Win Our Hearts | Win Your Wedding

from warsaw, part 2

once, in a land far far away, a beautiful maiden mastered many a language, perfect poise, love-of-life, and all things in between . . .

she twirled.

she laughed.

her spirit aglow . . .

perhaps life seemed nearly complete.

yet half a world away, from across the salty sea, a ribbon of light-hearted humor drifted into her midst

with a nibble and a squeeze the handsome prince whispered in her ear the discovery of a shared past . . .

a past that dates back long before a young man stepped up in honor and defense of his beloved country.

love is many a splendid thing.

the very ground from which we grow . . .


a connecting of souls . . .

passion . . .

. . . and play

. . . and this story has only just begun.

jan (pronounced "yawn" but he's anything but!) and magda won our hearts and won their wedding (click the links you'll be directed to our old blog for more) and now 14 months later, we find ourselves wowed and wooed by wonderful warsaw.

our first pictures of poland were posted exclusively via facebook -- CLICK HERE to see warsaw, part one. [ there will be many many more to come. ]

so this is a change in scenery in so many ways:  note the new blog address and new "brand" (and brand new!) look to boot. we still have plenty more work to do on this blog (figure out a plan for our many "categories" for one), but we're so excited that this new design allows us to chat with YOU: friends and family and even a follower or two. our favorite part (ok in addition to the burst of YELLOW! and the lovely logo -- hats off to a girl named fred!) of the new + improved Silver Lining is that your comments now become part of the conversation.  and other than golden light and authentic moments, late night talks with you is just about our favorite thing. (well that and a good pierogi!)

welcome to the new site.

we're delighted you're here! ~ amy + kim

PS the scene for the above images: Wilanow Palace, the "Polish Versailles"

~ check back soon; sooooo much more to come!

their story won our hearts and YES! magda + jan have WON THEIR WEDDING

making a final decision has been ridiculously tough.

to say we've agonized over this would be an understatement.
it was a challenge to whittle the field down to FIVE but then to select but 1 GRAND WINNER proved nearly impossible.
we love each of these couples ~ and we love them for different reasons.

to all of our couples . . .
we want to reach out + hug you . . . in fact, we're ready to move in with you!
not only do we feel like we know YOU, we also feel like we know your family + your friends thanks to the many blog comments + emails directed or way. we'd really love to document your wedding ~ we just want to be there with cameras to our eyes, watching + recording those looks, those laughs, that love. we want to watch your MOMS, your DADS! (their emails + blog comments were especially compelling.) and we want to see YOU seeing each other for the first time that day, capturing it all in a way that will bring memories rushing back when you hold these pictures in 20, 30 years.

and to the couple who will win their wedding photography

(+ fabulous gift from Originals Paper Art . . .)
CONGRATULATIONS, magda + jan. You are our GRAND WINNERS.
Which means that in june of 2009, SilverBox Photographers will be traveling to warsaw, poland, along with your friends and family from 20 (even 30!) other countries around the globe to witness your celebration of marriage in
one of the few Warsaw churches that survived WW II. [historical note #1: 80% of Warsaw and almost all historical buildings were destroyed during the Warsaw Uprising in 1944 and had to be rebuilt from scratch, often from only old paintings.]

it's the element of TRANSCENDENCE that kept our hearts coming back to magda + jan.
jan and magda's wedding testifies to the power of love to transcend national boundaries, international warfare, even exile. there is a palpable EPIC QUALITY to this couple's story.... for jan's family, the wedding is a profound homecoming ~ a return to a homeland that was devastated by World War II . . . families wrenched apart . . . neighborhoods, lives, and national treasures destroyed. Jan's parents were forced from Poland during WWII when jan’s father:
"fought the Nazis for a free Warsaw, was wounded and taken prisoner. Later liberated by American forces, he fought with the British to the end of the war and started a new life in Canada."

Meanwhile, jan’s mother’s home in Poland:

"was annexed by the Soviets: she was deported to Siberia, escaped to India and finally made her way to Canada. During the Cold War, returning to Poland, or even re-establishing strong ties was unthinkable. Nonetheless, the family kept strong Polish traditions."

The chance for jan's family to return to Poland, after nearly 60 years abroad ~ to witness his marriage to a woman born + raised in Poland to whom he'll be wed in the same church were his grandparents were married ~ must be powerful indeed, not only for past generations, but for the generations yet to come.

Ultimately, the contest and your stories inspired us to think about when we make pictures, who are we making them for?

in part yes, we're making pictures of and for brides, grooms because the pictures are how you remember.
but we're also making pictures for generations yet to come . . .
the chance to document jan + magda's wedding is thrilling in part because their story starts many many years before they were born. we love not only how much jan + magda mean to each other (he was so smitten he learned polish for her!) but what their union means to generations of their families. we envision wedding photos that exalt in not only the couple's relationship, but in their families' lives and histories.

Pictures are a family's heirlooms.

both amy and kim have 60+ year-old photographs of their grandparents displayed in each of our homes. in the enderle-wagner house:

above, amy's favorite (ever) couple shot:
grandma jane had left the baby
(aunt jan) with her parents to travel across the country by train to meet her husband's ship (the USS Little) as it came into port. [historical note #2: the USS Little was later destroyed by kamikaze attack of appx. 124 planes near Okinawa May 3rd, 1945] Yet on this day, the boat anchored on the West Coast (possibly Seattle) and he was reunited with his wife (and lucky for us, reunited in the proximity of, based on image + print quality, a professional photographer ~ a local journalist perhaps?)
note the bold confident strides, the determined looks; the focus + the strength of these two individuals sets a "family tone" that amy has admired and found strength through all her life (though interestingly, this wasn't even a picture grandma + grandpa displayed ~ amy remembers uncovering it as a little girl sorting through grandmas big box of pictures, her favorite childhood pastime)
someday amy hopes to take a week-long working vacation and identify the photographer who created this work..... note the clever angle -- see the "beauty/service" sign over jane's left shoulder?

one of kim's favorite family photographs is of the farm where her father grew up. The house and outbuildings no longer exist; these were torn down when smaller family farms were consolidated into larger farms. "I love imagining my dad here . . . discovering that his calf had survived the tornado even though the barn was in ruins, reading "The Black Stallion," getting trapped under a large sack of potatoes, eating my grandma's homemade chocolate cake."


and so this contest has taken us many places: we've literally laughed out loud AND cried, too (being moved by a good love story should be a pre-requisite, we think, for wedding photographers!) and we've searched our hearts and our homes and our own histories as to why pictures matter so very much.

after much contemplation, what we've settled on is a story that doesn't start with a couple, but that starts, in fact, many years before they were born. we anxiously await the opportunity to help tell the story of this next chapter.

meet FINALISTS: ashlee + jeff

note (1) to readers, all ~
so you know how, up to this point, we've provided an excerpt from each finalist couple's story?
well, we just couldn't excerpt from this next couple's essay and do it what the heck, here's THE WHOLE thing as it arrived our inbox, complete with photo caption, too.

note (2) to um, primarily our MALE readership ~ but hey, correct us if we're making too many assumptions
clar·et \ˈkler-ət, ˈkla-rət\ Middle English, from Anglo-French 1578 (vin) claret clear wine, from claret clear, from cler clear : (noun) a red Bordeaux wine; also: a similar wine produced elsewhere; (adj) a dark purplish red

To: Amy and Kim
Re: Win Our Hearts/Win Your Wedding

Hearts of Claret
As told by Ashlee, in a (secret) tribute to the man who gave her heart color

Black, daffodil, navy, claret I, cinnamon, claret II, wine. Six colors for seven weddings, and seven dresses for this perpetual bridesmaid. Yes, two strapless Mori Lee dresses in claret with just a slightly different gathered waist. But that’s another story.

Always the bridesmaid and thankfully never the bride, I liked to say. College and career took precedence over marriage for this country girl with city-like dreams. The year of claret, however, marked a change in my life.

Between claret I in 2004 and claret II in 2005, I went off to grad school at the Missouri School of Journalism and met Jeff, a short, stocky guy who worked for Mizzou. Definitely not my type, but Jeff was a smart-ass and a Cardinals fan, two characteristics I greatly admired. And soon, just like a wedding dress at David’s Bridal, I was hunted.

It started with happy hour, then a dinner here and a baseball game there. He was a romantic and I was a cynic, and I told him every reason in the book why we shouldn’t be together. He ignored every one of them and slowly, surely, taught me to look inside myself. By claret II, the superficial aversions to relationships and marriage that I had clung to no longer made sense. From him, I learned that no one will judge you for loving a man two inches shorter than you; that having a partner can help you achieve more, not less; and that loving someone helps complete your individuality instead of taking it from you.

Perhaps the two dresses in claret – a deep red, the kind you imagine flows through the heart – were a sign. He gave me his heart by the first, and I was finally able to give him mine by the second. So I’m writing this for him, the man who loves weddings almost as much as he loves me. Rightfully, no wedding dress, song or color can represent what we feel for each other or how we’ve grown since the year of claret. But on that special day, we know our family and friends will recognize our true colors – by the light in our eyes, the warmth of our touch and the bright future ahead of us.

Photo Caption
Jeff gleefully caught the garter at my brother’s wedding (and threw a few elbows to do so.) The wedding was post claret II, but as a recovering wedding-phobe, I playfully shot Jeff “the look” as the photographer captured our interaction. I love the joy in his face brought forth by the slightest superstition that it might be his turn next.

hey ashlee, does jeff know yet or is this still a secret?

and that, silver lining readers, is the 5th of our 5 finalists.

we've got a tough task ahead of us. we're torn five ways. we'll keep you "posted," so to speak :'). we originally hoped to announce the winning couple tomorrow (wednesday), but it may take us a day or two longer to read through all your comments and decide (in part because amy is shooting a engagement session in san francisco over the next two days).

be well!

with love,
kim wade + amy enderle

meet FINALISTS: magdalena + jan

even before we heard from jan + magdalena, we received this from joe, jan's graduate school friend:

Dear Silverbox Photographers:

It is with the anticipation of a wonderful, regal wedding experience that I nominate my wonderful friends Jan and Magdalena for the "Win Our Hearts, Win Your Wedding" contest. They are planning to be married in Warsaw Poland at a gorgeous old Church in downtown Warsaw, the very same church where Jan's grandparents were wed....

Not only is the setting ideal, but Jan is one of the most generous friends that I have.... We met on the first day of grad school as we were moving into the dorm, almost 15 years ago now, and our friendship has been a real blessing.....
magdalena + jan | poland

we then received an application directly from jan and magda. we were struck by how their story began, not with the two of them meeting, but years . . . actually DECADES . . . earlier with their parents. jan, in the 3rd person, writes this:

From a History in the Homeland of Poland
Jan’s parents were both born in Poland and finally ended up in Canada, where Jan was born and raised. It was a long journey. During WWII, Jan’s Father fought the Nazis for a free Warsaw, was wounded and taken prisoner. Later liberated by American forces, he fought with the British to the end of the war and started a new life in Canada. At the start of WWII, Jan’s Mother’s home in Poland was annexed by the Soviets: she was deported to Siberia, escaped to India and finally made her way to Canada. During the Cold War, returning to Poland, or even re-establishing strong ties was unthinkable. Nonetheless, the family kept strong Polish traditions. Magda was born and grew up in Poland in the industrial town of Bydgoszcz. Always very proud of Poland, Magda developed a strong international appreciation.

then comes their histories as individuals. . .

"With the end of the Cold war and Poland’s’ new found freedom, Magda completed her graduate studies in Sweden. Upon returning to Poland she moved to the capital of Warsaw, from where she was transferred to Geneva, Switzerland, by her work. Jan was already there at this time, having settled there after periods in Boston, Australia and New York City..."

many years and several countries later, magda + jan finally meet. under the subheadings "love finds its way ..." and "passion for life and each other ..." jan writes how the couple's

first encounter was at a “musical chairs” dinner in Geneva, and the music of our hearts has not stopped since. For both of us it has been a magical time, to be so close to someone and feel just right with them at every moment on every level.

their round-the-world adventures have continued and include a new year's eve engagement in greece. talk about style + timing!

there's an EPIC quality to jan + magdalena's story that touched us deeply. it's interesting (and sad) that we can feel so removed from the events of World War II here in the states. . . that it seems like such distant history . . . reading how the war affected jan + magda's parents and childhoods, their family's immediate history, places so much into perspective.

their essay ends like this:
Unity...Next June in Warsaw . . . is only natural our wedding will be in Warsaw, Poland. The Church is where Jan’s grandparents were wed, on the main street that leads to the King’s Palace. To make sure Magda feels like a princess and to give our guests a “Royal time”, the reception will be in the main park Lazienki, which were the Royal Gardens.

...with a touch of SilverBox , how else could we make our Special Day be captured forever than with You, who appreciate such moments so much and know how to make them all that more unique!

jan + magda . . . one of our 5 finalist couples . . . thanks for inspiring us with your love of family, of place and of one another.

~ amy enderle & kim wade

comments welcome, comments encouraged

a quick technical note here.

we'd LOVE to hear how our Finalists* won YOUR hearts, too!
in case it's not self-explanatory:
MAKE a comment: click the envelope icon
~to SEE comments: click the number (i.e. "6" or "2" or "94") that follows the envelope icon and a comment-drenched pop-up window should appear on your screen.
IF you'd prefer your comment not be viewed by others (you party pooper you...just kidding!) E-MAIL your thoughts + memories to

*a.k.a. our "silver medalists" - though don't let that the idea of a silver medal fool you,
EACH of them are still in the running for the grand prize...
they've CERTAINLY won our hearts and are now 1 of 5 contenders to win their wedding; so now's your big chance to tell us how they won YOURS