I met Michael in 4th or 5th grade. We’ve been friends ever since. We rode the same school bus. With Ian and Josh we’d play hours-long Monopoly games after school. He’d drive us to the “secret Subway” on our lunch hour. I started dating Nathaniel in high school, and since then Michael has been our best mutual friend. In college, Nat and I went to visit Michael at his dad’s farm in Kansas. We loved it so much there and had such a good time; I’m sure the experience contributed to our excitement for moving to Kansas a year later. For three years we lived about an hour apart in Kansas, getting together a few times. And he’s been to visit us here in Oregon twice. I really treasure this decades-long friendship.
Michael and Jess started dating before the pandemic and got engaged during. I was so honored when Michael asked me to photograph their wedding. For months of COVID, it was something Nat and I looked forward to as our first trip since everything shut down. We got fully vaccinated in May and we booked our flights in June, when everything was looking so good. Of course, things changed. In fact, we backed out of the Disney World portion of our trip that we planned to do with Nat’s parents after the wedding. Even though the COVID situation was still scary, we got on a plane to Manhattan, KS and were stoked to see our friend get married.
The wedding was Saturday, September 25, at the Flint Hills Discovery Center. The ceremony was on the Prairie Garden Terrace, in the bright Kansas sun, and the reception was on the first floor (masks were required inside except when eating). It was after hours, and we had full access to the museum, which was super fun. I loved how many kids were at this wedding. I loved getting to see Michael’s family that I knew and getting to meet Michael and Jess’s wonderful friends. They seem so truly well supported as they start their life together, and I’m just so happy for them both. Can’t wait to see them in the PNW hopefully sometime soon!