Maria and I had been messaging each other over a year ago about fitness. Maria and I went to school together in Victoria. I can't really remember exactly what started the conversation but we were both trying to get fit and healthier. She said she was going to go down to Colorado for a fitness camp and at one point asked if I wanted to go. Me, being the cautious tip toe type of gal I am, wasn't sure about it all (boy did I ever miss out, Maria lost weight and looks amazing and totally changed her way of thinking regarding health & fitness.... me on the other hand... still slowly working on it). Maria went and 'whabam' met the love of her life - insert Bill. Not only that but also had a total transformation body and mind that has changed her into a healthy woman. With that came the strength to face and change what was holding her back from her new healthy lifestyle and well being.
Maria contacted me earlier in the year and said "I want you to do it". Go to Maui to photograph their one year anniversary and have photographer eye candy everywhere including a fabulous couple and amazing sights - um, yes, please!
Me = super excited.
Step 2. figure out legal logistics of working in Maui.
Step 3. Hire an attorney to seek out a work visa.
Step 4. Tell Maria & Bill there is no way I can legally work in the states and cry softly into my cuddled pillow because I just want to see the world and capture it on my camera (insert copious whining about government work systems here, thank goodness I'm marrying an American and this will eventually not matter - yay!).
So my heart sank, Maria and I had been conversing for weeks while I looked into the legalities again for shooting (paid) in the U.S. and I was so utterly saddened. Not only because I wouldn't have a chance to go to Maui (heck, yeah beaches!) but because I love photographing in new places and Hawaii is top of the list as far as one of my favourite places goes. And so it comes, the night I'd be writing Maria and apology email stating it wouldn't work out because of a work visa but told her we would still love to attend but we couldn't be her official photographers only guests. And with their generosity we had the pleasure to still attend Bill & Maria's One Year Anniversary in Maui! Thank you both so very much for your kindness while we were there. These two truly are not only in love but a generous, caring couple and are so incredibly considerate of others. Maria and Bill work everyday with countless individuals seeking to change their lives to become healthy. They're truly miracle workers at their Transformation Camp in Colorado. We loved hearing about all the stories from their friends who attended the camps and how it has changed their lives.
We wish it would have worked out to simply have had a chance to play with Maria and Bill in front of the camera and explore Maui with them - but alas these two had a very busy schedule with all the out of town'ers and family around. Maria did ask me in the morning of the anniversary if it wouldn't be too much trouble to just snap a few photos of it all. And really, we're in Maui - how could I ever say no!?! It's a photographers dream. Now, with the most restraint we did our best not to interfere with their fabulous hired photographer Jessica Photography. She was a total sweetheart. We took a few photos of the night, the reception, and well we got all dressed up - we need to account for it, perfect time for a couple photographs of each other. We only snapped a few (below) and left the rest to the hired pro's. Now being on the flip side of being guest, not taking photos was RIDICULOUSLY HARD - please see all the beautiful eye candy of decor below. I was stoked when Maria asked us if it wouldn't be too much trouble to still just take a couple photographs even though we were just guests. For one thing, I sure needed to document Verlon in a tux. How often does that happen!?
Afterwards, we watched as everyone was gathered while Maria & Bill had photographs taken by Jessica. She did a fantastic job. I was so incredibly envious the whole time. I was dying inside to pose them and steal them away for a session.
My handsome man as we walked around the reception.
Loved wearing the flower leis from the party and being all dolled up for it.
The Hawaiian dancers were so incredibly talented. It was such an event to watch them dance. Even some fearless guests went and danced with them. I, myself, am way too shy for it.
After Maria & Bill made their entrance -- she gave me the wave and I just loved this shot. I hadn't seen Maria since we graduated from High School and random encounters while I visited Victoria. I was truly excited to see her too. I giggle when I see the photo below because I was just smiling and waving from behind the camera.
Verlon couldn't resist stealing the camera and getting a few evening/sunset photos - see if you can find me (hint white couch).
I had never seen fire dancers. Wow - talent. These gentlemen were incredibly talented! It was so amazing to watch them perform and do tricks with the fire, at one point even shaking another guests hand while it was on fire.
Bill talked about this beautiful young intelligent woman he had met and how she stole his heart. He spoke of how beautiful her soul is and how it's change him, how she's saved his life. While Maria's speech was a total tear jerker. She said the last year had truly been the most amazing year of her life as tears rolled down her cheek. It was hard not to be moved by her honesty and vulnerability in that moment sharing something so very personal with all of us. She looked into his eyes so sincere as she told him she loved him and he's changed her life.
I had a chance during the reception while Maria was greeting family to ask Bill - what was it about Maria that stole his heart the year prior, and he simply replied with "She's The One". I absolutely loved it. It was the perfect answer and the way he said it with such conviction. He told me he believed things happen for a reason and that the events that occurred for these two to meet were meant to be.
And I truly believe it. These two are a fantastic fit for one another - they're meant to be, and the universe made it happen regardless of distance.
Yup, that's the ladies doing the Charlie's Angels attitude pose, hello high school. Verlon chuckled as he took a photo of us being silly girls. I still like it.
Big thanks to Jessica their photographer who was a sweetheart the whole night and getting fabulous canids of all of us (can't wait to share them!!).
Well with that, it concludes our fantastic night in beautiful Maui at the Grand Wailea for Bill & Maria's Anniversary! A huge congratulations to Maria & Bill and a major thank you to them for having us there. We truly enjoyed ourselves and loved seeing both of you! God Bless!