We are SO excited to start sharing our new project that we have been working on for this year for the blog! We decided to get in contact with past wedding couples and ask them a few questions about their love story, the big day and what is new in their life, plus a little advice for future couples. To make the post even more special for our couples we are going to be posting their answers on their anniversary day. To start us off we have our first couple Matthew and Leeann, who are busy with their own business and soon to be two children!
What are your names?
Matthew + Leeann Dearing
What is your anniversary date?
March 8th, 2008
How long have you now been married?
Almost 6 years!
We’d love to share with everyone how you met, can you tell that story?
Leeann: Well, we’re both actors and acting coaches, so we met on stage. Seems fitting. At the time Matthew ran a black box studio on the west side of Phoenix, and I auditioned for him!
Matthew: Yeah, that’s true. I ended up casting her as my “leading lady” in the play. I guess you could say I liked her in the role so much, that I decided (8 months later) to ask her to play the part permanently.
And of course we have to tell everyone how you got engaged… it’s our favorite part; please share!
Leeann: It was hands down the biggest surprise of my LIFE! At that point we both already knew we were “in it to win it”, so I thought that a proposal might be coming in the next 6 months to a year!
Matthew: I like to catch her off-guard. That’s how I roll.
Leeann: So we went for a hike up Lookout Mountain. Hiking is one of our couple things that we do habitually. So I had my hair in a pony tail, no makeup, thought we were just going for a workout…and then we got to the top of the mountain at sunset. And I was admiring the view and then Matthew said “turn around”. And I just knew it was happening.
Matthew: I was down on one knee and asked her to spend the rest of her life with me. And she cried and laughed. It was the best reaction I could have hoped for. When we got down to the bottom of the mountain, my family was waiting for us. They pelted us with rice or marshmallows or something. It was perfect.
Please tell us about your wedding? What were some of the details? Where was it? What were your favorite parts?
Leeann: Our wedding was held in a Catholic church (Our Lady of Perpetual Help) in Old Town Scottsdale.
Matthew: It’s an important church to my family. My uncle is a former Bishop of Arizona and my grandmother conducts the choir for OLPH. It’s got a lot of sentimental value for us.
Leeann: We were so blessed to have our wedding be a real family event. Matthew’s grandmother had a full choir singing at our wedding, which was one of my favorite parts of the ceremony. Gave me chills!
Matthew: Then the reception was in old town Chandler at the San Marcos Plaza ballroom. It was really special.
Leeann: I fell in love with the chandeliers! And the white baby grand piano that I played during the evening. It was the perfect choice for us.
What is the best memory you have from your wedding day?
Matthew: Just seeing her walk down the aisle. I was completely overcome. Fine, I’ll say it. I bawled like a baby.
Leeann: I have two. Can I have two? One was praying with my father before I walked down the aisle, and the other was seeing Matthew at the end of the long walk down to the alter. Oh my goodness. There are no words.
Of course we have to hear about your pictures, since we were your photographers. What was it like having Kimberly photograph your wedding? What do you remember most about your photography? What is your favorite picture to this day?
Leeann: Kimberly was fantastic! I’m such a fan. I fell in love with her photography when I saw a friend’s wedding pictures, and I knew I had to have her.
Matthew: It’s true. She did.
Leeann: She tells your wedding day story through photographs. And she’s just so knowledgable and skilled at what she does that truly, she doesn’t miss a thing.
Matthew: Another thing I appreciated was how invisible she was. She got the most amazing pictures, but she was never in any one’s face, never blocking the view of the ceremony. Our company (The Dearing Acting Studio) does event coverage, so I appreciate how hard it is to accomplish that!
Leeann: Favorite picture? That’s hard. I think I love the one of Matthew and I walking through the Chandler streets holding hands. But I also really love the one where I’m doing the ugly cry face with my dad.
Matthew: Don’t say that about my bride! I agree. I think I like the one of us walking holding hands the best. There were so many good ones.
Now that your wedding is over, what is the one thing you look back on and are so thankful that you did?
Leeann: To be honest (and I TOTALLY get why lots of couples choose to do reveals), but for us it was so special to wait to have Matthew see me for the first time that day walking down the aisle. It was so emotional and beautiful. I’ll never forget that moment.
Matthew: I agree with that. And I have to say I’m also so grateful for the time we took getting pictures of Leeann and I with our bridal party. We had so much fun with those group shots. Kimberly is very creative.
How has life changed since your wedding day, please fill us in on all the details (moves, kids, new houses, promotions, etc).
Matthew: Well, Leeann and I are both actors, as we mentioned. We do commercial and television work for a living. But we also started a business together when we were engaged (DearingStudio.com ) That’s really grown and taken off in an incredible way. We love that we not only get to act for a living, but get to coach and train other actors to follow their dreams.
Leeann: Yeah, we’re really blessed to get to do what we do! We work with kids starting at age four and up! Some of our students are just trying to build confidence and find a creative outlet, and others end up taking on acting as a career. We help place talent with the right agency, and offer really fun movie camps and performance opportunities. I love commercial acting, and that’s been a lot of my work this past year or so. It doesn’t require the same time commitment that film does, so that allows me to be home more with my son!
Matthew: Then on the weekends, we perform in a comedy show at our studio together. It’s a family friendly Improv show every Saturday night at 7pm. (ChaosComedy.com)
If you have kids can you please share with us about them… we LOVE to hear fun kid stories.
Leeann: We had our beautiful son Jack on March 24th, 2012. He’s just unreal, and we adore him. Jack is really bright, funny and very sensitive.
Matthew: He is just so much fun. The faces that kid makes…
Leeann: And in March of this year (with a due date of March 24th, to be exact) Jack’s little sister is due to join our family! We’re so excited to be adding a daughter to our family, and to see Jack with a sibling.
Do you have any updated pictures? Tell us about this picture that you are sending to us.
Leeann: This is our Christmas card! I was maybe 19 weeks pregnant here? I’m much bigger now!
When you were newly weds did you picture this would be your life, this many years after your wedding?
Matthew: I would say “yes”. Yes, and at the same time it’s even better than you imagine it. You can’t possible dream of what’s it’s like to grow deeper in love with the person you marry, or what it feels like to build a family together until you’re there.
If you were to go back in time and tell your newly engaged selves one thing, what would it be?
Leeann: I would say to remember that the purpose of marriage is not to make you happy. Marriage is about loving someone else more than you love yourself! We want our marriage to glorify God, and to bring us closer to Him, and that’s only done by continual daily sacrifice.
Do you have any advice for new bride and grooms?
Matthew: Never stop dating each other. That’s a big one.
Leeann: Huge! And I would also say not to be afraid of the challenges that come up.
Matthew: Yeah. I think that so many people get freaked out when marriage feels difficult for a minute. You’re going to disagree sometimes, but there’s freedom in remembering that love is a daily choice.
Leeann: And the blessings that come from that kind of dedicated love are immeasurable.
Kimberly Jarman is a Phoenix Wedding Photographer & Arizona Portrait Photographer, located in Mesa, Arizona. We would love to work with you! Please contact us for more information about how to have us photograph your wedding or portrait.