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    • SarahBethArnold

      I photograph a lot of couples, but it's always really special when I get to be a part of a friend's wedding, especially when I've seen the relationship from the beginning.
      I won't lie though, I cry at every single wedding, each with its own tenderness.

      About 5 years ago my buddy was walking out of our 12AM shift at Bay Photo Lab and turned to me. "Sarah, I'm about to go on a date and I'm really excited. She's really pretty and I have a good feeling." He told me.

      Last weekend I had the honor of photographing the marriage of Ryan and Krista, who are some of my oldest friends in the Bay Area.
      These two loved each other from moment one. No questions asked. No doubt about it.

      With that, I've been on this kick lately, a curiosity you could say. After being surrounded by tons of couples, or people in love in general, I've started asking this question:


      Did you find that when you first met your partner (past or current) was it "love at first sight" or did you grow to love your partner over time?

    • Chris

      I wouldn't believe in love at first sight if it didn't happen to us. Actually, love at first sound.

      I had just been expelled from UC Santa Barbara because I couldn't pass English 1A in three tries. I swore I'd never return to college. I drove two days to a summer camp where I was going to be a counselor for the summer, fuming that I got expelled when I had As in math and science. I walked into the dining room with a lot of other counselors and sat where I couldn't see Toni.

      She saw me come in. She had just graduated from college with a great GPA. For the hour we ate I heard her talk and laugh and offer to pass me the bread. I don't know what it was, but I fell in love with her voice. She had fallen in love with my smile. I went a whole year at UCSB and didn't fall in love. She went 4 years at BYU and didn't fall in love.

      The next morning I asked about her, trying to keep my hopes in check but dying to meet. They told me she had a boyfriend who was coming to see her, driving from California. And she had graduated from college. I knew it was too good to be true. You can't be a flop-out and have your girlfriend having graduated.

      She showed up looking like the horse person she was with a red bandana. Oh my God. Whatever you do, Chris, don't show you have a total crush. Too embarrassing. It would put her in an awkward spot.

      So that meant that she had to pursue me because I couldn't believe a girl like her would fall for someone like me. She turned her boyfriend away when he arrived after that long drive. And we spent 11 weeks that summer taking kids on week-long horseback trips in the mountain, so in love we couldn't be separated for a minute. I even returned to college because of Toni.

      Here's the first picture I took of her:

    • SarahBethArnold

      Chris,

      Yours and Toni's renditions of this story are my favorite love stories of all time. (The two versions vary between Toni and Chris haha)
      When I see you two, I know there is hope that true love does exist AND LASTS through the thick and thin.
      I've never had an example of that in my life and so I am grateful for your story as an example.

    • Felicity

      Over time. I think I'll let Jane Austen speak for me here. "But if otherwise—if regard springing from such sources is unreasonable or unnatural, in comparison of what is so often described as arising on a first interview with its object, and even before two words have been exchanged, nothing can be said in her defence, except that she had given somewhat of a trial to the latter method in her partiality for [SPOILER], and that its ill success might, perhaps, authorise her to seek the other less interesting mode of attachment."

      My parents also were friends first! They became friends because they were reading the (first authorized American) paperback edition of The Two Towers at the same time in high school :)

    • Although we are no longer married, we remain friends. I met Cindy in Lake Tahoe. Spent a while talking and SCUBA diving over a long weekend. I honestly never thought anything would come of that. A bunch of us left at the same time and convoyed down 80 to the Bay Bridge. She was one vehicle ahead of me at the toll booth and when I went to pay, the toll taker handed me a note and said "she paid your toll". The note was an invitation to call.

      I'd say that qualifies as first sight.

    • SarahBethArnold

      Have you ever found partners who you realized after years of friendship "oh man, I suddenly like you, and maybe have all along." ?

    • SarahBethArnold

      Personally, in a majority of the relationships I've been in (I can count them on one hand) I have met the person but didn't realize until much later I had feelings for them. Some of my longest lasting relationships started as friendships and grew into feelings.
      Ironically some of the deepest loves I have ever felt have been from "love at first sight" type situations, however the timing was just wrong and I didn't end up with those people.

      Ah, sweet sweet 26 and the questions of the future "Will I ever meet "the one"?"

    • Us

      Is this mic public yet?
      censored reply.. married 25 years from the ripe age of 22.
      But the main reason for comment was to say nice picture, was hiding the foot intentional, apart but they appeared link? Like the lense flare and the high saturation. Plus it is right heavy which I lean to for composition.

    • SarahBethArnold

      Do you remember if when you met your partner what that clicking moment felt like? Immediate? Later on?

      Good eye with the foot, I was trying to make them look linked (without directing them, I just repositioned my angle) I do weird things like that sometimes that others may consider a missed detail.

    • Chris

      In the telling I've heard, Michelle Robinson was 25 and had reconciled that she probably wouldn't meet the one. It was hard in the day to be a Harvard Law graduate as a woman because it would intimidate men.

      But then her law firm assigned her to mentor Barack. It took awhile for her to warm up to him so she declined to date him when he first asked.

    • SarahBethArnold

      Chris, are you telling me that I will one day meet my very own Barack Obama!??! :Hearteyes:
      A girl can dream right?

      I have found myself in a lot of questions recently. What are my boundaries? What do I want in a potential partner? When will I be ready to allow the right person in? Will he be Barack Obama? (Please universe, PLEASE).

      I think it's easy to look for your "true love" but I'm realizing I have to be ready in life to find that person. I have to be at my most tip-top peak of self love in order for someone else to love me as a partner too. Or maybe I'm wrong there. Someone with wisdom please correct me?

    • Chris

      I sometimes wonder about the hope of finding The One. Michelle often says Barack can really bug her and the girls. When they sit for dinner, if one of them asks a question that gets him going on a long, wonky answer, they glare at each other and kick under the table. One of his daughters won't let him say a word about anything she writes, even if he has nothing but positive things to say.

      Toni has buttons that make me crazy and I do things I know will set her off. But we love each other anyway.

    • SarahBethArnold

      Ha! I suppose that brings up the question of what "true love" really is.
      It's subjective I'm sure but I do recognize that there is no such love as a love without the hard times too.

      There will always be those things that bug us in other people. Let alone, someone you spend every single day with (if not most days).
      Love is a compromise and letting go of the little things while appreciating your partner for who they are and their full potential. Trusting that they have your best intentions at heart, always.

      So here's where it becomes tricky, right? Everyone has their own love language. So what may be considered a language of love for you, may be repulsing to another (say you show affection with touch, but your partner is not big on the touchy-feelies).

      I suppose that's where the subjectiveness comes in as each person has their different needs to be met, in search of another person with needs that line up together.

    • SarahBethArnold

      OH, I suppose I just mean, was there ever a partner you had that wasn't stemmed from love at first sight?

    • amacbean16

      Our love story started out lopsided. My husband knew from our first meeting that he wanted to marry me, but all I remember of that afternoon was just a chat with a nice-enough guy while standing in an abnormally long ticket line. He asked me for my number and then never called.

      It turns out that what I perceived as flakiness was actually intimidation. He was too scared to make the call but kept my number in his wallet as a reminder of the missed opportunity.

      A year later, our paths crossed again. On a campus with 30,000 undergraduates we shared three classes that semester. To him it looked like a second chance on a silver platter. He wasted no time in becoming my friend and chemistry lab partner.

      Talking to him was so incredibly easy and enjoyable that I did a whole lot of it for weeks. Talk talk talk. My family called me Turbo Tongue when I was growing up, but this guy was equally happy to listen as he was to add interesting and insightful comments. He also made me laugh, which would become an essential ingredient in our love story.

      He asked me out twice and I turned him down since I had "other plans." Talk talk (study) talk. He found the gumption to ask a third time, this time to our university's homecoming dance. I had "other plans" to attend the Friday night dance, but I put my pretty dress back on for Saturday night and went out with Mr. Persistent.

      After he showed up in a tux and we added dancing to the talking, I canceled my "other plans," breaking things off with the other guy I had been seeing.

      I later learned that after seeing me casually order three bowls of soup for my main course at the fanciest restaurant in town, this future husband of mine determined to marry me if at all possible. Does that make it love at first soup for him?

      I would take quite a bit more convincing...

    • amacbean16

      After several more months of what I would refer to as “extreme dating,” which included road trips and spending nearly every hour of the day together talking, studying, or attending class, I knew enough to know I wanted to marry him.

      I knew he treated me and others well. I knew we shared the values that were most important to me and that our goals for the future seemed to align in terms of family, finance, and religion.  I knew how he handled conflict and stress. I had a sense that I’d never get tired of talking with him and I knew he could make me laugh like no one else.  

      So I took a big leap and said “Yes” when he proposed, even though I was only 19 years old.  We were married six months afterwards. 

      You asked about the difference between love at first sight and love that grows over time.  I think enduring relationships always have both, if you allow that anything that happens in those early months of dating could be considered “at first sight” when seen from the perspective of a shared life together.

      I still say I knew enough about the man I was in love with.  I was right about never getting tired of talking with him and the same talking and laughing that brought us together those first months are what have kept us together.  But I had no way of knowing then what challenges and opportunities the next 14 years of life would bring us. 

      Sacrifice, more than compromise, has the power to deepen love and the toughest times we’ve shared together have ultimately forged a stronger relationship. My love then was hopeful but a bit hesitant.  My love now is much deeper and more abiding because I now know and respect much more completely the man I married

      This is us holding our fourth child, having finished a long road of medical school and residency with plenty of heartache and happiness along the way.

    • Lauren

      Great photo, Sarah. Such a sweet story too.

      To take a tongue-in-cheek approach, there are three types of people when it comes to “love at first sight”:

      1. The Romantics: Those who want to believe in it and actively look for it (these are the ones that use phrases like "chemistry" and "connection" to describe first dates)

      2. The Skeptics: Those who don’t want to believe in it and actively look for ways to discount it (these are the ones that use phrases like "time will tell" and "I think he will grow on me" to describe first dates)

      3. Those who have experienced it (because it's real :P)

      The Beatles put it best...

    • I listened to a song I found quite by accident. It’s called “Si Tu Veux” or “If you want”. It appears on an album by Mumford & Sons. Recorded in Johannesburg featuring Baaba Maal & The Very Best.

      I can’t find a very good translation of the lyrics but if you listen to it, it’s quite powerful. I found the Gérald de Palmas translation. Anyway, give a listen then read the lyrics.

    You've been invited!