natalie + erik // Downtown Buffalo and Hoyt Lake

Filed in engagements shot by on at

Natalie and Erik met because of a shared friend, two ironic relocations from Buffalo to Chicago and a dive bar. Oh, and a yellow shirt. How much can you really credit a shirt for a relationship? Well, that’s debatable. If you ask Natalie she’ll say that, sure, she noticed the yellow shirt, and the fact that the guy wearing it happened to be pretty cute. End of story. If you ask Erik, it’s because of the yellow shirt that their first meeting ended up being so memorable. Either way, we’re pretty happy that Erik chose to wear the now famous yellow shirt that day back in 2013. And we’re even more happy that these two ended up together and chose us to document their happiness :) Natalie and Erik are outrageously adorable and also happen to both have great storytelling skills. We are so excited to photograph their wedding this August!

Natalie and Erik were kind enough to share all the details about the yellow shirt as well as some other sweet tidbits about their relationship and growing love for each other. Read along as you check out their super cute engagement shoot from Hoyt Lake and Downtown Buffalo! We know you’ll love these two just as much as we do by the time you reach the bottom!

Natalie: “It was Lollapalooza weekend 2013 and I was living in Chicago. My cousin, Andrew, was visiting from Buffalo and staying with friends who also happened to be from Buffalo. We made plans to meet up, and like any group of 23 year olds, landed at a dive bar not far from their apartment. After meeting all of his friends, I made a comment to my friend that I thought that ‘yellow shirt kid’ was pretty cute. Lucky for me, ‘yellow shirt kid’ turned out to be Erik and not too long after making that comment he offered to buy me a drink. We started chatting and didn’t stop for the rest of the night. He actually claims that I made a few digs of said yellow shirt, but I think his memory is a little fuzzy. ;)

Erik: “One of my best friends is actually Natalie’s cousin. Despite this, we had never met when we were younger in Buffalo and our first meeting didn’t come until we were both living in Chicago. My friend came to visit for a weekend and mentioned that his cousin also lived in Chicago and we should all hang out. My friends and I were having a few drinks in our apartment when Natalie and her friends arrived. That was the first time I saw her, but we really didn’t start talking until a little later on in the night when we were all at the bar. Now Natalie might kill me for writing this, but she actually called me out for wearing a ‘stupid yellow shirt’ and was spotted dancing on the bar – so it’s safe to say it was a memorable first meeting. We spent the rest of the night talking, laughing and dancing (I’m sure we had some great moves at that point in the night). Now the bar we met at and the yellow shirt I was wearing no longer exist, but we still do!

Natalie: “After a week of texting following our first meeting, Erik asked me out to dinner at Orso’s, an Italian restaurant here in Chicago. This was my first sign that he was a keeper, since unbeknownst to him, Orso’s was already my favorite Italian spot in the city. It was a warm summer night so we were able to sit underneath the grape leaves on their gorgeous back patio. I remember feeling at ease around Erik almost immediately and our conversation flowed easily throughout the entire date. So easily, in fact, that our dinner ended up lasting three hours. I left that night already feeling that there was something different about me and Erik’s connection. I knew really early on that I had found something special with Erik and couldn’t wait to spend more time with him.

Erik: “Now there are some disagreements on whether or not Natalie was on time or late for our first date, but there’s no disputing I was quite early, so I took a seat at the bar and learned some interesting historical facts about the restaurant from the bartender (have to keep some conversation starters in your back pocket for a first date!). Luckily, I didn’t need to use them. It was a great night and left no doubt in my mind that there would be many more to come.

Natalie: “I remember we were down in St Maarten on vacation, a trip that we had been talking about taking for years and finally pulled the trigger on. We had spent the day relaxing at a nearby beach and were back at the house before dinner in town. The house we were staying at was right on the water and had a gorgeous view of the sunset from the back patio.

Erik: “There was no better setting for a proposal. I had told Natalie I wanted to get a picture of us with the sunset in the background, and I think she can attest that I was ‘toe tapping’ as I was urging her to get ready in time to get the perfect shot and get the ring out of my pocket and onto her hand.

Natalie: “I was taking my sweet time reading in my beach clothes next to the pool instead of making myself presentable. Luckily, I did get my behind in gear because instead of just setting up for a photo, Erik was setting up for a proposal.

Erik: “As a true millennial, I setup my iPad and set the timer as the sun began to set, dropped to one knee and asked the love of my life to marry me. And the rest is history!

Natalie: “I said ‘YES!’ and haven’t stopped smiling and giggling since.”

Natalie: “We love making dinner and then sitting on the couch, drinking wine, while watching a Dateline Murder Mystery on TV. Maybe throw in a couple rounds of the game Head Bands. We pretty much exclusively play the ‘Act it Out’ or ‘Accents’ decks. The latter always ends in laughter because we’re both terrible at accents.

Erik: “Depending on how much wine we’ve had there’s usually some music and/or dancing to close the night out. ‘Hey Alexa, play Elton John!’

Erik: “In the summer, date night definitely starts with dinner on a patio. If we’re lucky there’s some live music as well. After that we might head to The Lodge for a drink (my favorite bar in the city) and end the night either meeting up with friends or heading to the lakefront for some fireworks.

Natalie: “It’s a must that the bar we meet friends at has excellent music, with added points for a Jukebox or live performers.

Erik: “We love exploring our city as much as we can. Whether that means taking a day to visit a neighborhood we haven’t been to, trying a new bar/restaurant, or simply taking a walk around our neighborhood.

Erik: “I truly value the relationships I have with people and the experiences I share with those close to me. Natalie and I have great families and friends and the experiences we’ve shared with them over time are irreplaceable. I’m truly lucky to have these people in my life and cannot wait to share the future with them.

Natalie: “Erik is my person in every way. He truly makes every day of my life a little better just by being a part of it. I know that I can always count on him to support me and encourage me to be my best self. He is one of those genuinely good people who brings out the best in everyone around him. One of the things that really impresses me about Erik is his ability to truly listen to others and make sure that they feel comfortable and included. Even when challenges come our way, and I know they will, I have the extra vote of confidence knowing that we’re going to get through it together.

Erik: “There are many things that make me want to spend my life with Natalie, but one has to be just who she is as a person. She has a contagious happiness that makes me smile when she smiles and laugh when she laughs. She’s always up for a new adventure and I love being by her side each time. She’s also always been a strong support system for me. I know there’s always going to be ups and downs in life but knowing that I will always have someone like Natalie by my side, supporting and encouraging me, means the world.