Engaged! Stephanie Joy & Chris : Serenbe

I pulled up to Hutcheson Ferry Road feeling hopeful. The sun was out, the sky was blue, and there was a light breeze in the air. It was a perfect day for an outdoor engagement session. And then I turned the corner. Cue dramatic music. The sky was an ominous shade of navy, and I could see the lightening in the distance. I let out an audible groan, and I proceeded to drive into the worst storm I've been in so far this summer. Tree branches were falling into the street, the rain was being blasted in sheets against my windshield and I could hardly see where I was going. My heart sank as I prayed. Oh Lord, please let this clear up soon. I want Stephanie to have perfect pictures. As I pulled into the parking lot, though, not even the rain could dampen my excitement. I hadn't seen Stephanie in years, and even though our first encounter was relatively brief, her gentle spirit and sweet words of encouragement had left me feeling like we were old friends. She's just that kind of person. I can understand completely why Chris cherishes her. After being trapped in the car for about twenty minutes, the rain began to let up, so I grabbed my miracle umbrella (the one that I didn't know had been hiding in my trunk for months) and headed out to meet them. When I saw Stephanie, she greeted me with a wave and a warm smile. I jogged up the stairs to her and wrapped her up in a hug. When Chris caught up to us, she smiled at him and said, "Have you met my beloved? This is Chris." Her sweet words made my heart smile. They share a love that is tender, joyful and rooted in the love of Christ. I am sad that I will not be able to celebrate their wedding with them, but I was happy to be able to give them these photos as a gift.

Despite the fact that the rain didn't want to go away, we began taking pictures. Stephanie and Chris are an adventurous couple, so they had no problem wandering through the rain with their huge rainbow umbrella or even putting it down and snuggling without it. You won't see any kissing pictures here, because they chose to save their first kiss for their wedding day. They want to honor God in all aspects of their relationship, and I think their desire to serve and celebrate Christ together is so beautiful and encouraging. I love these two! :)

They hold each other so sweetly.

Chris makes Stephanie smile - not that she needs much encouragement! She always seems to be smiling.

The ring Stephanie is wearing here isn't her actual engagement ring, but she wanted her pictures to show off that Chris proposed with a pearl. He chose to propose this way not because it's Stephanie's favorite gem or because he wanted to be different, but because he wanted to make a statement to her about the kind of life he wanted to build together with her. In Matthew chapter 13, the Bible says, "The kingdom of heaven is like a merchant looking for fine pearls. When he found one of great value, he went away and sold everything he had and bought it." He and Stephanie share the belief that a relationship with Christ is worth giving everything for, and he wanted her to have a ring that would always remind her of their mutual passion for the things of God.

COLOR! I loved their umbrella! :)

When I saw this shot on the back of my camera, I said a silent prayer to the Lord telling Him I'd never question him about the weather again. He knew exactly what he was doing. :)

When Stephanie told me she wanted a rustic farm look for her engagement photos, I knew we had to head over to Serenbe. Y'all know I don't need an excuse to drive out there and take pictures!

Chris is a champion cattle roper, so of course we had to have a little fun playing up his cowboy side!

Stephanie, I'm sure you're the prettiest little thing he's ever been able to wrangle! Haha.

Next, we headed over to the wildflower field. I loved the colors we came across here.

We finished up the evening watching some of the horses that live on the property. They're so beautiful! I also took a few detail shots of Stephanie and Chris's stylish western wear.

SO SWEET!

These last few were taken after the sun had set and most of the evening light was gone. I had already disassembled and packed up all of my lighting gear, so I had to take advantage of the Mark II's high ISO capabilities to help me capture a few shots of them praying and reading God's word together.

Entering the judgment free zone! Remember, I was taking pictures outside in the rain, and my hair doesn't curl up all sexy and cute like Stephanie's does. :) But I love this picture anyway, because I love this girl!!

Stephanie and Chris, I am overjoyed for the two of you! I will continue to pray for you as you begin your marriage journey, and I know your wedding day will be full of tears, smiles and some warm, heartfelt giggles.