You might just recognise the groom in these images. His name is Garth and he happens to be the inventor of an amazingly delicious treat called Chocorn. It’s something that he has been making in his own home for about 10 years and the adage “Nice Guys Finish Last” was proven well and truly wrong when he won the Australian TV show Recipe to Riches.
I was first contacted by Garth’s partner Fotini in July 2012. They were planning on getting married in August 2013 in a small village in Greece called Ambeli. This village is one of those quintessential places left behind by the modern world – barely populated and by an ageing demographic. All the young people leave for the bigger cities in search of better lives and job opportunities. It’s a tough life in these villages and the old men and women who live there wear the scars of this life on their sun weathered faces. It was the village where Fotini’s family came from – only her great aunt and uncle along with his family still live there. There’s a ‘kafeneio’ where mostly the men gather to drink coffee and gossip about local affairs each day, a taverna and a church. Ambeli isn’t visible on Google Maps and in all honesty, it’s like stepping into a time-warp from 50 years ago, when times were much simpler and we lived easier, yet simultaneously, more difficult lives. It was an experience that all of us traveling from Australia (including Garth’s family) would relish – we would be able to connect in with Fotini’s family history and in our own way, make our differences things that were understood rather than unknown.
But there was a very small hitch in February 2013 – the Recipe to Riches producers told Garth that they needed to shoot some additional footage in August 2013 and he needed to decide whether he was going to get married in Greece or stay behind for it. If he didn’t stay, he would end up being cut out of the show so it was a tough decision to make, one I don’t envy in the slightest. A whole bunch of things had been organised and paid for (including air travel) but I suspect that Garth knew that he was in with a good chance so with Fotini’s support, they decided to push their wedding back by exactly 12 months. Thankfully we were still invited in 2014 and truly happy to be available – and it also meant a few more catch ups for dinner where Kristen and I could spend time with Garth and Fotini and get to know them. And what we discovered was that these two are two of the most wonderful people we have ever met. They can see the world for what it is and they want to leave the world a better place through their actions and words. They live life with emotion and honesty and seeing them on their wedding day as not only their photographer but friend as well, was an experience that was well and truly worth waiting for. And now, having seen the roller coaster that is the lives of these two lovely people, all I can think of is that our journey is sometimes is strange and unusual, but if you are good to the universe, it will repay you with much kindness.