Married: Val & Drew Van Herk

 

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My palms delicately glisten (profusely sweat) just hearing about it. Good luck not cringing, the story goes like this:

Six inches. The size of half a subway sandwich. Her hands were only about half a subway sandwich away from his. So close she could feel a magnetic pull between the masses of their awkwardness. If science had its way, it would just require one swift (close your eyes, grit your teeth, pray he doesn’t swat your hand away)  lift of the arm to get her hand closer, or even better, into his. But for Val, the six inches were long enough to cast her into a very dramatic silent monologue. A monologue 100% of womankind have experienced at one point or another. “Okay… GO! Just do it. NIKE SAYS JUST DO IT.” Ten minutes later, “Okay, one.. two.. annnd… THREE! and nothin. Not a God-forsaken inch.” Clearly all of the self-talk in the world couldn’t get her paralyzed sausage limbs to move from her side of the theatre seat to his. It was getting a little too ridiculous for her taste, a classic code red very quickly nearing code blue, and it was time to shake her face and pull it together. “Up and at em. Move those birthday cakes out of this carpet upholstered bucket seat, time to bee line to the ladies’ room for a serious sit down talk,” she coached herself, “because right now your date game be weak, and you didn’t text your way into his attention for nothing.” So up she went to both pretend she had to use the restroom and to also actually use the restroom. (Might as well if you’re already in there.)

So there she was in the bathroom. Just thinking, gathering momentum, if you will. But you can’t think slash gather momentum in there for too long or else your date-in-waiting could imagine you’re doing something you’re not. And the only thing worse than having stomach problems is pretending you’re having stomach problems. So she had to think fast. Starting with remembering it had taken a lot to get here. I mean, not a lot from her *thank God*, but a lot from him, and she needed to prove herself worth the work if she was going to land herself another date with… her boyfriend. Oh yeah. About that. Although this was their first date, she was already his girlfriend. I guess we need to back it up a little farther than expected. Stick with me, and also, I should mention the timing of this date. Circa 2009. They were still juniors in high school.  Back to HOW she was already his girlfriend two hours into their first date.

Before the movie theatre’s showing of The Dark Knight, they shared a meal at Woody’s diner, where they were on a double date with her sister and his best friend. But I should probably mention that even though they were on a double date, their double date counterparts were absolutely NOT sharing a table with them. Drew, so cleverly, convinced everyone there that you do NOT sit with the other couple you’re double dating with at the same table. Each couple gets their own table. BECAUSE OBVIOUSLY THOSE ARE THE RULES THAT EVERYONE KNOWS????

Well, his schemes *as weird as they were* worked. And there he was with the pretty girl from US History class. The one he found to be “stunningly beautiful,” the one whose phone number he gathered due to the fate of a heaven-sent class project. (Isn’t the off chance of being grouped with and then collecting the phone number of the hot kid in class what keeps everyone in school?) He had her number for US History related purposes, but life history has it that one of the first texts he sent her were “Sorry I was so hyper in class today. I had pancakes for breakfast.” He made her laugh then, and he keeps her laughing now. She often finds herself writing down on scrap paper the funny things he says, meanwhile begging him to stopppppp doing those impersonations he does so well. But once he overrides her plea to quit it, her response (between laughs) can’t help but be… “Okay, okay, just one more time.”

But it was more than his wit that had her there across from him at Woody’s diner. It was that relentless pursuit he had in him to know her, and to allow her to feel known. She feels it now of course, but she even felt it then. There they sat in that booth by the window that first date, meeting eyes, making small talk, and… “then he asked me to draw a house on a napkin. And then he asked me to be his girlfriend.” To which I responded, “Wait, he asked you to draw a house on a napkin? WHY?” To which she responded, “To this day he still has no idea why he asked me to do that. Just like a weird nervous thing! IDK! But I’m pretty sure we still have that napkin in a box at my parents’ house.” Don’t know what to say… well how about… DRAW A HOUSE ON A NAPKIN, READY GO! I die of the cute awkward things in life, I REALLY REALLY DO. Because when your life (like mine) is a string of them, they start to lose their sting and you start to find them the absolute most charming, ever.

Well, there she was, in that bathroom, reminded that she probably didn’t need to work as hard as she originally thought now that she remembered that after he asked her to draw the house he asked her to be his girlfriend. Hashtag security systems.

And so one more big deep breath, and out the doors she went. Only to find him *also* outside of the theatre doors. “Could he be waiting for me? Why would he be waiting for me?” She walked on up him, said hi, and then with one hand on her cheek and the other around her waist, he kissed her. The anxiety from the last hour washed away, and the fact that they were sharing their first date in a run down movie theatre had nothin’ on them. All that mattered was she was with him. And that’s all she wanted. As their lips separated, he looked at her and said, “I had to make sure you had a good first kiss.” And it was good. Real good. She swears up and down that after dating each other five and a half years, that first kiss still ranks up there among the best kisses of our lives.

His courting and their dating continued, their kisses multiplied, and before they knew it they were graduating and getting acceptance letters to the same local Christian college– because since the beginning the plan hadn’t changed. She knew she wanted to be with none other than him, and he was dead set on her, “this girl with absolute and effortless uniqueness.”

It was the first year of college when Drew knew this wasn’t mere dating. That he was in it for the long haul. I asked how he knew. He replied, “That deep desire I had in the beginning to pursue her, to know her, it didn’t fade, but it continued to burn in me.” She never became old news, in fact she was never known enough. God put a desire for her in his heart, a desire that would only increase furthermore.

And it’s interesting he spoke of this particular desire to know her, because when I spoke with her, she referenced the same thing. She put it like this, “For me, one of, if not the best, part of our relationship is the feeling of being known so deeply by someone else. The way you feel relieved and valued when you feel like you totally believe someone else actually understands what you’re feeling. You don’t get many people like that in your life, and Drew is the best one I have. And in return, I know that I am called by the Lord to minister to Drew in ways that only his wife can do. And part of this ministry is building a solid foundation on the mutual idea that you two gave your words to one another that you were in it for the long haul. I think this allows your love to grow and become more nuanced and deep, transforming, and molding you as individuals and as a couple.”

OWNED on so many levels.

Basically, I learned a few important life lessons from these two.

1. With God, the fire behind a man’s holy pursuit of a woman’s heart will increase in its burn. That’s powerful you guys. 2. HOW ABOUT EVERYTHING IN PREVIOUS PARAGRAPH. And most importantly, 3. When double dating, you’re not allowed to sit at the same table as the other couple.*

*(This rule mostly applies to when you need alone time with someone you want to ask to be your girlfriend but you don’t want to ask her in front of her sister and you can’t figure out another way to find said alone time.)

All jokes aside, Drew and Val, you know how I feel about you. I lay on my back kicking my legs on the ground, giddy for your love. Thank you for having me a part of your most gorgeous day. XO

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Raves & Thanks:

Photography: Whitney Darling Photograpahy

Second shooters: Dawn Alexandra & Lecilla Photography

Desserts: Alex Soto of Pastries by Alex

Food: Tacos Cortez

Bride’s bouquet and altar arrangement: Hallie of Dave’s Flowers

Chair Swag: Natascha Moss of Mulberry and Moss

DJ: Chris Anthony of Scratch Weddings

Venue: The Newland House Museum

Gown: Wtoo bridal

Bride’s shoes: J. Crew

Groom’s Suit: J.Crew

 
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