The Journal

Why Wales?

We got that question so many times I started betting people I could guess what their first question would be after I told them where Reid and I had decided to get married. I always smiled and laughed, knowing that I would have to explain why we were getting married in a country that shares its name with a large sea mammal (at least homophonically).

I guess it was a legitimate question for anyone who has never been there before. It’s not exactly the first place people think of when they think “destination wedding” (those would be Hawaii, the Bahamas, Paris, Italy).  Rainy, dreary Wales? Why?

I knew why.

This is why.

Samantha and Reid, Dwygyfylchi, Wales, 2013 Super 8 film from Jeremiah and Rachel Photography on Vimeo.

I hope that beautiful video, created by our wonderful friends, conveys some of the joy and love that surrounded Reid and myself on May 29th as we committed our eternal love to each other.

And for inquiring minds, I guess I should provide some back story.

Our wedding took place at the home of the wonderful Richard and Sue, parents to Beth, a beautiful, dear friend of mine, and parents-in-law to her cheeky husband, Phillip. I had met them 4 years prior whilst (yes, I’m speaking British) on a trip to the UK and spent Easter at their lovely home. I had fallen in love with Wales and them, and knew as soon as Reid and I began discussing wedding plans that Wales would be the perfect place. Dwygyfylchi (prounced Dew-guh-vul-key) is a little village in North Wales tucked into the mountains near the sea. It has a charm, a rugged beauty and a family that I adore dearly…and I knew all of those components would magically meld to create the wedding of our dreams.

Richard and Sue graciously opened up their beautiful home, letting us take over their lives for the week and being so lovely and incredible generous the entire time. They went with all of our harebrained ideas and made us all feel so at home. Without them, their kindness, their home and their garden, our wedding there would have only ever been a dream, and not a dream-come-true. Thank you both from the bottom of our hearts.

It also wouldn’t have happened without Beth and Phil (their daughter and son-in-law), two of the most wonderful, exceptional, special people I know. Beth was basically 9-months pregnant but still managed to come and create one of the most delicious meals I’ve ever eaten in my entire life for our wedding dinner (with the help of her mother, Reid’s mother, and my dad as her sous chefs). Beth, I love you. Thank you for putting so much love and passion into making such a magical wedding from the start. Thank your taking care of so many details and answering all my questions and always being such an angel – all whilst being ready to pop! And Phillip, thank you for being our impromptu ring-bearer and for always making us laugh. I love you, too. Can’t wait to see you both again very soon. MONKEYS!!!!!!

When we decided we wanted a small wedding with our parents as our only family in attendance, we immediately realized we needed at least two other people from the States to join us. Our friends Jeremiah and Rachel (who took our engagement photos) flew all the way over to create the Super 8 film you saw above so we could still share the day with the rest of our beloved family and friends who wouldn’t be there physically. I think you’ll agree they did an amazing job. Rachel also showed off her creative genius by completely designing my bouquet and the dinner table decor using flowers she had picked herself the morning of the wedding. I absolutely couldn’t have done it without her. You both are so talented and dear to us.

Our officiant was Jen Baker, a pastor I had met on my trip 4 years ago. She was good friends with Beth and Phillip and had made an impact on me that left me wanting to stay in touch all these years. Jen’s wedding sermon, blessings, and spirit were so filled with love and Christ. She made the “proper God bits” (Beth’s name for our Welsh wedding) something we will cherish forever. Thank you, Jen, for blessing us with your beauty inside and out. God was right there in the middle of all of us.

Even though it rained and things got a little off schedule, our fabulous photographer Kate Murphy made us feel completely special and taken care of. She was a trooper and so lovely. We were very thankful to have her and  Jim Marsden (her assistant for the day and a very talented photographer himself) with us to capture our day with her gorgeous images. We loved that they stayed to eat and celebrate with us, bringing the grand total of guests around the dinner table that evening to a whopping 14. It was the most perfect wedding dinner ever. And Kate created the most perfect wedding images ever. Here are just a few of our favorites.

And of course, we thank our parents from the bottom of our hearts. Without you, we literally wouldn’t be here. We thank you for your love, your guidance, your support, and your constant nurturing. You have shaped us into the people we are and we are so grateful you traveled all the way over to Wales with us. Thank you for making the day so special.

Last but not least in the least, my husband, I love you. Thank you for flying across the globe for me. I love you with all my being and am so happy to be your wife.

And that, dear friends, is why Wales.


  1. Ashley Durance says:

    Wow – just beautiful! Just breathtaking! Congratulations!

  2. Sammi Collins says:

    This is beautiful. Congratulations Samantha and I wish you and Reid a lifetime of happiness.

  3. Rachel Lynn Spray says:

    And now it’s your turn to make me cry!:) your love is so beautiful and I will always and forever cherish that week with all of you!!!!

  4. David Loessberg says:

    Awesome video and beautiful wedding! Everything looked perfect!

  5. Lisa Ramirez Croteau says:

    Absolutely beautiful…

  6. Anja King says:

    Samantha = what a beautiful story. Your love story is a great one, you two oranges, you. I love how small and special it was. You looked absolutely EXQUISITE! Like you stepped out of some fairytale. As for Reid… dashing Mr. Darcy springs to mind!

    Wishing you a lifetime of joy and happiness, God bless you both ♥.

  7. Carolyn Hopper says:

    Now I’m crying again! I loved the story. Love the beautiful pictures. Can’t wait to see you.

  8. Evelyn Norman says:

    Oh my goodness! What a beautiful video, brought tears to my eyes! So excited for your reception and even more for your lives together. Samantha, you are one georgeous bride and Reid, your not so bad yourself :-p God bless you guys!

  9. Kody Beeman Van Dyke says:

    bawling… absolutely gorgeous in every way.

  10. […] in May. I’m sure most of you know that by now. And you probably also know we were married in Wales and then were blessed to go on a three-week European honeymoon (where we then proceeded to take […]

  11. […] almost been a year since our magical wedding and honeymoon. I can’t quite believe it. People say that the first year goes by in a blink […]

  12. […] the country and not doing a photoshoot would be unthinkable. The UK is very dear to us (we were married there two years ago) and we love traveling around there with our cameras. But the more we thought about […]

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