BJ + Ellie / by Brooke Courtney

I met Ellie in college while we were both studying photography. I remember my first day of Black & White class, seeing her sitting three rows in front of me, as she answered all of the teacher's questions with ease. Several weeks into that semester, both Ellie and I were being considered for a scholarship... against each other. That seems so funny now... cause things never seemed like a competition between us. Our friendship grew quickly as we spent hours side by side in the darkroom, photographed projects together and ate a ridiculous amount of Chinese food on the campus lawn. Seriously. So much Chinese food. We even had a show together at a gallery in Harrisburg where some of our images hung side by side. Being a photographer, you'd think I'd have images hung all over my house... but I don't. One of the only photographs hanging in my entire house is Ellie's. It was a wedding gift from her and I love it.

I remember meeting BJ for the very first time at my very own wedding reception in fact! I remember seeing in Ellie's eyes how happy she was to have BJ by her side. Shortly after T.J. and I got married, Ellie moved to New Mexico to be with BJ... and I knew they'd get married one day. (And crossed my fingers that I'd have the privilege of shooting it!) It was so wonderful having the opportunity to celebrate with BJ, Ellie and their families for the wedding.

Ellie is one of the kindest and smartest people I know. One of Ellie's bridesmaid's said it in her speech that "Ellie is a teacher... she teaches you the things of life." I had never really thought about Ellie like that before, but when I heard it said out loud, it clicked. Ellie taught me about film and ethnic foods. About music, the Jewish culture and homemade brownies. About butterflies and good music. And with every random email I receive from New Mexico, to simply tell me that she saw a cat in a magazine that looked like one of mine, she's taught me the importance of taking time out of your day to stay in touch with those you love.

I couldn't be happier for BJ + Ellie and hope that someday, just maybe, they'll move back to Pennsylvania! Enjoy some of my favorite images from their wedding celebration. –Brooke