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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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June 19, 2018

FILED IN: Engaged, Photography

They, quite literally, ran into each other a few years ago. They both were out on the town–Bryan with his brother and Caroline with her friends–on a summer evening. “It was a busy night and it was difficult to maneuver through the crowd and the big goof that I am ran into Caroline…or maybe we ran into each other. I forget what I said, but it was enough to get a laugh out of her,” Bryan says.

Caroline fills in that she had been waiting forever at the bar to get drinks and when she finally had them, she “swung around and ran into  tall scruffy man. He smelled amazing and my eyes were level with his pearl snaps. I looked up and noticed his kind blue eyes right away. He said something funny and I laughed.” They exchanged numbers and he soon realized that the number she gave was legit and “we haven’t stopped talking to each other ever since.”

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Shortly after their first run in, they went on their first official date. They spent hours talking and laughing and then, when it was time to leave, they walked to the parking lot together. “[We] stood outside my car,” Caroline says. “And I was perfectly prepared for him to give me a good night kiss. Bryan pulled me close and lightly kissed me on the forehead and that is when I knew he was different, special.”

Thirteen months later, Bryan proposed to her. “I had just gotten through a two-week process of picking out the band and the diamond. I am a very eager person and when I want to get something done, I try to accomplish my goal quickly. So, the day after I pick up the ring I made arrangements to go pick out our Christmas tree together. The whole way there, I made my best effort to be engaged in our conversation and also think through what I was going to say. When we parked the car I made an excuse to get back into the cab of the truck to ‘get my gloves.'”

“Bryan said, ‘Caroline come here.’ I impatiently said, ‘whaaat?’ He pulls me close and said ‘I love you.’ I said, ‘I know! Let’s go!’ and I grab his hand and pull him towards the rows of trees. He swings me back towards him and that’s when I see him lower to one knee. ‘Oh my gosh, it is happening,’ I think to myself,” Caroline says.

“I then called her back to the truck and I just spoke from my heart and told her I love her and that I wanted to spend the rest of my life with her. I got down on one knee and after the tears and excitement settled down she said yes.”

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It’s always most interesting to me to find out what a couple most loves and respects about the other. Caroline says, “His heart, he is so patient and kind. His ability to forgive his a great reminder for me. You can tell this just by looking into his blue eyes.”

“Her smile and her devotion to not only her work but her love for the children she teaches,” Bryan says. “She has so much passion that it carries through to my life. I would just be a lump on a log if she didn’t push me to be better and I really respect her for doing that for me.”

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It was so quickly evident to me how much Caroline and Bryan love to laugh together and they were so much fun to photograph because they just oozed joy!
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February 15, 2018

FILED IN: Engaged, Photography

I first met Christina back in high school. You know how most people are a little embarrassed about their high school selves? Like, we’ve all improved since then, right? Well, what I remember about Christina is how funny, caring, and selfless she was. Her smile was magnetic and her personality was all-inclusive and warm. She needed no improvement; she was a rare find in a sea of typical high schoolers. Fast forward all these years later and I am feeling so honored to get to photograph her in this season of her life, where all those beautiful, sweet, funny, warm traits are meshed so perfectly with Cam’s that they are just pure joy to be around. Witnessing and documenting their love makes me smile so big. You’ll see why when you keep scrolling down. Fossil_Gorge_Winter_Engagement_EmilyCrall_Photo_0980.jpg

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After having met online and spending a few weeks in contact email and texting conversations, they met for sushi. “I just thought it so sweet that we both arrived early and he waited at the front door to greet me with a ginormous smile and a friendly hug,” she says. After a little mishap with the appetizer order, they spent the evening hanging out, talking the whole time. “I had a blast with [him] and wasn’t sure if it was too good to be true.”

Cam recalls knowing very early on, “like within the first couple of dates”, that she was the one, but she was still a little hesitant. “He waited patiently and it sure paid off for both of us! He’s my love and life long partner!” Even during the dating stage, things moved so naturally and effortlessly between them and just a couple of months into their relationship, Christina also realized this was the one she’d spend her life loving.

When asked what he admires most about her, he says, “She is a lady of faith, integrity, and honor. I can always count on her and she is everything I look for in a lady. She has the biggest heart. She is extremely intelligent and gifted, yet humble and empathetic towards others. She is lovely.”
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She had been suspicious of a pending proposal a few times, but knew it would happen at the right time. So when she planned a birthday trip for Cam to La Crosse, Wisconsin for their Rotary Lights show (because she loves Christmas lights!), she wasn’t initially suspecting anything, even though he kept dropping hints throughout the week leading up to it. But she was finally clued in when she asked him if she should get her nails done and he simply said, “Yep, thank you for figuring it out.”

“Friday morning December 15, I was antsy to just get engaged so we could relax and enjoy the day! God is so good though, right? I was reminded that in due time it would happen and sitting back, patiently, waiting and enjoying the moments would be far better than anything else,” Christina says.

“We stopped in Decorah, Iowa and just enjoyed the beautiful scenery along the drive. The Rotary Lights are apparently a huge deal, so we were lucky to arrive before traffic thickened up. Cam was hoping to drive over to Grandad Bluff and stop at this dive bar, Apine Inn, before the light show. We would have been stuck in traffic, so we sipped a drink at the hotel bar instead. Alpine Inn got bumped to possibly before or after dinner.

“Fast forward to the horse-drawn carriage through the Rotary Lights. I wondered if he’d propose then knowing the ring box had to be burning a hole in his pocket (likely, although I never did a pocket check).

“Cam requested we go to Alpine Inn before dinner. At this point, I realized we were about to get engaged. Being a go-with-the-flo guy, Cam doesn’t usually request much. We drove right by the Aline Inn and up to the top of Grandad Bluff. We were all alone up there, overlooking the city. It had started to flurry, the beautiful kind of snowflakes that keep their unique shape on your eyelashes and coat. Cam talked about our mutual love for God and creation/nature. He said a few more nice things of which I can’t quite remember. It’s crazy, even knowing the proposal was coming, it’s hard to remember alllll the details! The ring was so sparkly and huge! Holy smokes, he outdid himself! Cam even worked with the jeweler to design the ring. It seriously seemed to glow in the dark! Surreal– the ring, on my finger, my finger?! I was officially getting engaged to marry my love and best friend, Cam! What a lovely night!

“We stopped at Alpine Inn for fried pickles and sips of champagne (the bartender couldn’t believe we just got engaged!) and we called our parents and siblings.

We parked the car at the hotel and walked in the freshly falling snow to dinner 7 blocks from our hotel. The hostess seated us in a love seat (how perfect!!!). I wasn’t even hungry, just so excited! We shared a delicious dinner, seared tuna on cous cous with raisins and roasted veggies. In all the excitement Cam shared about our engagement, and they served us a delicious piece of chocolate cake with a candle. My cheeks hurts so much from smiling and laughing! What could honestly be better?!”

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They are just a little over 2 months away from their wedding day and I am so excitedly looking forward to spending the day celebrating their love and commitment to each other! Christina & Cam, you guys are a true joy to be around!
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November 7, 2017

FILED IN: Engaged, Photography

Back in early 2013, Kaitlin rode with a friend to game night. Parking was challenging so her friend picked her up as well as another friend, Alec. “Alec and I bonded over our nerdy love of cardiovascular physiology while drinking our mutual favorite beer that night. I knew he was something special when he was leaving to catch the bus, but ran back to the doorway where I was waiting for my ride and told me that he hoped that wouldn’t be the last time we hung out.”

Their first date ended up being a casual “sweatpants” date since Kaitlin got a cold and didn’t feel good. “When I told Alec, he didn’t cancel plans, but instead offered to come sit around in sweatpants with me,” Kaitlin says. Alec adds, “I showed up wearing a red onesie, which her roommates found strange and Kaitlin found peculiar. I remember talking with her for hours while sitting on her couch. I was so relieved and thankful that conversation came so early and that–at least outwardly–found my words to be interesting.”

Kaitlin doesn’t recall a specific moment that she knew Alec was the one, but she does say, “Alec and I both value our families a ton and love spending time at each others’ homes. As the first year of our relationship progressed, I found myself feeling like a part of his family and I saw my family taking him in as well. In particular, watching him good around with my nieces and nephews made me heart melt. We both just settled into each other’s lives like we had been there all along.” Alec echoes this sentiment, saying that he knew when he had unsolicited approval from him mom.

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The weather had been so finicky the weekend of their engagement session, but thankfully, we got slightly milder temperatures and no rain and wind for their session! I was especially thankful since Alec was in town and we had limited time to meet up before he had to return to med school. We met up at the Lake MacBride Fossil Gorge, which boasted a lot of leaves still clinging to the trees (yay!).
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When it came to proposing, Alec went back to the place where they first met: outside her old apartment right before getting into their friend’s car. “We were planning on going for a walk in the old neighborhood (which is actually something I had suggested we do that day). We parked outside the apartment and I started walking. Alec told me to wait because there was something messed up with his sandal. (His sandals are always giving him blisters so I was getting annoyed that he chose to wear them again.) As I approached him, already down on his knee “fixing his shoes”, he reached into his pocket and pulled out a ring box. Anyone who knows Alec knows that he loves pranks and jokes so I honestly didn’t believe that it was true. But then he started saying some sweet words about bringing me back to the place where we first met four and a half years ago and I realized that was the real deal. I was in complete disbelief and honestly can’t remember what else he said. I just knew I said yes.”
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I love how he makes her smile.
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They are currently separated by 4+ hours due to residency and med school, but I’m so excited to see them back in the same city again soon! They are both compassionate people with big dreams and lots of humor infused into their relationship. Seeing them together is a joy and I know that together, they will accomplish so much.
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April 14, 2015

FILED IN: Engaged

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letter-it was during their Junior year of college at Augustana when they first met. They casually dated that year, she says, but went their separate ways at the end of the year. It didn’t take long, however, before she realized how much she missed him and just wanted to be with him. They began dating again their Senior year and “the rest is history! Throughout our six years of dating, there have been so many moments that have made me love [him] even more and more!”

I met Jessica & Jordan at the Lake MacBride Fossil Gorge for their engagement session and absolutely loved getting to know them! They had me laughing from the first moment and, even with their humor, they are also so genuine and caring. Ironically, after their shoot, I was rereading a little they had written about each other and Jess perfectly sums up what I can already concluded about both of them: “Jordan has a great sense of humor that keeps me laughing every day. He is a very hard worker and always strives to be and do the best he can. He’s very level-headed and easy-going.” When asked what he would say are her best qualities, she answered, “I think Jord would say that I am caring, willing to help others, and a great cook. (Haha, just kidding. But he better.)” (Jordan didn’t mention her cooking, but he did say that she’s compassionate and really goes above and beyond because she’s a very caring person.)

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October 24, 2012

FILED IN: Engaged, Photography

She was new to the area; he was a hometown boy. They shared a few high school classes and she quickly realized that those were the classes she looked most forward to, not because of the class, but the company. Fast forward years later and she had a running joke with him that when he proposed, he’d need to take her to Mexico and train a dolphin for the proposal.

This past August, they got up on a Sunday morning and decided to go out for brunch. As she went into the bathroom to get ready, she was greeted by a large stuffed dolphin with a giant sparkly ring in its mouth. The rest, you could say, is history, except that it’s their history; their beautiful history that is moving them closer to their wedding day.

I told Carrie & Nick that I didn’t need a body language expert to read them; I could read their language just fine and it spoke love, ease, beauty, and comfort. There’s a certain level of serenity from being with someone for a long time and it was evident as she leaned into him and he kissed her.

This moment is one of my favorites.

Their dogs/children got in on the action too! 🙂

Carrie & Nick, I feel like I could go on and on about how much I adore you both. Thankfully for me, photos speak louder than words so just know that I keep looking at yours and smiling to myself. Xoxo, me

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