If you have never been, Ireland is one of the most magical countries in the world. The lush country side is full of history, whimsy and wonder. There is no better place to travel with your spouse and espcially to celebrate your 20th wedding anniversary. When Jim and Jennifer contacted me to capture their anniversary session during their travels I was extatic! It is strange how a place you have never lived can feel so much like home; Ireland is one of those places for me, a home away from home. When Kyle and I celebrated our 1 year wedding anniversary and honeymoon in Dublin and various other small towns across the Irish country it was like being in a story book. I knew this session would be something special, we started our shoot at the old Abbey in Quinn where last year I taught a photography workshop in April. After dodging cow pies and exploring the ruins we drove down to the Cliffs of Moher and spent the evening shooting over the cliff side. We hoped for a sunset but with this dark clouds overhead we ended up with some stunning sun dappled cloudy skies instead.

Jim and I were married right after college on June 12, 1999. We were wanting to go on a grand adventure for our 20 year wedding anniversary, a new location to make memories and enjoy together. Having family originally from Galway, Ireland, I was really interested in touring the country and Jim wanted to go try the beer and drive on the other side of the road so it was a win/win! The driving alone was an adventure all by itself, we both took turns driving the manual car (yes, I said manual), working our way through the round abouts, small roads and one way streets. We mapped out specific areas we wanted to check out and tour along the way from Dublin to Killarney over to Galway and then to Ballybunion and back to Dublin, it was a crazy road trip and a great way to tour the country. We loved all of the history that Ireland had to offer, the castles, churches, abbey’s, tombstones and their music! The countryside and small town feel of Ballybunion was beautiful, the cliff walk was one of my favorite locations other than the Cliffs of Mohr. Most of the locals were in awe of our daily drives as we headed to new destinations 2-3 hours away from each other. Having our memories of the trip captured by Sadi was the perfect anniversary gift to each other. It will be a gift we will forever treasure. Marriage is hard and it gets messy when you add in kids, work, pets, bills, etc. It takes a lot of work to “live happily ever after”, and some days are not always happy.

Sadi asked me to write about our best marriage advice, I’m not sure if there’s any one secret that works for all marriages. I know for me, it’s the choice to stay married and not quit, not give up on the person or the relationship we created for over 20 years. It’s acknowledging all that we’ve accomplished together, 3 homes moved in and out of, 3 children, multiple jobs, cars and pets along the way. Being proud of the struggles we’ve overcome and ones we will face together in years to come. So I guess my advice would be to not give up, there is much to be proud of and to learn from the years of growing old together…..even on the days you don’t like each other, the love is what prevails (Love Never Fails, 1 Corinthians 13:8).

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