I have always believed that food has a way of bringing people together. Whether it’s with family members or lovers – the love of food and/or cooking almost always has a significant role to play in the strengthening of the bond. Food also plays a pivotal character in Ellie and Will’s love story. I photographed these lovebirds at Alyson’s Orchard, and as always – neither my couple nor the location disappointed me. My goal was to showcase the sweet bond this bride and groom-to-be share, and to help bring that out, they also brought a very special family member along with them, and to say that he was an absolute delight would be an understatement.
Talking to me about their first meeting, Ellie told me, “I vividly remember where and when we first met. We were standing in line for a school concert the weekend of Halloween 2015. Will was wearing lederhosen, and I was in a sparkly dress. It didn’t take long for me to step in and introduce myself. Will, wisely, told me he was an upperclassman even though he was only a FRESHMAN!! Looking back, I’m glad I didn’t let age get in the way of our love story as I couldn’t be happier to be marrying him.” I will seriously regret it if I don’t say “where there is a will, there is a way” (pun intended) here.
Food has been a part of Ellie and Will’s journey from the time they went on their first date. The bride-to-be didn’t remember the exact date of their first romantic rendezvous, but it didn’t take her long to remember the food they had on their date. “I quickly learned how strong Will’s culinary skills are when he surprised me with homemade shrimp risotto that he made in a college dorm kitchen. It was out of this world and sparked our shared love for cooking, which has become a defining factor in our relationship. Our first date made me feel special and lucky to have found Will!”
Ellie said to me, “It didn’t take long for me to recognize how lucky I was to be loved by Will. One of the defining moments that stands out when I think about this question is Christmas of 2017. Will had gifted me a ‘support system’ to step in while he would be traveling to Australia for the next four months for a study abroad program. In this gift, he gave me a sweatshirt that he had worn so I could have his scent around me while he was traveling and he gave me a dozen love letters for various moments. They were titled uniquely for different feelings, such as ‘when you feel like you need a hug’, ‘when you just want to reminisce on one of our favorite moments’, or ‘when you want a reminder for how much I love you’.”
The bride-to-be couldn’t stop gushing over her groom-to-be, and added, “I always had a feeling about Will, but such gestures made me realize he was the one. I am sure I could share a hundred stories, but I always think about the story above when I think about what changed the dynamic for me.” Like they say, “It’s the little things that matter.”
The proposal is something couples always remember. It’s an event that marks a new journey in their lives together, and Ellie and Will’s was so special and immaculately planned. The story goes like this: “Will and I had been talking about getting engaged for almost a year at this point, so my antennas were up. It was early December, and Will and I were supposed to babysit my niece and nephew for the weekend in New York. But when my sister called to say that they had decided to stay home, we decided to head up to Maine, where my family has a lake house. We stopped at our apartment to get our winter coats, gloves, and hats. Fast forward to when we got to Maine… we pulled into an overlook/sightseeing stop along the way and Will was insistent that I get out of the car to appreciate the view. Being my stubborn self, I would not get out of the car because I was too cold. So we drove to my parents’ house, which was under construction. We walked around the property, took a few pictures, and then started to head back to the car. It was at that moment that I heard Will say, ‘Wait Ellie, one more thing…’ I turned around and there he was, kneeling on one knee with the ring in his hand. I think we both blacked out from the emotions and excitement in this moment as we don’t really recall the exact words that we said, but it ended with a big embrace and both of us smiling ear to ear.”
When I was getting to know my couple better, at one point, Ellie had said, “Without a doubt, cooking is our number one shared hobby together! Outside of that, we both enjoy being outdoors and spending time with our English cream retriever – Bentley!” So I knew we had to be outdoors and we had to have their furry baby in their engagement photo shoot too. I am personally a huge fan of adding pets to the shoot, and since there’s so much more room to experiment during engagement sessions, I was really looking forward to photographing the couple.
If you know me, you already know how much I love Alyson’s Orchard for engagements and weddings. The landscape is so picturesque and the natural beauty and lighting it offers is exactly what I need for the kind of light and airy photographs I take. Plus, it was a great place for Bentley to be himself and run and play around. Shout-out to the people at Alyson’s Orchard for accommodating us all.
When I shoot, my priority is to let my couple’s chemistry and personalities shine through. I am a fan of just letting people be so we have less stiff poses and more funny, goofy, organically romantic couples portraits. Apart from the occasional prompts from me, Ellie and Will were totally pro at posing. There was laughing, hugging, goofing around, and everything in between, and all of that was what made the photographs look so wholesome. They share such a sweet bond and it was hardly a challenge to bring that into the photos. Also, including Bentley in the photo shoot was definitely a great idea. He was such a good boy and the perfect model! By the way that he was looking at Ellie and Will, I felt as if even he could feel the love in the air. So in case any of you are planning an engagement session and are on the fence about whether or not you should bring your dog along, I’d recommend looking at the photos I got of the couple with theirs!
During the engagement session, I also asked Ellie what she was looking forward to the most, and without a second thought, she replied, “Watching Bentley run down the aisle, partying with all of our favorite people, and holding Will’s hand as we embark on this journey together. I can’t wait to call him my HUSBAND!” However, the fact that wedding planning can get stressful is no secret, especially for couples who have started the process. This couple’s advice for keeping your sanity intact? “1. Start early. 2. Make a budget. We would also recommend having a conversation about what is truly most important to you and your significant other for your wedding day.” That definitely sounds like a solid piece of advice!
Ellie and Will, it was a pleasure connecting and working with you both. Thank you so much for choosing me as your engagement photographer. I had the best time with you guys, and I hope you like the photos as much as I loved taking them. Thank you for sharing your story with me! Congratulations on this wonderful new journey that you are about to embark on, and I wish you all the good luck with the wedding planning. Also, please give Bentley a little boop on the nose for me!
Looking for an engagement or wedding photographer? Get in touch with me by dropping me an email. To see more engagement photos taken by me, you can check out Kelly and Colin’s engagement session, Caroline and Brandon’s engagement session, and Hannah and Justin’s engagement session. To see more of what I do, you can also head to my Instagram, Facebook, and Pinterest accounts.
Assistant: Bianca LaBounty
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