I first met Mary several years ago when I photographed her sister Eva’s wedding. In the time since, Mary moved to India, where she directs a Hindi-Urdu language learning center in Delhi. Her business co-owner was the one who first mentioned Michael to her.
Michael grew up on a game farm (“basically a house in the woods with wild safari animals around”) in South Africa and was interested in learning Urdu. “I did his sales call over Zoom and, of course, thought he was cute and also had been told by my co-worker that Michael was a really good guy (said with a wink-wink and a nod-nod),” Mary said. “We both kept the call professional and Michael started learning online through our program. Eventually, he moved to Delhi and continued learning through our in-person sessions. Several months into his time here, we started hanging out more as a group and then he asked me on a date for the first time in December 2022.”
This past summer, as their relationship grew serious, they spent some time traveling to America and South Africa to meet each other’s families, which, in turn, also gave them a wonderful perspective at the people who helped shape them. They both said that it was after those trips, they knew they had chosen their lifelong partner. “Sometime after getting back from those travels, I really can’t remember what it was, but I just felt ready to move forward with him!”
Michael tried to surprise her by having her friends plan a trip to the Mountains of Northern India. But unfortunately it was very uncharacteristic of these friends so she figured out that it was Michael’s doing.
“Although I tried to keep my proposal a surprise, she found out about it,” Michael said. “I took her to the very peaceful spot where her friends had prepared a picnic and I asked her to marry me, overlooking the Himalaya mountains. A monkey almost ruined our special moment, but thankfully he decided to go play in the trees farther away from us.”
“Oh, I love a lot about Michael,” Mary said. “I love his heart. I love how genuinely he loves God, the Bible, cultures, people, and me. I admire his desire to lead and his willingness to ask for forgiveness and forgive. I admire his positivity.”
Michael loves “that she loves to help people develop their skills. She is a very good leader and can execute and accomplish what she sets out to do. She is wise and disciplined; an achiever.”
They are getting married next weekend so we met up the morning after they arrived in Iowa. Jetlag hadn’t given them much rest from the long travel, but in the end that worked out great because they felt awake as the time difference put them at 8PM in Delhi. We had so much fun getting to know each other and taking their photos and I’m so so excited to do it all over again at their wedding in one week!