Meeting so many amazing couples embarking on a new journey together is a special experience every time. And it’s always fun to photograph my beautiful couples, who reach out to me with so much enthusiasm. My latest engagement session was no exception. Bayside Park is one of Vermont’s hidden gems, and Chelsea and John’s engagement session at this location was everything I could’ve asked for – a gorgeous fall session setting, ideal lighting, and an absolutely picture-perfect couple.
Chelsea and John’s romantic story is a typical 90s movie plot. They met online on AOL Instant Messenger through a friend. Yes, you read it right! They called themselves ‘definitely 90’s babies’ and joked about actually dating online way before ‘online dating was a thing.’ College romances are the best ones, truly, and there’s nothing more beautiful when couples make it through for a lifelong commitment. All hearts to my lovely couple.
Recalling how it all started, John mentioned that the first time they actually met was on their first date at Chelsea’s parent’s house on January 24th, 2009. John had arrived at the house, and his second interaction coming in was being introduced to Donald (Chelsea’s dad) snaking the shower drain and pulling a wad of hair out. They later watched a movie that Cathy (Chelsea’s mom) bought from the Dollar bin from Walmart called Hard Candy. Anyone who has any idea about this one, you’d know it was certainly not a great ‘first date’ movie.
John recalled, “I remember feeling both elated and scared. Seeing the wad of hair and later watching a very non-romantic movie really set up some weird expectations.” To which Chelsea mentioned, “I was super excited to meet John in person and had complete butterflies when we hugged for the first time. I remember thinking he was so weird because he didn’t like condiments on his sandwich. Despite all these (arguably) red flags, we decided to make it official on our first date and started going steady.”
John was elated to share, “For me, it wasn’t any one moment, but a culmination of a lot of little moments over many years. The times when Chelsea went out of her way to make extravagant and delicious dinners, when she pushed me to try new foods and new things/experiences when I moved in, and she helped take care of Chloe, our dog. It was the beauty and wonderment in these little moments that gave me confidence that Chelsea was the one and eventually gave me the courage to get on one knee in a public setting.”
And for Chelsea, the joy was no different, “It wasn’t a set time or moment for me either. It was things that built over time and made me realize that I didn’t want to live without him. I admire how passionate of a person he is in his hobbies and that he challenges us as a couple to try new things. Especially how much he loves that dog, and I swear it’s more than me at times. So I can see him being a great father.”
There was nothing short of pure ecstasy for John as he described the proposal, “Well, Chelsea one day actually gave me this ridiculously obvious hint she was hoping to get engaged one day. That’s when it hit me that I really wanted to propose at one of our favorite places with Chloe – Jordan’s Pond in Acadia National Park, Maine. I had made a sign, with Lindsay’s (Chelsea’s sister) help, and had this great plan of finding a secluded spot and getting Chloe to help hold the sign up while I presented the ring. The funny part was that Chloe and the sign didn’t go 100% to plan because she thought the sign was a chew toy. So I had Chelsea take some pictures of the pond, and behind her, I got on one knee, and asked her, “Do you want to keep doing this thing with me?”. Well, Chloe definitely did make your proposal even amazing.
Chelsea, too, returned similar adoration as she recalled John’s proposal, “John is not very good at keeping secrets. I had a feeling he was planning to propose when he started asking questions like, “What kind of ring would you want?” and “Where are your favorite places”? We were on a trip to one of our favorite places, Acadia National Park, and hiking with Chloe. We stopped at a beautiful spot overlooking Jordan’s Pond when he popped the question. Although I was semi-expecting the proposal, I was so touched that he had coordinated with my sister to make a special sign for Chloe to help him propose. After the hike, we had a delicious celebratory meal, sipping cocktails and eating popovers overlooking the pond.”
When asked about the best date they’ve ever had (other than the proposal), this is what they said, “ I’m not sure if you would consider this a “date” per say, but one of our favorite days together was when we were on a ski trip at Vail. There was a massive snowstorm, and the ski conditions were amazing. We skied for the majority of the day and then went to a cool German restaurant for dinner, where we got massive pints of beer and delicious food. Afterward, we walked around the Vail village and looked at the cool buildings and lights.”
Autumn in Bayside Park is a photographer’s dream, and it was just perfect for my couple’s engagement session. The air had an invigorating crispness, and the autumn leaves provided the perfect backdrop for engagement photos. We had a great time exploring the park and finding the best locations for the photos.
I love it when my couples are “high-end”, yet they don’t encompass the ‘high-end attitudes”. This is when the experience just doubles in happiness and fun. We even got to mimic a few photos from a ridiculously funny engagement session scene from the movie ‘Masterminds’. It was a blast reenacting a few of the “swingset photos’, and an absolute delight to photograph these lovebirds.
The venue had so many picturesque spots to choose from, and the light was absolutely gorgeous. The soft light filtered through the trees and cast a romantic glow on my couple. Chelsea and John were the perfect models for their fall engagement session photography. I liked how relaxed they were in front of the camera. They were so adorable as they laughed and joked throughout the session.
I took a few shots near the riverbank as they posed hand in hand, smiling ear to ear. It was a tranquil, breezy evening and the perfect fall sky color (in sync with my couple’s clothing) added a touch of magic to the stunning backdrop. I loved how they were giggling, stealing kisses, and posing like pros the entire time. The stunning photographs are proof of how clearly these two admired and adored each other. They even had the perfect and prompt response when I asked them what they were most looking forward to about their wedding day as they answered, “marrying my favorite person and partying the night away”.
As usual, I asked Chelsea and John too if they had any advice for other couples planning their wedding. This was their sweet response, “Wedding planning can be stressful, so plan dates or certain days when you are only going to enjoy one another’s company and not worry about the wedding. Compromise and realize that even if you don’t agree on every detail, the wedding will still be beautiful and special. Lastly, plan and start researching early since these times are crazy busy in terms of weddings.”
Chelsea and John, thank you for choosing me as your engagement photographer. It was truly my pleasure to capture your love story. The session was simply unforgettable and I wish you a lifetime of happiness together. Are you looking for an engagement or wedding photographer? Get in touch with me by just dropping me an email. If you want to see more of my engagement session photography, you can check out Emily and Dan’s Engagement Session or Jacqueline and Nate’s Engagement Session. You can also head to my Instagram, Facebook, and Pinterest to see more of my work.
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