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Thousands of engagement sessions have come through GLW over the years, and yet we’re still completely delighted when a truly great one lands in our inbox. What makes an engagement shoot special can be the planned parts like a gorgeous location, or some crazy-on-point editorial fashion choices. Or, it can be a less tangible thing, like that certain, sparkling happiness unique only to an engaged couple. Either way, we’re always in awe of a photographer’s ability to capture the essence of their subjects and this shoot from Natalie Schutt Photography is a perfect example. Maia and Adrian’s SoCal surf shoot has, of course, the breathtaking scenery, but the magic really happens when Natalie hops in the water and captures the couple surfing. We get to see Maia and Adrian totally at ease, totally in love, and totally in their happy place. So props to Natalie Schutt Photography for capturing the epic location, that certain sparkle and some pretty fab underwater floral crown shots too—bonus!

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From the bride: We met in college at UC Santa Barbara through a combination of mutual friends and seeing each other out surfing. Neither of us thought the other was interested so nothing happened for two years. Then we had a groundwater hydrology class together and we started hanging out more and more. Then one evening Adrian asked Maia if she wanted to go watch the sunset at the beach and the rest is history. We love exploring new places together both locally and abroad. Pretty much anywhere that has the ocean, trees, rivers, or some combination of the three is where we like to be. Most of our free time is spent with friends, surfing, or working on projects!

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Photography: Natalie Schutt Photography //Florals: MV Florals

 

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We’re totally smitten with this engagement shoot. It’s romantic and intimate, even against the grand-scale of the epic old-world garden setting. Photographer Claudia Magas of Ladies & Lord actually loves the pre-wedding sessions most believing they are “….even more exciting than the wedding day itself. It is all about just the two of them. It marks the beginning of their new journey together. It is wildly romantic and there are no distractions around.” We have to admit, however, that we are slightly distracted by the Belvedere Gardens—seriously how grand and gorgeous?! You’re going to be totally inspired!

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What were your expectations regarding an engagement shoot?

To be honest my fiancé and I never really thought about an engagement shoot before we met our wedding photographer. We didn’t realize such a thing existed. We were grateful for this new experience Claudia from Ladies & Lord gave us.

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Would you recommend a pre-wedding shoot to other couples?

I can only recommend such a pre-wedding session to everyone getting married. Let’s face it, the planning period can be a hectic one, you kind of lose control at times and are overwhelmed with what’s happening. So getting a time‐out for a few hours with just you and your fiancé can feel like the breather you just needed. It felt like this for us. Claudia whisked us away on a typical April day to one of our favorite places in Vienna; the fabulous Belvedere Gardens. We didn’t mind the fickle weather at all. In fact it was part of the fun. First it was sunny, then it started raining, then we got some snow and in the end glaring sunshine again. Four seasons in two hours. Claudia insisted it looked all very photogenic and we trust her completely.

Vienna is a magical place. Filled with many hidden gems Austria’s capital has a certain majestic feel to it. For this impromptu pre-wedding session the fabulously landscaped Belvedere Gardens were the perfect backdrop. Regal and elegant yet a place to relax and enjoy the first rays of sunshine. It was a lovely stroll through the park and they even managed to dance one waltz on the lawn before it started raining.

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From the photographer:

I love engagement shoots, pre-wedding sessions, whatever you want to call them. They are about 2 people in love. For me they are the most exciting part – even more exciting than the wedding day itself. It is all about just the two of them. It marks the beginning of their new journey together. It is wildly romantic and there are no distractions around. For every couple there is a unique story. I love telling those stories through my eyes. Most of the time my brides and grooms give me a slight idea where we want to go style-wise and then they just let the reins out of their hands and let me do the fun stuff. I love it. It must be the most rewarding job in the world.

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Photographer: Ladies & Lord, Claudia Magas // Gown: Solaine Piccoli // Headpiece & Gown Salon: Niely Hoetsch // Makeup & Hairstyling: Sophie Chudzikowski

 

If you’re anything like us over here at Grey Likes Weddings, you’re in the midst of a MAJOR city crush on Charleston. It’s basically the most adorable city ever—the water, the architecture, the cobblestone streets, and THE COLORS! It’s filled with buildings in the perfect palette of pastels—seriously, who does’t love a cotton candy pink building?? So, we were obviously thrilled when Decorus Photography sent us this super sweet Charleston engagement shoot. Katie and Jay could not be any cuter in the most photogenic city ever. You’re gonna love this one!

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How we met:

Jay was working at the corporate office of a bank in Tampa FL and I was a receptionist at a law firm. One of his coworkers was my good friend and she happened to overhear him telling another coworker that he was recently single. She rushed back to her desk and messaged him that she knew someone perfect for him (spoiler alert: it was me). She started showing him photos of me and telling him about me which got him interested. She then began to text me with photos & facts about him. That day happened to be my 24th birthday so she gave Jay my number and the first thing he texted me was Happy Birthday with a bunch of cute emoticons. We met up a few days later in person and while I at first thought he didn’t like me after all, I later found out he was just super nervous around me! He started coming to my work every day for lunch & even sent me a bouquet of flowers one day when I was feeling down. We started dating about a month later on Friday, July 13th. We’ll have been together for 4 years this July.

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How he proposed:

We’re wedding photographers in Charleston SC but we booked a wedding at Disney World and decided to spend a day at the parks with our friends since we hadn’t gone in over 2 years (we used to have annual passes when we lived in Tampa and went all the time). I was super excited for this trip because Disney is such a special place to me and I was really happy when it started to become a special place for Jay. We invited our friends Krissi & Toni to come, and Toni is a photographer too.

The day before the proposal, we pass by the World of Disney store in Downtown Disney and we go inside. Right in front of the doors are those matching “I’ll be your Mickey” “I’ll be your Minnie” couples shirts. I have to say, we are NOT the matchy-matchy same shirt wearing kind of couple, but Jay said “Oh these are cute. We should get them.” And I just looked at him like he had 7 heads and said “Uh, okay”. But we continued on. He found 2 more shirts he liked for himself and said “Gee which one should I get? One of these, or the couples shirts?” I told him, what ever you want! I’ll wear the couples shirt, but if you want one of these, that’s fine too!

He chose the couples shirt. This went over my head completely though I was confused by him wanting them.

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Day of proposal: We are at my FAVORITE place on the planet – Disney! As soon as we walk through the turnstiles, Toni says “Lets get a photo in front of the train station!” And from there, we’re getting photos everywhere! Jay had told Toni to take tons of photos of us so I wouldn’t be suspicious at the location of choice where he was doing it. We had just ridden my favorite ride, the Haunted Mansion, which is located next to Rapunzel’s tower. Rapunzel is my FAVORITE princess. The second time I ever watched that movie, it changed my life. It’s a very special movie to me, and Jay knows this. He is the Eugene to my Rapunzel.

Toni asked if we wanted some photos in front of it and I said “hell yes!” because I only have an iPhone shot of me in front of it from 2 years ago, alone. That trip, Toni & Krissi were with us too!

So anyway, so we take some smiling at the camera shots, and then Toni instructs us to face each other and kiss. This was the sign for Jay to know that Toni was ready to get it.

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Suddenly, Jay pushes me away and takes my hands and he says “You know I’ve been wanting to marry you for a long time now” and I see him get down on one knee…and I cover my face…and then I kind of blacked out I think! I know I cried. I remember him telling me that I was making HIM cry. I uncover my face and I don’t see the ring, but I take what ever is in his hand on impulse and I lean down and kiss him! That’s all I remember!! I didn’t even say Yes!

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It wasn’t until after we moved from the tower that I finally looked at the ring – it was gold with a purple amethyst stone, Rapunzel’s colors!! It was perfect. Jay had to inform me that it was just a prop ring. He knew I wanted an art deco ring because he’s SNEAKY and a few months ago had our friend/former bride/fellow Disney nerd Lisa make a post about Disney engagement rings on Facebook and tagged me and a few others in it for opinions! I had said “While I love the Rapunzel ring and wouldn’t say no to it, I’ve had my heart set on an antique ring!” The next day, we popped into an estate store to get my ring size and Jay found this GORGEOUS 1920’s diamond & emerald ring! It’s so perfect for me.

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Photography: Decorus Photography // Dress & Shoes // Hair & Makeup: Mirror Mirror

 

You guys may remember the Swan House Gardens from one of our all-time favorite styled shoots. Well, it’s quickly becoming our favorite must-see Atlanta location and we were thrilled when Carla Gates Photography sent in these gorgeous images from Rachel and Michael’s engagement shoot. Her fine-art film photography perfectly captures the adorable couple and the incredible location. Enjoy!!

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How/where did you meet?

We met on the dating app Coffee Meets Bagel. We were both out on a limb and taking a chance with the online dating world, and we found each other very quickly!! We talked for about a week before actually meeting in person. We both definitely knew it was going to be something special before we even met in person, and we were right! I know it’s cliche, and I used to always roll my eyes at people who said this, but we just “knew”!

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Where/what was your first date?

Our first date was out to a Mexican restaurant because I had mentioned to Mike how much I love queso. It was completely perfect, and the best start I could have imagined to our relationship. After we ate, we talked for hours then decided to see each other again the next day. The rest is history!

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Tell me the engagement story – details! Where was it?

Early in 2015 we started talking about getting married. We started looking at rings, talking about locations, and everything that comes along with that. We started designing my ring and getting more and more serious about everything by May, so I knew something would happen soon. In July we went on vacation to Italy with Mike’s family, which was amazing! We were staying in Tuscany and taking a lot of day trips to different cities around Italy. We were having the best time traveling together, seeing new things, and spending time with his family. Leading up to the trip, I wondered if he was going to propose while we were there, but once a few days went by I wasn’t really thinking about it anymore. About half way through the trip we were coming home from a day trip to some wineries. It started pouring down rain and hailing, so we were stuck inside for a little while. But once it finally started to stop we decided to go for a walk. We were staying on a working organic olive farm, so behind the house there was a beautiful hill full of olive trees. He asked his mom to come along and take pictures of us because it was so beautiful after the rain. His mom took some pictures, and we kept walking around, but then he started talking about how much I meant to him. At this point, I definitely knew something special was going to happen. After saying a few more very sweet things, he went down on one knee and asked me to marry him! Of course I said yes, and his mom was there to capture every moment of it. She took some amazing pictures before, during, and after, and I’m so glad that we have those. The rest of our Italy trip was even more blissful, and I’m so thankful we have those memories!

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What excites you? Makes your heart come alive?

All the small things make a big difference to me. When he shows concern because I tripped over the rug, or sends me funny texts throughout the day, or makes me hot chocolate; he may not necessarily realize those things are showing me how much he cares, but I notice them. I think if you can see love and care in the small things, then you know someone truly loves you. He gets excited when I save him money!!  But what really matters most to him is knowing that I love him and care for him unconditionally.

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Photography: Carla Gates Photography // Venue: Swan House Gardens at Atlanta History Center // Film Lab: Richard Photo Lab // Sweater & Necklace: J. Crew // Shoes: Sam Edelman Nordstrom // Skirt: http://www.space46boutique.com/ // Suit: Joseph A Bank

 

Lianne and Nick’s urban engagement shoot all over the streets of Hoboken has us super inspired. First—we obviously need to discuss THAT SKIRT! It’s got our vote as the single best wardrobe choice in the history of engagement sessions. Seriously though, the adorable couple’s fab style choices paired with Emily Delamater Photography‘s varied and architecturally-inspired location selections, the shoot is basically flawless. You’re going to love it!

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We wanted what we wore for our engagement session to not only reflect our personal style but also compliment the Hoboken/NYC backdrop. I knew right off the bat that I didn’t want to wear a white dress. I’ll wear one of those for the wedding. About a month before the session I found this fabulous bright red midi skirt at Zara. It was a fun pop of color in a classic silhouette and would photograph really well. We didn’t want to look too formal or stuffy (not our style) so I paired the skirt with a simple black and white striped tee (H&M). The shell pink heels (Banana Republic) were an impulse addition to my outfit. I loved the soft feminine contrast to the bright red. And everyone’s legs look better in a stiletto.

Nick kindly went classic neutral. Nothing was going to compete with that red skirt. His pants and navy suit jacket are J Crew. His shoes are Cole Haan. His white button down is Banana Republic.

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Although you can’t beat Manhattan as a photoshoot backdrop, we really wanted to do our engagement session in Hoboken. Just across the Hudson, Hoboken has been our home for the past 5 years. It’s where we met, fell in love, moved in together and got engaged. Our whole life is here. So it was really special to run all over town taking photos. We started down by the river, had fun in the train station and uptown in front of all the beautiful brownstones.

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We ended the day going back to the bar where we first met to take the last few photos.The bar has recently been renovated into a much more polished version of its former dive bar self. But we took a picture at a table where we were standing when we first met. Super cheesy, but we’re really cheesy.

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We were introduced through a mutual friend in January 2012. Nick reached out under the guise of being new to town and looking to meet people in Hoboken. I thought he was really cute and didn’t look like a serial killer so we made plans to meet up at a local dive bar on Mardi Gras. We both brought friends, of course, in case it didn’t work out. There was a fish bowl (or two), crawfish, and a great 80’s cover band. We hit it off and he asked me on a real first date for later that week. We went ice skating in Rockefeller Center; something neither of us had ever done before, or since actually. It was super cheesy and magical. We’ve been together ever since.

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Fast forward three years…We’d talked seriously about getting engaged. Nick made a big deal about planning a special surprise to celebrate our dating anniversary, something we’d never made a big deal about. I thought I smelled a proposal, but didn’t want to bet on anything. As a complete Type-A, Nick thought of everything. Two friends of mine asked if I wanted to have a girls night Friday, which very specifically included manicures. I woke up Saturday to a delicious breakfast in bed. We went to the Met, my favorite museum, where Nick had arranged a private tour. (All of the pieces on the tour were even themed, around love and marriage of course). At that point I thought if this day wasn’t leading to a proposal he was an idiot. When we got back to our apartment, there were flowers and candles. And then there was a beautiful ring. I don’t remember exactly what he said other than the really important question, but it was a moment I’ll never forget.

There was hugging and lots of crying on my end. I called my parents in NH and my sister in LA to tell them the news. Then Nick dragged me out the door to make the dinner reservations he’d made at a restaurant in Hoboken. The final surprise was when we walked into the restaurant I was shocked to see that my parents weren’t actually in NH and my sister wasn’t home in LA, they were all there with Nick’s family and our best friends who’d all come to celebrate with us. More crying on my end. It was so special to share that day with the people who love us most. We’ll never forget it!

We’re planning a Labor Day Weekend wedding in my hometown of Bedford, NH.

Photography: Emily Delamater Photography // Red Skirt: Zara // Striped T shirt – H&M // Shell Pink Heels: Banana Rebublic // Nick’s Pants and Suit Jacket: J Crew // Nick’s Shoes: Cole Haan