Hello friends and family! Alexandra and Philip here, and we wanted to take this opportunity to thank EVERYONE for the support over the years as we’ve grown as a couple, as a business, and as artists. We couldn’t have done it without the many ICONIC people we’ve met along the way. But before we get in too involved with our story, a HUGE shoutout needs to go to Aura Marzouk of Aura Marzouk Photography. For years, people have jokingly asked, “Who in the world is going to take your wedding photos?!?” But little did they know, that was already decided when Aura did such an amazing job on our Engagement Portraits all the back in 2012! So, if you or anyone you know needs an engagement or wedding photographer within 1,000 miles of Greensboro, South Carolina, then do yourself a favor and contact her! Now, we begin the rest of the story. (But first, if you missed our goofy wedding announcement or our live streaming ceremony check out the links for the full videos!)
From the Beggining.
We are a young couple, Alexandra (27) and Philip (26), currently residing in Knoxville, TN. At the time of our wedding we had been together for 6 years — engaged for 4 of those years — but we were FINALLY able to tie the knot on April 24th in Washington DC. Ironically enough, Washington DC was actually the same place where we got engaged, but that has an epic story of its own! As a couple, we spend every waking moment together — literally… except to go to the bathroom — and we are truly best friends and soul mates! We’d be willing to bet that in our 6 years together we’ve spent more time than couples that have been together for more than a decade, but that’s how we like it. We’ve been through some rough times, although if we were to try to tell you our full story it would be a novel. So, we’re going to try to sum up the events that led to our wedding in Washington DC as well as we can.
The first time we laid eyes on each other was when we met in college as music majors. However, we quickly got burned out on pursuing careers as musicians and shifted our artistic focus to photography after we had both nearly completed a 4 year degree. Obviously, many family members, friends, and advisors tried to sway us away from the idea. However, we both have always enjoyed taking the path less traveled. And even though neither of us had a clue what we were doing at that point in time, we knew it was worth a shot. Pun intended. After all, our last name is Lenz, ironically enough.
We began our business in 2011. Alexandra was serving tables at a local restaurant to pay our bills while Philip was still finishing up school with over 20.5 hours piled into his course load. Although Alexandra was working shifts Monday through Friday, it was a pretty common occurrence for her to be cut from her shift by lunchtime, only walking away with $10 in tips. Although this point in time was probably one of our hardest financial struggles, it made it easy to take the next step, because we didn’t have anything to lose! So, we made the leap and went full time with our photography business. It was anything but easy as we had no financial help, no previous business experience, and we quickly had rent and utilities due, no food to eat, and only $50 in our bank accounts combined. But the struggle continued.
Skip ahead a year and it was March of 2012 where we were able to scrape up a bit of money — which we only had acquired through student loans — and we were able to make it to the Photoshop World convention in Washington DC. It was there where we learned the skills that have landed us work with athletes such as Drew Brees, Jason Witten, Rich Froning, Michael Venom Page, Dom Dwyer, and Carlos Condit while only in our mid twenties after starting from the bottom.
To put things into perspective, 3 years ago we didn’t even make enough money to file taxes, but this year our business grossed 6 figures.
Now, rewinding a bit to the Photoshop Convention in 2012, not only was that where we jump started our photography career, but it was also where Philip was also able to use what money he had left from his student loans to buy an engagement ring for Alexandra. He set up a few flashes by the Washington monument, placed the camera on a tripod to a 10 second timer, and pulled out the ring to capture Alexandra’s authentic reaction as the lights flashed. Now, you can only imagine Alexandra’s surprise since she knew that we barely even had enough money to make it to the convention, even after getting a discounted student admission and taking a $20 Megabus ride to the Nations Capitol since we couldn’t even afford the gas it would’ve taken — even if our ’96 Honda Civic with over 300k miles could’ve made it. That’s the kind of shit you can’t make up!
Now, let’s skip way ahead. Since 2012 we’ve done nothing but strive to be the most Iconic Sports Photographers that the world has ever seen. Through word of mouth, we’ve already been able to work with some top level athletes in just a few years, but that obviously came at a price. Alexandra and I have always “felt” married, but we’ve worked so hard to reach our goals that we just simply never had the time nor the funds to officially have a wedding. In our journey, we’ve also learned that family isn’t just those whom are related to you by blood. We’ve networked with people mostly through our photography from Knoxville, to Atlanta, Kansas, New Mexico, Colorado, to London and all over the world!
So, our “big idea” was to have a spur of the moment elopement back in Washington DC in front of the Washington Monument where it all began 4 years ago. Going into the wedding, we had NO PLAN and EVERYTHING was completely last minute and on the fly. Maybe our improv skills came from being musicians. Who knows! There was only one big obstacle that was staring us down; how in there world were we to include all of our newly proclaimed friends and family members from all around the world? Simple. We broadcast the entire journey live on Facebook! Now, when we had the idea we knew it was going to be fun and creative. However, we had no idea that it was going to be the SINGLE MOST ICONIC PIECE OF ARTWORK that we’ve created yet! The weather was perfect. The lighting was perfect. We had 3 guests there: One was Alexandra’s best childhood friend, Lata, who just happened to be at Virginia Tech and was able to attend the ceremony — Lata videoed the live stream. The second guest was Philip’s childhood friend, Isaak, who is currently studying at Vanderbilt and was also able to attend, because he had gotten placed at an internship for NASA and was ironically in town — Isaak officiated the wedding. And lastly, our good friend and photographer, Aura, who photographed our engagement pictures 4 years ago, was also in town shooting an unrelated engagement session. So, Aura was able to shoot our wedding later that evening. Now, tell us that isn’t fate!
The ceremony left us laughing and crying 100x over but it wasn’t until everything was said and done that we realized how important this story is for us to share with the world. Who else has a story like ours AND executed the entire journey in a live Facebook broadcast?!? We think that it was possibly the first ever wedding broadcast live on Facebook! There were millions of things that could’ve went wrong for this to not have some greater purpose. People close to us that have had just a little taste of our story have always encouraged us to share it with the world, however, we believe that this was the missing puzzle piece that completed the first chapter of our lives together. We do feel that we have a great talent and gift with our photography, but as artists the insatiable need for us to change the world in a positive way is almost enough to drive us insane on a daily basis. But this could be the first step.
As a couple, we we feel that we were put on this earth to do to make a change. We want to inspire others to love and spread the message that you CAN do anything that you want as long as you work towards building each other up to be the best versions of yourself on a daily basis. Even if you start from the bottom, anything is possible as long as you have the drive. Marriage is a beautiful thing. Thank you for sticking around to catch a glimpse of our lives thus far through tales of some of our most intimate moments. Much love to you. Now, get out there and share the love with someone else!