It was SO seriously difficult to decide on the winner for 2015’s Feel the Love free wedding contest, but after much consideration, the secret panel of judges announced Maddie and Colton as the winners! Their references described them as consistently being caring, kind and generous and are always working hard to build other people up. They give back to their community with much of their free time being spent with the Navigator’s College Ministry (where Colton is the President), discipleship programs with the Lookout Correctional Facilities and National Park Ministries. They have taken their service abroad and assisted families in Honduras to build homes. We were most taken aback when we asked them why they deserved to win this contest they admitted that they weren’t sure that they did deserve it, as there are many people who are likely more in need, but that they are super grateful for the opportunity and feel blessed to be considered. Their humility and simple, genuine love is apparent. They will tell you that everything good that comes out of them comes from God, and their lives are beautiful examples of the truth of that. Jo is very excited to get to be the photographer for their big day!
*Images provided by Maddie & Colten – thanks guys! They are just a little excited – can you tell? 😉 *
“February 26th, 2012: I met a tall and handsome college blonde today at a conference in Fort Collins. Although sweet on the eyes, I immediately questioned his sociability with women when our first conversation consisted of classes and chemistry. Little did I know that one day we would have a chemistry that made it beyond the bond of initial attraction and into the realm of friendship to the highest degree.
June 11th, 2012: I began my first day of work with Colten as a lifeguard at the YMCA in Granby, CO. We are both part of the Navigators Summer Training Program, where dating and relationships are “off-limits” for the summer. We both know why we are here though, so I will put my feelings aside for now and seek only friendship with this man.
June 21st, 2012: I am scared out of my mind. I feel crazed, or at least had something funny to eat. I cannot look at Colten the same anymore and I have this nagging and terrifying feeling that he is “The One”… a phrase I have always found ridiculous. I am only 19 and have years upon years of dreams to live before I can consider any of this.
August 25th, 2012: Colten took me up the Flatirons in Boulder, CO today and at the very peak, we found a tiny outcrop on a ledge overlooking the valley. He shared his heart and feelings for me, asking to pursue my heart and all that comes with it. In blissful excitement, I shared my similar heart with him.
August 30th, 2012: Colten and I are a package!
February 28th, 2014: I left for Peru today. Leaving Colten and my family for 5 months was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done, but I feel like a semester abroad in Lima is where I am supposed to be for this season.
June 28th, 2014: Colten flew to Lima for the week to visit me! I was so excited to see him I could hardly sleep and was shaking all over. What if when we are in person, we’ll see that we have changed?
July 14th, 2014: Returning to Denver was one of the most mind boggling and comforting experiences. As I returned to my own culture and language, I returned to my most faithful friend. From this season apart, I’ve seen Colten’s faithfulness and love for me. But more importantly, this separation has given me confidence in my love for him. I choose life with him.
October 24th, 2014: Colten took me up the Flatirons today to our exact spot we visit every anniversary. This is where he first asked me to be his girlfriend. Except this time I found myself at the top, swimming in tears of joy as he got on one knee and shared for the very first time that he loves me. I told him I would be his bride and loving wife forever.
July 17th, 2015: Today, we become one! It can’t come soon enough!”