Before the story starts, I would like to give fair warning to those of you who may be triggered by mention of two topics: death and miscarriage. Courtney and Jake have been through more in their time together than most go through in decades, but each challenge they have faced has brought them to where they are today. For this reason, they chose to include the details of their story that aren’t all sunshine and roses. This is real life.
Courtney is a nurse and Jake is a police officer. One night, Courtney was pulled down for a shift in the ER. According to her own account of this night, she is not a huge fan of working in the ER, so, as you can imagine, she wasn’t in the best mood. Jake, standing in the lobby in his uniform, noticed her through a doorway – that was it. Despite her being in her scrubs and with a mask over her face, he made multiple attempts to get her attention, until she finally realized that it was her he was waving at. Courtney says that the first thing she noticed about Jake was his smile.
“I know that sounds really corny and cliche, but when he flashed a smile at me that night at work when we met, I knew I had to see him again.”
With help from co-workers, they got in touch with one another, and so began their relationship.
Jake says that it was in the hardships that he found love with Courtney:
“…I knew Courtney was the person I would marry. I had thoughts prior, but I was sure through one of the more traumatic times in my life: the murder of my friend and fellow officer. I kept it together on scene, but at home and in her arms, the heavy rough exterior molded by my life trauma and uniform melted away. At times we can feel hollow. In this time we shared together, which was followed by our miscarriage, we bonded. We kept each other strong; not ourselves, but each other. I can’t imagine being able to go through what we have gone through without each other.
After the incident, I took some time off for us to heal. I brought her on hikes and we visited loved ones. I began watching proposal videos and ideas, none of which I went with. Before I knew it, we were pregnant again. I did not want the marriage to be confused as a cliche or belief that we married because of Logan. Logan was conceived in love so was our relationship and marriage.”
It’s true; Courtney and Jake are one of those couples who you look at, and you just think, “Yup – that makes sense. Made for each other.”
While I now only book Saturday weddings for 6-10+ hours, these two were the last couple who were able to reserve me on a Saturday for 3 hours; so we had a phone consultation to work out the details of the short period of time they would need me for. Jake was very involved and happy to discuss it all. The two of them had me on speaker, taking turns with the storytelling. Together, they told me how they met, how they fell in love, and what they wanted their wedding to feel and look like. Even just from a phone call, there was no doubt in my mind how true their bond was, and it was all confirmed in the follow up questionnaire.
“Jake is the most gentle, loving person you will have the pleasure of knowing. He is so patient and kind, and is insanely thoughtful. When we were a few weeks away from having our baby, he went to Walmart one night while I was at work and bought $100 worth of supplies for me to put in my hospital bag—trial size bottles of my favorite shampoo, hair bands, maxi pads, Chapstick, the whole nine yards. On just the second week we were dating, I had a really bad head cold and I was on my way in to work and he met me in the parking lot with a bag that had cough medicine, a ziploc baggie full of lavender bath salt, a few bags of sore throat tea, and cough drops. He is just so thoughtful and loving that I can’t even begin to do it justice. I love how he is always so patient with me, especially when I am struggling with my anxiety. He always says “we are a team and we will get through this together.””
Courtney said she had a feeling that Jake was going to propose when he suddenly was very frugal with his money. He made a budget for himself and started using coupons; these things were apparently very out of character for him. Courtney had planned a night away for the two of them at the end of May, and Jake took the opportunity. It was their first night without their baby, so they went out for some drinks and explored Bar Harbor. Acadia is Courtney’s favorite place on earth, so when Jake suggested they go up to the top of Cadillac Mountain to watch the sun set, she was all for it. They came upon a little field on the mountain that neither of them had ever known of before, and found that it had the perfect view of the sky, which at this point was pink and orange as the sun dropped lower.
“The air was warm, and we just stood there holding hands for a bit. As he went in to hug me, I knew something was up – his heart was beating out of his chest. Just as I went to ask him if he was okay (the nurse in me), he got down on one knee, and read me the most beautiful handwritten note about how he wanted to spend the rest of his life with me. He popped the question and put the ring of my dreams on my finger. How could I ever say no? It was so picture book.”
“It was the perfect temperature in one of the most beautiful places on earth, Cadillac Mountain in Acadia National Park. What better place than there, what better time than at sunset, and with what better person to be with? The woman who gave me my son, fills all my emptiness, and makes me a better man.”
On the day of their wedding, I drove down to the chapel and walked the grounds, searching for spots to shoot portraits following the ceremony. They were getting married at high noon on a beautiful sunny day, the first Saturday in October. There was a slight breeze running through the cedars as their family and friends rolled in, parked, and made their way across the lawn. By the time Courtney and Jake arrived, (separately of course), the driveway was buzzing.
Once Jake had held Logan, greeted the flower girls, and joyfully hugged seemingly every person around him, guests began filtering up the steps to the chapel. Courtney’s younger sister, Katie, had parked her car around the corner, and Courtney sat in the passenger’s seat, waiting patiently for everyone to move up the stairs and out of sight. Finally, she came to meet us, and the bridesmaids prepared her for the ceremony.
Katie sprinted back to her car for the box of flowers while their dad entertained the flower girls, and mom stood holding back tears.
By the time everything was situated for bride and dad to head to the altar, Courtney was just ready to be married.
Jake held Logan in his arms as Courtney and her father made their way up the stone stairs, around the corner, and into the chapel. I’m pretty sure if someone asked Jake in that moment how he was feeling, he would have been speechless. He looked back and forth at his son and his bride as if, in that moment, nothing else in the entire world mattered.
Katie stood by Jake, notes in hand, ready to marry him to her sister. Never have I witnessed an officiant give such a heartfelt ceremony. It only makes sense, as Katie and Courtney are sisters, but seriously… It was beautiful. Katie paid tribute to those who were unable to attend physically, but were watching from above. She stopped a few times to gather herself, but persevered and spoke every word she planned with such love and intent.
The vows were beyond personal and unique. Both Courtney and Jake wrote their own; each told a story, made their guests laugh, and brought tears to the eyes of those watching.
Mr. & Mrs. Boudreau: I wish you both a lifetime of happiness together. Logan is so so lucky to have the two of you as his parents, and I look forward to seeing where life takes you all. Congratulations again and again!