It was Memorial Day weekend several years ago. They both happened to go to the same local restaurant to hang out on the outdoor patio and enjoy the spring air. They were each there with their own groups of friends, but, as luck would have it, there were mutual connections in their separate groups and it wasn’t long before they all combined into one big group. Catie & Justin immediately connected after being introduced since they are both teachers and had both decided to take a year off. “Our conversation quickly turned to our love of languages and our love of travel. Fate would make it that both just so happened to be taking a sabbatical from our teaching careers and were going to travel for a year. I was going to California and Catie was going to France. We shared our excitement but also our fears about moving away from home and living somewhere new.”
Their first date was about a week later. Since school was out, they were in a unique situation of having an entire summer free before packing and moving away. “Normally that is not ideal circumstances to start dating someone new who will end up being the love of your life,” Justin says. “But it worked out great for us! I knew Catie was the one sometime that first summer. We clicked immediately. I wanted to spend all of my time with her. I had initially planned to move to California in August, but decided to stay and wait until Catie left for France. I wanted to shorten the time we were going to be apart. When I decided to move to California, I didn’t know when I would come back to Iowa. However, I remember late July that summer I decided I wascoming back to Iowa when Catie came back.”
It was just two weeks after they first met that Austin says he knew Maria was the one. “I knew I loved her after a week. And when she sticks around after that, I knew she wasn’t going anywhere. Every day after that, she has shown me more and more how she’s the best person for me and we are meant to be together.”
As for Maria, she doesn’t pinpoint a date, but says it was a lot of little things that added up. “How he’d pack my lunches and leave little notes insides. How well we agreed on big things like our values and how we would want to raise kids. How well he supported me when I was upset. A big thing for us is how well we communicate; so I think how well we work through disagreements or difficult times in our relationship has made us both very confident that we’ve each found the one.”
Austin proposed nearly two years to the day after their first date. He was planning on proposing while they were Texas, but Maria had absolutely no clue. He had told her, “I’m not going to do it in Texas” and, because he’s so practical and she figured he’d worry about losing the ring during traveling, she definitely believed him. About that, she was right. “I was a nervous wreck,” Austin says.
They first met in Des Moines last August, when Lindsay and one of her friends were in town for their annual tradition of going to the state fair on Monday. He was a friend of Lindsay’s friend and met up with her (and also Lindsay) for a drink. Lindsay admits that she knew right away he was her one. “I saved his contact info in my phone as ‘Future Husband’ from the very beginning,” she says.
On her birthday, almost a year to the date that they first met, he proposed. Lindsay doesn’t like a lot of attention so Allan, smartly, kept it low-key. He gave her a card that ended with, “to the person I want to spend the rest of my life with” and then he offered up a gorgeous diamond ring and the promise of forever.
We lucked out with a glorious afternoon and bright sunshine!
Technically, we did not take all these photos at the Voxman School of Music, but this session had been rescheduled twice due to weather and this was the third try. It was two Saturdays ago and, if anyone remembers, we had the worst wind that day. In fact, after the session when we walked back outside from Voxman, we were nearly blown over and had to hunch forward and plow our bodies through the air just to take tiny steps forward.
So, anyway, I texted Mallory that morning and asked if they wanted to reschedule, but they were in town anyway and I think they had given up hope for glorious weather. (The irony of all of this being that Alex is a meteorologist and so, of course, we had some good laughs about his misfortune of weather.) They’re getting married next year at Rapid Creek Cidery and so they had wanted to take their engagement photos at the adjoining Wilson’s Orchard. We met there Saturday morning and tried as hard we could to find spots in the valleys or blocked by trees where we could manage some photos unscathed, but the wind eventually beat us and we made a quick plan to divert and go downtown to the Voxman building, where we could still have beautiful natural light, but be indoors.
With that backstory, please appreciate how these photos turned out when we were outside! Don’t these two look adorable?!
Mallory & Alex met back in the spring of 2016. They are both working their dream jobs–him as a meteorologist and her as a NICU nurse–but those dream jobs come with the price of crazy rotating work schedules. They got to know each there first over emails, then phone calls and texts, which quickly led to their first date. “We had a great conversation that was very easy and natural. The date was going so well we went back to Alex’s house where the conversation continued and we watched a movie. I was excited to see what this could be.” Alex adds, “For the first time, I didn’t feel like I had to search for the words to say. Everything flowed well and I felt very relaxed.”
In high school, she got a part-time job at Fareway, a grocery store. He was working there full-time, on the path to becoming a store manager. They became quick friends and ended up working a lot of shifts together. One Saturday morning in November, she walked back to clock in to start her shift and she saw Ted dropping off an invoice near the time clock. She told him good morning, clocked in, then asked him what he was doing that night. He said he didn’t have anything planned so she asked if he wanted to go out to eat pizza with her family. He had a big grin on his face as he replied, “Yes!” Later that day, he drove over to her apartment and they went to her parent’s home. From there, they drove to meet her aunt, uncle, and cousins for dinner. “He was meeting the whole family on our first date,” she recalls. “He fit right in and those two little boys [cousins] wanted to draw with Ted the whole night.”
Ted is an artist and, in fact, Shannon says the best gift she’s ever been given was a large pencil portrait of Walt Disney and her favorite Disney character, Oswald the Lucky Rabbit, that Ted drew for her for Christmas a few years ago. “It was so thoughtful and perfect, I cried when I saw it. The drawing has been hung up since and we get to look at it every day.”
Disney has played a big part in their love story as Ted proposed when they were at Disney World last fall! “We had planned our trip to Disney World with my parents before Ted and I moved to Kansas City in October,” Shannon says. “I was at work on Thursday and Ted had some flowers delivered with Disney elements in them saying how excited he was for our trip the next day. Our plane landed Friday evening and when Ted and I got to our room there was a beautiful bouquet of roses with a poem about making wishes come true. I was just so excited to be in magical Disney World I didn’t think anything of it!
“We got up early on Saturday morning since we had breakfast reservations with Winnie the Pooh and friends at Crystal Palace before the park opened so we could get in and take some pictures on Main Street, USA before the crowds showed up. I was so excited to be at Disney that once we got in the gates, I just wanted to make it to the castle. The anxiety was building because we had to wait for my mom to get through security since she brought her purse. [Side note: her mom, unknown to Shannon, was carrying the ring into the park for Ted.] Once we were ready to go, I made a break for the castle. Behind me, Ted and my parents were telling me to pick out spots for pictures. We stopped for a few photographs before making it to the statue of Walt and Mickey right in front of the castle. As we made our way to where the Disney photographer told us stand, Ted asked, ‘Is this a dream come true, sweetheart?’ I nodded, smiling, getting ready for a picture. Then, as he got down on one knee, he said, ‘How about now?’
“I don’t remember what he said, but he pulled out the cutest little wooden box with Mickey on it and when he opened it, I saw the most beautiful, sparkly ring I have ever seen with the question ‘Marry Me?’ on the inside of the box. It all felt like a dream! The day was so magical and I was on cloud nine.”
It was the first date, that family pizza dinner, that solidified everything for Shannon. “I remember Ted leaving my apartment that night and I couldn’t wait to see him again. The way he was with my family and how well he interacted with everyone melted my heart. We had been friends for a while before our first date and so we new a lot about each other and enjoyed every minute we were together. The Monday after that first date, one of my friends texted me and asked how it went. I told her, ‘I think I found my soul mate.’ I still can’t believe how accurate that statement is.”
Shannon & Ted live in Kansas City now, but they were back in town for a busy weekend and we got lucky with some amazing weather for their session!
Shannon says that one of the things she most admires about Ted is that he’s always himself, no matter what they are doing or who they are with. He can always make people around him laugh. And Ted says that he loves Shannon’s love for animals and how important family is to her.
They first met in high school. They were in gym class together–she was a freshman, he was a junior–and also in band. They started dating in February 2008 so, do the math, they’ve been together for over 10 years now! Because of their two-year grade difference, they ended up going to 4 proms together and are now prepping for the best dance ever: as husband and wife next year!
I asked them both when they knew the other was “the one”. Jake put it quite simply, “When she put up with all my downsides and pushed me to enjoy things I wanted to do.” And Tarrah easily added, “The day I couldn’t get rid of him because he put up with all my quirks.”
I had so much fun with these two for their session. We basically made sarcastic jokes and laughed the whole time. They get me. We also had the most amazing weather for their session, which was such a joy considering all the cold, windy, rainy days we’ve had this month!
Tarrah will forever give Jacob a hard time about the proposal, but, in his defense, I learned that she had given him a deadline. So he brought the ring with him to her parent’s house. “I walked into the bathroom and Jacob was talking to my parents. He proposed after I walked out of the bathroom and then left for a whole day. So essentially, he proposed and then ran away.” Jacob defends himself, “I had to leave! She will never stop bringing this up.”
When asked what the admire most about the other, Jacob says he admires her passion for her job and for doing the things she loves. He also says her sense of humor is one of the qualities he loves, which is one of the things she also says about him. She also says she admires his patience with her, which he had said would be what she’d say. They are funny and caring and it’s such a joy to witness.
Tarrah & Jake, I’m so excited to celebrate with you next year!! If your engagement session was any indication, we are going to have such a fun day!