Lullwater Park Engagement Session - Becca & Dustin

Happy Holidays, friends! Today’s engagement session is the perfect way to celebrate the season! One thing I love about Becca and Dustin is how loving and comfortable they are with each other! After about 8 years together there’s a sweet way they know and love each other that only comes with time! We met at the beautiful Lullwater Park on Emory’s campus for their engagement session, and I love that besides being a gorgeous location, it held special meaning for the couple since they are both Emory alumni! The beautiful fall leaves and soft sunset light make this session a perfect celebration of the season as fall comes to a close and we head into winter! I’ve asked Dustin and Becca to share their love story below, so grab your peppermint hot chocolate and read on! 

"We were first introduced by mutual friends in 2009 at Emory University in Atlanta, GA, where we were both athletes and crossed paths often around campus. After hanging out together at several parties, Becca’s friends knew there was a spark between us and decided to invite Dustin over one night. After a fun evening, which included watching the wedding movie I Love You, Man (ironic), he told her that he would call her but she didn't think he actually would because, come on, this was college. The very next afternoon, Dustin called Becca to ask her out to dinner. That’s when our relationship started, and we’ve been inseparable ever since."

"After dating for almost two years, Dustin graduated and decided to move to Los Angeles to pursue a career in the entertainment industry while Becca finished undergrad. Little did we know, we were about to embark on a 5 year long distance relationship! But destiny brought us back together in 2016 when Becca moved back to Atlanta, and we started our new journey – living together in the same city and seeing each other every day. There’s no other way to explain how we made it through 7.5 years, except for true love."

For Becca, what is it about Dustin that you love the most? - "What first attracted me to Dustin (besides his green eyes), was his great sense of humor and ability to make me laugh, even at the silliest things. I love that we have so much in common and doing things together is always so easy because we’re both having fun. Just like me, he really enjoys watching and playing sports, he loves the Food Network, and he shares a sense of adventure. But what I love most about Dustin is his good heart."

Dustin, what is it about Becca that you love the most? - "I love Becca’s sense of humor (which comes in handy because I’m full of bad jokes), that she enjoys watching sports (even though she’s a Red Sox fan), and her passion for helping others."

About the Proposal - "After finally living together in the same city (again), Dustin decided it was time to pop the question. He knew how much Becca loves surprises, so (with the help of her sisters) he picked out the perfect ring and convinced her that we needed to go on vacation over July 4th weekend. Neither of us had been to Colorado during the summer, so we planned to do a lot of outdoor activities including hiking. One of Becca’s friends suggested that we hike at Blue Lake, a beautiful trail in the Roosevelt National Forest close to Boulder. Five miles and 11,720 feet later, Dustin got down on one knee at the edge of an iced-over lake and asked Becca to spend the rest of her life with him. She said 'Yes!'"

Congrats, Becca and Dustin! I can't wait for your wedding at White Oaks Barn next October!

North Georgia State Fair Engagement - Betsy & Shawn

Today's engagement session is an absolute treat (especially if you love the bright colors, fun lights and excitement of the fair!!). When Betsy first suggested doing their engagement photos at the fair I could hardly contain my excitement! And, I knew the North Georgia State Fair would be a perfect setting to capture this adorable & fun couple!

I first met Betsy through my job as a House photographer during session for the Georgia House of Representatives. I loved her warm personality and the way she made me feel like a special part of the Media family from the start! And, I had the privilege of meeting Shawn during session as well, and I immediately loved them together as a couple. I adore the way they make each other laugh, and the way they support each other is both inspiring and heart-warming! We had such a blast exploring and eating fair food (and Betsy even won a prize at the water gun game - check out her excited reaction below!) See some of my favorites from our time together here and read on to discover how these two met and how Shawn proposed in Savannah! 

How they Met - "We were set-up by our mutual friends, Anna and Chris, who thought we would hit it off. One night, Anna and Chris threw a small party at their house with the purpose of introducing us. We were partners in a game of Apples to Apples, which we won, and he got my number at the end of the night. A few days later, we had our first date, and not a day has gone by since that party that we haven’t spoken. We both knew right away that we were meant for one another."

Betsy, what is it about Shawn that you love the most? - "I love Shawn’s big heart and how he always makes me feel so loved. He’s caring, thoughtful, empathetic, and he has the most kind and generous heart of any person I have ever met. I love knowing that he always has my back and how he never hesitates to help me when I am stressed or alleviate my load when I am working long hours. He supports and encourages me, and I love knowing that he is in my corner. I love that he has adopted my love of UGA football, and lastly, I love that he has become a ‘cat person’ and cares so much for our Todd and Lucy!"

Shawn, what is it about Betsy that you love the most? - "My favorite thing about Betsy is her loyalty and devotion to those she loves. Betsy is passionate about caring for and supporting me, her family, and her friends which is her most amazing quality. No matter what I’m going through she is always there for me and supporting me in the most encouraging and loving way. She really has helped me become the man I am today and I am a better person with her in my life. Betsy is also has an amazing sense of humor which is one of the things that drew me to her when we first played Apples to Apples. We laugh at the same things and share the same goofiness with one another which allowed me to be myself right from the moment I met her. She truly is my best friend and cannot wait to say 'I do!'"

About the Proposal - "For months leading up to April, Betsy asked Shawn what they were going to do for her birthday. She repeatedly mentioned that she wanted to go to Savannah to celebrate. Shawn knew he was ready to pop the question and wanted it to be nothing short of amazing, but most importantly, he wanted it to be completely unexpected. He knew that if he told Betsy they were going to Savannah for her birthday that friends and family would start to speculate if Shawn would propose on the trip and start to ask questions. So Shawn originally told Betsy that he planned a dinner in Atlanta for her birthday and invited friends and family. Shawn had Betsy convinced that this was the plan up until Friday night when she got home from work. Friday evening, Shawn surprised Betsy by telling her she needed to pack a bag as soon as possible because we were leaving for Savannah for the weekend (P.S. Betsy hates surprises!). We packed our bags and left for Savannah and got to our beautiful, riverfront hotel late Friday night." (continued below...)

About the Proposal (continued) - "The following day, April 8, was Betsy's birthday, and we started the day with a nice brunch on the river. We had planned to do a trolley tour that day, so after brunch we hopped on the trolley. Shawn knew he wanted to propose in Forsyth Park, which happened to be one of the stops on the tour. However, when we got to the Forsyth Park stop, Betsy wanted to stay on the trolley tour and had no interest in getting off at the park. Shawn immediately thought his great plan was foiled. But a few stops and some live music later, Shawn persuaded Betsy to go back to Forsyth Park. We walked hand-in-hand through the park and talked about how great our day had been so far. We walked from one end of the park to the other, and as we approached the end of the park, Shawn knew it was time. He distracted Betsy so he could get the ring out of his pocket and said, ‘Hey what’s that?’ and pointed at a building across the street. When she turned around Shawn was down on one knee. Betsy was completely surprised by the proposal. Right after the proposal, a group of people who were hanging out at the park and saw the whole thing, ran over to us and gave us beers and toasted us."

Congratulations, Betsy & Shawn! I'm so happy for you guys and can't wait to capture your big day in May!

UGA North Campus & Downtown Athens Engagement Session - Katie & Nathan

From the moment we chatted on the phone, I felt like I had known Katie forever!! Her joy and energy are contagious, and icing on the cake - we both greet people with "Hi, friend!!" As she so aptly put it, "Meant to be!" Since Katie & Nathan's story began in the Classic City, Athens was the perfect choice not only for their big day next May but for engagement photos as well! I loved hanging out with these two and their adorable pup Bailey, and over the course of one gorgeous afternoon, they introduced me to some of my new favorite photo spots around Athens! From UGA's gorgeous North Campus to the hidden gems downtown, I loved adventuring with these two who showed me a few of their favorite local hangout spots! Looking forward to their wedding at the Foundry at the Graduate Athens with Whitewood Events in the spring! And now check out some of my favorites from their session and learn more about how Katie & Nathan's love story began!

"Nathan and Katie met while Nathan was a cadet at the United States Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs and Katie was a student at the University of Georgia. Nathan and one of his friends came to visit Katie's roommate at UGA in February of 2011. Before Nathan got on the first of many flights to Athens, Katie's roommate convinced him to send her flowers for Valentine's Day. They may have come one day late, but Katie was still already smitten. Plus, they now have a reason to celebrate Valentine's Day on February 15th and avoid the crowds! After Katie and Nathan met for the first time, then came the many late nights on Skype talking across the country. Katie used to ask Nathan to help her with her Calculus homework as an excuse to talk with him and he may or may not be the only reason she passed that class in college. A few months after they first met, they realized that this was more than a friendship and despite the distance, they decided to give a relationship a shot. Through the distance, skype calls, nine hour car rides, and countless flights, Nathan and Katie continued to fall more and more in love with every passing year. After three years of long distance, they finally were able to move together down to Augusta, GA with their puppy, Bailey. Their little family was complete and together and that's all that mattered. Now, after six years of dating, Katie and Nathan can't wait to say, "I Do" in front of all their friends and family in one of the places they fell in love, Athens."

Nathan, what is it about Katie that you love the most? - "I love her because she's herself: she's everything I need whenever I need it. When I'm down, she's there to help me through my struggles. When I'm being a recluse, she's there to take me out of the house. I hate planning things, but she loves to plan (and she's awesome at it), everything from mini-vacations around the country to our wedding. She has a wondrous sense of adventure, and is the perfect travel companion for me. My life would be empty without her in it. I love everything about her, and I can't wait to go on this adventure with her."

Katie, what is it about Nathan that you love the most? - "Nathan truly is my other half. He is kind, patient, intelligent and loves me despite all my flaws. He is everything I could ask for in my future husband and more, but what I love most about Nathan is that he is my fellow adventurer in life. I love that he wants to go explore new places and experience all that this world has to offer. Best part is I love that he wants to go on these adventures with me. Plus, no matter where we go in life or what we see, he keeps me laughing the whole way through it even at his terrible, corny dad jokes that I don't want to admit are funny. There is no one else I could imagine by my side as we go on this journey. He is my best friend, and I can't wait to see the rest of this wide world with him."

About the Proposal - "Nathan and Katie are always looking for an excuse to go back to Colorado to visit. So, when two of their friends, Tim and Sarah, said they wanted to go snowboarding in Colorado in March, of course, Katie and Nathan jumped at the opportunity to go as well. Little did Katie know, a bit more planning was going on behind the scenes. Nathan went out to Colorado with their friends early that week to snowboard and Katie flew into Colorado Springs on Friday to join them. One of the things Katie and Nathan love to do in Colorado is head up to the top of the many 14,000 ft peaks, so Nathan scheduled all four of them to take the train to the top of Pike's Peak. On the way up the mountain, Katie noticed a few strange things like Tim bringing his backpack for the train ride and being very secretive about it when Katie asked to put her water bottle in the bag. However, she really did not think much of it. When they got to the top of the peak, they hoped off the train and immediately, Katie said she had to use the bathroom to which Tim responded with, "Now?!". Not thinking anything of it, Katie ran off to the bathroom. When she came back out they headed out onto the peak to look out at the world around them and take pictures. There, 14,000 feet up in the air, Nathan dropped to one knee and asked Katie to marry him. Naturally, she started crying and of course, she said yes. Then, the mystery of the secretive backup was revealed when Tim pulled out a champagne bottle for all to celebrate. It could not have been more fitting for Nathan to propose in Colorado Springs. He knew it was one of the two places in their love story. Come May 2018, they will have their happily ever after in the second place in their love story, Athens."

Congrats, Katie & Nathan! I can't wait to capture your Big Day in May!

Midtown Atlanta Engagement Session - Katie & Nick

I love getting the chance to connect with an entire family through the wedding process! I first met Katie because I photographed her sister Ansleigh's engagement and wedding last year! Besides getting to know Katie at the wedding, I also met Nick, and about a week later, I saw that Nick popped the question, and that these two were engaged! I am absolutely thrilled for them, and so excited that we were able to hang out again - this time to take their engagement photos!

I adore that Katie wanted a different style of session than her sister, and we met up right at sunset to capture some glitzy photos of her & Nick stopping traffic on 14th Street! The subtle glow of light between the buildings and the gleam of the cars' headlights made for a very cool & romantic setting! And, we ended after dark at the Jackson Street Bridge with the lights of the Atlanta skyline sparkling against the night sky! It was a very cool, unique session, and a special thanks goes to Amanda of Amanda Olivia Photography for assisting and helping with the lighting for this shoot! I couldn't have done this without you! And lastly, I'm excited that Nick & Katie are sharing their love story with us as well, so keep reading! :-)

"We met in high school and were high school sweethearts. But, he was a senior and I was a freshman. As you can imagine we were just in different places in our lives. Eventually, the age difference caught up with us and things ended. We never lost contact over the next ten years and always kept up with each other. Even though we both dated other people during that time, we never truly forgot our first love. As the saying goes, there is no love like the first. In late summer 2015, after many years we were both single at the same time. So, we decided to go on our second “first date”. From that point on we were inseparable and it was as if nothing had changed over the last ten years. We decided that we never wanted to be without each other again. And, through our rekindled love we were blessed with our beautiful daughter, Lana. I guess we are lucky because even though we were each other’s first love we are also each other’s last." 

"The number one thing I love about Nick is what an amazing dad he is to our daughter. I also adore his love and compassion for animals. His quick wit always keeps me laughing! He is very charming and has been since I met him. He is very affectionate and protective of me and Lana. I admire that he's such a hard worker and provides for us. I love how he shares all of my unusual interests. For example: Like how our wedding vows will be from a movie by Tim Burton. I love that music is a big part of Nick's life. It's his true passion. He's an extremely talented drummer -- Our mini family concerts at night with Nick playing and Lana dancing are a highlight of mine! But, most important of all he is my best friend and I value our friendship just as much as our romantic love. He is my partner in life and my equal in everything. And, with him I feel I am complete. He’s the Jack to my Sally." 

"The thing I love most about Kaitlyn is her ability to make the best out of any situation and the fact that she always wears a smile. I love her beauty, her kindness and her joyful laughter. 

I love what an amazing mother she has become and what a wonderful role model she is to our daughter. Over the years, though we went separate ways after high school, my love for her never vanished. We kept in touch throughout the years, and I always held onto hope that one day, our paths would cross again. Though it's cliche to say, "people who were meant to be together will always find their way back to each other" She truly brings the best out in me."

"Nick got in touch with our photographer friend, Demetrius and had him help plan the perfect proposal. He had Demetrius reach out to me and asked if we could do a Fall family photo shoot for his portfolio. Of course I said yes! We decided to take the pictures on Halloween since it is my (Katie) favorite holiday. We went to the Botanical Gardens and started taking pictures a little before sunset. Halfway through the session Demetrius told me to "pose" looking the other way so Nick could get down on one knee, and when I turned around there he was with the ring! Once I said YES! My mom, my sister, and my best friend Ansley came out from hiding and made it all that more special to share the moment with them! Nick planned my dream proposal and had all the perfect details -- It was on Halloween, he had a photographer present to capture the moment, and our daughter was there most of all! Fairytales do come true. 

For it is plain, as anyone can see. We’re simply meant to be."

Congrats, Katie & Nick! I'm so, so happy for you guys!