Real Couples // Creative Expression & Magic: Karin + Joe

As Joe's and my lips met for the first time in the middle of the most magical and dusty place called Burning Man, we knew we had found something very unique in each other. Our hearts recognized their equal, and our minds were intrigued by our compassion for our kids, family, community and Mother Earth. Our hearts filled with deep conversations about living simply and experiencing everything! The universe conspired for us and less than a year later, my son, Trent, and I moved up to Bend, Oregon to move in with Joe, his kids, Josiah, Faith, and Grace, his parents, and Nana. Joe, the creative artist and builder that he his, had recently found a 1959 International Harvester School Bus, gutted her and created a Gypsy palace for him and me to live in on his parents' property. We named her Primrose. Älska Art (Love Art in Swedish), is our business, filled with Joe’s unique one-of-a-kind jewelry, sculptures, and circus/fire props that allow us to work together and travel to events.

From day one planning our wedding, we decided it would be without creating debt and wouldn't conform to "traditions" we don't believe in while fully expressing who we are individually and as a couple. What was important to us? Time and location: Summer Lake Hot Springs is a second home to us, with no specific capacity due to endless camping, cabins, and RVs allowing us to enjoy everyone for a long weekend celebration. Community collaboration: instead of physical gifts, we asked that anyone who felt called offer some kind of personal creative expression! We had aerial arts performers, DJs, chanting, a burlesque show, singing, belly dancing, impromptu acting performances, and so much more! Photography: when we met Maria F. Bay at CasaBay Photography, we instantly knew we had found the photographer that would celebrate our uniqueness, capturing our celebration how we felt, and moments we would treasure looking back on forever. Sound: dancing heals the soul and brings crowds together while smiling to the same beat. This is where we spent the most, and oh how it was worth it. Our wedding was the wedding where everyone danced until they couldn’t dance anymore! What to wear: finding creatively expressive and unique clothes for men is hard, so we decided to get Joe’s made by our creative friends at Feathers by Phoenix, while I found my dream dress at a secondhand store for $35! The most important thing I wore during the ceremony was the moon stone chain on my forehead that Joe created for me and the rings he made us out of the same piece of steel.

Our ceremony started with me kicking off my shoes, then Joe kicking off his at the alter, and me then skipping down the aisle to Rising Appalachia’s song "An Invitation" right into his arms. Our sweet priestess friend, Shalamar, spoke our vows through a beautiful ceremony filled with laughter and tears, honoring our grandmothers and grandfathers who led us to this moment. By opening our hearts so fully, it invited others to open theirs; a year later we still see the ripple effects of our family and friends meeting at our wedding and how they took that magic with them. This is what we chose to create for our magical special day: something that was bigger and would sprinkle its magic way into the future. 

Photos by Maria F. Bay. Words by Karin.


Award winning and internationally published photographer Maria F. Bay has lived and worked in England, Brazil, Peru, US, China, and Ukraine. She has a passion for photographing people and has been a full-time photographer for 6 years, working for magazines around the world and operating her own studio CasaBay Photography.  She now lives and works as a portrait and wedding photographer in Bend, OR.