Real Couples // Second Weddings, Merging Families, and Coparenting: Karen + Andy

Real Couples // Second Weddings, Merging Families, and Coparenting: Karen + Andy

Andy and Karen have been through the ringer in love. They thought they both had something but both ended in divorce. What Andy thought was love was simply going through the motions. What Karen thought was love was a different kind of love. These were both hard times, yet they have healed and learned and have become stronger.

And through this, they have discovered new depths. New uncharted continents. Andy has learned to love and take care of himself. Karen has discovered new power in herself and loves Nick as a friend and co-parent. I think you both have discovered love in its fullness and depth. A greater depth and rooting....A love that won’t dissolve and fall once the season changes. Your roots are entwined and you are one tree, not two.

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Real Families // 5 Siblings from 3 Family Units Connect as Adults

Real Families // 5 Siblings from 3 Family Units Connect as Adults

Columbus photographer Rachel Joy Barehl opened her email and found this unique request:

Hi Rachel! 

Just to give a little back story, I grew up with my little brother Taryn and didn't know I had sisters until I was 18. All of us girls share the same father and Taryn and I share the same mother. Over the past 6/7 years, the five of us have become pretty close! My older sister and I have grown to be best friends and have been living together for the past 2 years. The five of us have really become a family with or own unique traditions as siblings. I really wanted to have a shoot where we can celebrate the unconditional love for our unconventional family! But, there are also three amazing, strong women who brought us together, OUR MOMS! Our moms have been so supportive of us finding each other and bulilding relationships together. So, we also want this shoot to be a gift to them as a thank you! We are looking for group shots, single shots, and some paired off.

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Real Couples // A Family Affair: Toni + Amy

Real Couples // A Family Affair: Toni + Amy

These brides wanted to spend a night with their closest humans...despite the fact that some of the most important people in their lives didn't approve or show up at the wedding because of the fact that the couple is gay. Toni, our black bride, was married to a white man, and her family was fine with that. But after she divorced, she later fell in love with Amy, and it has caused a rift in her relationship with her parents. Despite this, the couple stayed true to themselves and celebrated the love that they KNOW is right for them.

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Real Families // Courageous Love: Chardee

Real Families // Courageous Love: Chardee

I greatly underestimated the journey to motherhood. I had nine months to change my mentality and to become the woman and mother I have always dreamt I'd be. I've learned more about myself in these past months than I have in my 28 years on earth. I wanted my maternity session to reflect that growth. My journey hasn’t been easy to say the least, but I have and will continue to overcome all obstacles in my way. At the time of my session, I felt confident in my new role of Mommy-to-be. Megan and Garrett were spot-on with a location that would reflect this change. Mansions are beautiful and known to  symbolize wealth. I found beauty in my transition from independent young woman to highly-favored young mother. I have now become rich—rich in knowledge, strength, and unconditional love for another. Like a mansion, the home for me and my daughter, Ava, will be built brick by brick on a solid foundation of faith. I’m so thankful that I have pictures that truly depict the woman I have now become and the mother that I know I will be. 

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Real Couples // Rooftop Cree Wedding: Onowa + Paul

Real Couples // Rooftop Cree Wedding: Onowa + Paul

Their wedding was not just centered on Onowa and Paul's love for each other, but on their love of each other's family, friends, and community. Their wedding started with a Cree smudging ceremony and a beautiful musical performance, followed by promises made to each other, and an exchanging of rings. Onowa, Paul, and Onowa's youngest daughters then shared what they were each bringing to the marriage, which brought looks of tenderness as well as lots of laughter. Both Onowa and Paul wore items that reflected their cultures; Onowa wore a beaded hair piece with her veil, and Paul wore a traditional Maori necklace and tie with Maori designs.

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Real Families // A Long Awaited Love: Roxann + Trey + Lark

Real Families // A Long Awaited Love: Roxann + Trey + Lark

Roxann and Trey have traveled in the same orbit since they were 18 years old, their lives circling around each other and convening at certain points. When tragedy struck they got closer, but it just was not the right time yet. Through relationship after relationship, they stayed in each other's orbit being that shoulder for each other but declaring nothing because the orbit was just not perfect. After a decade of love, support, and caring it all finally clicked, and they knew the other was their person. Seeing them together, it's obvious that even though it took a while to get to this point, it was the exact perfect point for them both. They are already a family, and their wedding in June of this year will just solidify what was known by all.

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Real Couples // Island Elopement With Loved Ones: Anya + Arlo

Real Couples // Island Elopement With Loved Ones: Anya + Arlo

And then they got married. I will never forget Anya standing on the beach with her Dad, while Arlo was so overcome with emotion that he stood there and spoke loudly and with so much conviction, telling Anya how much he loved her. He was proclaiming his love for her through tears, to her and to their families and to the sea that surrounded them...and this was before the wedding had even begun, so you can only imagine how emotional the actual ceremony was.

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Real Families // Overcoming Adversity Together: Taylor + Shealynn + Cassidy

Real Families // Overcoming Adversity Together: Taylor + Shealynn + Cassidy

We got married at the courthouse, and most of it was a fantastic experience except for the man who officiated our marriage. He made it clear that he thought a marriage between two women was absurd. He did not allow us to say vows, kiss, put our rings on each other, not to mention he officiated for us right in front of the front doors of the court house. As hurtful and maddening as that was, my wife and I decided to not let it bother us. We decided that the important thing was that we were married and could celebrate our love for the rest of our lives. Our daughter, Cassidy is a beautiful, clever, hilarious child. We are in the long process of trying to get legal custody of her. We are so happy to have the privilege of loving each other and getting to provide a safe, stable home for a very deserving little girl.

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