They say a picture is worth a thousand words. One photograph can capture a complex subject matter or possess a myriad of meanings.
In December 2012, Gwinnett native, Kate Awtrey, had no idea that a chance photography assignment would lead her to snap a photo of David King, her future husband, and capture his heart at a groundbreaking ceremony at an event called Homes for our Troops, a non-profit organization that builds and donates adapted custom homes nationwide for severely injured post– 9/11 Veterans.
“I got a call from PR Newswire about photographing the event in Middle Georgia. I had been out very late the night before photographing a party and was extremely tired that morning,” said Kate. “I chose to wear no make-up, put my hair in a ponytail, wore an old t-shirt, jeans, ratty sneakers, and threw on an old coat. I made the three-hour drive, and when I arrived, I walked by a group of Marines in uniform and thought, dang, I should have dressed up!”
David recalled the day. “It was overcast and cold. I was in the color guard wearing my dress blue uniform. Kate walked by. I remember thinking that girl with the camera is hot. I’m going to get her phone number. My Marine buddies didn’t think I was serious. I told them, ‘It’s not how you get the number, it’s what you do with it!’ Kate took a picture of us, and I ran up to her after the celebration, asking for a copy of the picture. She gave me her business card so I could email her and continue to talk to her.”
Kate laughed as she remembered finding his email weeks later in her “Spam” folder. She agreed to a date with him the day after Valentine’s Day. “We started dating in February,” said Kate. Nine months later, David proposed to Kate on the night of the Marine Corps Ball in November.
Kate recalled the special night, fondly. “David was in his dress blues, I wore a custom-made red, silk dress and had my hair and makeup done. My brother, John, took our photo as it happened. The night before, I had trained John how to shoot photographs (he now works for me), so he could take some formal photos of us, and little did I know, David had already told him he was going to propose!
We drove to downtown Loganville to find a brick wall because it makes a nice background for photographs. There was a guy in a snow-man costume across the street. David pointed the snowman out, ‘Look at that!’ I saw nothing, but he told me to look again, and I replied, ‘You mean the snowman?’ When I turned back around, he was on one knee with the ring in his hand, saying, ‘You know I love you, right?’ When I started to cry, David said, ‘Baby, don’t cry... your makeup was expensive!’ I hadn’t picked out a ring or anything. However, as it turned out, David chose the exact one I wanted. I was completely surprised. David said he used his Marine recon skills to find out what kind of engagement ring I wanted. We got married the following May 2014.”
Kate followed her childhood love of photography and earned her Bachelors of Fine Arts in Photography from Savannah College of Art and Design in Atlanta. Her work has earned her several awards, and she owns Atlanta Convention Photography and Gwinnett Event Photography.
David owns his own Loganville-based company, The Handy Caveman, specializing in home improvements and renovations. “My business is a blessing from God. I want to thank my wife for encouraging me to be the person I am today.”
Kate added, “We give everything to God. We have learned to work together and that no problem is that big. God is in control of your life. Life isn’t perfect, and it will always have hurdles. It’s how you work through it that matters. In the early years of our marriage, we had to learn how to live with each other.”
David’s advice, “Enjoy life, together! Communicate and talk out your problems. It builds trust and will bring you closer by working together. Change out the toilet paper roll when it’s empty and help clean dishes! If your spouse loves you, they want to help you. My wife even got me over my childhood fear of roller coasters. Last year, Kate got me to ride the Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster at Disney’s Hollywood Studios at Walt Disney World. I overcame a bad experience and now I love them!”
As David and Kate look through life’s viewfinder together, focusing their lens on the future, they know that each love story is unique. They plan to travel, experience new cultures, and snap photographs to capture and preserve their special moments and cherish the life-long memories.