Ready for a story? This one’s a good one 🙂 It’s important to note that I’ve adapted most of this content from information Karen shared with me as we were preparing to meet in Amsterdam – she’s a far better writer than I am!
Their journey to Amsterdam started several years ago when Karen & Jacob first saw each other from across the room at a student gathering about healthcare concerns during grad school. She thought he was really cute, and he saw how passionate and driven she was for the cause It wasn’t until much later, when the prime opportunity presented itself, that Jacob was able to finally give Karen a ride home. As it always goes with stories like this, a short drive turns into an hours long conversation. When you find yourself chatting for hours in the car in the parking lot of your apartment, you know it’s something special! As fate would have it, they both had plans to be in Italy the following month! Email addresses were exchanged, plans were made. As Karen shared the story with me, at this point, they were virtual strangers, but they both hoped for more.
In Venice, Karen and Jacob met up with plans to sightsee and explore the city. They bonded over their shared love of cats, literature, politics, Italy, travel, and much more. By the time they got to dinner, they both admitted their adoration, and shared their first kiss. Let’s all just pause for a moment and think about how AMAZING it would be to share a first kiss in VENICE! Swoon! *ahem…continuing on…* They continued their travels, visiting Bologna and enjoying a proper first date. After a whirlwind start to their romance in Italy, they bid adieu at the Bologna train station, uncertain of what would happen next. Jacob was on his way to a conference in the UK, and Karen was continuing on with her travels solo. Emails continued back and forth daily, and when they both finally returned to Penn State, they officially became a couple.
About six months after dating, Jacob received a job offer to work in Amsterdam as a postdoctoral fellow. Karen made the difficult decision to leave her graduate program, and together they moved to the Netherlands. Following a lot of paperwork, Jacob, Karen, and a grumpy cat arrived in Amsterdam! They vowed to use their time to travel more together, which resulted in visiting 17 countries together during nearly two years in the Netherlands!
Amidst all of their adventures together, about a year ago, they took one more step to making their relationship official, and entered a registered partnership in the Netherlands. Soon they will find themselves moving onto a new adventure when they relocate to London, but before they took that next step, they eloped!
I was fortunate enough to connect with Karen through a Facebook group of creatives several months ago when we began planning our own trip to Amsterdam. She’s a well known travel blogger, and when I shared our travel plans and my desire to photograph a couple while visiting, she jumped at the chance! I have to give Karen a HUGE amount of credit for how wonderful everything turned out. Obviously, when you choose to elope, you want to get it right and you only get one chance! We discussed ideas, she shared Instagram shots she’d taken, travel photos, and we put together a map of must-visit-locations to commemorate their final weeks in Amsterdam. The collaboration resulted in a beautiful day celebrating Karen & Jacob’s relationship and their favorite things about Amsterdam!
In the process of getting to know Karen and Jacob, I learned quite a bit about the Netherlands! Weddings in Holland are far more casual than in the United States, so Karen and Jacob adapted their wedding to suit their own taste and some of the local traditions. We incorporated a bouquet of tulips bought from the local market. We made sure to stop by some of their most treasured hideaways in their neighborhood, including canals, a private garden (called a hofje), and made sure to feature a bicycle, a true mainstay of Amsterdam transportation. Their day wouldn’t have been complete without a cat-sighting and a few snuggles with their own favorite feline!
To Karen & Jacob – thank you SO much for involving me in your special day! It was such an honor to get to know you both better, to see Amsterdam through your eyes, and to give you these photos to remember such a special time for you both. Congrats!
Their day began at one of the most beautiful private gardens in De Jordann…
The vintage top hat was my favorite!
A fluffy friend we found waiting for us!
The look of JOY that they shared when this cat was friendly enough to be part of our photos? Karen & Jacob both grinned!
I would visit here every day if I could. So peaceful!
We wandered around the neighborhood a bit, stopping by a few quaint little corners. Everything about Amsterdam is so cute – but photographing a couple in Amsterdam makes it even better!
The absolute best way to get around Amsterdam is by bicycle. It is a serious form of transportation and not for the faint of heart. Bike lanes, bells, and people whizzing by…you have to be on your toes as a pedestrian for sure! There are countless bikes literally everywhere and so it only seemed appropriate to incorporate this Amsterdam mainstay into some of their portraits. True story: it is not easy to take couples photos while incorporating a bike! We had some good laughs trying to get these shots!
Karen & Jacob live in a sweet little area that’s relatively off the beaten path. It was wonderful to capture some images near where they live at places that are special to them.
They received some congratulatory cheers from this passing boat 🙂
Amsterdam is known for its canals, so it was only fitting that we visited one of my favorite spots – 7 bridges. A series of canals organize themselves in such a way that if you’re looking in the right direction at the right time, you can view seven bridges in sequence. The maze of bridges and canals in Amsterdam can all start to look alike to new visitors, but this area is fairly unique!
What better way to end the day with a kiss on the bridge, right?
Congratulations you two! Thank you for making my first destination elopement so enjoyable!