Ben and Brooke are just one of those couples I cannot say enough good things about. From the beginning they've welcomed me like family and treated me like nothing short of a friend. I felt beyond blessed to get to not only photograph their day, but to get to watch them say I Do in front of their closest family and friends at Portland's Abernethy Center last month. If you let me, I'd stay here for an hour talking about just how wonderful these two are, but since I'd like you to actually see their gorgeous wedding at some point, I'll leave you with a piece from The Velveteen Rabbit that Brooke's mother read during the ceremony. I think it sums up how perfectly real Ben + Brooke's make one another. "What is REAL?" asked the Rabbit one day, when they were lying side by side near the nursery fender, before Nana came to tidy the room. "Does it mean having things that buzz inside you and a stick-out handle?"
"Real isn't how you are made," said the Skin Horse. "It's a thing that happens to you. When a child loves you for a long, long time, not just to play with, but REALLY loves you, then you become Real."
"Does it hurt?" asked the Rabbit.
"Sometimes," said the Skin Horse, for he was always truthful. "When you are Real you don't mind being hurt."
"Does it happen all at once, like being wound up," he asked, "or bit by bit?"
"It doesn't happen all at once," said the Skin Horse. "You become. It takes a long time. That's why it doesn't happen often to people who break easily, or have sharp edges, or who have to be carefully kept. Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in the joints and very shabby. But these things don't matter at all, because once you are Real you can't be ugly, except to people who don't understand."
"I suppose you are real?" said the Rabbit. And then he wished he had not said it, for he thought the Skin Horse might be sensitive. But the Skin Horse only smiled.
"The Boy's Uncle made me Real," he said. "That was a great many years ago; but once you are Real you can't become unreal again. It lasts for always."
Oh Brooke, I will forever be incredibly envious of your absolutely stunning, and insanely classy, ring.