So, as you may have noticed, we love celebrating anniversaries here at HPA World HQ. These milestones throughout our married couples’ lives absolutely deserve to be celebrated, whether it’s the 1st or the 50th! We’ve been celebrating couples’ first for years now–checking in with them and seeing how married life is treating them, as well as featuring a few of their favorite photos from their wedding.
So last year, in celebration of our 10th year in business, we decided we wanted to check in with our 2003 couples who were celebrating their 10th too. But we also added a cross country move to our already overfilled plate last Summer & Fall, so the mission sadly fell by the wayside. Never fear, however, as now 2004 couples are celebrating ten years of marriage so we decided to check in with both ’03 and ’04 couples! Thanks in large part to Facebook, we’ve been able to stay in touch with many of them throughout the years and have delighted in watching their relationships grow and change, grieve with them when they’ve lost loved ones, rejoice in their personal and career achievements, miss them when they move too far away, and of course watch their family grow.
When we started our studio back in 2003, I don’t think either one of us really had any idea what a special part of our couples’ lives we’d be. Yes, we were capturing one of the most notable celebrations of their lives up until that point and we knew those memories would not only last their lifetime, but would also be passed down throughout their families generations. We were so touched and pleasantly surprised when many of them became dear friends. Several of those friendships last to this day and we could not be thrilled that one of those dear friendships has been with Michelle and Al. When they wrote, we knew we had to kick off this series with them. While we haven’t been able to get together as much as we would have liked over the years, that bond has always remained and when we do get to chat, it’s like not a day has passed since their wedding. We don’t even hold it against them that they’re Eagles fans!!
One of our favorites from their DC engagement session in 2003:
One of our favorites from their Virginia wedding in July 2004:
Probably one of the biggest challenges Al & I faced during our marriage was how to balance work and family time. Shortly after we got married, Al went back to school at Hopkins and got his MBA. It was a lot for us being new parents while both balancing full time jobs, Al going to school at night and most weekends, but we both believed it was the best decision for us, and supported each other 100%. Once we had Caden (now 8) and Noelle (6 going on 30!) our priorities changed completely and we wanted to spend as much quality time with them because although the days and weeks went by slow, the years just seemed to fly by. I really missed my kids (at work), and the long commutes to Georgetown and Bethesda for Al & I gave us little time as a family. Once Caden was off to kindergarten, I decided to leave my job as a legal secretary after 15 years to be a stay at home mom. It became a time vs. money decision for us, and the day-to-day memories are something to treasure & I am so grateful. We love living in the DC area, there is just so much to do here. Its great spending time with our friends and family and watching all our kids grow up together. Thankfully, Caden & Noelle love the Philadelphia Eagles & NY Mets as much as we do, and we love our Sundays watching football as a family.
Since our wedding day, we lost two very dear people in our lives. My grandmother, Rita (you may remember her dancing at our wedding with Al to “Lady Marmalade” in her hot pink dress swinging her dinner napkin!) lost her battle with cancer on the day we found out I was pregnant with Caden. It was bittersweet. I absolutely adored my grandmother and miss her dearly. In the summer of 2011, Al’s father passed away from diabetes. He was such a great family man and someone we all love and miss so much. We are thankful he got a lot of great memories with his grandchildren before he passed away, and we know they are both watching over us.
Michelle’s grandmother, Rita gets her groove on on the dance floor:
Al’s father Lou, dancing with his wife, Margaret:
Most recently, Al left his job at Curesearch after 11 years, and is now President/CEO of Lupus Therapeutics, an organization based in DC that focuses on accelerating new treatment for those suffering from lupus. I am so proud of him, because he has worked his tail off! We just celebrated our 10th wedding anniversary in Cape Hatteras, NC with the kids, but got evacuated on our wedding day thanks to Hurricane Arthur. Literally the day before we left for the beach, Al & I attended the funeral for our dear neighborhood friend, Arthur who lost his battle with pancreatic cancer. How ironic is that?
We love looking at our wedding album with the kids, because the comments are endless. My favorite so far, recently came from our daughter, Noelle, “Mom, why didn’t you invite me & Caden to the wedding, that’s so mean, we love parties.” We loved our wedding pictures (and our photographers!) because there were so many details that they captured that we honestly don’t even remember from that day. One of my favorites was from our slide show that they took thru a peep hole. We didn’t want the traditional posed pictures and fell in love with their style of photography before we even met them. We do remember how hot it was on our wedding day, 102* and the a/c broke in the limo driving to the reception, ugh!! Other than that, we had all our favorite people surrounding us, the dance floor stayed packed all night long and the candid shots Bill & Anne captured were amazing. They are the best of the best, and two people that we are so lucky to call our friends.
Now if we can only convince them to be Eagles fans, we’ll love them even more!!
Michelle & Al xxoo
M&A also sent over a favorite recent family photo!
Happy, happy anniversary, you two! Thanks so much for letting us and our readers celebrate with you. We miss you guys and hope to see you and the kiddos out this way sometime soon!