This engagement session was a special one for me. Lauren is my cousin, which makes Ryan my future cousin?-in-law. Is that how you say it?
Anyway, Lauren and Ryan started dating during Ryan's senior year of high school (Lauren was 16), back when they both lived in Texas.
Shortly after they started their relationship, Ryan moved away to the deep south where he began attending Mississippi State (let's not hold that against him though). A couple of years later, Lauren began taking courses at Belmont University in Nashville. This coming year, in May, Lauren is set to graduate from Belmont.
If you did the math/geography just now, then you came up with the Long Distance equation. In other words, they have been long distance for their entire relationship.
It takes a really special bond to make something like that work, so when Lauren asked me to fly to Nashville from San Diego to shoot their engagement photos, I had zero hesitation.
It all started on a boat. It was a family affair, really. In the photo above, that's my dad (Lauren's uncle) driving the boat. My sister, Hali, is the one riding shotgun. My other sister, Frances (who is 11 and not pictured), was helping me with hair, chairs, and equipment. They all live in Nashville too.
They picked us up on Nashville's Percy Priest Lake, and we set off for the islands that divide it.
I tried really hard in editing to hide that fact that there were dark, rain-filled clouds looming around us the entire session.
I just need to go ahead and give props to whomever did Lauren's hair. The baby's breath was perfect, even with the wind trying with all its might to rip it out.
Up until this session, I had only hung out with Ryan one time, over a glass of wine at Lauren's parents' house near Dallas, Texas. I have to say, I had no idea these two were SO in love.
See the clouds?
By the way--side note: My dad and sister dropped us off on this 25 x 25-foot island about an hour prior to this photo, and they still had not returned. It turns out they were "rescuing" a sailboat that had tipped over out in the middle of the lake (unsuccessfully). There are only so many photos you can take on an island, so we all eventually had to wave them down, to prevent ending up like Tom Hanks in Castaway.
Geez guys, finally.
New island, new outfits!
And the sun came out! (sort of)
That face says it all. "I'm in love." "This is my man." "Step away." "Bless your heart."
They have this thing about hand-kissing. Ryan does it every time they have to part ways.
Did you just melt a little?
Oh, so then, jokingly, I suggested they jump in the water.
Lauren and Ryan, thank you for allowing me to share this special moment with you both. I am excited for the hitching that will take place in May! See you in Texas!
P.S. Ryan, Roll Tide!