpse of what could be and if we are brave enough to reach out and grab it, we can be rewarded for the remainder of our lives. It’s not necessarily a reward just for us, but each and every person around us too – I just so happened to be fortunate enough to be the one photographer out of thousands that Rebecca and Mikael could have chosen, and I got to share in it too.
Somehow, love always has a way. I keep thinking that I seem to end up all over the earth photographing weddings for couples who have the most unlikely ways of meeting and strange ways of staying together. And sometimes, I even photograph weddings which are pretty much strung together at the last minute. But these two amazing women figured it out and made it all work – their hard work, resourcefulness and pure grit brought it all together. They inspired me and it’s honestly an honour to photograph couples whose love for each other can surpass anything that gets in their way.
Fontaine and Nicola, aka Fonze and Pickle had planned on having their wedding at a well known wedding venue on the outskirts of Melbourne. But due to some legal issues with the venue’s license, just around 6 weeks out from their wedding day, they were forced to change their plans. They hunted all over Melbourne to find something that would have the right kind of vibe for them but alas, nothing worked, everything was booked out. But in the end, they found the most perfect venue, one which literally, would make them feel at home. The backyard of the house which they’d just bought a few months earlier, was the perfect fit.
And so, their love, had a way to flourish and to celebrate again. And holy moly, didn’t they celebrate.
This wedding appeared in Hello May magazine #5, hop on over to buy your copy.