On The Cover: Star-crossed - Friends turned lovers
Anna Joseph met her husband in high school, but they were never really sweethearts. That is, until they went off to college, lived in the same duplex building and finally went on their first date.
“He said, ‘Let’s go on a real date,’ but I didn’t even know how to go on a real date. It was a little weird because I was on a date with my best friend and I didn’t know how to act. I kept trying to pay,” Anna said, laughing.
Anna’s mother, though, always thought there was more to Anna’s relationship with longtime friend Tim Joseph. It never mattered to her that Anna said the two remained just good friends.
“My mom always used to say, ‘You have got to marry that Tim boy.’ And your mom is always right. I did end up marrying that ‘Tim boy,’” Anna said. “He waited for me.”
The pair didn’t actually date for long, getting married the very next year. And that wasn’t all that happened fast.
“He proposed in August and we got married in October,” Anna said.
The proposal has a story of its own, she said.
Tim intended to propose when the two went to a local park one afternoon to fly a kite. Anna wanted to try her hand at the outdoor activity for the first time “in forever” and Tim planned to somehow slip the ring onto the kite, so Anna would find it when she reeled the airborne toy back in. That didn’t happen, though.
“We couldn’t get the kite to go up. It was so frustrating. So he didn’t propose,” Anna said.
Instead, as the Rochester Hills couple drove away, they passed by the nature center at Stony Creek Metropark in Shelby Township. It looked familiar to Anna and she wanted to stop and look around. As soon as she started to walk down a pathway, she recognized the place as a special spot from her childhood.
“I was nostalgic. I hadn’t been there since I was 10 years old,” Anna said.
Park officials installed a new overlook deck that provided a view of Stony Creek since Anna had last been at the nature preserve. That was when Tim made his move, Anna said.
“I can’t remember exactly what he said because I was so shocked. I remember it was something really beautiful. He got down on one knee. Of course I said ‘yes.’”
The wedding date came fast on the heels of the proposal and Anna admits there was a good reason for the hurry. She and Timothy found out two days after their engagement began that they were about to become new parents.
“Well, I already knew him, so we thought ‘why wait?’”
Anna’s mother took on the Herculean task of collecting and flattening with an iron about 1,000 colored autumn leaves, decorations for the wedding and reception held at Addison Oaks County Park near Romeo. They initially planned to have an outdoor ceremony, but the weather forecast was “up in the air,” so they decided to use the indoor option at the park. The building had many windows so guests could see the beautiful colored leaves all around, especially since it didn’t actually rain that day, after all.
“It was a beautiful day in the upper-60s, which was pretty great,” Anna said. “It pretty much went off without a hitch.”
She said the only trouble arose after the wedding day, when the photograph proofs came back. They were a disaster, she said.
“They were the worst photos in the world. We left that day with no tangible memories, no really nice pictures from the day,” Anna said.
Her advice to brides is to make sure they know and trust their professional photographers, along with their ability to produce great images. In the end, Anna and Tim paid the photographer for her services on the wedding day, but failed to purchase a single print.
“She was really mad, actually,” Anna said.
The only shining image that came out of the wedding day — Oct. 26, 2003 — is a snapshot a guest took just before Anna walked down the aisle. Both her father, Brian O’Malley, and her step-father, Eric Pett, stood nearby to comfort her, an attempt to ease her nerves as she grew quite anxious just before her two dads walked her down the aisle.
“I was just so nervous,” Anna said. “I got stage fright with all those people looking at me.”
The snapshot’s importance was underscored when Anna’s father died two years after she wed. “So that was definitely a really important memory,” Anna said.
Then eight years later a friend, E’Lisa Campbell of e.c. campbell photography, offered to take a new round of photographs, a way to re-create some wedding images for Anna. But Anna wasn’t sure she’d even fit into her wedding gown again. After all, it had been more than eight years and she had given birth to two children by then.
Despite her worries, the gown fit, just as it had the first time.
“I got back in it and I cried I was so happy. When you’re a little girl, your wedding dress is it. It’s the only thing,” Anna said. “It made me feel like a bride again, swooning over my husband. I still felt like a princess.”
Anna remained somewhat skeptical about having her replacement photographs taken during the “freezing” winter in her mother’s snowy backyard. But in the end, the photographs turned out perfectly, including some taken with her two children, she said.
“I felt like my whole wedding had been redeemed,” Anna said.