Christa & Todd by Benjamin Wheeler

On paper, we are different in most ways. Todd is a gin distiller; I am a lawyer. Todd is patient, laid-back, lives in the moment, is never one to over-complicate or over-analyse. He loves the ocean and the snow and wears flip flops all year round. I am a thinker, a daydreamer, a worrier, a talker. I always over-analyse. I’m driven, and I’m often planning and organising something.

I was born and brought up in Finland, and lived in Norway before moving to England. Todd grew up in Surrey. We met when we were 15 years old in true 90s style, on MSN messenger. Todd’s close friend Gareth was at my school, and we were chatting on MSN one evening when Gareth added Todd, his friend from a different school, to our conversation. We clicked immediately and carried on talking for hours, and most days after that. I remember running home from school so that I could log onto MSN, hoping he would be online. We spoke for about six months before we decided to meet by the river in our local town, Guildford. After a few dates, we went to watch the turning on of the Christmas lights, where Todd asked me to be his girlfriend. Our relationship just felt right from the very beginning. It was new and exciting, but it also felt like coming home after a long trip. There was a familiarity, a warmth and an instinctive trust that was there from day one.

Todd proposed at my family cottage in southern Finland on an unseasonably beautiful hot spring day. We took a rowing boat out at sunset to “the end of the world”, an island where I used to play as a child. But when we got there, the tide was covering the beach. I got out and stood there, upset that it all looked different. Todd said, “not all change is bad” and when I turned around, he was down on one knee with a ring. After a lot of shrieking and tears, we rowed back to the cottage and celebrated with beers and cinnamon buns.

The weather went to shit on our wedding day. You know those days when the heavens open and the wind is crazy, and you think to yourself, how could you ever step outside in that? That was the weather on our wedding day. It was torrential, and not the snowy wonderland we had envisioned. But some of my favourite memories are us running through the rain trying not to get wet, rushing from the car into the church, umbrellas turning inside out. There was a drama and a power to the weather that sort of matched what was happening. It made the atmosphere indoors even more electric and magically cosy. Plus now, whenever there is a really stormy day, it reminds me of my wedding day and makes me feel warm and happy.

We have been together since we were 16 which is quite rare in today’s modern, chaotic world. Everything around us has changed. The only constant has been our relationship and our feelings for each other. It is amazing to look back at the beginning when we were just children in our school uniforms, innocent and free, and now here we are celebrating our 30th birthdays as adults, with bills and careers and responsibilities, but at the core, the feelings are the same. We have both only ever loved each other, and we’ve somehow managed to grow up but not grow apart.

Todd: To me, love and marriage are several things. Laughing with Christa about something no one else would find funny. Being able to completely be ourselves around each other. And 14 years later, still finding out one another’s weird little quirks. It’s going out and having a great time with our friends and families, but all the while knowing that we’d be having just as good of a time with just us curled up on the sofa. It’s having a bad day at work, but knowing everything will be OK because I’ll see Christa soon. It’s getting unashamedly excited in the morning if Christa’s alarm goes off before I leave for work, just because I get to spend an extra minute with her.

photographer Benjamin Wheeler / bride’s attire Pandora gown by Suzanne Neville and cape by Jesus Peiro, all from Miss Bush Bridal / groom’s attire Custom three-piece suit by Favourbrook / fragrance Black Orchid by Tom Ford / ceremony location Helsinki Old Church / reception location Oitbacka gård / celebrant Juha Rintamäki / styling & planning Nord & Mae / catering & beverages Soup / rings Simon Pure Jewellery / makeup & hair Miia Ollula / bridesmaids’ attire Adrianna Papell / groomsmen’s Yardsmen