Ruth & Ryan // Philadelphia, PA

In 2015, I learned so much about relationships and the value of connection. This year we really honed in on emphasizing every interaction with each couple before the wedding day, because the more time we got to spend with each couple, the more intricacies we picked up on to be able to tell a better story. We thought we were onto something, but sometimes situations arise where that just isn't possible. I had only talked to Ruth and Ryan over the phone once or twice because their wedding date was only a few months away and I was anxious that we hadn't had any personal interaction up until that point. But all my anxiety evaporated in an instant the moment I stepped off of the airplane. Imagine me walking through baggage claim only to be greeted by Ruth's mother, father and aunt with wide open arms and huge smiles. I felt like a guest attending the small intimate wedding of Ruth and Ryan and that point was driven home, when we jumped in the car to head to the house only to then be joined by all of Ruth's cousins as well. If that car ride didn't put me at ease with their jovial spirits and big hearts, by the time they had gotten me to the house and fed me an exquisite lunch, I most certainly felt like a part of their family. They put such an emphasis on being surrounded by love ones and somehow, some way, they lumped me right into the mix.

Everything about their weekend was a celebration, a celebration of family, culture, and love. Ruth comes from a Nigerian family. They started with an traditional African asking/giving away ceremony. It was a combination of the traditional "introduction" where the families first meet and the traditional wedding. It was such a cool experience to be a part of others culture. The next day was a more western ceremony but that was still very unique to them and their family. They finished with a small dinner at one of their favorite restaurants.

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As the weekend came to a close, and I boarded that very same airplane headed back to the Carolinas, I knew I had witnessed something truly special. But even more than that, I knew I had become a part of something special, and those stories will always be my favorite to tell.