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Weddings are often represented with precious metals and stones like diamonds and gold. Things that never tarnish, never grow old, and stay just as they were the day before. While there is merit to that, and that gold and gems are beautiful in their own right, I think there is another lesson to be learned from how we view the growth of our relationships.

I think steel is a better representation of a long lasting marriage. Steel is incredibly strong; much more so than gold. Steel starts off perfectly polished, shiny, and brilliant. But steel doesn’t remain unchanged. Steel rusts. It patinas and changes color. It may warp, bend, and stretch over time. It doesn’t remain perfect, but it is easily repaired, and stays strong with regular maintenance. I love the idea of a perfect and unchanged relationship, but its unrealistic. Fights happen. People change. Life alters us in ways we may never expect. But love is always there, ready to be cleaned off, hammered back into shape, and polished back to its original brilliance.

Patina and rust is something that cannot be faked. At least not convincingly so. Only time can create such colors, shapes, and patterns, and I think its more wonderful because of it. Sure it isn’t as flawless as it once was, but it has become something that is beautiful in its own right.

When I shot Matt & Gigi’s engagement photos, these were the thoughts that kept passing across my mind. How this couple, soon to be married and together for the rest of their time on this planet, would grow old together. How they would change together. Would they have kids? Would one of them lose a job? What about all those unanswered questions they would face during their time together? Undoubtedly they would face hardship. But they would be there with each other for it. Undoubtedly they would come across great success and joy, and they could revel in it together.

That’s one reason why I chose this run down bus for the shoot. It had been sitting, mostly neglected, since its final days back almost thirty years ago. The sheet metal was warped, the paint was flaking, most of the glass was gone. But it was beautiful. It had seen the test of time, and come out the other end valued for it. Both Matt & Gigi are so vibrant, so fun, and so certainly in love with each other.  By putting this young couple together paired against something so weathered and old, I saw contrast that I couldn’t really describe until now.