As a wedding and engagement photographer, I love hearing the unique love stories that my clients share with me. Not only does it give me a better picture of how they’d like to be photographed, but it also helps us bond better. And I experienced another heart-warming engagement session with Erin and Austin, who chose to document their engagement at the beautiful Alyson’s Orchard, which, as you all know, is a favorite of mine! An engagement is a time when a couple is ready to take the next step in their relationship, and capturing those sweet little moments between just the bride and groom-to-be (and sometimes their furry babies) is an absolute delight.
Erin and Austin are college sweethearts and stumbled upon each other in 2015 when Austin needed another player to fill in for his friend’s spot. That is when Erin came into the picture. Austin was the captain of an intramural volleyball team and was completely smitten when he saw Erin. I don’t know about you, but love at first sight stories instantly make me go “awwww”.
Despite the fact that Erin wasn’t exactly ‘pro’ at volleyball, Austin asked her to join the team to get to know her better (Austin, if you’re reading this, I must say that this was a very clever move!). The two lovebirds hit it off quickly, and Austin found Erin to be “very sweet and easy to talk to”. As things progressed, they went out for their first official date in 2015 to Panera. Even though Austin was nervous about their first date, he was excited to date my lovely bride-to-be.
When I asked Austin about when he knew that Erin was THE ONE, he told me another sweet story that absolutely melted my heart. A few months after the couple began dating, Austin left for basic training, for about six months, with the army. Since communication is difficult while living in army training centers, Austin and Erin sent each other letters. “I remember waking up early each morning wondering if I would receive a letter that day and getting butterflies whenever I opened them. In the letters, we danced around saying “I love you” without actually saying it, as we both knew that it would be more meaningful to say in person for the first time. When I arrived home at the airport, greeted by Erin and my family, I gave Erin a giant hug and that is when I knew.” After this, Austin waited for the right time and proposed on 9th August 2021.
After hearing their love story, I was excited to learn how Austin proposed to Erin. After days of planning and asking help from Erin’s sitter Kelly (who is also the “dog sitter” for their adorable dog Millie), they zeroed in on a ring of Erin’s choice. Before the proposal, Austin and Erin came to an agreement to buy their first home, with Erin having no clue that Austin was about to pop the big question!
Austin shared, “Erin was jumping around with joy, and I said to myself, “She has no idea she is getting a ring in 2 days”. So we took a trip to Newport, and I had some friends hide in the bushes to be our camera crew. With the ocean behind us, I got down on one knee, and Erin exclaimed, “Oh my god are you kidding?” and the rest is history.” After she said yes, Austin and Erin celebrated their new beginning at The Red Parrot, surrounded by their friends, family, and scrumptious food.
There is something so peaceful and enchanting about Alyson’s Orchard. I love shooting there, so I was really excited to go back with Erin and Austin. With this couple, I just felt surrounded by love and laughter. For the first few pictures, Austin and Erin color coordinated their topwear and walked around Alyson’s Orchard’s lush green landscape. They also brought along their pride and joy – their dog Millie, who ran around and unexpectedly jumped into the water, which was surprising as she didn’t know how to swim! The couple had a good laugh at Millie’s timing because we were right in the middle of taking their portraits.
To add to the fun, Austin and Erin took a bite out of a pear, which wasn’t fully ripe! When I say that Erin and Austin wanted their engagement session to be fun, they really wanted to create the fun themselves. So, to take some memorable shots, they actually practiced the “lift” from the movie Dirty Dancing, and after a few tries, they successfully landed the pose, and the pictures are proof! I was amazed too. They really nailed it!
As the couple did a quick change of outfits, Erin looked breathtaking in a white dress with her hair half tied up. Austin chose a semi-formal attire and walked side by side with Erin as they shared soft kisses. In my profession, I fall in love with love everyday. And looking at Erin and Austin’s pure and sweet romance was such a heartwarming feeling. I genuinely enjoyed capturing the bond these two share because while they are so picture-perfect and so in love, they are also totally goofy!
After the photo shoot, I asked Austin and Erin what they were looking forward to the most about their wedding day. Erin said she was excited to hear Austin’s vows as “he’s great with sliding jokes to lighten the mood”. She also added, “I am so excited for our grandparents and family to be able to see and celebrate with us, I know how eager they are for this day.”
And Austin (coming in with a 10/10 reply) said, “We get so few true surprises in life, and seeing each other for the first time on our wedding day is one of them. It is a moment that most people fantasize about their whole lives, and I have dreamt of seeing Erin walk down that aisle.”
When I asked for what advice they’d give their fellow brides and grooms-to-be, they replied, “Making a plan is key. There are so many steps and things to keep track of, regardless of the size of your wedding. It cannot all be done in one day, so take it one day at a time. Working together is very important. Everyone has their strengths and weaknesses, so work with each other to figure out what those are so you can work effectively as a team.” Readers, I hope you are making notes!
Erin and Austin, you two were a dream to photograph! Thank you for choosing me as your engagement photographer and making me smile with your wholesome story. And also, please give a boop to sweet Millie! If there’s a way you can tell her, then please let her know that I absolutely adored her and I had the best time taking photos of her just being her fabulous self. I wish you both a lifetime of happiness and happy wedding planning!
If you or anyone you know wants to book a session with me for a wedding or engagement, you can email me anytime. If you want to see some wedding photos taken by me, you can check out the photos from the LaBelle Winery wedding. For more engagement photos, you can check out this Great Island Common engagement session. To see more photos from Alyson’s Orchard, you can check this out. To see more of my work, head to my Instagram, Facebook, and Pinterest or visit my website.
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