This is Erika and Peter, and they made my job really easy. And fun. And easy. I would like to take all kinds of credit for these genuine smiles and bursts of laughter (really, I would), but those were simply the result of this couple standing next to one another. It was love at it’s finest.
Erika and Peter, thank you for making time for these photos. I know your visit was short, and I felt so blessed to spend some of it with you in the Hills, laughing and walking through yellow leaves. I can only imagine the fun we’ll have on your wedding day! Enjoy a few of my favorites! —js
Erika, what is your favorite thing about Peter?
Wow, how do you narrow down an answer to this question? Peter is kind, loving, dedicated, talented, fun, and so many other things. I think my absolute favorite thing about him is his loyalty. We have been friends for years and long before we dated, he had already been one of my most loyal and supportive friends. He knew everything about me, things only a handful of people knew, and he still treated me as a great friend, like I was worth something. My other favorite part of Peter is his character. Because I knew him for so many years before we started dating, I have never once questioned that he is of upstanding character. I never have to doubt him or his intentions. I never have to worry that when he says something, he means it.
You knew you would marry him when…
I don’t think there is a specific moment that I suddenly knew. When Peter first told me he liked me, I knew he was saying he loved me and that he wanted me by his side forever. We both valued our friendship of 5 years so much that he would not risk telling me about his feelings unless he was in it for the long haul. The funny thing is that this should have terrified me. I had grown protective of my heart and tended to bolt when confronted by a life commitment. But I didn’t bolt. I was relieved, scared, and excited because him making this proclamation raised up a feeling in me I didn’t know I had for Peter. I loved him too, not just as a dear friend but with a romantic love I wasn’t even fully aware of yet. We both fell in love gradually, deeply, and before I was even conscious of it.
Peter, what is your favorite thing about Erika?
My favorite thing about Erika is the fact that there is no one thing to single out as “best.” She is kind, considerate, selfless, gentle, friendly, smart, beautiful, and the list goes on and on, so here are three that stand out:
She is so giving. She has a heart for those that are worse off than her in a capacity that is more than just sympathy. She goes out of her way to comfort and help people that are hurting whether it be physically or emotionally. She worked as an RA on her wing at school her Junior year, and I cannot begin to describe how much effort she put in to making those girls feel welcome and cared for.
She is so full of joy and her smile is contagious. She is one of the funniest people I know and she loves to make people smile and laugh. Our senses of humor are completely in sync too, which is great, because I love to make her laugh and its a lot easier since she thinks I’m funny too.
She is incredibly strong. She won’t let anything come between her and the ones she cares about. She has gone through things that I would never want to go through and comes out even stronger for it. Her will is unbreakable and her loyalty is unshakable.
You knew you’d marry her when….
Erika and I knew each other back in high school and were friends, but didn’t start dating till the middle of college. She and I bonded the summer before she left for college and that’s when I can say she was my closest friend. This friendship continued to grow and grow. We had some ups and downs but I never wanted to lose this girl that accepted me, thought highly of me, and knew me for who I was. I was content to just let things right convinced that nothing would change, but one day I realized that we will go our separate ways: the chances of our future careers being in the same city were pretty low. I had to think long and hard about why the thought of losing this friend to the course of life hit me so hard. I like to think that I have an at least average intellect, but I couldn’t for the life of me understand what Erika meant to me. And then it hit me; I love her. The more I thought of it, the more I was convinced of it. Yet I feared the idea of losing her so much I held out on telling her. Finally, the pressure was too much for me to handle and confessed my feelings for her (mind you, in a such a way that a hippo or sea lion could have done a better job). After all my scattered thoughts and all my stumbling over words, she told me she felt the same way.
It was beautiful. It felt like I had finally seen the sun after an eternal, gray winter, or a cool breeze enveloping me on a hot day. I had never felt that before. In that moment, I knew that I would do anything and everything to have the opportunity to kneel before her and ask her to marry me.