Enjoy People | Ryan + Christina | Glen Echo Engagement Shoot

"i had a dream that I had to drive to madison
to deliver a painting for some silly reason
i took a wrong turn and ended up in michigan
a pallbearer aboard took me to the giant tire swing"

kim dawson
In October I received an e-mail from a woman, asking me to shoot her wedding. Sweet! So far, so normal.  I'm used to that.  "I'm sending you some pictures so you get a feel for us as a couple!"  Wonderful.  I ask for that on my website.  Also normal!  The pictures downloaded.  There was a woman in a floral jacket with a horse head/mask on in a candy store.  Picture number two: A man flailing between the teeth of a giant plastic shark (the kind outside of aquariums or inside SeaWorld where mom's take tourist photos and teenage boys stick their heads inside the mouth and think it's so so funny.)  Ryan didn't just pop his head in and make a scary face... he is curled up inside the mouth of the shark.  His whole body. There was another picture of him sitting on a giant pink hand... of her wearing a blue bicycle helmet... of them smiling in front of a rain forest.  Just to be clear: not normal.
And I loved it.  Our first coffee meet-up was over two hours long.  They told me story after story.  I heard about Cheerio-eating goats, cats named after royalty, monocles. My Little Pony, nerds, Facebook messaging, strawberry lemonade, and moving.  It's rare to come across such fascinating, funny, real and quirky people.  As soon as I was finished with the "meeting" I told Caleb that I was smitten with them.  "They're incredible.  They're hilarious.  They're loud.  They're just so much fun. I had so much fun."   
So, enjoy this pair today.  I don't feel like I can explain them well enough to do them justice.  They're sweet.  They're weird.  They're genuine.  Just... yes.  Just enjoy their faces and love:
(Ah, yes.  The Pity Head Pats.  I've been victim to those one-too-many-times.  "Poor little girl." Pat pat pat.)


Enjoy Pinterest | Engagement Rings

"she'd had no idea,
started to cry,
she said in a good way

someday somebody's gonna ask you
a question that you should say yes to"
the 97's
Since I'm still knocked off my rocker and have not nearly kept up my blogging schedule for the week, I'm going to jump back into the daily Enjoy Project schedule while I simultaneously crow about my immaculate ring and the boy who gave it to me.
(Aw! Look! That's us! Little did I know what was ahead for me.  And poor baby, I had just been ragging him about deleting a text from his brother.  Why? What did he say! Why did you delete it? I'm just so much work.)
This 2.1 carat rose-gold peach-sapphire ring, lined with another full carat of stones (3.1 carats total!) is a completely custom ring.  My will-be-husband loves to remind of that You are the ONLY woman in the ENTIRE world with this ring. The ONLY one. And I love being reminded of it :D  It may or may not surprise you just why I love that sentiment so much: not because the ring is incredible and sparkly and more than I ever dreamed of, but because My Man took such care and effort and time to make this ring come to life.
Like I mentioned before, the jeweler who finally made all of Caleb's visions come to life told him "In 52 years of business I have never seen a man who cared so much about the ring, or was so particular about it!" After 5 months of research, failed attempts, disappointment, nearly giving up on "this" ring and just buying another, late nights on Etsy, sketchy phone calls with loose stone sellers, a limited budget and patience galore, Caleb nailed it.  This ring literally looks like a $10,000 ring.  It looks like an $1,000,000 ring to me, actually ;) But we don't got dat kinda dough! Nothing even remotely close to it ;)
When I look at this ring I see beauty, precision, excellence, diligence, happiness, perseverance, ingenuity, patience, overwhelming love, the excitement in his eyes when he presented to me and all the little Caleb-stomps of frustration I'm sure went into this ;) I think of him in every way.  
The ring is also fun because the stone changes color in the light! From up top it looks white, inside it looks yellow-ish, outside it has a very pink tone, and I'm still catching new hues every day!  Now that is just plain fun, ladies and gentlemen.
Love that calloused, sand-paper hand holding my feminine ring ;)
I just couldn't be more impressed with him, honored by him, or happy to have him. He's taken me, entire. I'm just taken by him.

It makes me smile thinking about my complete explosion of emotion when he proposed.  Here we are, he a little stiff and apparently so nervous, and I, perfectly content and cheeks hurting from smiling.  I love to be with him, especially all day long.
Aaaaand after he proposed. Ha.  As he would say "We look a little rough." Make-less eyes, red runny nose, cold cheeks, bright lips, and that somethin'somethin' ring.  I tell you what, he just does something to me ;) And I love it.
1] I created a group board called "Enjoy Project"... follow it!
2] Every Thursday I will blog about a particular topic (today, for example, is engagement rings.)
3] Leave a comment with your Pinterest name and I will add you as a contributor to the group board.  Also leave a link to your favorite/rad find for the theme.  
4] Once you are added to the group, you can pin your find right to the page.  If you would like to contribute to the group, but do NOT want to be an official contributor, leave your Pinterest name and link and I'll post your find myself, with credit for the find to you.
5] We'll collect ideas together! Sitting all alone on your computer, scrolling through pages and pages, waiting for pins to fetch, is very isolated ;) This way we can interact together! And get to know one another.
6] Once a pin is in the group you can (obviously) re-pin to a different board if you'd like more organization for yourself.
7] Be kind, have fun and enjoy one another, please and thank yaaaa.
8] When pinning on this board, use the #enjoyproject hashtag! It will make it ever easier to find when we have more and more posts.
9] My goal is to have the board available to the current topic for one week.  So you have from Thursday-Wednesday to post engagement rings! Then Thursday-Wednesday to post _______. (I'm not giving away next weeks topic just yet ;) haha).
10] Enjoy yourself. And the ideas. And the other people. 

Alright! You ready? Go pin!

Enjoy Project | How Us People Got Engaged

"life is so constructed, that the event does not, cannot, will not, match the expectation."
charlotte bronte
This is a once in a lifetime post that is understandably hard to know where to begin.  Last week I began the story of "us" on this blog, fully expecting I had plenty of time to build up to this post I'm typing right now.  I had no idea I'd be engaged the very next day.  By "no idea" I mean zero minus nothing subtracted by absence take away nihility and then get rid of oblivion and that is how little of an idea I had that this would be happening.  I'm not sure how much detail I should include in here, but my heart and head and knee-caps are still quivering and I have lot to say ;)  Feel free to skip down and look at all the perfect pictures (taken by Lydia Jane.)  If you'd like to hear this the whole goozy-girly way, snuggle up ;)

Friday: I had spent a full week at the hospital with my sick Mama Bear in Florida.  We had found out the previous week that she has cancer, so I flew down to take care of her in the hospital.  I bought a one-way ticket and wasn't sure when I'd be heading back to Maryland (where I live).  On Wednesday Caleb and I finally firmed up plans for him to come visit for the weekend.  He told me he couldn't miss any work, so he would need to take a late flight to Florida on Friday, and be home at a decent hour on Sunday.  In the hospital mom and I booked his flights.  Our plan for the weekend (actually, correction MY plan for the weekend... MY idea for the weekend... MY suggestion for the weekend... MY dream for the weekend...) was to go to DisneyWorld with my whole family and Caleb, the-never-been-to-Disney-ed.  You have to understand something about Disney Parks and my family: my grandparents, California natives, went to Disneyland opening week.  My mother was born a few years later and she grew up at the park, as did her three siblings.  As they grew older and married and had their own families, Disney was always the dream vacation location.  I will still never forget my first trip to Disneyland (a Christmas present for us kids).  My aunts and uncles and parents saved up to take big Disney trips together, with coordinating outfits for the album pages.  My aunt used to have a Disney room and her e-mail addresses over the years are always Disney related.  As a child watching and hearing your parents and adults in your life so excited about Disney, and literally like giddy little children in the park, well, it's completely contagious and particularly happy.  When I was nine my parents moved from the Washington DC area back to the Southern California area.  We got season passes to Disneyland and though we only lived in San Diego for 15 months, we went to Disneyland nearly 20 times.  We quickly found ourselves back in Maryland, but my parents moved to Florida about 18 months ago.  Without hesitation they bought season passes to Disneyworld.  My cousin met her now-husband at Disneyland and also got engaged at Disneyland.  AND my favorite movie (not Disney movie, movie) is Cinderella.  I love Cinderella's castle and character and mice friends ("GusGus! GusGus! NooOoo. Lucifey not funny.  Lucifey meaaaaan.")  I can quote all the lines, sing all the songs and I still laugh at the witty lines.  I love Cinderella.  I love Disney.  I only have happy, sing-song, smiling-parents, excited hearts, beautiful memories at Disney Parks.

So, for me to want to bring Caleb to Disneyworld with my whole family, especially the little children and especiallyespecially my mom, is a huge deal to me.  Not to mention facing this new season of mom being sick, I really was begging everyone to make this trip work.  Mom said she felt well enough to go, and half the kids were planning on going with friends that weekend anyway.  But somehow, come Friday, everyone had backed out... including my mom.  My dad insisted my little sisters not miss their soccer tournament.  My brother had to work.  Mom was much more tired than she thought she'd be.  My other sister needed to drive soccer carpools.  It just wasn't working anymore.  I didn't want to go without them.  My mom pleaded with me to go.  "It would make me so happy.  You've had a long week.  Go with Caleb and enjoy it.  Take lots of pictures and come back and tell me all about it."  I wasn't convinced.  I told her I'd talk to Caleb and see what he thought.  When we chatted on the phone about it he was equally reluctant to go.  "Man, I would almost rather just stay home with your mom and spend time with her than go without her!"  But somehow my parents swayed me and I said I would ONLY go if it was absolutely what my mom wanted.  

After about three hours of sleep Caleb and I loaded up and left for Orlando.  Let me re-phrase that: after three hours of sleep I loaded up and Caleb slept in. (I note this not to bash Caleb... I love when he gets to sleep in!  But I certainly did not expect him to sleep peacefully and well the night before he proposed.) Let me also add here one important note: I have always only wanted one thing when I got engaged, and that was to be completely surprised.  I didn't care if it was in public or private, with a big or small ring, with friends around or totally alone.  I just wanted to be caught off-guard.  Sweet.  

Caleb and I are now at Disney.  And I'm in full-out Disney mode.  I got my maps.  I got my schedule of events.  I'm large and in charge and woman hear me roar.  Coordinating fast passes, show times, our little cash budget, and pointing out all sweet little children in costumes was keeping me oh-so-busy.  Not to mention smiling from ear to ear.  I told Caleb half-way through the day that my cheeks hurt from smiling so hard.  We were having so much fun.  My mental countdown knew he was leaving in X hours and I couldn't bear the thought.  I was so happy being in such a cheery place and not in a hospital.  I was so happy that mom was home and resting well.  I was so happy that Caleb loved all the detailed buildings, charming employees, manicured landscaping, constant music, colorful atmosphere, and surreal mood as much as I did.  We ooo-ed and awww-ed about crown molding and scalloped foot-paths and coffee ice cream floats in the French Quarter.

As they day went on Caleb and I often stopped to scout out our ideal place to watch the fireworks.  He wanted to be on the side of the castle.  I insisted that we be in the center of the castle.  "Trust me!  It's the best view! You have to see this from the center!" then we'd skip over to Tom Sawyer's Island or The Haunted Mansion.  By dinnertime we found ourselves at Liberty Tree Tavern, my favorite restaurant in the park.  Mostly because of their green beans and gravy.  I LOVE THEIR GREEN BEANS SO MUCH.  Caleb also happens to love good green beans.  All day long I talked about the crisp, garlic-y green beans.  I googled the menu to make sure green beans were still on it.  I announced that I was going to order five plates of green beans.  I literally brought up green beans five or six times throughout the day.  Once we got to dinner I asked the waiter if the seasonal vegetable was green beans.  He said "Yes, they are."  I bopped in my seat and clasped my hands together.  Five minutes later Caleb looked up and noticed the food on the table next to us.  "WHat! They have green beans here?!" he exclaimed.  I must have given him "the" look we girls give.  "Caleb.  Are you seriously asking that?"  I wasn't actually annoyed, more shocked.  Has he really missed that much today?  How could he not remember me talking about that so often?  We continued on with our meal, Caleb made multiple trips to the bathroom, I even caught him on the phone in the hallway not in the bathroom, he didn't eat, he was acting weird and aloof.  All the signs everyone tells you about ;)  But I wasn't suspicious of anything.

We left dinner and I changed plans: instead of riding a ride and then going to find a spot for the parade, lets just go to main street and get a really, really good spot:
I marched across the street and informed Caleb that this center view of the castle, off the curb, next to a garden (away from people) would be the best view of the fireworks.  Aren't I a helpful little fiance'-to-be?! He loved it.  And though he had planned to do something a little different (in grass, not in a gated PERECT flower garden) he didn't want to give anything away so he let us stay there.
We had over an hour to kill before the parade (at 9:00, followed by the lights show at 10:00, followed by the fireworks display at 10:30).  I talked and asked him why he wasn't listening to me ;) and talked some more and tried to stay warm and wondered why he was looking all around and talked and asked him if the mints he was pulling out of his pocket was really a ring. I'm a lot to handle.
The parade finally started.  I asked Caleb all kinds of questions.  He gave me one-word answers.  I told funny jokes and he really didn't laugh.  I assumed he was tired.
And we arrive at the fireworks portion of the evening.  I can hear Caleb's heart beating violently.  I think nothing of it.  Instead I went into a huge rant about firework preferences.  "Caleb!  What is your favorite kind of firework? My favorite fireworks are the gold shimmery ones that look like willow trees!  Not the ones with lots of little lines that shoot out but the soft drippy ones.  Like THAT one! It's sooOOOooo pretty!  What's your favorite kind?" He doesn't answer, instead he's looking over his shoulder again.  "Caleb.  It's an important thing to know about your boyfriend.  What is your favorite kind of fireworks?" He managed an answer: "The big ones."  I scrunch my face and start to question is answer "The big o--..." but as I started talking he scooped my up and set me over the fence, right inside the flower garden.  "MY PURSE!" He told me not to worry about my purse.  And that is the last thing I clearly remember for the following five minutes.
Once I realized I was leaving my purse behind I knew what was happening.  I lost it.  Full on ugly bawling.  Quivering second-chin and smooshed-nose and sputtering, goat-like sounds.  He got down on one knee.  He said a few things.  I don't remember any of it.
I started to fall over and crumple.  He held me up.
He asked me three times to be his wife.  I had no words.  I didn't forget to say yes.  I couldn't say yes.  I felt like I was about to fainting and fly and turn into a vapor.  I've never experience so much physical reaction to a single thing.  Every part of me was firing off and going ballistic.  I didn't know how to even begin to reign in the emotion.  It would be like try to hold off a tornado with a spoon.
A "yes" tumbled out eventually.

Apparently the fireworks continued on, dozens and dozens of people cheered and whistled and clapped and photographed us, Lydia (who secretly flew in to photograph this!) snapped away.  I didn't hear or see any of it.  
I did cry a lot, however.
And I finally "came to" as the finale started to fire away.  The first thing I said was "This means I'm going to be Kristen Morris!" - two words I had never said side-by-side, out loud.  I literally felt my knees knocking together.  The fireworks were nothing compared to my insides.  He did it.  He surprised me at at Disney, in front of Cinderella's castle.  I'm still undone.
I didn't look at the ring until well after the fireworks stopped.  It's just utterly gorgeous.  The most beautiful, glamorous, lovely, special, perfect ring.  He spent months making that ring happen.  Five months.  He worked so hard on it.  He spent so many hours and nights.  As much as I love that ring, I love how ardently he attended to that ring.  The jeweler who finally made his dream come to life told Caleb that in 52 years of business he'd never seen a man put so much care into the ring being perfect.  I stand by it: no one on earth loves as excessively and fully as Caleb does.  I don't know how he gets to be mine.  
I'm so glad I stopped crying at some point ;)  Because I was so happy.  I literally had no idea it was possible to be this full of joy.  
The ring just got better and better the more I checked it out ;)
Some sweet whistlers-and-clappers just had to see my peach sapphire goodness ;)  And they are officially the first people I got to show-off my ring to!
I adore that man.  "Can one die of happiness?"  
I'm ever-impressed with Caleb and his detailed, quiet, patient, specific, happy, fearless, dreaming love.  I love him.  I love him so much.  I love that he's so different from what I imagined for myself.  I love that he is an excessively talented musician and you'd never ever hear that or believe that by talking to him.  I love that he packed up his pick-up truck and moved across the country to date me, that he wasn't afraid.  I love that he sings "Tale Old as Time" constantly.  I love that he brings scripture to bear, for the Word of the Lord is living and true.  I love that he plays with me. Oh, we have so much fun playing together!  We love to play.  I love that he doesn't make excuses for himself, he doesn't put any burden on me, but always comes along side me to help carry the weight or he removes it all-together, I love that he brings my glasses of ice water at night.  I love that he loves children and that they love him.  I love that he can't wait to be a father.  I love that he talks about building his daughter's a dollhouse.  I love that he always is up for anything; he's so flexible and easy-going and selfless.  I love that he's a perfectionist and has to have things done a certain way.  I love that he falls asleep anywhere (just like me... It's a big family thing, I think.)  I love love love love his accent and jawline.  I love that he's humble, happy and loves a good challenge.  I love that his hands are calloused, his biceps are hard, his eyes tear easily and that his smile is constant.  I love his country upbringing, his family and his vigor.  I love him.  I love that he schemed and planned and played it cool and worked so hard on this proposal.  I love how well he had to know me in order to pull it off.  Cowboy, you far exceeded my expectations.  
"I hold myself supremely blest - blest beyond what language can express.  I know no weariness of my Edward's society: he knows none of mine, any more than we each do the pulsation of the heart that beats in our separate bosoms; consequently, we are ever together. To be together is for us to be at once free as in solitude, as gay as in company. We talk, I believe, all day long: to talk to each other is but more animated and an audible thinking. All my confidence is bestowed on him, all his confidence is devoted to me; we are precisely suited in character - perfect concord is the result.” (Charlotte Bronte)

"You have done wonderful things, plans of old, faithful and sure."  God did this, and this is for Him.  Our joy is a morsel of our joy in Him, and mostly His joy in us.  Our Happy King delights in us and with us, and it is good to be His.  So so good.  Because He gives His children good gifts.  Gifts like falling in love and Caleb and DisneyWorld and grandparents and fireworks and Walt Disney and best friends and shiny stones and wonderful mama bears and marriage and green beans.

(Um. And I'm going to get married? And be a wife? Because I'm engaged... to be married... what other kind of engaged is there? HE'S GOING TO BE MY HUSBAND!)

Caitlin + Scott {Maryland Engagement Photography}

and the gale that fills our sail
and the lights that shine tonight have always been alive
oh, my soul, one hundred million years,
yeah the lights tonight will burn on when we die
m. ward | one hundred million years
The very best of friends.
The classic funny guy + sweet pretty girl combination.
The ones who have stood the test of time. 10 years time.
The one who has seen all of him, not just the loud, quick exterior of him.
The one who has taken care of her behind closed doors.
They are getting married.
He wasn't taking himself too seriously.
So we didn't either.
Caitlin just shook her head and smiled, the special smile reserved for "I love him but wow."
He rocked the tongue.
She laughed.
 He rocked the fierce.
 She laughed.
They made me think about comfort and security in a relationship.  
Those are good things to have.
He could be himself, she could just laugh and say "Yup, that's Scott."
No pretentiousness.  Just togetherness.
And simple, sarcastic, committed, real love.
I'm also happy, pleased and persuaded-by-the-quality to report that I edited this shoot with VSCO Film.
If you are a photographer and have not made VSCO a part of your life,
then please make this day your day of photography salvation.

The truth sets you free.

Jamulie {Maryland Engagement Photography}

yeah, the road gets harder
but it’s not much farther
it’s gonna be alright
you know that it ain’t easy
please believe me
it’s gonna be alright
needtobreathe | more time
I don't know if you can quite understand just how afraid of the "M" word Julie used to be.  She would admit she had no reason to be fearful.  Her parents had a gloriously happy marriage until death they did part.  Her sister is having the time of her life being a wife and mother.  For some reason she just wasn't ready.  She needed more time. 

After fifteen months of dating (where "eeeveryone" knew they were going to get engaged soon) Julie called things off.  I specifically remember stopping by her house on my way to a wedding the weekend "everything" happened.  She was so mopey.  "I've been playing NeedToBreathe on repeat." I need more time\ Cause I can’t figure out just what’s inside \ I hoped that you could understand \ That this is not what I had planned \ I need more timePhotobucket
She couldn't take down her pictures of them on the wall, or put away the presents he had made her over the past year.  She was numb.  She knew it was the right choice, but it didn't make it any easier. I also saw James that weekend.  Just for a few seconds.  He was as heartbroken as a boy in love could ever be.  My heart sunk for him.  The grey-ness, the ache, the mornings where you just want night to come so you can go to bed, and the nights you just want morning to come so you can wake up.  It's low.
Then something really quite lovely happened.
They both dove into what was right in front of them -
the people, the sports, the activities, the trips, the Word of God, the education.
They both even "talked" with other people (an important part of getting over someone, I think.) 
Just a few months after the break-up I asked James how he was doing;
he looked me straight in the eyes and said "I literally am care-free and am doing so well."
I mean, he looked well. And he sounded well. And seemed well!
But somehow it just didn't seem done yet.
Please don’t worry now \ It will turn around \ Cause I need more time \ Just a few more months and we’ll be fine

And as it turns out, there was more to come for James and Julie (also known as "Jamulie.")
It turns out time did help. 
(God's time is always perfect.)
They slowly started "being friends" again.  They started laughing together again, longing to see each other "a lot a lot." Perhaps it had never really left for either of them, after all.
Before long these two were up to their necks in love.
Once I commented to Julie "You know, once you and James start dating again, you're going to fall in love so fast."
I think it was two weeks? maybe three? and Julie had been fully, totally and wholly carried away.
She was SO in love with James.
I think James had been in love for about three years ;)
We’re off to new lands \ So hold on to my hands  \It’s gonna be alright \ It’s a whole lot brighter \ So stand by the fire \ It’s gonna be alright
They are both very brave. They really are.  
I didn't understand it so well back four years ago, but it's a terrifying thing to date and then break up with and then date again your best friend. 
But more then being brave, they are happy.
They are happy not because it's been easy. Oh no. Much of their happiness comes from knowing it's been hard.  They are not happy because now it's perfect.  Oh no.  Much of their happiness comes from accepting, loving and bearing with the imperfection.
They're happy because they are loved.
With no conditions.
No fears.
"Perfect love casts out fear."
They are free to enjoy their funny, brave, motivated, visionary, devoted, funny, servant, cheesy, half-athletic, half-brilliant, close, real love.
So they do.
  I promised you the world again \ Everything within my hands \ All the riches one could dream \ they will come from me

Ryan + Clairisse {Damascus Engagement Shoot}

(fix your readers to this new domain name:
Thank ya kindly.)

we've felt separate and we've felt the same
we've freed each offer and we laid claim
oh yes, the butterflies are still there
sua furler | butterflies
Behind his house was a highschool.
He went to highschool.
Highschool was dramatic, in the stupid ways.
Highschool was fun, in the childlike ways.
Highschool was full of sports, in the hometown hero, team spirit, community ways.
Highschool was for meeting Clairisse, in the life-changed-forever way.
Claire thought Ryan was something else.
But what girl didn't?
Tall, brown-haired, big-eyed, comfortable, funny, confident, kind, athletic and yet kind of dopey in an endearing, sweet way.  Isn't that the definition of a highschool crush?
In the meantime, Clairisse was beautiful but quite shy, gentle but private.
She isn't the girl who is the center-of-attention, the life-of-the-party, the juicy-one-to-gossip-about.
Her truer then true heart and happy contented spirit waved Mr. Ryan down.
My dad used to tell me "When a guy goes out to a party he might hang with 99% of the girls there,
but he'll go home thinking about the one he didn't speak with."
It seems like that was the general effect happening over at Damascus High School.
Until one fateful homecoming, when they danced.
Ryan says he knew right then that something big had just happened.
Clairisse just couldn't believe she was dancing with Ryan.
She loves his confidence.
He loves her awkwardness.
She loves his jokes.
He loves her laugh ("the cutest laugh I sure have ever heard.")
She and he love music.
She and he love talking to each for hours on end.
She and he love their God.
He loves the way she prays.
She loves his daily intake of scripture.
He and she love each other.

"Some people may look at us like we are crazy but we are having the time of our lives."
"What I love about being with her is that we are not embarrassed to make a fool of ourselves when we are having fun."
"What started as a high school romance
 has really become a lifetime friendship filled with love and laughter."
There is an easy feeling with Ryan and Claire.
As easy as rooting for your local team.
It's just right.
Her first kiss will now be the one kissing her good-night until death do they part.
His homecoming dance will know be his partner until the end.
It's fascinating how highschool is such a stepping stone.
Such a funny little transition in life.
Like the train-station before you board a train.
And who would have thought they would find a companion for the rest of the ride in the halls of the Swarmin' Hornets Territory.
It's a sweet story in all the best kind of ways.

Jay + Eva {Clifton, VA Engagement Photography}

all that i never knew, can you see me now?
all that i never said, can you see me now?
he makes me crazy
he makes me cruel
he makes me anything but a fool
my love | sarah bareilles
In a cozy warm sandwich shop, Eva and Jay rocked from side to side in their booth.
I saw them from outside the window as I walked in.
Smiling, chatting, laughing and clearly happy -
I would have felt like I was interrupting if they hadn't been so sweet.

Eva is a gorgeous, tiny, Italian bombshell.
Jay is an hysterical, big, loyal, manly-man.
These two met at the beach ("He was just different then other guys."),
they got engaged at the beach ("It was the best day of my life."),
and in a few weeks they will be married at the beach ("I hope it's just plan romantic and fun.")
I've been thrilled to work with these amazing couple.
I think when they booked me they were thrilled to book me.
And then we did their engagement shoot and they discovered I'm crazy.
Not like "oh, haha, I'm a teenage girl and it's cute to say I'm crazy. BLAH! I'M CRAZY!"
More along the lines of taking your clean, make-up-ed, beautifully hair-ed, paying clients,
who are here for a normal engagement shoot like every other client gets,
and then getting them soaking wet, ruining their hair and make-up,
and pretty much not even asking them if it's okay.
"No! We are not going under cover! Stay there!"
"But... it's raining."  
And rain it did.
In what I expected to be "probably a few sprinkles" a heavenly waterfall fell.
We were SOAKED. Wring your clothes out soaked.
And praise the good Lord for Eva and Jay's flexibility and fun-loving-nature.
They just went right along with me.
Kissing and loving and playing in the rain.
I told them that we could do a "real" engagement shoot later.
I basically got to fulfill a dream of mine by shooting in this rain,
and I don't think these two could have been more wonderful.
Guys, thanks for trusting me.  I owe ya ;)
Gotta hand it to you though,
you brought your romantic glam and nailed this.
I was giddy for days over this shoot.

I'm so happy we met in that sandwich shop.
Working with you has been a highlight of the year,
and we haven't even gotten to the wedding yet!

Much, much love!

Richard + Evelyn {Backyard Engagement Shoot}

cause i was waiting a long long time
for a boy like you

she + him | i was made for you

There is a Rose Franken quote that has been circling the Pinterest-sphere recently that goes like this:
β€œAnyone can be passionate, but it takes real lovers to be silly.”
Meet Richard.
And meet Evelyn.
They so so seelly.
They've been friends for years. And years.
Evelyn was crushing on him pretty hard.
He was... unaware?
Or at least not interested.
But not because he wouldn't have been interested,
he just never really thought of it.
That is, until, Evelyn's um-mamazing birthday cake.
The way to a man's heart is through his stomach,
so if you can't catch his eye, fatten his belly.
Works like a charm ;)
Two years (almost exactly) after they started dating,
they are getting married.
Praise the Lord for birthdays so girls have an excuse to make boys-they-like treats.
I love Richard and Evelyn together.
I love their constant banter,
their snappy, nerdy sense of humor,
their shared loved of Battlestar Galactica,
their childlike play.
Let me give you an example of their "play."
I occasionally give couples "roles" to play at a shoot,
just for fun, if the couple fits.
I asked these two to be the lead, hard-to-get cheerleader and the popular, ego-full, quarterback.
Here's what they did:
R: SooooOoo, if you were a pirate, would you want a parrot on this shoulder...
... or this shoulder?
E: Um, no.
E: Uh-uh, nope.
She started kicking the daylights out of him.
Richard was running around yelling "This isn't how it usually works when I woo girls!
You are too hard to get!"

"Why aren't you smitten with me!"
"Please want meeeee!"
PhotobucketEventually he just grabbed her.
R: I love your forehead!
And then they played some more.
R: "Hey! We should play hide-and-seek around the tree, right?
Isn't that what you are supposed to do? Isn't that
so cute?"
Whatever it was they were doing was pretty cute,
so I let them play on...
E: And now we have to do the finger-heart thing, right?
Probably my favorite.
I was invited over to Evelyn's house (the location of this shoot, as well as the location of the wedding) a few weeks ago to get the "grand tour" and for them to cast their vision on me ;)
I was speechless.  It's like a wedding factory over there.
But not in a nonsensical way.
Just in a detailed, creative, intentional, celebratory way.
I canNOT wait to tell and show you all about it.
From the "farm-to-table" inspired meal
(yes, they are growing their own garden specifically for the reception),
the garden-literature theme,
the homemade elements,
the fresh picked flowers,
It's gonna be so beautiful.
R: Just calm down and be romantic with me.
E: I know. I want to.  But my DAD is watching us out the window.
R: Oh Evelyn, it's okay...
R: ...he knows what happens on wedding nights! He knows how babies are made!
They crack me up.  They are so comfortable, happy and goofy together.
They're just awesome.
Shirts + jeans, golden light, 25 minutes and enough fun + love to last a week:
this was such a wonderful engagement shoot.
Hurry up and get married already! SHEESH.

Benjamin + Jacqueline {Frederick Engagement Shoot}

"i don't like you
but I love you
seems that I'm always
thinking of you"
she + him | really got a hold of me

Her dad told told her "You can't buy a house together until you are engaged."
(seems fair.)
Benjamin brought up dozens of house listings to their shared 500-square-foot studio apartment,
laid them across the floor, paced the room, waiting for his "gris" to come home.
It had been a terrible day at work.
She was emotional.
She was late.
She was sitting in her car venting to a friend for half an hour.
  Benjamin kept peaking out the window.
Come on, Jac, seriously, hurry hurry!
Once she finally came in, she found her steady rock, sitting cross-legged
(an inside joke of theirs: no down on one knee, but down Indian-style)
in a room full of home-listings,
one of which would probably be their own,
with a ring and a question.
She lost it.
Screams and "YES!" and tears and happiness unwrapped themselves from her heart.
They enjoyed their moment and also enjoyed the cozy dinner with Jacqueline's dearest friends and family, that Benjamin had all ready and waiting for her.
When I first started shooting, I was told that these two have special nicknames.
Nicknames they are known for.
And Gris (short for "grisly." Like a grisly bear.)
Gris and Aggy.
They told me that they weren't really touch-y-feel-y.
They told me they were both very strong personalities
(she on the high-strung side, he on the quiet side.)
They told me Benjamin didn't smile big,
and that Jacqueline didn't stop talking.
I asked them what they loved about each other.

Jacqueline, standing with one hand on her hip, and the other flipping back and forth,
talking along with her mouth said,
"Ohhh, he's the ying to my yang.  He's the voice of reason. He's dependable and loves me.
He's so steady and calm.  He calms me down.  He's the perfect balance for me."
He shared his thoughts,
"She makes me a better man."

Jac cracked up, and slid her hand down his arm,
"Hahah he's a man of few words!"
She was beaming.
His eyes smiled her direction.
These two met in 2000... and she was still in highschool ;)
There was no way she was gonna date one of "those" older restaurant guys.
(She was a hostess, he was a server.)
But over the years they kept in touch,
and four years ago they started dating.
Between long-distance-where-they-flew-from-Maryland-to-Atlanta-every-weekend-for-a-year,
busy work schedules and commutes,
tiny living quarters,
deep, soul-piercing conversations,
healing and growth,
they fell in love.
And I don't care if they "aren't touch-y feel-y."
I don't care if they are super tough with rock hard exteriors.
You can't hide what they have.
The mutual respect, the love, the care they have for each other shines.
(first blurry pic of the post. love it.)
They don't just love each other,
they are deeply in love.
In their own special way.
(By the way, Benjamin does too smile!)
The feeling that you get when you are with them is that they really know each other.
They know each other's strengths and weaknesses,
and they love each other in spite of it.
And they also understand how rare and precious what they have is.

(second blurry picture of the post! love iiiiiiit too!)
I truly had a blast with them.
And I think they ended up with someone of my most giggly, touchy pictures I've ever taken.
Seriously?! Seriously.
They are a dreaaaam.



I cannot wait for your wedding and all your BRILLIANT plans :D
It's gonna be fun times!
Much love,

Sam + Emily {Lakeside Engagement Shoot}

in the misty morning fog with
our hearts a thumpin' and you
my brown eyed girl
van morrison | brown eyed girl
Sam and Emily.
Oh Sam and Emily.
Can I just say how FUN it is that my friends are falling in love and getting married?
Finishing up school, starting their lives, and meeting their somebodies.Photobucket
It's the best.
Sam and I have been loooooong time friends.
Our mothers met when they were pregnant with us,
and in summer 1989 we were both born.
He was my first "friend" and he's been more like a local cousin to me.
When we finished highschool,
Sam headed up north to further his education in a cold, "middle of nowhere" Michigan college called Hillsdale.
All of us teased him:
"You KNOW you are going to go up there and meet a girl.
Probably a stupid blonde.
We all knew that was funny, because Sam is very smart.
Very hard-working.
Very quality.
And definitely not shallow ;)
By summer 2009, Sam had indeed gone up there and met a girl.
A girl named Emily.
On his summer break he brought her by for a quick trip in Maryland.
We all loved her.
And her homemade Strawberry Shortcake.
And her sweet yet witty, gentle but firm personality.
And Sam was clearly taken with her ;)
They spent the summer writing letters,
missing each other,
and waiting for school to start again in the fall.
That whole year passed and their friendship grew,
but you know how it goes...
Sometimes guys need to take that big step from "boy" to "man"
and sometimes that means hard decisions.
God had good plans for Sam and Emily,
and part of that plan was a summer 2010 break-up.
That was was filled with no letter writing,
missing each other,
waiting for school to start again in the fall,
AND growing up.
For both of them.
And God took care of the rest.
Shortly after returning to school,
these two were inseparable.
Praise the Lord.
Cause if Sam had let Emily go,
I would have kicked him in the shins.
Emily, I'm so amazed at how perfectly hand-picked you are for Sam.
He needs you - not in a fluffy, dumb way.
But he really does.
He needs your help, your character and your love.
You're so wonderful for him.
 And Sam,
you have been a true friend for so long.
You are trustworthy, kind and ambitious.
I know Emily will be loved deeply for the rest of her life.
I'm so happy for you both.
Beside myself kind of happy.
Their engagement shoot happened at Sam's childhood vacation lake up in the mountains.
His father proposed to his mother on the banks of the exact same lake years ago.
His grandparents own a darling blue home right off the lake,
where Sam has gone his whole life.
'It's one of those towns that has stood still.
Everybody knows everybody.
There aren't house numbers, just house names.
There is no cell-phone service.
It's perfect.
And out on the water,
in this old beautiful boat,
Sam asked Emily to marry him.
Gotta hand it to you, mister, you did good ;)
And the best is yet to come.
Congratulations Sam + Emily!

Matt + Amelia {National Aboretum Engagement Photograph

you don't know how lovely you are.
  i had to find you,
tell you i need you.
coldplay | the scientist

I set my alarm for 5:00 am.
I knew I would snooze until 5:45 am.
I thought it was worth a try?
Regardless of when I ACtually got my butt out of bed,
I left my house at 6:00 am,
and headed for the southbound highway towards Washington DC...
... With every other commuter in the area.
I don't know how you all do it.
I could never commute to work.
I would just be a poor person with no money.
Because that drive.
So ew.
Stop and go,
radio travel updates,
police traps.
It's just not a healthy way to start a day.

    But 25 miles and hour and fifteen minutes later,
I found myself well... I found myself in a KFC parking lot
streaming the royal wedding from my phone.
But at 8:00 am I found myself in a different world ;)Photobucket
I turned off busy, noisy New York Avenue,
and entered the National Arboretum.
Acres and acres of lush spring green,
anchored in the middle by the original Capitol columns.
Aside from an occasional distant lawn-mower or bird-chirp,
it was silent.
Instant peace, instant relaxation, instant sigh-take-a-deep-breath-and-chill.
Which, ironically, is exactly the experience you have with Amelia and Matt.
They're buds.
They just are comfortable.
They aren't forced.
They're easy and peaceful.
Amelia isn't the kind of girl to stress a guy out.
She makes it easy to just hang out and laugh.
Matt isn't the kind of guy to rub a girl the wrong way.
He is just nice, kind and cheerful.
They weren't all fussy and primp-y and overwhelming.
I felt like I was in their living room with them just enjoying a Sunday afternoon.
Considering their life,
I think their laid-back quality is very important ;)
They recently moved from New York City to Washington DC.
(ps. sometimes you just gotta kiss it out.  It's the best option of all the options. The end.)
And Amelia is a sports trainer for University of Maryland.
(One of her players is actually lacrosse superstar Max!
Remember him + Abby?)
This shoot was scheduled around travel, tournaments, and other intense situations.
Basically crazyness.
Amidst "life" Washington DC morning traffic,
Matt and Amelia are peaceful for each other.



If the park in all it's green glory wasn't enough,
the azaleas were in peak bloom!
The beauty was just overwhelming.
Especially because it was JUST us.
We snuck in before the crazy Azalea Festival and Garden Sale.
So we could literally go wherever we wanted.


We definitely did not stay on the marked path ;)
Can I build a house right there?
And live there with some fairies?
They're cute.
Amelia and Matt, you all are cute.
Haha So adorable.
Amelia needed a little help with the bow on her dress.
"Yeaaah, he doesn't have sisters.
He's learning."
Good job, Matt ;) Keep it up.

Guys, it was just two tons of complete fun on this shoot.
I am SO looking forward to your Glen Echo wedding!
Woot woot!

Max + Abby {Glen Echo Engagement Photography}

the first time that i met her,
i couldn't say a word.
she knew what i was thinking
and I'm not sure how it worked.

josh kelley | baby blue eyes
Once upon a time there was Abby.
 Abby was adorable, smart and Texan
Abby was a gymnast.
Abby's hard-work got her a scholarship to University of Maryland.
Abby took Spanish at University of Maryland.

Once upon a very similar time there was Max.
Max was funny, strong and an Ohio-an.
Max was a lacrosse player.
Max's skills got him a scholarship to University of Maryland.
Max took Spanish at University of Maryland.
All the way across the room,
on the first day of Spanish Class,
Max was...well... quite taken with Abby,
all the way on the other side of the room.

Max geared himself up.
He put on his big boy shoes.
And the following Spanish class...
he sat right behind Abby.
Not all the way on the other side of the room.

And they met for the first time.
That chance meeting, in a random class, in a random state,
was the hand of God at work.
He brought Max + Abby together just over a year ago.
After their sweet and gushy Disney Channel-esque meeting,
they dated, fell in love and now they are engaged.
"She's just the girl for me.
I don't know how else to say it it.
She's it.
She's the girl for me."
Max knew the right when he met her that this girl was different.
He even called his mom and told her
"I found the girl I'm gonna marry."
And let's be honest...
Abby is a catch!
Gorgeous, athletic, smart - she has a lot going for her!
I'd be willing to bet those things intimidate a lot of guys.
And maybe it was that jocky-confidence,
that led Max to be sure he would marry this girl.
Or maybe he was a normal guy,
who was a 6'4 bundle of nerves,
but was not willing to let his fears ruin this. 
He wanted that mini-Texan.
He became friends with her,
and they haven't parted since.
Badda-bing, badda-boom.
One area they both really bonded over was their athletic careers.
Max and Abby are passionate about doing what they are passionate about.
They did not want to miss the chance to play the sport they loved.
And they played HARD.
I love everything about that :D
But I also love how peaceful Abby was with her gymnastics season ending.
"I have Max now.
And a wedding to plan,
and life is moving forward!
It had to come to an end sometime...
... but I have so much to look forward to!"
"When I met Max, 
I wasn't looking for anyone."
(sidenote: people say that aaaaaalll the time. Noted.)
(other side note: they have the cutest arms!)
"I really loved where I was at,
and I wasn't looking to add anything to my life!
I was so happy!"
"But I didn't realize how much I was missing.
He brings out in me what I didn't know I needed.
It's so complete to have him."
"And I truly didn't know I needed it."
(Another side-note: Abby told me that he was the "cute one",
while she was the "smart one".)
(Don't get me wrong - she is smaaaaaart.
But also pretty ridiculously cute.)
See? Yeah. Hello.
"Hey Ab,
are you Vogue-ing it up or what?"
"Hahah yeah, I'm Vogue-ing it up, Max."
I love these next shots, mostly because of how they "came to be."
That stone wall is the base of a giant old bridge in Glen Echo.
I wanted Max + Abby to go stand on the rocks while I shot from up high.
"It won't be that hard getting down there!"
Um.  It was that hard getting down there.
The hill was quite steep, but also really soft with new spring ground.
It was a thorny, humid, rocky, bumble-bee-y hot mess.
Abby wore her stiletto's and used them as spikes to secure herself.
Max was sweating through his nice button-up shirt.
I was the brilliant, sneezing, make-up-less, allergy attacked wonder following behind.
Max wanted to carry Abby.
Abby didn't want to be carried because she didn't want them both to fall.
I sneezed.

A crowd gathered on the bridge, watching us participate in such a feat.
Once we made it safely to the bottom a friendly soul called out
"There is an easier way on the other side of the bridge!"
We looked over, and sure enough there was a
smooth, slightly inclined, clear, dirt path.
"We coulda used you five minutes ago!"
and everyone laughed.
But it all worked out.  So well.
And it was a sweet little view into their world.
Max, the kind, brave leader... who wants to protect Abby from all harm.
Abby, the helpful, loving support... who wants to make them both a success, even if risk is involved.
And they happen to be madly in love.
I merrily skipped up the easy path to get the shot I was envisioning on top the bridge.
Love how it came out!
Afterwards Max + Abby came up the easy path too.
They look way too good for how humid, sweaty, pond-wet, thorny and mountain-climby
the last few minutes had been.
Y'all should teach a class.
You'd make mad dough.
Or you could kiss each other.  That is a great idea too.
I had so much fun with you both - lets hang out again?
And I'm so excited that God allowed your lives to intersect,
and that He's taking you on a new road together.


Angel + Lindsay {Maryland Proposal Photography}

I've seen the waters, that make your eyes shine
Now I'm shining too,
Because, oh because
I've fallen quite hard over you.
landon pigg | falling in love at a coffee shop

*Just a heads-up*
*I'm using asterisks because I want your attention*

******Look at all these asterisks******
*This post will be a lot better and sweeter and precious if you read the words.
But there are going to be a lot of words.*

So you know about Emma?
The classic match-maker of Jane Austen literature?
I share some of her qualities.
Mostly the match-making thing.
It's bad. I need to stop.
I'm trying to.

But I matched Lindsay and Angel up.
I called it.
They seemed like a little Ali + Roberto.
I knew they'd be perfect together.

Who's Lindsay?
Lindsay and I have been friends since highschool.
Lindsay has been down at University of Maryland her whole college "career,"
therefore I don't see her very much.
It's just what happens after highschool.
She's going to be a Spanish teacher.
(An amazing one at that.)

But when we do have a chance to talk and catch up,
(maybe twice a year)
we always jump right back to where we left off.

I love friendships like that.
This past Thanksgiving Break in 2010,
I had some girls over one night.
Lindsay was one of them.
She updated us on her recent trip to Ecuador.

I grilled her on boys.

Pause while I introduce Angel.
I met Angel this summer,
but had heard about him a fair amount 
because of all the evangelism work he is involved with at church.
He also fights.
Like, he's a professional fighter.
And he's funny, likes salsa dancing and absolutely loves God.
Oh. And he's Guatemalan.
Basically, perfect for Lindsay.

 Back to the Thanksgiving Break grilling.
"Linds, I think you and Angel would be great together."
She gasped her cute little Lindsay gasp.
"Kriiiiiisten. Really? You think so? I don't even know him!"

The rest of the night I explained why I thought they'd be great,
I follow-ed up with some texts reminding her that I thought they'd be great,
and started spreading the word to the rest of my friends,
so they could help hint at Angel + Lindsay.

Angel lives with the Smith family down near the University of Maryland.
Long story short, I was visiting the Smith's.
I told Jenni, the Smith Wife, that I was trying to set Angel and Lindsay up.
"Huh.  Do they know each other?
She never comes over here to hang-out...
But she's such a sweet girl!  I could definitely see that!"

Two minutes later, Lindsay came to the door.
I kid you not.
She hadn't been over to the Smith's in months.
We all hung out with a few other friends who came over, too.
Lindsay studied.
She said she was going to leave when I left.
So I stayed really really late.  
Angel... well, he was impressed with Lindsay.
After that night, he wanted to see her more.
A lot more.

And within six weeks, they were dating!
And about 10 weeks later, Angel got in touch with me,
and wanted pictures of the proposal.

Yeah. It was fast.
Because they are perfect for each other.
Kneeeeew it ;)

Okay. lots of words, I told you.
But time for some pictures.

Monday afternoon Angel and I met up to perfect this proposal plan.
He showed me the three-page-letter he had for her,
he showed me the ring,
the spot he wanted to propose 
(at the same table in Starbucks where he first asked her out),
we practiced the route from Lindsay's school to Starbucks,
and I approved of Angel's outfit 
(He wore orange.  Lindsay's favorite.)
Angel had been leaving notes, flowers and hints of the upcoming proposal 
all around for Lindsay all day long.
This three-page-note was the final one.
The plan was for her to come out of class and find this note.
He poured out his heart on those pages,
and at the end said something along the lines of 
"I have a question for you, please come find me where I first asked you out."
After everything was just how he wanted, Angel left to wait at Starbucks.
I hid in my car waiting for Lindsay.
My heart was racing.
It took her fooooorever to come.
But finally the tiny and sweet girl arrived at her car.
She gasped her Lindsay gasp and just stared in the window for a good long while.
And the first thing she did was grab her camera for a picture ;)
My kind of girl! Woot woot!
Then she sat down to read Angel's sincere, deep, honest letter
about his affection for her and
desire to lay down his life for her.
Lindsay smiled and cried.
She read slowly and her hands trembled.


I had asked Angel why he wanted to marry Lindsay a few days prior.  
He had a good answer:
"She loves God, she loves people, 
and wants to have a home that is open so others can enjoy her hospitality
(something I love.)
She is compassionate and caring.
She cracks me up like crazy.
She is a critical thinker. 
She calls me out on things, but she does it graciously. 
She encourages my leadership.
God has gifted her in areas I am not.
She is amazingly beautiful -  I mean I can stare at her for quite a while." 

"I am happy when I am with her.I hate saying goodbye.
  It is difficult not to want to lay my life down for her,
  not because I have to but because I get to.

It is only right that I commit to finding my joy in hers, doing everything in my power to make her a success, and to brag about how I am what I am because of her help.
Even if I told you in more complex or even in other languages,I would not be able to pin what I want to say down."  
Photobucket"My heart rate jumps up a few beats when I know she is five minutes away
 and it slows down five minutes before she is gone.
  I am like a giddy school boy when she calls."
If you didn't catch that from all he said,
Angel is in love.  He's in love with Lindsay.
He wants to marry Lindsay.
Being her husband can't come soon enough.
And she couldn't come soon enough for him to ask her ;)
Poor guy was an antsy, fidget-y, nervous mess!
But he finally spotted her car.
And he just LIT up.
"I'm going to propose to her! I see her! She's here!"
The following few seconds were surreal.
It was probably the most dream-like moment of MY life.
And I was only taking pictures.
It felt like slow motion.
I think there was a sound-track.
It was just breath-taking.

Lindsay ran into his arms,
with her sweet Lindsay gasps.
Angel locked eyes with her,
and just absolutely beamed.
They hugged and he practically held the dear emotional girl up.
She could have just collapsed right there.
"My decision is easy not because I know or think marriage will be easy, 
but because there is no one I would rather lay my life down for 
than you."
"I have had dreams, read books, and seen others lay their lives down for their wives, 
yet none of them told me 

how sweet this death is. 
And even if they did, 
language failed them."

"I want to lay what I am down for your greater good. 

I want to magnify your gifts. 
I want to live life with you. 
I want to build a family with you. 
I want to find my joy in things that bring joy to you. 
Will you let me do this for as long as I live?"
Lindsay just sang out a confident yet gasp-y
"YES! YES YES YES yeeees!"
The next few minutes were my favorite of the day.
The moments where reality settled.
Where such full, intense, joyful emotions reigned.
I couldn't help but tear up watching their utter joy.
"God has done this, and it is marvelous in our eyes."
I left them to enjoy the moment,
to enjoy "their" coffee-shop,
to enjoy God's kindness,
to laugh and look at Lindsay's new bling.
This post isn't the time or place to go into details,
but both Lindsay and Angel have hard stories from the past.

I've specifically gotten to watch Lindsay walk through trial.
And I've watched her raise her head in the swallows of pain and say
"He gives and takes away,
my heart will choose to say,
Lord, blessed be Your name."

It is so sweet to watch you in a season of "give", Lindsay.
It does my soul good to watch you so.happy.
To watch you fall in love and stand beside your future husband.
Angel, thank you for being so wonderful to this amazing girl.
She's amazing.

God has prepared you for each other,
and I get chills thinking about what He has for you both.
This marriage is going to impact eternity.
I'm so glad you've fallen for each other.

"Blessed be Your name."
And your match-maker ;)

Enjoy the slideshow!

Michael + Nas Color {Washington DC Engagement Photography}

"Just one look at you 
And I know it's gonna be 
A lovely day"
bill withers | lovely day
People always tell me "Kristen, when you know, you know."
And I knew.
I knew from the very first e-mails that I was going to love them.
I knew from the first page-load on their rockabilly wedding website.
I knew from the first photograph they e-mailed over
(a spicy and simple shot of them at the beach).
I knew we were a PERfect fit.
After meeting them at the shop Nas opened (Toucan Boutique in DC -
it's super cute. Check it out!  And buy me this coat! k, thanks!),
and hearing about Nas' fashion studies in New York City,
and Michael's work in graphics and design,
I knew I was sold.
Those kinds of meetings are the best + the worst.
Best because you are thrilled to have potential clients that fit with you so well.
Worst because you need to keep it cool and not blow the stinking meeting so they will become ACTUAL clients.
But I guess there was mutual love + happiness amongst us,
and I get to be Micahel + Nas' wedding photographer.
*haaappy yippe-i-ay dance*
You want details about them and their love?
I can do that.
They met quite a few years ago in Adams Morgan.
Nas didn't really want to go out that night 
(pause: I can't tell you how many times I hear that.
"I was going to go out buuuuut I did"
and then they meet someone.
Love it.)
but her friends got her out there.
She was tired, it was late, her friends were jazzed, and by the end of the evening she was just really looking forward to her bed.

Then her friend spotted Michael.
But Michael spotted Nas.
That chance meeting late that one night ended up being "the one."
When it was time to pop the question,
Michael wanted to make it memorable.
This woman he loves so much,
this woman that has so inspired him,
this woman he never wants to live without -
well, this woman needed to be proposed to right!
Paris seemed like a great place to start.
Nas + her family were in Paris for Christmas and Michael went with.
After a late church service at Notre Dame the Scheming Boy and Inspiring Girl
parted ways from her family to be alone.
Michael had it all planned out.
Take the train to the Eiffel Tower,
where it was dark,
and perfect.
Quickly the perfect plans were becoming... romantic-comedy-esque.
Many lines shut down late at night,
Michael + Nas were trying to go one direction,
but could only go the opposite way.
They eventually took a cab,
where the cab driver severely warned them about going to the Eiffel Tower at night.
I believe "sketchy" was the word used.
They went anyways, always looking for adventure.
The lights on the famous tower were all turned off.
It rose into the cloudy dark sky,
silhouetted by street lamps,
city lights,
and fog.
It was cold.
And Michael asked Nas to be his wife.
I'm not gonna lie,
I don't know how a girl could say no to that question in that location!
But Nas really loved Michael,
and wanted him to be her husband.
She loved that he was always willing to try the crazy things she suggests.
"He's a good soul." 
And in just a few months, these two will be married!
They'll get to forever enjoy doing all their "art stuff" together,
and eating together (because that's a major favorite activity of theirs.
See? Told you they were meant for me.)

They want a fun fun fun party,
with blue suede shoes
and non-stop dancing.
Their wedding is going to be a celebration!
A happy memory!
And mostly just a wonderful time,
to reflect their fun, wonderful relationship.
I personally can.not.wait.
I mean, yes, I am very excited that they are getting married.
That's a good thing.
But I also just can't wait to shoot them again!!!
Once I start, I might not ever stop.
I like this one ;)
She was fixing his sleeves,
then just needed some arm-love.
I support that.

Yes, this was already on the blog.
But it has a special place in my heart.



I really do believe "less is more,"
and I try to limit my blog posts to a decent number of pictures.
I know I went overboard.
But today "more is more."
Thanks for bearing with me ;)
Hope this made you smile!
After years of waiting to shoot at this venue,
the perfect couple dropped in my lap
and I am just grinning inside + out for their upcoming "big day!"

Any guesses on where their wedding is going to be? ;)

Michael + Nas BW {Washington DC Engagement Photography}

Can we pretend, that from now on, 
There is no yesterday?
Paint a portrait of tomorrow
With no colors from today?

bill whithers | pretend

Michael + Nas' "real" post is going to be tomorrow.
The usual, sweet, lovey-dovey, "here's the whole girly version of the story", colorful post will be tomorrow.
But these few in black+white real grabbed me.

It feels like a completely different shoot.
So they get their own post :D

"There's a light that shines
In your face sometimes,
That takes my feelings 
Wraps them around your need.

But there's shadow hiding
 In your heart sometimes
That makes my feelings 
Turn back in on me"

Can we pretend
The pain is gone?
And go our merry way?
Paint a portrait of tomorrow
With the colors?"

Yes, tomorrow we will paint in colors.
And it'll be as bright and cheery as the shoot (and this couple) really is.
But I had to get out some inner "mood."

Aren't Micahel + Nas beautiful, by the way?
So beautiful.

Be back tomorrow with colorsssss!