There's a whole world out there to explore, and Anna and Rudy Van Ry plan on seeing it together.
The Whatcom County couple said their vows July 14, 2012, with a travel-themed wedding based on their shared passion.
The two had known each other almost their whole lives, though they spent time apart to travel. Anna taught English for a year in central China and Rudy went into the world to study abroad. Neither of their families really traveled much, but those first trips, Anna says, opened a door.
When they got back together, they planned a five-month trip through South America.
"We figured it either would make us or break us," she says. "We survived."
The two explored jungles and mountains and skipped hotels and tourist itineraries to stay in hostels and make their own plans.
"I love the adventure of going off the beaten track, not knowing which city or country we will be in the next week, meeting locals and learning about their culture through them, not a book, and of course, one of my favorite parts is eating the food," Anna says. "I love traveling with Rudy because he sees things from a different perspective. He will point something out that I didn't see and vice versa. Not to mention, having someone to share memories with is pretty cool."
So when they decided to tie the knot, it was only natural that the affair would take inspiration from their travels. Their invitations were made on vintage maps, so that each was slightly different. The flower girl wore a kimono, in honor of Anna's year in China. The ring bearer wore a Dutch outfit, in honor of their shared heritage. Instead of a guest book, the couple had friends and family write messages in a bottle that they'll open on their year anniversary.
The day itself was intimate and full of love. The two were married in a small ceremony in a tiny church in the hills of Everson, decorated simply by one of Anna's friends.
"Standing outside the church with everybody who loves us and who we love, that was great," Anna says.
Their reception was held in Ferndale, at the home of Anna's aunt and uncle. Friends and family danced all night and had a fantastic time, and Anna loved the chance to take it all in.
"Somebody gave me the advice to just stand back and watch all the people you know and love have a good time," she says. "I made sure to do that. It was really great, it was good advice."
They're both in school, so they had to put off their honeymoon. But when it happens, it will be something exciting, Russia or somewhere else in Asia.
"I'm sure it will span a few countries," she says.