Maggie Edwards and Caleb Earwood had met when they were teenagers and transitioned their friendship to romance once he had joined the marines. Even though they were in their early 20s, they had decided it was time to declare their love and get married. But what Caleb decided to do right before the ceremony really had Maggie in tears. It wasn’t until that moment that she realized who she was actually marrying – and their photographer, Dwayne Schmidt, got it all on camera.

Let’s find out just what happened that had the world tearing up alongside Maggie.

Maggie & Caleb

Marriage is a significant part of life, especially for those practicing certain religions. Maggie Edwards and Marine Corps Corporal Caleb Earwood had known each other for several years before getting married. They both had shared the same religious background and traditional belief system. Because their wedding day was so significant to them, they made sure that their faith-driven traditions were shared and openly present, too. Although they had known each other since high school, Maggie couldn’t believe what happened with her soon-to-be husband before their ceremony.

How Did They Find Each Other?

Most people have a good idea of who their partner is when they are getting married, yet on their wedding day, Caleb really blew Maggie away. But, how did the soon-to-be husband and wife actually get together? Maggie and Caleb had known each other since high school in Asheville, where they met. Starting off as just friends, the table had turned in 2012 when they eventually started dating after he had started serving in the U.S. Marine Corps.

An Old Timey Romance

When we hear about a soldier falling for a girl from back home, it sounds like a story that would have happened back in the ‘30s. And Caleb and Maggie’s was a lot like an old timey romance. Caleb actually explained to WLOS News 13 how their relationship bloomed. “We had class all four years of high school together, we’d hang out at school a lot…Then once I joined the Marine Corps, I was in my unit and we started talking. I came home one time and we hung out, then we started dating.”

The First Step In Life Together

After two years of dating, the old timey romantic couple had gotten happily engaged in 2014. Although they were quite young when they decided to get married, the decision was made with a lot of thought and meaning behind it. To them, marriage was a significant step towards their future. Caleb explained to WLOS News 13, “We were raised in church our whole lives, and with me, you know, marriage, that’s the first step in our life together.” But their relationship wasn’t always as ideal as we would hope.

Dating a Military Man

Caleb was 21 years old and had been in the marines for about three years as of their wedding day. That means that for all of their romantic relationship together, Caleb was serving in the military and not always at home, with Maggie. But Caleb came from a military family, and even if it was hard to get used to, the two of them knew what they were getting into from the beginning. This wasn’t ideal, and the distance and stress from the military came with struggles, but the key to their relationship is what kept them going.

What’s the Key to Their Relationship?

Most people choose to date (and eventually marry) a person because their essence, values, and beliefs match up together. And that is exactly what Maggie and Caleb did.The key to their relationship was their faith in God and belief that he will always protect them.No matter what obstacle came their way, they would always turn to prayer and their faith.Sometimes prayer was needed for when Caleb was stationed in different countries, and other times it was needed for wedding plans.Little did they know that their wedding plan prayer was about to make an unbelievable turn of events.

Planning a Wedding

There is so much that goes into planning a wedding.Do you want a weekend wedding or a holiday wedding? A Summer wedding or an Autumn wedding? Live band or DJ? The list goes on and on.Surprisingly enough, even when it comes to wedding plans, you start to really believe that some things happen for a reason.Some of the choices Maggie and Caleb had made for their wedding day were about to unfold in ways they never would have ever imagined.

Setting the Date

When Maggie and Caleb had set their date, they didn’t realize what a big deal it was. They had just picked a Saturday in late May, but they soon found out that it was actually Memorial Day weekend. With the American holiday season being in the winter time, it’s hard to keep track of when national holidays occur.With the challenge of finding a venue, they were worried they wouldn’t find proper vendors for the reception, either.According to WLOS News 13, Maggie explained, “I had no idea. I tried to change it, but with everything going on we couldn’t change the date.”

The Souvenir from Your Wedding Day

Most people might say that the food or entertainment might be the most important part of a wedding party, right? And sure, after your wedding day, people will talk about the wedding reception and how it was. But the real souvenir you get to keep from the reception are the pictures and videos.Maggie and Caleb were having trouble finding vendors for their wedding date. But they turned to their faith, and prayed that they would be able to find a photographer in time.

Finding the Right Vendor

Maggie and Caleb searched and prayed for a photographer to capture their special day together.But they didn’t need just any photographer to be available on their wedding day, they wanted the right photographer for them. Somebody whose work inspired the happy couple and could reflect how important their wedding day was.With little time to spare, they thankfully found a talented and well-known wedding photographer whose portfolio work resonated with them, Dwayne Schmidt.But was Dwayne going to be available to shoot for them?

Save the Date: May 23, 2015

The young, smitten couple had set their wedding date for Saturday May 23, 2015 – the same weekend as Memorial Day Weekend.Although they were stressed about finding vendors, Caleb had a positive outlook on it.He mentioned to WLOS News 13 that even though it was challenging getting everything done for their wedding, “It also worked out in our favor… Because it’s hard for me and my buddies to get off work being in the Marine Corps.”With the positive, faithful attitude, the couple were eager to meet with Dwayne Schmidt about hiring him for their special day.

Meeting with the Photographer

The day came for the happy couple to meet with Schmidt, their potential future wedding photographer.Once Dwayne met with them, and found out that it was going to be a military wedding, he couldn’t say no.In an interview with WLOS News 13, Schmidt shared that, “There are veterans that still serve in this time, and they say Memorial Day is not just about remembering the people that passed away. It’s the sacrifices that’s been made for everybody.”Dwayne Schmidt had turned out to be more than perfect for the job, but Maggie and Caleb’s prayers were still needed.

The Photographer Says I Do

As a wedding photographer, Dwayne Schmidt understood the importance of a wedding; as a patriotic citizen, he understood the significance of the U.S. troops.Schmidt seemed perfect for the job and the engaged couple asked to hire him on the spot!Without hesitation, Dwayne said yes.Dwayne explained to WLOS News 13 that with it being “A military wedding, and knowing he was going to be there with his uniform, and his buddies and stuff, I just wanted to be part of it.”But the Wednesday before the wedding, Dwayne had to give some bad news to the soon-to-be married couple.

The Wednesday Before the Wedding

The Wednesday before the wedding, Dwayne had to give some bad news to the soon-to-be married couple.He had started to feel quite ill, and was suffering from severe pains on his side.Unfortunately, he was all too familiar with this pain and knew he needed to take care of it immediately.On Thursday night, he went into surgery for kidney stones removal.With only a couple of days to find and book another photographer, without hesitation, Maggie and Caleb turned to prayer for Dwayne to heal and recover.

Who Will Photograph the Wedding?

As stressful as this medical surprise came to them, Maggie and Caleb were equipped for anything. The superpower of their relationship was their equal belief in prayer and faith.With Dwayne the photographer suffering from severe pains the week of the wedding, they still kept a realistic mind and tried to find a solution.But thankfully, there was no need.Dwayne was able to have surgery the next day and made a speedy recovery! Photographing their wedding was mutually important to Dwayne.Little did they all know, his presence at their wedding was going to be lifechanging.

A Physically Demanding Job

Shooting a wedding is physically demanding for both photographers and videographers.In his interview with WLOS News 13, Dwayne explained that he needed to “[make] sure I’m capturing the moment for them… We were constantly running around for 8-10 hours straight.”It’s amazing that Dwayne not only was resilient enough to make a speedy recovery, but that he still agreed to shoot the wedding two days after his procedure.But the most important request that Dwayne had fulfilled was right before the ceremony.

Caleb’s Special Request

May 23, 2015 had finally arrived, and everything had fallen into place.Caleb was in his full blue marines’ uniform and ready to perform an act he had been planning his whole entire life.This wedding day was about much more than just the happy couple getting married, and Caleb wanted to share with everyone exactly what it meant to him.He had a special secret request for Dwayne: to capture what he was planning on doing right before the ceremony.What exactly did this corporal have planned under his beret?

“The First Look” Trend

In recent years, “the first look” has become a popular trend for couples to experience and shoot.According to The Knot, “First look photos memorialize the excitement, awe and love between a couple just before the ceremony starts. They also give couples a private moment to work through their happy tears before standing at the altar.”The bride and the groom had deeply believed in their religion and wanted to keep the tradition of the groom not seeing the bride until the wedding ceremony.But it was also important for them to do something special before the ceremony, and Caleb had requested the photographer to capture it.

Keeping the Tradition

Instead of having “first look” pictures, Caleb and Maggie had something else planned.They still wanted to be photographed for this special moment, however, the traditional couple had planned on sharing a blessing together before the ceremony, instead of a “look”.Nobody had expected how significant and romantic it was actually going to be.Maggie explained to ABC News, “They hid me in a room and he stepped up on the stairwell and he stuck his hand out and I grabbed his hand.”What happened next took everyone by surprise!

An Emotional Soldier

Normally when we think about military men, they are composed and stoic. But there was no doubt that this soldier was getting emotional.As Caleb made his way to the bride’s cabin, his nerves started to kick in.WLOS News 13 explains Schmidt’s perspective: “He walked into a room full of girls and you could tell he was already nervous. We got him situated on the steps, then we brought her out.”As soon as they grabbed hands, Maggie could tell how nervous Caleb was.Maggie later said that “When I first grabbed his hand, he was shaking really bad, so I knew he was really nervous.”Were these nerves from anxiety or excitement, though?

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