John and Hannah are two beautiful individuals, and when together, really bring out the best in one another. The two are both artists, and often spend their time together making beautiful pieces from raw elements. Hannah loves to paint pieces that conjure up sentimentality and nostalgia, and make jewelry from recyclable materials found in natural spaces. She even made the key necklaces that the two are wearing during the session.
John works in wood and can craft both practical pieces as well as beautiful sculptures from driftwood. It is not uncommon for the two to spend their days kayaking and looking for materials while enjoying the sunshine together.
The two love traveling, and have a special place in their hearts for national parks. After what Hannah describes as her “favorite date” to Mount Zion National Park, she felt inspired to purchase national park passports. The two have made it a goal to visit every national park together.
When John and Hannah asked me to help them announce their engagement with this beautiful session, I was overwhelmed with joy. Capturing these moments has been a privilege and a delight, but having the opportunity to learn their story was a once in a lifetime experience. I can’t wait to celebrate their big day, but for now I am happy to be able to share in their storytelling.
John and Hannah met in the summer of 2012 at a summer camp. Although they had both arrived at the camp as adults, both signing on to be counselors, their story evokes such a romantic nostalgia– full of youthful wonder and, yes, summer lovin’.
After being adorned with their whistles and tee shirts, the two were assigned to their campers. In a twist of fate, John and Hannah were assigned to the same age group, which meant spending a great deal of time together under the summer sun. Both John and Hannah had sweethearts of their own at that time, so what blossomed between the two was a deep friendship. They spent time laughing and getting to know one another over one-dollar night at the local bowling alley– a tradition they still honor to this day. When summer faded, a cool autumn wind took its place, sweeping the two in different directions.
The two caught up over the next few days, chatting endlessly. John finally asked Hannah out to a movie to celebrate his birthday in mid December. It was a group outing, with both John’s friends and family in attendance, but the pair still consider it their first date. They were both in awe of the way that the five years that had stretched between them had faded so quickly. The two laughed as though not a day had passed, and never looked back.
Both Hannah and John admit that there were a few times where they almost slipped up and said “I love you” before the timing was quite right. Although they both knew what they were feeling, they tried their hardest to slow down and enjoy every chapter of their story.
In February, at a family gathering, John shared those words out loud.
John proposed on Thanksgiving. As both families joined together at the dinner table, John gave the blessing. He shared all of the things he was thankful for, saving the best for last. Surrounded by their closest family, he shared the gratitude he felt for his biggest blessing: Hannah. As his speech began winding down, John got on one knee, and popped the big question, revealing a delicate ring in the shape of a wildflower: a ring that once belonged to her mother.
One aspect of this engagement session that was so special to me was the location. The land where we took these photographs is just as rich with story as it is with beauty and charm. John and Hannah recently purchased the land from an older couple named Dan and Carol. The land had spent just over three years on the market before catching John and Hannah’s attention, and Dan and Carol have said that they think God had been saving the land for the two. Dan and Carol have become such a big part of this couple’s story, so it is only natural that the pair extended an invitation to their wedding day.
Two beautiful ponds, a gorgeous little house, and a hill with a beautiful view all sit atop the sixty-five acres. Hannah and John instantly fell in love with the space, and decided to celebrate their wedding day there. The hilltop will be the setting for the ceremony, and John is planting wildflowers all around the ceremony site for Hannah.
Although the land will serve as a beautiful wedding destination, they have even bigger plans for it. John’s brother will be moving into the log cabin on the land, and his parents are turning the barn into their home. Hannah and John are currently living in the apartment on the land, and plan to build their own home on the hilltop.
These shots turned out so beautifully because I was not only lucky enough to capture their love for one another, but to capture them in the place where they will say their vows, spend time with their families, and build their own family some day. John and Hannah hope that this land will be passed down for generations, and I am overjoyed to have been a part of this story.
I began this post with a few fun facts about John and Hannah: how as artists, they are both skilled in making beautiful things out of raw and found elements; how even as travelers, they still find as much wonder in their backyard as they do in new places.
Our love stories work the same way. Crafted from raw moments we have found in one another, a story is built where there was once nothing at all. We vow to stay committed to exploring, and to find wonder and joy in every day.
For John and Hannah, I believe it will come almost effortlessly. I wish you both a lifetime of happiness, laughter, travel and wildflowers.
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