Marj Merges Beautiful. Honest. You. {and me}

Meet the Finalists!
This contest was a huge leap of faith for me.  A leap of faith that if I wanted to do something wonderful the Universe would help me achieve my altruistic goal.

And it turns out after some breath-holding on my part that the Universe delivered.  I am so excited today to be able to introduce three amazing couples as my finalists.  Voting is set-up to allow daily voting so come back through April 1st and get your vote(s) counted.

Vote for your favorite couple free polls 

Cynthia and Mark

Cynthia and Mark’s entry was submitted by Cynthia’s daughter, Emily.
Cynthia and Mark deserve to win for a few reasons:

1. My mom and Mark have been together for about 12 years. The didn’t get married sooner for a number of reasons, generally having to do with money. First, I said I didn’t want to claim Mark’s income when I applied for financial aid at Wellesley. Then, it would impact my severely-disabled little sister’s disability income. Then, I don’t know, they got comfortable in their routine, bought a house, and were for all intents and purposes married. Until…

2. A few days before Christmas this last December, Mark had a pretty epic heart attack. Out of nowhere, he collapsed. The EMTs arrived, and struggled with resuscitating him as I held my terrified mother out of the way. At the hospital, an intense emotional situation was made worse by pesky paperwork and legal logistics. Mark and my mom weren’t married, so her hands were tied in the decision making process. She couldn’t sign things, and if — god forbid — things had gone from worse to worser still, the house they owned together wouldn’t be hers. After over a month in the hospital, Mark went home. Still foggy and not yet himself, but alive, mobile, and extremely conscious of his mortality. They discussed marriage, and felt like “why the heck hadn’t we done it before?” Mark was not yet able to handle the big crowd that a typical ceremony would be, so they were married in the Kitsap County Courthouse with me, Mark’s dad, and our neighbor in attendance. We went out to dinner afterward.

3. As Mark continues to recover, they’re finally able to envision a time when we could invite all those near and dear to come together and celebrate this new phase in their lives. Healthier, living life to its fullest, and proud owners of a marriage license. My brother (who also lives in Boston) and I are both able to fly back at the end of July, so that’s when it will be with 60 of their closest friends and family members.  It won’t be your typical wedding — there’ll be no white dress — but there will be plenty of smiling faces and some good food.

4. If we don’t win, left to my own devices we’ll end up with lots of photos like the one attached. Excellent subject; poor execution 🙂

Jen and Michael

My husband and I eloped at the San Diego Courthouse last March, where he is stationed with the Navy.  This summer, just after he gets back from deployment, we are going up to Portland to have a celebration/reception.  It will be the first time our families meet since I’m from the East Coast, and everyone is also excited to welcome him back home.  Winning this photography would be so amazing since we are paying for everything and I am doing all the planning myself.  I told him that if we were going to have an event after the elopement, the *one* important thing to me besides his being there is beautiful, professional photos.  I have three blurry cellphone pictures our witness took, and only one shows my husband’s face.

Katie and Daniel

The story of my fiance I is very sweet. I attended Mount Vernon College in DC – and his cousin (Jessica) was my college mate. After graduation I headed into the Peace Corps. Daniel ended up living in New Haven with Jessica. Why New Haven? Jessica ended up pregnant (and left by the baby daddy) and accepted for grad school at Yale. Jess didn’t think she could have a baby and conquer the Ivy Leagues — and was going to drop out. Daniel packed up his things in Portland and moved east — to raise the baby during the day while Jessica received her Masters from Yale. Yes, he is that awesome, kind, and caring. So over the next ten years Jessica, the match maker, worked as best she could. The timing never worked – even when we were in the same city at the same time. Well in summer of 2010 Jessica decided to have a big party in Miami — invited a few friends, her sisters, me, and Daniel. Well all it took was some fun in the sun, tequila shots, and a hot tub — so began the best most amazing two years of our lives. The one complication? I live in DC and Daniel is in Portland. But thank god for skype and major airline sales — we just get stronger by the day. We have spent hours and miles of flights with visits. Last summer – on his parents 40th wedding anniversary — he popped the question when we were hanging around after an amazing Portland day (coffee, Saturday Market, and Powells). The ring is his Aunt’s mother’s wedding band — she had dark hair and was tough as nails. The ring was a perfect fit – in personality and fit! We are looking forward to the small intimate wedding — some of my Peace Corps friends, his folks, and my Uncle. After the ceremony we’re taking two weeks to drive cross country on a camping adventure. And we can begin life in DC! I would LOVE to have a photographer there — mainly to capture such an intimate moment in our lives together. And to capture the wedding WE wanted! We have spent so much time in the air, on the phone, that the elopement day is just the true beginning of our new life together.

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