Not all love stories are a piece of cake. Nor do they happen to us exactly when we think we are ready for them. And for Rachel and Kevin, it took thirty-eight years. When Rachel reached out to me about being her wedding photographer, I'm pretty sure there was a long silence on the phone as I grappled with words to say. Rachel was my babysitter, the person I called my senior year when I needed help with late night projects, and a mentor to me when I moved to Virginia. Rachel has taught me what it means to be authentic in my faith and with others. She's the one who listened to my tear-choked voice and told me it was okay to quit my full-time job and pursue photography. And now, a year later, she's the first bride to book with me. So let me assure you, I was giddy and nervous to shoot Keven & Rachel's engagement session. But who was I kidding? These two are, quite simply, beautiful. And historic Lafayette, Indiana, was the perfect destination with it's little romantic nooks for this couple's sweet love!
Kevin is literally the perfect man for Rachel. And I just love the way he tells their love story!...
I first noticed Rachel when I opened my eyes after a time of worship at church. There she was, standing right in front me and I thought in that moment 'she's stunning!' Inside I asked, "Father, is this for me?!" I took a quick glance at her left hand and noticed no ring. I was shocked. But I sat on my hands, yes I literally sat on my hands, and said, "Father, if she's for me, then You're going to have to do all of the work in bringing us together." Rachel, however, had no idea just how much I had noticed her. It wasn't until several weeks later that I first shook her hand and we had our first conversation. Church service had just ended, and Rachel stood up to gather her things, and there I was, sitting (and waiting) right behind her. I took note of her strong handshake as we introduced ourselves. Next thing I know, we had lingered and talked for 45 minutes...
Rachel told me that she noticed kindness in his eyes right away and that that was one of the easiest, most peaceful conversations she had ever had. Her heart took note of that right away. Their friendship grew over several kayak trips, church activities, more long conversations, and in Kevin's eyes their first date: dinner and a concert. Shortly after, they were a couple and by Christmas, he was invited out-of-state to meet Rachel's whole family. By mid January the two started engagement ring shopping.
I’ve never proposed, so I asked God what the proposal should look like. The answer wasn’t exactly what I was thinking, but I knew that it wouldn't be your typical proposal story, and I liked that. I decided I was going to use my grandmother’s cross necklace. The crazy part is that this necklace has been through the wringer. I had lost it at a high school bonfire and months later, after loads of Michigan snow, rain, and mud, I went back to the park with some friends and it was right there waiting in the mud. Fast forward to now - I just hoped it was still in the box in my dresser drawer. I guess you could say it had too great of a purpose to be lost forever. It was meant for Rachel all along.
But you’re supposed to propose with a ring! Yet, I heard the Lord say, "What was once lost is now found," referencing my salvation as a newly born again believer and, "a ring is not the symbol of eternity for Christians, the cross is!" So, on April 11th at our favorite park, (also the setting chosen for our wedding celebration this July), the place where our first church picnic took place and where the cross was lost and found, I proposed to Rachel with the necklace.
On our wedding day, I will present Rachel with a diamond ring and my love forever. If you want to make God laugh, tell Him you have a plan...
Aren't they just the best?! I can't wait for their Michigan wedding this July. It's going to be chock full of sentimental moments (I will probably cry behind the camera), sweet love, and dear friends all around!