Category: engagements

kate + ron // Times Beach Nature Preserve and Larkin Square

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If you know anything about Buffalo, you know that we love our food trucks. And if you love food trucks (or just food in general) and you love making the most of the fleeting summer, then you know that the place to be on a Tuesday night in Buffalo is at Larkin Square, where the food trucks and the people pile in to enjoy live music in the amazing heat of the summer along with some seriously great eats. Really though, if you’ve never been to Food Truck Tuesday then you best get moving. It was thanks to this awesome Buffalo right of passage that our wonderful couple, Kate and Ron, first met!

Kate: “One of my closest friends and I decided that we were going to make an effort to attend as many Food Truck Tuesdays as possible during the summer, and sent out a blanket invitation to all of our friends each week to join us. That fateful June evening, Ron happened to be golfing with one of our mutual friends who had promised to meet up with my friend and I at Larkin Square after their round. Ron didn’t drive, so he was forced to tag along. My friend and I arrived at Larkin Square early to avoid lines, so when Ron and I officially met I was already shoving poutine in my face while attempting to balance my glass of wine. Naturally, love at first sight!

Kate: “I actually had to talk Ron into a first date! We had already hung out so much as a group, and were doing so many different things together on a regular basis, that an official date didn’t really seem necessary. Our relationship fell into place so naturally that realizing we should probably tick off the normal dating boxes at some point didn’t cross our minds. Plus we had already bought Bills season tickets for the year, so we were fully committed. But like most ladies with an affinity for Jane Austen novels and the dramatic, I like to be wooed, and I like dinner, so I asked Ron if we could go out to eat for an ‘official first date’, and he had to choose where we went. We went to Amici’s in Kenmore, and have gone there for each of our anniversaries since! (Funny side note: for the first 3-4 months we were dating, the only places Ron would take me to eat were Italian for some reason. I had to beg him to stop with the Italian for a while because the carb-loading was getting to be too much.) Our first date was on August 2, 2014, notable because after dinner we went to hang out with some of my friends, and Ron disappeared for most of the evening to watch the Andre Reed Hall of Fame induction speech by himself in the living room instead of socializing.

Kate: “We got engaged on May 21, 2017 at 10:15 am in our bedroom with the dogs fighting over a toy trout on the bed as I answered the easiest question anyone has ever asked me! I woke up around 10am thinking that we had brunch with his parents at noon so I asked Ron if he wanted to have some coffee in bed and start a new Netflix series we had been talking about watching (The Keepers, worth a watch!). I went down to make coffee, and then he followed me down which I thought was odd but he said he wanted water instead of coffee. (He was really getting the ring out from behind the cable box in our living room.) Then he continued to weirdly follow me upstairs, and followed me around as I put pillows on the bed to watch TV. As I was just about to get annoyed that he would NOT leave me alone, I turn around and he gets down on one knee and asks me to spend the rest of my life with him. He’s also pulled some stunts before so I may have said no and to stop being mean a few times before I believed it was actually happening. I haven’t stop smiling or staring at my hand since!!

Kate: “After he proposed he told me that we weren’t actually going to brunch with his family, that his family and a bunch of our friends were coming over with food to spend the day and celebrate with us, and he even called my boss to request I have the next day off from work to continue the celebrations. We went downstairs to start the obligatory phone calls and FaceTiming of my parents, who were traveling from their home in Charlotte to Indianapolis that day, and all of our other friends and family. About 10:45 the doorbell rings and Ron asked me to get the door, but I was preoccupied trying to get a picture of myself, my new bling, and the dogs and told him it was just my best friend who he’s met a million times so he could go get the door. He opens the front door and I am more than a little shocked to see my Grandma and parents walking up to the front door instead! Ron was able to get them to come to town to celebrate with us as well! The day was complete and magical. I’m definitely the planner in our household, and so I never in a million years thought he would be able to pull something like this without me knowing a thing. (Looking back, three different people asked me to go get my nails done with them the day before and I rejected all of them, but I never put two and two together). There were apparently a million different ways the day was supposed to go, but this way was my favorite. It was 100% us, low key and private. We love our home, and we love being with our boys, Mr. Darcy and Sammy.

Kate: “Ron and I are perfect complements. He really makes me a better, calmer, more rational, spontaneous, carefree person. Being together is so easy and natural because we both understand and appreciate the importance of also having our own interests and friends as well as alone time. Spending time together is still our favorite thing, but our relationship has never been work. We’ve both known since early on in our relationship that this was going to be a forever thing, so we’ve maintained that mentality throughout any issues or obstacles or irrationality on my part. We don’t pretend to be anyone other than our real selves around each other, and that’s who we each truly love. We also laugh, a lot.

Kate: “We value our friends, family, each other, and dogs. Our friends brought us together, our family provides love, support, and amazing examples of how we want to frame our own marriage, we have so much fun together and always love each other even if we don’t like each other very much, and our boys are our pride and joy and make our lives even more full of love and complete our little family.

Kate: “We are very much homebodies, we love spending time together with our dogs at home. Anything we can do that involve our boys is a positive in our book. We aren’t quite to the anti-social level yet, we love when friends come hang out with us at our home! Ron is a grill master so we love any excuse to host a BBQ!! Ron is a true Buffalonian through and through, and so naturally Bills season means we have standing plans on Sundays. I am a huge hockey fan, go Bruins!, and Ron grew up playing hockey and played for St. Joes in high school and continues to love the sport to this day. (One of the first things he every said to me was that he was All-State in hockey in high school. My flirtatious response was, so? Luckily our sense of humor and ability to tease each other is one of our most endearing qualities as a couple). We have a standing bet at our house that whenever the Bruins and Sabres play during the regular season, the winner gets to fly their flag on the house for a week.

5 Reasons An Engagement Shoot is a Great Idea

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So, maybe you’re considering an Engagement Session, but you’re kind of “on the fence” about it. Or, maybe you think you don’t really need one and that being professionally photographed on your wedding day is more than enough for you. It’s totally normal to feel this way! Most people feel at least a little bit awkward about having their photo taken, so why in the world would you want to do it twice?!

As someone who has photographed hundreds of couples and educated them on how to look natural and relaxed in their photos, I have seen the benefits first hand, and I want to share my perspective on why I think you should absolutely go for it!!

1. To ease your nerves and get comfortable in front of the camera before your wedding day! There can be enough surprises on your wedding day without your photography being one of them. Let’s face it, most of use are not professional models, and we certainly don’t expect you to be. It’s one thing to be comfortable goofing around with your friends taking selfies all afternoon (hey, we’ve all done it) but it’s a whole other ball game to be on the other end of a professional camera. Having an engagement shoot will allow you to gain more confidence in front of the camera so that when wedding day finally rolls around you’ll be past the point of testing out your new poses and feeling things out. You’ll be calm, cool and collected, already knowing what angles work for you and what type of shots you may or may not care for. You’ll hardly notice the camera in the room because you will have gotten all of your camera phobias out of the way during your e-shoot! If possible, you can also schedule your hair and make-up trial run on the same day as your engagement shoot, so you’ll not only look flawless for the lens, but you’ll be able to see how your desired hair style/color and make-up look on film and will have plenty of time to talk with your stylist and make adjustments with anything you may not have been thrilled with.

2. To get to know your wedding photographer and let them get to know you! Even if you’ve already sat down with your photographer(s) face to face, it’s extremely beneficial to both parties to have some time with each other during a pre-wedding shoot. During this time you’ll be able to learn your photographers style of shooting so that you know exactly what to expect on your big day. And while you’re learning about their moves, they’re learning about yours! Your photographer(s) need to know how you and your fiance interact with each other, with and without the camera around, so that they can easily capture your personalities, quirks and emotions. It’s helpful to know all of these things before your wedding day so that it’s smooth sailing for everyone involved! It’s also nice to be able to really get to know your photographer(s) on a personal level – you’re going to be spending a LOT of time with them on wedding day. Possibly more time with them than with anyone else! Break the ice with your engagement shoot and cross the line of stranger to friend, which will make the big day so much for comfortable and fun for everyone!

3. To have beautiful photos of yourselves as a couple in non-wedding attire. Yes, your wedding photos are going to be gorgeous and you’re going to want to show them off to anyone and everyone who will look at them, but – do you really want to ONLY have beautiful photos of the two of you in your wedding day attire? Engagement sessions are a way to have amazing photos of the two of you looking like your usual selves. It’s a great way to remember this super special time in your lives (and if we’re being honest, how many wedding photos do you really want to hang on your walls!?).  Because they’re more casual it makes them usable for many more things, especially decor around your house. Use them for Save the Dates, your wedding guest book, or your wedding website. Send them off to your local newspaper to announce your upcoming nuptials or create a keepsake album of memories to display on your coffee table at home.

4. Take a break from the hustle and bustle of wedding planning. Your engagement shoot should not be a dreaded event. In fact, an e-shoot can be a great reason for a much needed date night! It’s an excuse to pamper yourself a little (grab a quick mani/pedi and blowout or schedule your wedding beauty trial for the same day)! Get dressed up, relax, have fun, laugh and enjoy each other’s company! Pick a shoot location that’s meaningful to you as a couple; the location of your first date, your favorite picnic spot or coffee shop, the location where you got engaged. Be creative! Do you love cooking together? Farmer’s Markets are your absolute favorite thing to do with each other on the weekend? You’re both obsessed with board games? Make it your own and make it fun! It’s all about loosening up and just having a good time with the one you want to spend your forever with.

5. Because your engagement is a small slice of amazing bliss in your life and you should have it documented forever. These photos aren’t necessarily just for today. These photos are forever. They capture a brief time in your lives when you were on Cloud 9 for having just decided to spend the rest of your lives together. The feeling of commitment is fresh and new and exciting during this photo session. It’s so important to preserve these emotions for your children and your grandchildren to witness for themselves decades later, and for you both to relive together when you’re old and gray.

One of our couples who got married last year, Alex and Kurt, were initially against doing an Engagement Session, but I shared all of my reasons with them and they ultimately decided to do it. Here’s what they had to say about the experience:

We are THRILLED [Jenn] convinced us to do an engagement shoot. It helped to show us how everything would go on the big day and made us believe that we (yes, even we) could look great in photos. If we hadn’t done the engagement shoot and gotten most of our awkwardness out that day, I would have been really anxious about taking photos on our wedding day. We were a lot more comfortable since we were able to get to know Jenn and the process better beforehand.

It’s totally not mandatory to have engagement photos taken, but there are so many benefits to doing them that make it a great decision. Spending that two hours with my couples allows me to really get to know them, and if I don’t have to spend time getting to know them on their wedding day, it frees me up to tell their story straight from my heart without having to make guesses about who they are (because I already know!).

Did you have engagement photos taken before your wedding day? We would love to hear from you!!  Do you feel like it was a helpful experience? Please share in the comments below!!

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