They told me it was their first professional photo shoot as a couple. I didn't believe them, partly because of how flawless they were THE ENTIRE SESSION, partly because I ALWAYS see photos of them on social media (they seem comfortable in front of the camera) and partly because Jessica is a professional photographer. I've known Jess for a few years. We initially met because of our professions at a local creative entrepreneurs meeting with a group called the Rising Tide Society. If you follow me on social, you know I talk about this group... a lot. It's an amazing group to learn from, but even more amazing to develop authentic, beautiful friendships from. I'm so grateful I met Jessica at one of these meetings and have gotten to work with her a few times at weddings. She's just a sweet and kind human being! Throughout all of our time hanging out and working together, I've gotten to hear a lot about Donny. I couldn't believe our first official meeting was at their engagement session!
But after just a couple of minutes of seeing them together, I could just see how strong of a bond they share and how nurturing and loving their relationship truly is. While I was testing light, I was secretly spying on them because they are seriously so adorable together. (Do I sound like a creep yet? That's k. I'm not ashamed!) She was helping adjust his jacket and he was making sure her hair was picture perfect. Then we started shooting and everything was pure magic! The light was glowy and soft, the Rose Garden was full of color - and then there was Jessica and Donny, full of smiles, flirty eyes and lots of laughs.
Total side note, but I think this totally works and is a helpful tip to couples preparing for a photo session. Again, me being a creep - during the shoot I just had to comment on how much they were totally slaying my existence and jokingly commented on how I know they practiced. But Jessica told me that they actually did do a little soft, smiley kiss practice and I thought that was brilliant! We all know that when we kiss someone in real life, sometimes faces tend to smoosh together in unflattering ways. So practicing soft, gentle kisses before your session is actually incredible and totally works! Thanks for the tip, Jess ;]
After the Rose Gardens, it was time for exploring! There was a place in Mill Creek Park in Youngstown, Ohio that they described and oddly enough, I've never been there. It's definitely a new fave spot because it's magical! We took a little hike through the woods to get to our final destination. The exploring seemed totally fitting since they'll be getting married in Hocking Hills State Park in August, where we will be doing a lot of adventuring while taking advantage of the beautiful scenery! But let's just say that the hike to the creek was only half the battle. I really saw what their relationship is made of when they trekked, barefoot, through the slippery rocks and fast running water, only to climb up on a giant moss-covered rock. But it was soooooo worth it because, holy gorg! It was epic!
I knew that Jess and Donny have been together for a long time, but I didn't realize that they will be getting married on their 6 year anniversary! Everything about them is super low key and adventurous, so I'm happy that they're staying true to who they are and are eloping with their closest friends and family by their side. I think that will make the whole day much more meaningful to them because it's a true representation of their relationship. The day will be super intimate and natural, which will make everything much more special! Plus, they're getting married in front of a waterfall. Do I even need to say more?! ;] Until then, enjoy these photos of the lovebirds :]
Shout out to Natalie Colwell at The Skin Suite on make up and Erica Kampf at The Boulevard on hair.
That "we made it on top of this giant rock" feeling hah!