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October 29, 2018

FILED IN: Engaged, Photography

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.”

Kent_Park_Engagement_EmilyCrall_Photo_0129.jpgDisney 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.” Kent_Park_Engagement_EmilyCrall_Photo_0130.jpg
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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.”
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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!
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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.
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Shannon has the most gorgeous freckles!!! <3!
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Styling: Rhiannon Morris

Ring: Herteen & Stocker

Shannon’s Hair & Makeup: Skin Deep Salon & Spa

Ted’s Hair: Thompson & Co

Ring Box: Crafty Witches Decor

Wand: Walt Disney World

Buttons: Mickeys Buttons

October 25, 2018

FILED IN: Engaged, Photography

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!

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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.
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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!

October 18, 2018

FILED IN: Engaged, Photography

They met back in the spring of 2012 in college through her best friend. “It was basically a handshake,” she says. It wasn’t until later that year, in the fall semester of college, that they met again. “When I returned for the fall semester,” Derek says, “A friend of mine–and now ours–convinced me to go out on a Tuesday night the first week of classes. I was very reluctant to go but apparently it was meant to be.” As he approached the bar, he saw Kira standing outside and “my stomach instantly filled with butterflies.”

They had their first date the end of August and, as memorable as that one was for both of them, they both recall date number two being the “big date”, the date they knew they would someday marry one another. “As crazy as it sounds, we were literally the complete complement to each other. Our second date was an eye-opening experience to what I was truly missing,” Derek says.

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Derek proposed the day before Christmas Eve last year. “We were planning to wake up early, pack the car, and take the 2-hour drive to my parent’s house,” Kira explains. “There had been some crazy snow the day before so we knew we needed to leave some extra time for the drive. In typical Derek fashion, he told me that he had my gift ready and we needed to run up to the farm before we left to take a look at it.

“Normally my internal private investigator instinct would kick in and I’d get to the bottom of it before he could surprise me, but I had so much to do to get ready for Christmas so I figured I’d let him have his surprise this time. I did my hair, got dressed, and finished up my list of to-dos. Derek had run out for a few minutes and just got back into the house. … We hopped in his car, and turned the opposite direction of the farm so instantly I was rolling me eyes thinking, ‘This couldn’t wait until after Christmas?’

“We pulled up to the corn crib, which sits about 1/2 mile from our house. Derek unveiled my present, a large–no, huge–rock that came from the foundation of the farmhouse in Alburnett, one of his family’s first farm homes. I was so happy that he took the time, don’t get me wrong, but I was getting ready to say, ‘This could have waited two more days, Derek.’

“But I looked at him and caught the flash of a red box being pulled from his pocket and had instant tears. It’s still surreal. We had been dating for so long and I wasn’t prepared for him to finally propose. He kept his proposal speech short and sweet, just ‘Kira Leigh, will you marry me?’ And, of course, I said yes!”

Derek knows they dated a long time before proposing, but he adds, “Everyone asks why I have waited so long to get engaged. Truthfully, time has flown together. the last six years have been so surreal that it doesn’t even seem like that long. Every day that passes just reaffirms that Kira is the one.”
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For the ending of their session, we went back to the corn crib where Derek proposed and also the spot where they had that second date. “Trying to impress Kira I pulled out some tricks up my sleeve. It was a Wednesday night and we went out to dinner where we oddly ordered the exact same thing. After dinner I asked Kira if she would like to go out for drinks. Knowing that it was a little early to head to campus town, I took her to a partially combined cornfield, which I had scouted out earlier that day, outside of town. It was secluded from the road and we had a plain view of the stars as the sun was quickly setting. I pulled out a blanket and a bottle of her favorite wine and we sat and talked while the music from the radio played in the background. It may or may not have been in my plan but I convinced Kira to dance with me and I taught her to swing dance. After a couple of hours dancing and stargazing we headed back into town and spent the rest of the evening with our friends. That night was one that I don’t think either one of us will forget. I think it is mostly my favorite date because it seems to be the one that set the ball in motion for where we are now.”

Kira adds, “He pulled into a cornfield that had recently been picked and parked his truck. I am a total rule follower so I thought we were definitely going to get in trouble for trespassing, but Derek insisted I get out of the truck, he had plans. He flipped on a CD of music, opened the tailgate to his pickup, and laid out a blanket. Then he pulled out a bottle of wine. I was impressed he bought a wine I drank frequently and later found out he asked my roommate (that bestie that introduced us, Laura) what kind to buy. After a little while he asked if I wanted to dance…under the star light on a September night in a cornfield. Of course! So we danced. I felt like I was in love at that moment. I’d always wanted to know how to swing dance, so he taught me that night under the stars. It was so so so early in our relationship but he had swept me off my feet.”

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Many thanks to Melissa Banes for Kira’s makeup.

October 3, 2018

FILED IN: Engaged, Photography

They grew up in the same small town, attending the same elementary, middle and high schools, and knew of each other, but had different circles of friends. She describes having a crush on him, but that was all it was. Their families both moved away from the area after high school and they hadn’t seen each other for years. It wasn’t until 2016 when they were both back for class reunions. She was on a parade float and saw him on the side, waved at him (and described having those butterflies again: “there’s Jeff Bradley”), and she says the rest is history. They connected on Facebook that week and began daily long-distance communications for three months before their first date.

Because he lived in Arizona and she in Iowa, they decided to meet back in their old high school town of Red Oak. “We hit it off in person very well, and it felt like we had already been dating,” Laura says. “We spent three days together visiting places in Red Oak and getting to know each other. He even took me to a family dinner where forty of his relatives were attending. He introduced me to all of them as we entered the room. We joke that his family was on our first date. They approved.”

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After dating long-distant for a little over a year, Laura using her school teaching breaks to visit him in Arizona, Jeff tried to figure out the perfect proposal. “I had the engagement ring with me for several days and wanted to ask at the right moment, public or otherwise. We were together at my apartment on New Year’s Day 2018 and we opened our Christmas gifts to each other and then I said, ‘I have one more gift to give to you.’ I pulled out the engagement ring and got down on one knee and proposed. It was just us two, and the moment was right.”

Laura adds, “Jeff told me later that he had my ring in his pocket all of those four days [I was visiting him], waiting for the right moment to propose. He had taken me out for dinner, to see Christmas lights, to the LOVE statue in Scottsdale. He just didn’t feel right at those places. He decided the right moment for us was in private, at his home, and to begin the new year with our love.”
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They both said the best date they’d shared was that first weekend together in Red Oak. “It solidified we were brought together for a reason,” Laura says. “I never once thought it wouldn’t go well…it just did. Since our families moved away from Red Oaks years ago, both of us don’t visit there much. It was neat to experience our hometown together as adults.”

Laura lives and teaches in Iowa City now and Jeff is in the process of moving here. It was so fun to explore the campus with them, neither of them having grown up here. We had the most beautiful day too: sunshine and cool fall temperatures! I had lots of fun nooks and crannies I was already planning on, but was thrilled to discover a new spot that I’ve never seen before, one of the perks of walking around and finding spots you’d never see in a car.
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I’m so excited to celebrate their love next year and witness their joy all over again. These two are in every way perfect together and I’m so thankful that, after all these years since high school, they have found each other at last.

September 25, 2018

FILED IN: Engaged, Photography

With their wedding coming up next month and both of them working busy schedules, we had a very limited time to get their engagement session in. Thankfully, we had the most beautiful sunlight (!), but it was incredibly humid and hot outside and we were all sweating so much and batting at bugs between every shot. As I type this, it’s 30 degrees cooler outside and it feels like we made a quick switch from summer to fall.

Diana & Lee are planning a quick wedding (less than 3 months from engaged to married!), for the primary reason that when they were struggling to find dates for next year, Lee said, “Why wait? I want to marry you right now!” And, really, how can you turn that down? They’re utilizing the help of Jennifer from Harper Hadley Events to get everything lined up and pulled off in time. It’s going to be such a beautiful fall wedding and I’m so excited to see it all come together!

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Look at this hazy little rainbow in the left corner! I didn’t notice it until I was editing the images later on the computer.
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When we were finished at Wilson’s Orchard, they requested going downtown to the rooftop of the Van Allen Hall building where they had shared one of their first dates, at the Van Allen Observatory. There was going to be a public observation event that night, but the door was locked when we got there, several hours before public access. Lee went on the hunt for someone and ended up running into one of the astronomy grad students, who was kind enough to give us rooftop access for a few minutes for some photos.
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August 29, 2018

FILED IN: Engaged, Photography

We had had to reschedule their engagement session several times and when we were finally able to do it, the air was thick with humidity. There was a soft breeze, but it was no match. So we let the sweat roll and laughed our way through it. Marisa & Josh are getting married in October so we also are clinging to the hope that the weather will be so much more comfortable then.

They’ve known each other basically their whole lives and have seen each other through their most awkward phases (hello, junior high) and difficult times and happy thrills. We joked that there won’t be any surprises when they get married.

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They brought their adorable pup, Louis, along and he was just such a curious, lovable little guy.
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When we first arrived, I saw this shot in my head and was determined to make it happen. We kept running into the issue of other people milling about, but there was a break towards the end of the session and I scurried up the side of the rocks to get it taken before more people came by.
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