A Renewal + An Inking ~ Chicago Elopement Photographer

“It kind of feels like we just renewed our vows!”  James said with a smile on his face as we sipped our drinks at our celebratory lunch.

“Yeah… I guess..?”  I said, shaking my head as I laughed at his excitement.


You see, I had just gotten my first tattoo. Ever. At the age of (almost) 32.

James on the other hand has had more tattoos and cover-up work done on old tattoos than I can keep track of anymore. So I thought this wasn’t as big of a deal for him as it was for me…  but apparently I was wrong.


“You realize I’ve never gotten a tattoo with anybody before, right?”  He said as we walked in the front door after lunch.

“You realize I’ve never gotten a tattoo with anybody before either, right?”  I said teasing him.


I may have been giving him a hard time, but I understood. Somehow for James me stepping into his world for a moment was a huge deal. As we sat on the couch in the front of the tattoo parlor, my stomach in knots… he reminded me that this was just like him taking ballroom dance lessons with me. I begged to differ… tattoos are a little more permanent than dance lessons!

But I understood what this meant to him. Me taking a leap… trying something I’d never done before (mostly at his urging). Something that scared me a LOT (I’m not a fan of needles), but I did anyway – because I knew how much it meant to him.

We had toyed with the idea of getting these tattoos in some form before – but it was always just talk for the most part. This time something was different when we brought it up… it felt like an actual option. Maybe it was all the things we’ve gone through since we got married almost 4.5 years ago… or maybe it’s this new journey we’re just starting – either way it finally felt like the right time.


The idea for the tattoo began back in 2009 just before our wedding when I surprised James with his wedding band. He chose the band he wanted, but I was going to surprise him with the inscription on it. As I was getting ready to order it I double checked what font he wanted and that he wanted it on the inside of the ring (of course). He stopped me and said – “No… I want it on the outside of the ring – so I can see it every day.”  I tried to convince him otherwise, but as with all things – James was certain what he wanted… the inscription needed to be on the outside of the ring – and so I obliged.

When the ring came in I was so excited I couldn’t wait to give it to him until the wedding day… so in normal Christy & James fashion – I showed it to him immediately.

He opened it and a huge smile lit up his face. It was perfect.

It read, “One Pride ~ Forever Yours ~ Christy”



You see, James has this thing with lions. He LOVES them. (They are pretty magnificent animals, I’ll give him that.) One of the things he loves most about them is that they form Prides, which are in short their families. (I like to point out that Prides are matriarchal societies whenever we get to chatting about Prides, by the way…. but I digress.)

Since then, “One Pride” has sort of become our ‘thing’. It is our way of saying that we have each other’s backs. That we are One Pride… One Family… Team Tyler… always. No matter what.

And so for some reason, as we start on this next journey and really – just keep trucking along in this crazy game of life – it felt like the right time to make it “official” again. 🙂


James got his on his ring finger (right on top of his tan line from his wedding ring) so that he doesn’t always have to wear his ring when he’s working out. He added some little doggie paws to either side of his as well to stand for Phoenix and Chloe… and any dogs that come after (as he said). (They have to keep finger tattoos really simple so his was just a basic block font and teeny little paws.)


I got mine over my heart on my left ribcage. Nobody told me that was one of the most painful places to get a tattoo. YEAH. Thanks for that! Thankfully though I kept it pretty petite so it didn’t take TOO long to complete (although it still felt like an eternity).


Obviously we JUST got them so they are a little swollen/pink and still healing. 🙂 I must say I’m pretty stoked about my tattoo! And I’m never doing it again because that hurt!!! haha.

And now we are off to Wisconsin for some sessions and some quality time with family! I hope you all have a fabulous Labor Day weekend… I’ll see you back here on Tuesday! xoxo!


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Christy & James are Chicago based but happily travel anywhere in the world that beautiful love stories take them!