Category Archives: love

My (Expat) Love Story in Wales

Earlier this week I posted My Family Portraits in Wales that were taken this summer for our 10th Anniversary Vow Renewal, by my friend Miriam. You can see the ones I took of her family at Travel: Cymer Abbey Family Portraits.  I decided to save the sweet romantic ones she took of just Ryan and I for today.  Think of these as a sweet teaser for the official wedding photographs from our vow renewal. It has not been since Hawaii that we have had our photographs taken by anyone else and I really appreciated all the hard work my friend Miriam did for us.  Here is our expat love story in Wales:

* Photography © Miriam Pinkston Visual Artist, 2009-2013 All Rights reserved.

My 10th Wedding Anniversary – 02.08.13

Today my husband and I have been married for 10 years. It has become the most important anniversary milestone in our twelve years together and our ten years of marriage.  It is a realization in itself that we have been married this long but there is no denying the fact when I also remember that our oldest is now eight years old.  Time really does pass you by.  I recently was given a wedding dvd from one of our wedding guests after I told them we had lost our wedding dvd in a move.  We watched it last night with my sister and it was remarkable to see just how young we were only a decade ago.  It almost seems like a whole different world we were living in as newlyweds.  
We we currently still living in the ‘bubble’ of my conservative christian university in the days before my husband joined the military.  I had my parents’ relationship, a couple who raised their children overseas and loved travel, as my vision of marriage.  I think it is safe to say as newlyweds we both had a more fantasy view of what our life together would be like throughout our marriage.  I had no foreshadowing of the hardships to come our way.  The stresses of military life, starting a family and raising children,  being far from family without a support system, the sudden loss of a parent, and how it would all affect our marriage.  On top of it all it became hard to name a couple I knew that were still married amongst our military friends and acquaintances, and more easier to name those who called it quits.  
In the end my husband and I stayed together, moved abroad together, and have begun a whole new life for our family as expats in England.  Life has never been sweeter.  Yes life has still been hard and we still find our moments of stress. However we know that we have each other.  Being married to your best friend and experiencing all the ups and downs together as partners is what has made our marriage stronger.  
I am so happy to begin another ten years with Ryan and to continue our life overseas.  Though we are no longer those naive newlyweds in their early twenties,  we have both evolved into the people we are today.  I love my husband so much for who he has become and who he is to me.  Something I mentioned in my vows a decade ago.  Today we are getting ready for our Vow Renewal ceremony here in Snowdonia, Wales.  It is been a long anticipated event that we now share with a few family and friends.  It is not our ‘happy ending’ but just another new happy beginning to the next chapter of our love story. 

Have you been following along for love week? 
More coming tomorrow and here has been the 
guest posting line up for the past several days: 
Follow along via Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter 
with the hashtag: #RyanAndBonnie

Music that Speaks to Me

Day 29, Wednesday: Five songs or pieces of music that speak to you.
I decided to look for the songs that have really impacted my life in one way or another  and these are the five that have spoke to me for this prompt. I hope you enjoy listening to them as much as I do.
I love music. I love the way it can alter and change your mood if you are feeling down.
I love the way a song can cement itself to a memory or a person.
A world without music would be a sad one indeed.
My eldest son always has a song on his lips.
Whether he is humming or singing.
Music is the heart of the world.
Y o u ‘ r e   M y   S t a r 
I put this song on my sons’ iPod before my husband and I moved to England.  We did not take our boys with us initially so that we could get settled with a place to live, jobs, and a schools.  I do not lot like being a part from my sons one bit but I did what I could to help the transition.  I told my sons that every time they were sad because they missed us they could listen to this song and that I would be doing the same thing too.  It still makes me think of my sons when I listen to it and Stereophonics are one of my favourite bands.

Gavin Rossdale
F o r e v e r   M a y   Y o u   R u n 
I fell in love with Gavin’s voice in Bush when I was in seventh grade with ‘Swallowed’.  When his solo album was released in June of 2008 I listened to it frequently.  In August my father was killed.  When we got to my parents house I went for a lot of walks on my own to get out of the house and this song started playing on repeat from my iPod.  I ended up modifying the title to ‘Forever May You Fly’ for a title to put on the Ghost Bike memoria for my father who flew in the USAF.
A s   t h e   W o r l d   F a l l s   D o w n 
When I was five years old I had two loves aside from my daddy.  One was Prince William, whose photo with his mum Diana sat on my vanity, and the other was Jareth, the Goblin King from Labyrinth. I loved this film and enjoy watching it now with my own kids.  While I equally adore the song Within You followed by David’s last scene in the film this song is quite iconic.  I really enjoyed the dream-esque world of being a princess in a world that is just too strange and foreign to be comfortable within.
D a n c e   M e   t o   t h e   E n d  o f   L o v e
I had to include both the original from Cohen with the amazing violin and then one of my favourite covers of the song by The Civil Wars.  It is one of my favourite songs to dance to with my husband.  I wanted to include the meaning behind the song however and will let Cohen’s words do that for me:

“…it’s curious how songs begin because the origin of the song, every song, has a kind of grain or seed that somebody hands you or the world hands you and that’s why the process is so mysterious about writing a song. But that came from just hearing or reading or knowing that in the death camps, beside the crematoria, in certain of the death camps, a string quartet was pressed into performance while this horror was going on, those were the people whose fate was this horror also. And they would be playing classical music while their fellow prisoners were being killed and burnt. So, that music, “Dance me to your beauty with a burning violin,” meaning the beauty there of being the consummation of life, the end of this existence and of the passionate element in that consummation. But, it is the same language that we use for surrender to the beloved, so that the song — it’s not important that anybody knows the genesis of it, because if the language comes from that passionate resource, it will be able to embrace all passionate activity.”

L  a   V i e   E n   R o s e 
I love Edith Piaf and when I was last in Paris my husband took me to see her final resting place in Cimetière du Père-Lachaise. I could listen to her voice for a long time and though I have many favourite songs La Vie en Rose is my most favourite song.  I think I hummed it a frequently aloud and in my head when were were in Paris.  I found a little music box song of it when in Sorrento and I love to play it.  She is just so iconic and I do not think I will get tired of this song. 

*photographs found here belong to Bonnie Rose of Bonnie Rose Photography © 2013 All Rights Reserved | 

Wedding: Destination Vow Renewal

Sixteen weeks, which is essentially four months, to go until 
we renew our vows for our 10th Wedding Anniversary.  
Guess what?  We will not be staying here in Bath, England as planned.  
I had originally envisioned taking photos in the beautiful Sommerset countryside 
and an intimate reception in our back garden with Solsbury hill as our view.  
While that would have been just perfect for us, 
my husband wanted to do something a little bit more.  
It is now a destination vow renewal and we are taking this fete to Wales! 
Self Portrait on timer by Bonnie Rose Photography © 2013 All Rights Reserved | 

Snowdonia, Wales.  The name alone sounds like a mystical location in a fairytale story.

It is a region in northern Wales, a national park, and gets its name from Mt. Snowdon.
Not only is the area beautiful beyond words it is also tied into the Arthurian legend.
The area is bustling with outdoor activities like cycling, climbing, 
horse riding, golfing, canyoning, caving, water sports. 
There are the historical sites, railways, food, shopping, and events. 
bridge and river by

I must find out where this bridge is or if there are more like it near where we will be staying.
As a photographer my mind is racing with ideas for wedding and family photos.

I really want to go see Portmeirion, pictured below, during our time in Wales.
It  is a unique coastal resort in Snowdonia that really could be a fairytale. 
The colours of the landscape alone really make the colour buildings come alive.
It is no wonder so many brides choose Portmeirion as their wedding destination.

portmerion by

I have one dream to add to this new location and that is to ride horses there.
Also envisioning being photographed in my gown with a horse.
That would be perfection.

new forest ponies by

As of last week we booked our holiday rental where family and friends will join us for a week.
I now am pouring over images and links of things to see and do in the area.
I know this will be one trip that will have to be followed up with return visits.
There is just so much to see and do and Snowdonia is quite a big area to cover.
My family is very outdoorsy and we do a lot of walking and enjoy outdoor activities.
I am hoping for as much sunshine as Wales will allow this blushing bride 2.0


Q: Have you ever been to Wales? Or do you have any ideas for our Vow Renewal?

* Self portrait by Bonnie Rose Photography © 2012 All Rights Reserved |
** For more information regarding photographic services by Bonnie Rose Photography see link above.
*** Snowdonia images by

Wedding: My Custom Gown

Upstairs above my wardrobe is a box with my perserved 
wedding gown, veil and gloves from my wedding day in 2003.  
As August slowly approaches in the horizon I get more curious about opening that box.  
I feel like a little girl awaiting Christmas and knowing what she hopes to open that morning.  
I really want wear the gown again for our vow renewal ceremony. 
I have an idea of updating it.
But more on that later.
I originally had another gown for my wedding. 
One that I had picked out with a couple of my bridesmaids.
We had traveled to a bridal shop that boasted
‘the largest bridal gown selection in the Mid-South’.
It was my first time to try on gowns and I fell in love with one.
It was pretty and I felt so pretty in it.
However weeks later I was looking through a bridal magazine 
and fell in love with a Amsale couture.
Unfortunately it cost as much as my wedding.
My dad asked me if I wanted the wedding or the gown.
I really wanted the gown.
It was perfect.
Love at first sight.
(because you can experience that with a gown)
So I found a seamstress in town and brought pictures of the gown.
I picked out the fabric I wanted and she took my measurements.
The dress that originally was priced at $2700 
I had made for my body for only $600
Best decision ever.
The other dress is still in my closet in a garment bag.
I’ll be honest I take it out and try it on every so often.
I like to pretend I’m a princess.
Nothing much has changed from 
when I was a little girl growing up in England 
with a photos of Prince William on my dressing table.
My mum found my tiara for me, a replica of Princess Diana’s. 
When the original shoes I wanted for my dress were out of stock
I went for the extreme opposite with lots of bling. 
I had long fingerless gloves and two different veils.  
Long one for the ceremony and a shorter for the reception.
The jewelry my mum gave to me as a gift.
I changed into a custom tailored white suit for my ‘going away’ outfit
as my new husband and I  drove off into the sunset.

Photography: Angela Alexander Photography
Photography: Angela Alexander Photography
Photography: Angela Alexander Photography
Photography: Angela Alexander Photography

*photography by Angela Alexander Photography of Little Rock, AR. 

Wedding: ‘Eco Friendly Invites?’

I recently found one of our ‘test’ invitations for the pocket folds we made for our original wedding.
In 134 days my husband and I will have been married for ten years.
How a whole decade can pass so quickly is beyond me. 
To make it 10 years after everything that has happened 
when so many we know did not.
 It is our reason to celebrate and to start the next decade anew.
We will be celebrating our ten year anniversary by renewing our vows 
and reaffirming our love with family and friends.
We sent out our ‘Save the Date’ announcement electronically, 
thanks to the aid of social networking.  
With our date four months away the ‘to do’
 of sending out invitations has been looming over my head.  
I adore a handwritten note and want to 
put together something equally personal.  
I have been waiting for the right time to tackle the task, 
but with moving to a new town 
things such as these get put on the back burner.
With family and friends scattered across the globe 
and the knowledge that most will be unable to be here in person 
I have been thinking about maybe just doing a Wedding website.
It obviously loses the personal touch I crave, 
but caters to the eco-friendly and without a cost.
The invitations ideas I love and have saved on Pinterest
would not be all together inexpensive to say the least.
So while I still teeter between the two ideas and try to come up with different DIY alternatives,
I would love to ask your opinion.  
Q: Do you think it is ok to replace the invitation in certain situations?
 Or do you think it comes across the wrong way?  

Expat Love Story: Finding Love Across the Pond

There is something synonymous about the hearts of  expats, third culture kids, and world travelers alike.  Every place you live, every trip you take, each culture you encounter, and the lives that touch your own   find their own special place in your heart.  In turn pieces of yourself, like pieces of your heart, are left scattered across the many places your footsteps once touched. From all corners of the world they are calling for you to return once more.   
I was born and grew up moving and traveling across Europe until I was seventeen years old.  Nearly an adult and thinking I knew everything as a teenager shall.  My parents moved us ‘back home’ to their home culture of America.  Over the next decade I would try to fit myself into that culture which should have been easy to do with my American passport, looks, and accent.  I graduated high school, went off to University, married my university sweetheart, started having kids, and following my vocational pursuits.  All the while my heart was being called across the seas and more specifically across the pond. 
To be fair I was not apart of the world view in America and it was like trying to fit myself into a puzzle where I did not belong.  I married my husband knowing that we would move abroad.  We just did not realize it would take us so long to move me back home. Over that time we celebrated milestones in life, faced tragedies, and met the obstacles that would tear us apart.  Fortunately what broke us did not defeat us. My heart had shattered in 2008 with the sudden loss of my father and the the start to what we thought was the end of our marriage.  Broken hearts can be mended and even shattered ones can again be made whole.  My heart slowly was pieced together and our love story continued  as we moved across the pond.  The pieces of my heart that have been scattered through out Europe have reconnected.  

Our life in Europe is much different from our life in America as we have begun making our home here for our family.  I am not the girl struggling to fit in to an American life, but girl of many cultures just enjoying all the facets life has to offer.  My husband is not the same boy from Illinois that I met at University.  He is a wanderlust expat who seems to fit better in England then back ‘home’.  He adjusted more seamlessly into another country than many tourists I’ve encountered abroad. 
I went from being a girl who forced a smile and said ‘I’m fine’ to being a girl who smiles and swoons over her husband even when he corrects my own pronunciation.  For example when I say ‘Bay-sill’ instead of ‘Baz-ill’.  I love all the cute things he does and the way he thinks as an expat living across the pond.  Here we are abroad with hearts made whole and made stronger through all the challenges we have faced.  I look forward to all that life has to offer in the years to come and knowing my heart is safe.

* All words and photographs are property of Bonnie Rose © 2013