Xiyun and Ben have a remarkable story that spans continents and years. I feel like I’m more exotic and interesting just by photographing their wedding. Xiyun and I first started a correspondence back in March, when she e-mail me about her wedding from China. They were living in Beijing at the time, so meeting in person was impossible. I still hoped to get to know them a little more, so I asked Xiyun if she’d share more about their relationship with me. She wrote:
“Okay, and now the story of how we met. This is kind of a crazy story, which I’m sure you’ll hear many times over at the wedding. My fiance’s name is Ben Foster. He’s english (tiny little town near manchester), we met in beijing (where I was born and where I grew up until the age of seven) in the summer of 2004 while I was taking a year off from college. Within a week of meeting him, I had these crazy plans to move to Tunisia (another totally long story, which can be boiled down to: I more or less threw a dart at a map). After knowing each other for about two weeks, (I pushed back my original flight a week) he bought a flight to Tunisia to visit me. We had this insane on again off again transpacific relationship between Beijing and Tunis and then Beijing and Rhode Island while I was still in school at Brown. We split up a for two years because the thought of keeping up a relationship while I still had two years left at school was too daunting. But then i graduated, did some traveling around more random parts of the world and moved back to beijing about 3 years ago, and we’ve never looked back. And that’s the short version.” 🙂
So we now live in Beijing, where Ben runs a motion graphics studio (http://www.39degreesnorth.tv/) and I’m a translator/researcher/occasional writer for the New York Times. After the wedding, we’re moving to new york together, where I’ll be starting law school in the fall.
We generally spend our time arguing over books and movies and tv shows (he claims that I refuse to like anything great that he discovered first). I cook a lot and sometimes write about it, so he eats a lot, and we high five each other even more often for being lucky enough to eat so much. We have both traveled a lot separately in the past, but we’ve not been to enough places together, something we’re hoping to remedy in the future. He plays in a band, so I sometimes go to his gigs in an attempt to compensate for my super asian nerdy teenage years.”
That’s the short version. From the stories guests shared at their wedding and speeches from family and friends, the long version includes travel, adventure, and more chemistry than a high school science class. I feel so lucky to have photographed such an expressive, interesting, and inspiring couple. Here’s to both of you! I hope you have many many years of fun adventure together!
Cake: ROLFS PATISSERIE
Venue: Chicago Botanic Garden
Dress: custom made in Beijing
Hair stylist: Styles down the aisle