I awoke before the sun on the morning of Stephanie and Blake's engagement session and headed from my hotel over to meet them at their home in Chicago. It was a perfect spring morning. We headed to a park along Lake Michigan to begin their engagement session.
Blake and Stephanie met during freshman year at the University of Iowa. The stories of how they actually met differ depending on who you ask!
Steph's Story: One fall day I was walking down the back hill of our dorm to my Calc class and there was a guy heading up the back hill showing off a bit and off-roading his motorcycle. He ended up sliding a bit into the tree and I went about my day. A few hours later, I went to soccer practice and split my knee open after sliding into a goalpost. While standing in the pharmaceutical line at the UI hospital, I met the motorcycle hotshot, my future husband.
Blake's Story: On my way back from class I was about to take the sidewalk up to my dorm where I saw a good looking girl. Not wanting to be rude I left the sidewalk and took the grass hill the remainder of the way. I had forgot it had rained all morning and lost control of my motorcycle. At that moment, I knew I had a good story for the next time I saw the girl but didn't realize it was only going to be a few hours later waiting in line to get burn cream at the UI Hospital.
When they first met Blake knew Stephanie would be the girl he would marry. Stephanie on the other-hand took a bit longer to come around.
For their first date, Blake and Stephanie headed to Three Samurai in Coralville. Daily attire for the couple consisted of sweats, t-shirts, and for Blake jeans. However, when Blake picked up Stephanie from the engineering building he was a bit taken back as she had come straight from an interview. After ordering and receiving their sushi, Blake was relieved when Stephanie ask for a fork and the night went on without a hitch. (The two have since grown significantly in their chopstick abilities!)
The morning light was beautiful. We happened upon a blossoming tree at the park and I'm so glad we did. I love their portraits beneath it.
I was even able to hang her ring from a blossom. Beautiful!
I love their proposal story. Here is Stephanie's account of that big moment, " Blake proposed November 12, 2016 prior to the Iowa v Michigan football game. As season ticket holders, we try and have at least one big tailgate event where our friends from college all get back together for a weekend. Last year, that weekend was the Iowa/Michigan game. Our friends started coming in for the tailgate and as we caught-up, Blake mentioned that we should stop by another friend's tailgate. I agreed and we started heading over. We started off towards our freshman dorm to this tailgate and started talking about living down the hall from each other as freshman and some of the funny stories that came from that. As we continued walking, I realized that there weren't any tailgate lots this direction and at about the same time Blake turned the corner and I saw a box in his back pocket. He walked me around near the tree where he "crashed" his motorcycle and proposed. As we walked back we joked about all the signs that I missed and didn't "put together" about the weekend. When we returned to the tailgate our families had joined and everyone welcomed us back with a champagne toast. I thought that the day could not get any better, however hours later Iowa knocked off Michigan for a great upset win!"
Our next stop was a location near Blake's work in the Loop. The bridge was a beautiful backdrop, as was the city. The tall buildings beautifully reflected the blue spring skies.
When asked what they love most about each other, this is what they had to say:
Steph: Blake is the most genuine person I have ever met. He has an incredible way with people and building relationships because of this genuine interest and personal investment he places on his relationships.
Blake: Stephanie is a very caring person who not only cares but is honest to friends and family. She is willing to drop anything to be there for her friends and family and that among a lot of other things is why I love her.
It was such a pleasure working with Stephanie and Blake and getting to know them better. I cannot wait for their beautiful wedding next spring!