From the Photographer:
Lauren and Dan’s wedding venue was one of the finest luxury hotels in North America, the Hotel Del Monte, a total hidden gem, now occupies the present Naval Postgraduate School. You would never have imagined there was a real life secret garden hidden just behind these military walls! With her lavish red hair and piercing brown eyes, Lauren was one of the most stunning brides we’ve ever laid eyes on! Dan, dressed to the nines in his military formals, had a grin ear to ear, not being able to take his eyes off his blushing bride. The steps and pillars of Herman Hall made their way to huge wooden doorways, green gardens stretched as long as the eyes could see, and a prominent flag pole standing tall, proudly waving the United States and Naval flags. Once it was time, we led Lauren to the rose garden, where we had Dan tucked away. These two shared the most heartfelt first look, then hand in hand, we walked the venue grounds, capturing their love story that would be told for generations. White chairs lined with olive branches lay across the Peacock Lawn. As guests entered the grand ballroom, they were in awe. Cathedral ceilings, windows and doors nearly just as tall. The room was lined with antique chandeliers, curtains drawn by nautical ropes, and gorgeous hand-painted Spanish wall tiles made for a beautiful sweetheart table backdrop.
From the Groom:
It's still somewhat odd to me that the genesis of this relationship was through a Facebook messenger and three scheming middle-aged women in Silicon Valley. My Aunt had been imploring me to get in touch with a single girl she thought would be great for me. I think the selling point was, "Well, she likes books." I braved the unknown and sent my first Facebook message in her direction. I think the three conspirators had let her know it was going to happen. The initial messages were friendly and an effort to sort of figure each other out (i.e., make sure I was not a predator). And then the messages grew in length and in frequency. For all the times I had dismissed and cackled at people with their faces pressed into their phones ignoring the rest of the world and this temporary experience of existence, I now understood why. There was nothing more vexing and saddening than knowing that as I boarded the plane to go to Afghanistan, that I would be without her words, even for only a few hours. That's when I knew I had something special. The thousands of phone calls, Skype conversations, and emails have been our modern exchange of romantic sentiments. In this case, it was Mark Zuckerberg as our postmaster.
From the Bride:
In this day and age, most of my friends have met their future spouses through work, school, or the perilous world of online dating. I never would have guessed that I would meet my life partner through a good, old-fashioned, arranged marriage! I remember a few weeks over the summer of 2015 when my mother and our neighbor and close friend, kept gushing about how I "needed" to meet her nephew. Apparently our mothers and aunts had discovered that Daniel and I were both single and of marriageable age, and the scheming began. My first introduction to the idea came from my mother, with the enthusiastic endorsement, "He reads books! You read books! It's perfect!" I was somewhat unconvinced. Dan was hearing what I assume to be a similar sales pitch, and after some coaxing we agreed to an introduction. We both knew going in that Dan would be deploying to Afghanistan in about a month, so we both anticipated a short but polite conversation, and perhaps a vague promise of a drink when he returned to the states in 2016. What we did not expect, however, was to hit it off so immediately. In all her talk about books, my mom had neglected to mention that Dan is incredibly handsome and alarmingly funny. A few traded text messages quickly became hours on the phone and the development of a rather troublesome crush. By the time Dan got to the airport, bound for Afghanistan, I was hooked. I knew that this man was going to be in my life, and possibly my future. Before the final boarding call, he told me he was done looking. And I knew then that I was done too.