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Their Story: Chris and Amy first met as freshman at Lehigh University. Their mutual friend Matt Weintraub introduced them a few weeks into the semester, making light of their social habits—“Hey Chris, this is Amy, she doesn’t drink either so you two can hang out.”  
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Living on the same floor of the freshman dorm called (ironically) Drinker, they became fast friends and soon found themselves meeting up for “breakfast, lunch and dinner”… sending each other AOL IMs to coordinate meet ups at the center stairwell to raid the vending machine together for late night snacks. They’d watch movies and hang out on the weekends. Their first year at Lehigh flew by, and before they knew it they were saying goodbye for the summer.
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While they were apart, Chris found himself thinking a lot about Amy and wondered if she was thinking about him too. His questions didn’t go unanswered for too long though. When he arrived at his new dorm room to unpack at the start of sophomore year, he found a note already on his door from Amy–She had missed their good times together and had already stopped by.
That semester, they started dating. Chris recalls that he “couldn’t stop thinking about Amy whenever they were apart.”    
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Over the past twelve years, there has hardly been a day that Chris and Amy haven’t spent together. They both say that, through it all, their constant friendship and appreciation for the other’s sense of humor continues to be the brightest spot and force that binds them together. Chris says, “we’ve never gotten tired of spending time together. We can always laugh and I know that we can get through anything.”

 

A Ceremony Built On Laughter: This October, they returned to where it all began, Bethlehem, PA for a beautifully appointed wedding at The Sayre Mansion, just down the road from where they first met. When I asked Chris and Amy what emotion they wanted their guests to take away from their ceremony, Chris said, “Lighthearted calmness” and Amy added, “Joy. We try to take things lightly and laugh as much as possible.” 
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Preferring to see the bright side of things doesn’t mean that this couple isn’t deep. One of the things that Chris loves about Amy is how thoughtful she is in making an effort to give gifts of significance and say meaningful words in their shared life. I thought immediately of floriography, the coded use of flowers to send secret messages, which became very popular during the Victorian Era. So I called their wedding florist, Sarah Petryk from Allium Design, to talk about creating a beautiful set of garlands for Amy and Chris to exchange that would be symbolic of their relationship and hopes for the future.
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On their wedding day, Amy and Chris adorned each other with garlands made of Ivy (meant to symbolize devotion and friendship) and Jasmine (which means humor and cheerfulness). Newly adorned in symbols of their devotion, friendship and shared outlook in life, Amy and Chris listened as Amy’s brother read “Your Laughter” a poem by Pablo Neruda.

 

“Your Laughter” by Pablo Neruda

 

Take bread away from me, if you wish,
take air away, but
do not take from me your laughter.

 

Do not take away the rose,
the lance flower that you pluck,
the water that suddenly
bursts forth in joy,
the sudden wave
of silver born in you.

My struggle is harsh and I come back
with eyes tired
at times from having seen
the unchanging earth,
but when your laughter enters
it rises to the sky seeking me
and it opens for me all
the doors of life.

My love, in the darkest
hour your laughter
opens, and if suddenly
you see my blood staining
the stones of the street,
laugh, because your laughter
will be for my hands
like a fresh sword.

Next to the sea in the autumn,
your laughter must raise
its foamy cascade,
and in the spring, love,
I want your laughter like
the flower I was waiting for,
the blue flower, the rose
of my echoing country.

Laugh at the night,
at the day, at the moon,
laugh at the twisted
streets of the island,
laugh at this clumsy
boy who loves you,
but when I open
my eyes and close them,
when my steps go,
when my steps return,
deny me bread, air,
light, spring,
but never your laughter
for I would die.

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I’d like to thank Sarah Petryk and her team from Allium Designfor creating such beautiful and meaningful garlands for Amy and Chris to use in their wedding ceremony. The jasmine came from Sarah’s own grandmother’s tree that had been tented for weeks to protect the fragile and fragrant blooms for this purpose.
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And of course, it is always a pleasure to work with Bradley and Janna, the husband and wife photographic team who are the überstylish Rhema Images Photography. Thank you for capturing these amazing moments of genuine emotion on Chris and Amy’s wedding day and for being so generous and sharing these images here.

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