They go perfectly together - like Black-Eyed Susans on back country roads. She is sweet, down-to-earth and intelligent. He is an artist, the creative genius of many media. I was absolutely thrilled to be photographing these two. Their only request when planning details was that their session look very "Midwestern". I have to admit, I have never heard a request quite like their's. Being a "midwestern" farm girl myself, I instructed Tobey and Claire to hold on tight as we headed down a dusty winding road.

Of course I have had the pleasure of hearing their story but thought you might also like their version....

Let me introduce you to the sweet and charming, Tobey and Claire.

Our Love Story [Told by a third person that is Claire and Tobey sitting in front of the computer, writing together.] Claire and Tobey have a love story similar to many people. They met at work. After Tobey found Claire incredibly attractive and charming, he made certain she was hired and that he would be the person to train her. Claire insists that she would have been hired anyway. They started dating shortly thereafter and have remained together since.

However, the more interesting aspect of their story exists in a secret that you'll now know before many others. On April 22, of the year 2009, Claire and Tobey were married by a county clerk at the courthouse in Sarasota, Florida. No one heard their vows but this compassionate stranger and the two of them. They kept their marriage a secret from everyone they knew, planning a grand revelatory event where they would share the news with all their loved ones, after they returned from a year abroad. And yet, the universe conspired against them.

Fulbright, the organization funding their year abroad, telephoned Claire's mother to inquire a bit of information about Claire's husband. Her mother's natural reply was, "Claire's not married!" Fulbright's natural response was to inform her that yes, Claire was indeed married. Quickly after the conversation ended, Claire received a phone call from what they later believed to be the same person. He asked her if she was Claire Michelsen and if she was married, to which she replied, "yes." "Well, your mother didn't know that you're married?" he asked. "No," she responded. "Well she does now," he tersely replied. Awkward silence. "Um, okay," she said.

Now that the cat was out of the bag, their secret marriage became a test as to how long those who knew could and would keep it a secret.

Not long.

Upon writing this, Claire and Tobey couldn't decide whether or not to disclose more details about why the secret had been revealed. One of them had firmly stated, "No," while the other said, "it's an important part of the story." The interested reader should know that this part has been edited out.

After their year abroad, a year which they both considered to be honeymoon-esque (for certain periods), they have yet to reveal their secret as they've attempted countless times to come up with the perfect way to celebrate their wedding. However, they have agreed that there will be some sort of ceremony. Tobey likes to call to call the future ceremony a re-enactment. Claire thinks it will be a ceremony with the ability to form their public union, just as any other would. All other details remain undecided.

Yet in the midst of all this uncertainty, primarily of the public sort, Claire and Tobey insist that they've remained happily married for the past two years [nearly], and will continue to do so regardless.

Everyone has to find their own way.

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