I am the daughter of a United States Marine. I am a photographer with 20 years worth of capturing moments. For all these years I have dreamed of the day I would have the opportunity to photograph a Marine in his dress blues uniform at his wedding. This weekend, I finally got that chance.
USMC Jon Vander Ark pledged to love and protect my sweet friend Miss Mary Cloud Taylor in a ceremony at Sliter’s Park in Bigfork, Montana. And days before the wedding, he made a brilliant, risky, tactical calculation as only the Marines can. He lied to her.
It’s the best story, and I have the photos to go with it below.
Jon told Mary Cloud that he had ordered a set of dress blues, but that they would not arrive until about a month or so after the wedding. When she met me for breakfast and a final meet up about the wedding on Tuesday morning, she gave me the sad news, that he would not be in uniform.
However, the next day, Jon and I got to talk. He told me he had not been completely forthright with her — he would be in his uniform and he needed to loop me in on the secret so I could capture the moment.
What Jon did not expect was that hours later, I’d be on the phone with her. I smiled when he told me he had been concerned that I would spill the beans in that phone call and not be able to keep the secret. But as much as I love MC, there is no way I would EVER mess up those photos.
She did not disappoint. The look of shock and awe and joy and reverence on her face when she spotted him was simply perfect.
As was the entire day.
The motto of the United States Marine Corps is Semper Fidelis. It means, “Always Faithful.” I have no doubt that this wedding is only the start of the beautiful life God has planned for them and that these two will honestly live up to that motto.