Friends, let me tell you a story.
For years (since at least as long ago as middle school), there has been one house that has been “my house.” You know what I mean. It’s my dream house. It’s the most beautiful house I’ve ever seen, with the most thoughtful architecture, the prettiest gardens, the most charming outbuildings, the loveliest porch… All of my friends and family members know which one it is, and can point it out on command.
A few years ago, in addition to vowing that I would one day own said house, I started telling people that I wanted to take my wedding photos there. Of course, the first question my levelheaded companions always asked was, how exactly are you going to make this happen? Why, I’ll write them a letter, of course, said I. It wasn’t like I wanted to pretend that it was my actual house (that would be embarrassing) — I would consider it akin to a more normal person wanting to take photos at a historic property or mansion.
So then I got engaged. And I promptly added “Contact dream house about portraits” to my Martha Stewart generated wedding to-do list (I use the online one – it’s great!). Month: July. And then a few months passed, and it was July. And I had to decide if I was really going to do this thing.
Since I wanted to be able to address my letter personally, I did some Google sleuthing to try and turn up the names of the homeowners. They are probably a variety of ways I could have done this, but luckily, I was able to find an article in my local paper from a few years back about a renovation at the house that mentioned the owners by name. And just like that, I had everything I needed.
So I did it! I drafted a letter, wrote it out in my nicest handwriting on my thickest note cards, said a little prayer, and popped it in the mail. I gave the owners my cell phone number and email, in case they wanted to contact me. And then there was nothing left to do but wait.
Three days later, I had a missed call and voicemail on my phone. The woman on the end identified herself as the owner of the house! She sounded a little confused, but encouraged me to call her back. A few days later, I did just that. We had a lovely conversation, and the upshot is that they’re going to let us use the house’s grounds and porch for portraits!! Y’all, I can’t tell you how excited I am about this. I know it will be just perfect for the kind of warm, casual, lovely photos I’m envisioning. I think it will be entirely surreal!
You know the coolest part of the whole thing, though? At the end of the conversation, just before we were about to hang up, she said (and I’m paraphrasing), “You know, I just have to tell you, when I got your note in the mail, it was just so strange. I grew up in your town [we went to the same high school!], and I have loved this house for so long. I used to walk by it, and take photos of it, and talk about it as my ‘dream house.'” [Been there, done that, said that, yes.] And now, here we are. Does this mean that in thirty years I’ll own this house, and be able to loan it to a bride-to-be? I hope so!
In the meantime, I’ll be looking for opportunities to pay it forward as soon as I can, and as often as I can.
P.S. I know y’all are probably dying to see the house, but out of respect for the owners, I’ve decided not to show a shot of it at this point. You will see it post-September, though!