You might remember Carmen and Bayram from their stunning Mt Lemmon Engagement session! And as you’d expect from that session, their wedding photos here by CHARITY MAURER are epic as well! Carmen and Bayram’s relationship and story are about as epic as these mountain views themselves. Being the outdoor/athletic pair they are, of course it would be a race that would plant them in the same place at the same time. Carmen recounted the sweet, fun story of when they first met, and I’m going to let you hear it straight from her:
Carmen: I had recently crossed the finish line of a race and this tall guy wearing an Intel Jersey, looking like he had finished hours before me (swoon…fast guy), walked up. He asked if I had seen ‘Mike’ in a THICK accent (read: alluring)! “No idea who Mike is, but where are you from?”. He responded with “California,” which I quickly rebuked and said “NO, where are you REALLY from?” Under his breath, “Turkmenistan.” …Most people don’t even know that it’s a country, let alone where it is. But me?—I already had a love affair with Central Asia, therefore, major bonus points.
We both were working for Intel at the time. And as it often happens, once you meet someone, you suddenly spot them everywhere – primarily gym and yoga! While we were attracted to each other, our life philosophies were vastly different, making any kind of romantic relationship impossible. Yet, over the span of the next three years we continued crossing paths with enough interaction to make each of us want more, and not able to get it. The pressure in the garden hose was building, due to an obvious kink in it — Jesus. That kink was not the easiest to undo on either of our sides. Bayram tried coming to church, tried to understand Jesus, but to no avail and no change. Blocked! Yet somehow throughout all this time, God was arranging in such a way that one day that hose would get straightened. In retrospect, it is amazing to see all the little ways that God answers when we call. Our prayer now is that we continue in a life submitted to God, and that His grace flows in our lives, allowing us to abide in a place of peace, beauty and fruitfulness.
To celebrate the metaphor of God moving mountains in their relationship, Carmen and Bayram planned an adventure in the Flagstaff mountains for their day, and CHARITY tells us, "Goodness was it a treat! I have never photographed such a unique day, and wow–it was SPECIAL! I hope you enjoy the highlights from their day!"
HOW DID YOU MEET? I had recently crossed the finish line of a race and this tall guy wearing an Intel Jersey, looking like he had finished hours before me (swoon…fast guy), walked up. He asked if I had seen ‘Mike’ in an THICK accent (read: alluring)! “No idea who Mike is, but where are you from?”. He responded with “California,” which I quickly rebuked and said “NO, where are you REALLY from?” Under his breath, “Turkmenistan.” …Most people don’t even know that a country, let alone where it is. But me?---I already had a love affair with Central Asia, therefore, major bonus points.
TELL US ABOUT YOUR PROPOSAL: It was Canada Day, and we had taken a long weekend trip to - Canada! We had just finished hiking most every hike from Banff to Jasper. It was late but still light. I plopped down in a rowboat and told Bayram I was just going to sit and think for a while. He sat beside me and said “I’ll give you something to think about” and proceeded to pull out a 32T oval ‘chain’ ring and asked if I wanted to “loose some independence and be chained to him forever”. Um… somewhat confused, “Yes, but all I can think of is ‘cranky’ things to say?” (Ring goes on bike crank). Ha! I recovered though, and he did get down on a knee and ask me to marry him noting that the 32T meant I didn’t have to wait till I was 33 (Also a step up from my MTB 30T).
TELL US ABOUT FINDING YOUR WEDDING DRESS: Time for dress shopping? As someone traveling for work, training, and wedding planning, that was something I did not have. I ordered a $100 dress from a mystery Chinese seamstress - hoping for something unique. The dress came the day I left to compete in a 100 mile mountain bike race followed by a business trip. It killed me I didn’t get to see it for some time. When I did, I found it was not quite like the picture I ordered, which gave me some grief. Then I realised there is no such thing as a perfect wedding dress, so I rocked that dress and came to like it. I will definitely plan on doing a one year trash the dress picture set, and love that I don’t have to feel one bit bad about trashing a thousand dollar dress.
WHAT WAS THE INSPIRATION BEHIND YOUR WEDDING STYLE? We love nature, being outside, having picnics, hiking, and biking! We also don’t like doing things like “everyone else,” and are prefer intimate settings over parties.
WHY DID YOU CHOOSE THIS LOCATION? For several summers in a row we would both make the three hour trek to the mountains of Flagstaff on most summer weekends. We would sleep in our cars, ride bikes all morning, and then find coffee shops and other haunts in town to spend the afternoon or evening. It’s a special town to us.
DID YOU HAVE ANY DIY ELEMENTS? I made flower crowns for all the ladies, I love how it added to the forest charm! My aunt was a champ and figured out how to pre-prepare and hike in cheese boards and cakes with pansies.
DESCRIBE YOUR WEDDING FLOWERS: I wanted to get something that would last, was transportable, and yet was 100% real - a dried flower bouquet met that need perfectly. Though I am not usually a pastel fan, I loved this particular meld of colours. I also loved the fresh eucalyptus smell (which is still lingering in our living room!), as it reminded me of the eucalyptus I drug down from the mountains as a little girl and made perfume from.
FAVOURITE DETAIL OF THE DAY: Our wedding prayer: “God, help us to love You deeply and fear You greatly. Teach us how to love each other for Your sake. May the humility of Christ be seen in the way we treat each other. Show us how to enjoy each other without neglecting Your mission. Remind us of the brevity of life so we share Your good news urgently. Remind us of heaven so we will face rejection and trials joyfully. When we settle down for too long, prod us to run. When we are prone to fight, teach us to fight together and, and to fight for You. When we are tempted to run away, bring repentance and renewal. May we spend our married days reminding each other of Your glory, Your Gospel, Your love, Your Power, Your mission, and Your promise of what is to come.”
MOST MEMORABLE MOMENT? We rode mountain bikes away from the wedding to a town 60 miles away (best choice ever). Parties and people-ing wear me out, so I was really tired post wedding and the bike ride totally revived me. By the time we got to Sedona, I was like new, the sunset was beautiful, and I was grateful.
TELL US A LITTLE ABOUT YOUR HONEYMOON: Carmen: I’m a traveler and the more far flung destination, the better, but when our initial Africa plans fell through, we “succumbed” to a more typified honeymoon - Santorini, Greece. We topped that with journeying into the Turkish republic of Northern Cyprus on a day rife with riots.
In Santorini we slept in a cave house, awoke to caldera views, and balcony breakfasted while watching the sun rise on whitewashed Oia. We crept from balcony to balcony loosing ourselves among the stairs. Ran the spine of the island from village to village and back, and sailed the caldera waters. We dined on saganaki, fava, lamb, goat cheese, and frequented the local bakery for spanakopita, fresh bread, and baklava. Followed all that with crepes and one long coffee after another... with THE Santorini sunset spot just out our door, it’s safe to say we waltzed around like we owned the place - though of course we were just tourists in a 100% tourist town.
The itch of Island fever did get to us on Santorini though, so we moved on to explore Cyprus where we decided - why not cross the “Green Line” on the 35th Anniversary of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus. It was an experience! With nerves high we made it through riots and across borders driving on the wrong side of the road - clearly husband for the win!
IS THERE ANYTHING YOU WOULD CHANGE OR DO DIFFERENTLY? Try to stress less about the little things that really don’t matter. I know, hard to do though when really the stress is not about the little things, but about the big life event coming up!