Three years ago, I walked down the aisle at Centerville Christian Fellowship to the introduction of this song by Need to Breathe and promised to live the rest of my life alongside the handsome blonde guy winking at me from the altar. Since that day, our lives have grown and transformed in ways we never thought possible and hadn’t even considered on the day we said “I do.” Some things have stayed the same, like the fact that we still eat fajitas at least once a week and I still can’t get Josh to drink coffee. But beyond that, things look pretty different.
To celebrate our third anniversary, I want to tell you a little bit about us, and how our life has changed since 2013! When we were first married, we lived in a tiny, creaky rental home in Springfield, Illinois. We had a galley kitchen with a non-functioning dishwasher and no garbage disposal, and I was afraid to go down to our basement alone. Unfortunately, the washer and dryer were in the basement, so laundry only happened during daylight hours. About two months into our marriage adventure, we added a cute cuddly puppy to the mix, and would spend hours on the couch watching Netflix and watching her play (that part hasn’t changed). Josh worked at a local church- his first job out of college- and I worked check-in at a hospital with dreams of becoming a dietitian. We were happy, but we weren’t quite settled. We just couldn’t help but feel that new adventure lay ahead.
Today, our lives look markedly different and I can only imagine the additional changes that will happen in the next three years. On the surface, it’s obvious. Josh has a new haircut (RIP tall pointy spikes), and I have a new hair color (goodbye blonde!). We live in a new city that we absolutely love and have been here already for two and a half years. Somehow we ended up with another dog (I’m still scratching my head on that one), and we bought a house that has a garbage disposal, a dishwasher, and a basement that doesn’t look like a murderer just might be taking up residence in the corner. Josh still works in worship ministry, and he recently started working towards a Master’s degree from Southern seminary. However, the biggest change in our lives is the entire reason you’re reading this right now– our businesses!
On our wedding day, if you had asked me if I would be a full-time wedding photographer three years down the road, I probably would have laughed and said, “That would be nice! I’ve never really thought about it!” I hadn’t. I don’t think the thought had ever crossed my mind of becoming a professional photographer; I just knew I liked taking pictures, but with the biology degree I had just earned, photography never entered my mind as a career path. But today, not only do we run one wedding industry business, but two! Josh’s DJ company, Josh Staley Productions, started as a way to pay for some sound equipment, but grew more quickly than we ever imagined it could into something we never anticipated. We have four DJs that work for us and guess what– we both love the wedding industry! As a husband and wife team, there’s nothing more special than for us to work with couples as they say I do and become their own husband and wife team. We have the ability to honestly tell our couples that we’ve been there! We know what you’re going through, we know what you’re looking for, and our ultimate goal is to make your wedding day as stress-free and enjoyable as possible. When we look back at our wedding day, we remember some things we would have changed… and since we’ve already made those mistakes, we love to educate couples so they don’t head down that same road! Seeing the spark of love that a bride and groom have toward each other remind us of how we felt three years ago, and we get to re-live our own wedding day every weekend.
Working with Josh for three years as a wife, supporter, business partner, and ministry partner have allowed me to see and appreciate his strengths more than I ever did when we were dating or engaged. Josh is a strong person in every capacity- physically, mentally, and spiritually- and he has taught me so much about how to push forward through tough and taxing situations. He is dependable; if he says he’s going to get something done, it gets done. He’s also a realist, a trait that compliments my eternal optimism well. Josh has taught me to say no when I’ve taken on too much, to forgive myself if I don’t get every done on my seven page to-do list, and to stop what I’m doing to sleep or eat (because sometimes I get so wrapped up in what I’m doing that I forget). He takes care of me, he is gentle with me, yet still prods me to be a better person in every regard. Sure, we have our days where we don’t get along, and we do things that the other person can’t understand. (The latter happens quite often, especially because our personalities are literally the exact opposite. Really, we’ve taken tests about it.) But his strengths compliment my weaknesses, and vice verse. I can always count on him when it counts, and even often when it doesn’t (like earlier today when I asked him to get me a glass of water because I didn’t feel like getting off the couch. He did.). He’s the perfect guy for me, and I’m so glad I married him! I can’t wait to see what new adventure we’ll embark on in the next several years.