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October 3, 2019

FILED IN: Engaged, Photography

They were getting ready to go to Italy when he sat her down and told her the proposal wasn’t going to happen on their vacation because he couldn’t get the ring done in time. “We went all week in Italy, having an amazing time and I never even thought about it because he had told me he didn’t want me waiting all of our vacation for an engagement that wasn’t going to happen [there] and we just needed to enjoy the trip,” Jessica says.

“The place I wanted to go in Italy was the Amalfi Coast. While we were at the Amalfi Coast, we took a walk up a hill that overlooked an amazing view. Chase asked me if I wanted one of those ‘Instagramable pictures’ with the pretty background and I joked, ‘Duh, I love pictures of myself.’ So I turned around and he posed me, told me where to place my hands, said he was waiting for the wind to blow my hair the right direction, and fixed my jacket. I was just taking it all in when he said he finally got it and I turned around he was down on one knee and asked me to marry him. I, like the child I am, jumped up and down in excitement and said yes. We celebrated at a local outdoor restaurant up the street a little bit with champagne!”

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Jessica and Chase met back in 2009 and one of their first official dates was a concert at the Iowa State Fair. When he asked her out that night, she actually initially said no. “I thought we didn’t need a label; it was just going to be a summer fling. Whoops.” But that very same weekend, she realized he was the one. “We were supposed to go to his grandparent’s home in Missouri and I thought we should still go. We went and had a great time, however, I got a kidney stone and he had to take me to the emergency room. On the way there, I kept screaming in pain and he looked at me and said, ‘You probably have a kidney stone and if you puke from pain it’s okay.’ I claimed I wouldn’t do that, but within seconds, I threw up all over his new car.

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October 1, 2019

FILED IN: Engaged, Photography

Neither of them can remember first meeting and this is a sweet result of growing up in the same school. They have just always known each other. Their first date was basically accidental. Greg was at his parent’s house and sent out a Snapchat inviting some people over to go four wheeling, not thinking anyone would actually come. But Natalie showed up. “I remember just having an attitude of ‘oh cool, I’m going over to my friend’s house and it might be weird but it might be really fun.’ It turned out to be really fun,” Natalie said.

Fast forward four years and Greg was setting up for his proposal. “I set it all up before I left to go to Texas for racing. On my [side-by-side vehicle], I have all of my sponsors, including now Hands Jewelers, the place that I had bought the ring at. We had our families get together for a good luck party,” Greg said.

“Before dinner,” Natalie added, “He asked if we could all go to the shed and get a picture with the SxS before it was all dirty and/or broken. I walked in and noticed a sponsor sticker that said ‘Hands Jewelers’. As I was acknowledging how cool it was that they had sponsored Greg, I slowly felt everyone’s eyes turn toward me. I heard my name called out and there was Greg on one knee with tears in his eyes asking me to be his partner for life. I ugly cried and said yes!”

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September 18, 2019

FILED IN: Engaged, Photography

It was just a few weeks after they first met that they went on their first date. “It was beautiful, sunny day,” Bryn said. “It was one of those spring days that felt like the beginning of summer. We had been trying to find a time to meet at night, but me schedule was crazy with law school finals coming up and family events. Since we couldn’t find a weekend night that would work, we decided to meet up on a Saturday morning at a coffee shop instead. The date lasted over three hours, and I don’t think either of us wanted it to end! It was easily the best first date of my life.”

Jonathon said he knew Bryn was the one “when she first met my family. My nieces and nephews absolutely loved her and she was amazing with them. That was huge to me as they are an important part of my life. As well, my family immediately fell in love with her. So much so that sometimes I wondered if they actually like her more than me.”

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“I realized pretty quickly after we started dating that he was ‘the one,'” Bryn said. “I don’t think there was one particular moment where I realized he was ‘the one’—it was just a feeling that popped up the more I got to know him. He was different than anyone else I had ever been with, and I just had a gut feeling that he was the one which I had never experienced before. All my friends who are engaged or married told me that ‘when you know, you know,’ and I always thought that was bad advice. When I met Jonathon, though, I started to see the truth in that statement.

“Since the very beginning, he has made me laugh like nobody else ever has, and he is just so easy to be around. I didn’t want our first date to end, and our second date lasted 12 hours! He also doesn’t play games like so many people do. Neither one of us waited after the first date to text each other about a second date—we sent each other texts at the same time to set up a second date.

“I have always felt very comfortable with him and have always been able to just be me with him. I also really liked his family from the first time I met them. His family embraced me wholeheartedly and made me feel so comfortable and wanted. Family is so important to both of us, so once I met his family and they liked me, it really solidified my feeling that he was ‘the one.'”

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August 14, 2019

FILED IN: Engaged, Photography

These high school sweethearts met all the way back in their sophomore and junior years. She was a grade ahead of him, but was a transfer student, having just moved to the area. She describes herself as being “the shy new girl” and was introduced to Brandan in the hallway on the way to class within the first couple weeks of school. “He instantly caught my eye, but, of course, I kept quiet.” It was later in the winter when they both showed up at open gym for soccer that they finally connected and then, as luck would have it, they took a couple of classes together in the spring semester.

“Our first date was at Pancheros sometime in the fall of 2014,” Brandan says. “I had been trying to talk to her for a long time and wasn’t nervous at all because I have always been able to be myself around her.”

Fossil_Gorge_Engagement_emilycrall_photo_0509.jpgEmma says she thinks she always kind of knew that Brandan was the one for her. “I kept him in the ‘friend-zone’ for about 7 months just to make sure he was actually serious about wanting to date me, but even then I knew he was someone I couldn’t lose. I think I really knew our first Christmas together. I know I was in high school, but my instincts were there. We were sitting in my room in our sweats after a long day of family interactions, relaxing, and watching movies and I just remember thinking to myself that I wouldn’t mind doing this forever.”

Brandan agrees. “I knew Emma was the one not long after we started dating because we always make each other laugh and are very comfortable with each other about anything.”

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Brandan proposed just before Christmas this past year when they were on vacation with her family in Punta Cana. “My mom had planned family photos on the beach, which wasn’t out of the ordinary because we haven’t taken family photos in a while. So, we got all dressed up and I remember feeling bad because Brandan isn’t the biggest fan of photos and he had mentioned a few times that day that his stomach was hurting (turns out, it was the nerves). We went out around the resort and to the beach and Brandan was cracking jokes left and right, which isn’t like him during pictures (again, nerves). Once we got to the beach, Brandan got down on one knee and asked the question with my mom’s old wedding band that I have been obsessed with since I was 10 years old! It was all the emotions at once and so so beautiful! I love that our experience was so unique and special.”

“I was very nervous all day,” Brandan says. “Even though I didn’t think I would be, but I was starting to get a little jittery when we were going through the photo shoot with her parents. But then once we got out to the beach, I was not nervous and knew what I wanted to say.”
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June 18, 2019

FILED IN: Engaged, Photography

They first met at the College of Dentistry. They are in the same class, but had never hung out until they were randomly assigned as partners that first year of dental school. Being paired up meant they were each other’s first patient. Malachi says “the rest is history”, but I doubt it’s as easy as doing a dental cleaning and then falling in love. They started dating the summer following that first year of dental school and are now planning their wedding following their graduation, on the gorgeous lawn of the dental college!

Now, as you can imagine by their story so far, their relationship has evolved throughout their career path to becoming dentists so it really only makes sense that the proposal would bring everything full circle. “It was literally the most perfect, planned out day. I had no idea,” Olivia says. “A year ago, the College did a story on Malachi and he told me they were doing a follow up story. The school even emailed me asking to be his mock patient for the interview as a photographer would be there. They added that we could pick any unit, and so we, of course, picked the unit 10 where we first met. We met the photographer, had the unit all set up, and then after a few staged pictures, he sat me up in the chair and was holding the most beautiful engagement ring, telling me, ‘You know how I told that the first person I say “I love you” to, I am going to marry?’ And (that is when I knew) he looked at me and said, ‘Liv, I love you. Will you marry me?'”

Malachi had been planning the proposal for 4 months. No one knew and he designed the ring himself and wanted it to be a complete surprise. “I just kept telling her we would wait until May of our 4th year.” (Which is now when they will actually be getting married instead of engaged!) Olivia laughs, “Honestly, I couldn’t pay Malachi any amount of money to use a planner, or even follow a weekly schedule, but he outdid himself planning the engagement.”

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Olivia and Malachi share so much picture-perfect laughter together (I mean, come on, Olivia has the perfect laugh!), but they also are so sweet and genuine. Olivia hates (“hate hate hate hate HATE”) winter and Malachi says he knew she was the one when he realized what he was willing to do for her happiness and her endless battle with the cold. “I got her a Canada goose coat; the poor thing is always cold.” He also adds that she is incredibly selfless and nurturing. “She puts everyone else before herself.” And, because discovering your partner is going to be yours forever doesn’t always have to be a huge moment (in fact, it’s almost always the small moments that make you aware), Olivia says she knew a few weeks before they even officially started dating. “I was talking to him in the car and told him I had just arrived at his place, but it was pouring rain so I was going to wait for it to stop. He said, ‘Okay, sounds good! See you soon!’ And then two minutes later, he was outside with an umbrella to walk me from the car to his apartment.” From the very beginning of their relationship, “he takes such great care of me. He is always Team Olivia, no matter what. He wants me to be happy and does everything with my best interest in mind.”

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May 21, 2019

FILED IN: Engaged, Photography

They met in downtown Iowa City in a group of mutual friends. “To be honest I don’t think I took her one a real date for a long time after we started hanging out in the very beginning,” Kile said. But it wasn’t for lack of feelings; it was just that it kept happening that they were always together with their friends! “So I don’t remember the exact first date. I do, however, remember the first time we made plans to ‘group hang’ with a couple of her friends and a couple of my friends.” He recalled, “That day I had to drive to Illinois for my dad to pick up a four-wheeler motor. Kaylee had texted me, I think, about trying to meet up at Sports Column in downtown Iowa City. I was obviously excited for that, but knew that I probably wasn’t even going to get back to Iowa until 9 PM. But I told her I could meet up with her at 7 PM or something. Anyways, I was driving back like a madman trying to get back as quickly as possible. I was dressed in my grubby, gross work clothes. When I finally made it there, I met my buddies and we walked into the bar, which was pretty much empty except for a couple other tables. My buddies and I walked in and I saw that Kaylee was actually at another table with some other guys I had never seen before so immediately I’m a little irritated and mad I got there late. One thing led to another, Kaylee came over and talked to me. I just remember being so nervous and not knowing what to say to this pretty young girl (who I knew had a crush on me because her friend told me).”

Fast-forward to last May, years after that first time hanging out in the bar, and Kaylee got home from a horrible day at work. “I cried most of the way home,” she said. “I called my mom to vent and she told me to quit crying because it was going to be a good Friday (it was actually Good Friday that day!). I got home and relaxed on the couch. Kile got home and immediately put music on our speaker. It was annoying and I asked him to turn it off and he wouldn’t. Then he went outside! I was so annoyed that he left the music on inside knowing that I didn’t want to hear it. When he came inside, he put on ‘I Can Love You Like That’ by John Michael Montgomery. He sang it in my ear from behind the couch and when the line ‘you don’t have to wait anymore’ was sung, he came around the couch and got on one knee.” And indeed, in every sense, her terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day, was instantly turned into an extra good Good Friday.

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I asked them both when they knew, in those early dating years, that the other was one. Kaylee said she knew he was the one when she could be herself and not hide anything. “I remember a day at my parents house that I had on no makeup and I could just feel Kile staring at me. I felt so beautiful.” (swoon) Kile said he thinks he always knew. “I always felt like she made me a better person and I always thought I have been her rock. Her passion for children has always been a big deal to me because I think she will be a great mother someday. But, to answer the question directly, it was probably a little after we moved in together, after the first couple of months getting used to living with someone else and seeing that we could do it and not kill each other, hah.”

Kaylee is gorgeous and strong and, as many women know, it can take years to become fully confident in who you are, but I love that Kaylee told me, “I finally feel confident about my personality. I know my truth and I live it each day.” (I know Kile agrees because he told me that what he most admires about her is passion, kindness, and intelligence. “She’s very passionate about everything in her life. She works very hard to be the best teacher she can be. She loves her parents and her family.”) Kaylee described Kile as being kind, understanding, and funny. “He works for what he has. He doesn’t take shortcuts and accepts if he fails.”

I just loved spending time with them in Iowa City for their engagement session! It’s one thing to see a couple’s love written on paper, but it’s ten thousand times better to witness it firsthand while also being able to photograph it! On the day of their engagement session, it had rained all morning, but the skies cleared to overcast in the late afternoon and we made the call to go ahead. We were battling lots of pedestrian traffic (it was the university graduation weekend and high school prom night) and the obvious street parking everywhere, but it made me think extra hard for every shot and I’m so so proud of how their images came out! (I’m also especially proud of this blossoming tree because I knew Kaylee wanted photos with a blooming tree and we made this one work, even getting a little help from a passerby!)
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