It’s Calli + Julian’s ten year anniversary today which makes this the perfect time for me to share a few of their engagement photos from our trip to Disney World. These two humans are so great to be around. They are adventurous and kind hearted, and we are so happy to call them friends. Their love for each other is so easy to see and we were lucky enough to be able to photograph them in a place that means so much to them. We drank sugar cane mojitos and avocado margaritas and got to know the two of them and their relationship a little more over the trip. Calli and Julian are two of a kind, and they sent us over the stories of their engagement.
“Julian and I started dating a million years ago when I was 17 and he was 18. It sounds crazy, but I knew within like a month that he was the person I wanted to spend my life with. We’ve both changed so much since we first got together a decade ago (a whole decade?!?!!), but fortunately we’ve only grown closer with every passing year. I guess because I never doubted that we’d eventually get married, I didn’t feel the need to rush into an engagement while I was still in school (and I was also living in Memphis while Julian was in Lafayette). In fact, I told Julian that I’d kind of be mad at him if he proposed before I was finished with school! I mean, I would’ve said yes, but I didn’t want to be stressed about homework while trying to plan a wedding! Anyway, I finally finished school last May, so we decided to plan a trip to celebrate my graduation. Our trip kept getting pushed back, but finally in October 2017 we were able to go to California for a few days. I was really excited about the trip, but also very anxious because I really hate flying. In the days leading up to the trip, the flight was all I could think about. I was so consumed with my own anxiety that I didn’t realize that Julian was nervous about something, too!
The flight ended up being great, and we landed in LA early on a Thursday morning. We rented a car and drove out to Joshua Tree National Park for some hiking. We love national parks, and we had never been to Joshua Tree so I was super excited! As we were hiking, Julian climbed up on a rock and hopped over to the other side, off of the main trail. I followed him and we looked around a bit, then I asked him if he wanted to take a picture together on my GoPro. He said he did, but he hates selfies, so he asked if I could set it up on a rock or something. I set up the GoPro to continue taking pictures every 2 seconds, and walked over to him thinking we were just going to take a normal picture together. Then, he started rambling on and on and I was thinking to myself “why the heck is he talking so much? I need to go grab my GoPro, it’s wasting battery taking all these pictures” and then, he reached into his backpack and grabbed a tiny box. I finally realized what was happening, and I can’t even remember exactly what he said, I just remember that amidst my screaming, he got down on one knee and opened the box to reveal the most beautiful ring I’ve ever seen! I was completely shocked! I am like actually kind of still in shock about how perfect everything was! I honestly don’t know how he and my family kept that secret from me, because he’d been working on my ring for over 6 months! He actually designed it using some of the diamonds from my grandmother’s engagement ring and wedding band, so he and my parents had been scheming behind my back for quite a while. But anyway, we got to spend the rest of the trip celebrating our engagement, which was wonderful! I just feel so incredibly lucky for the time I’ve already spent with Julian, and I can’t wait to spend the rest of our days as husband & wife.”
“In some ways it feels like a lifetime has passed since I’ve met Calli, we’ve experienced so much together that it’s hard to believe that it’s only been ten years. In other ways, it feels as though I just met her; she surprises me and impresses me in new ways all the time with her intelligence and beauty. So it wasn’t so much a question of if I was going to propose or when (she gave me strict instructions to do it sometime after she finished school), but how to propose. How to go about doing it without her knowing about it while still making sure it was memorable enough. And after months of planning and sneaking and scheming and countless trip destination changes, Joshua Tree kind of just fell in front of us, whatever it was, be it divine intervention or just plain luck, it worked out beautifully. I used Calli’s fear of flying, knowing that she’d be consumed by the fact that we had to fly across the country, to conceal my own nerves in the days leading up to the trip. I was super worried that TSA was going to decide to go through my bags and take everything out and thus blow the lid off of the entire operation. Luckily, Calli required a bit of medical courage to get through the flight, so I would have probably been fine, she was busy talking to random old ladies about her cats anyway. Once we got to Joshua Tree, I lead us off the path and away from any other hikers. I have no idea what I said or how long I rambled on for – but apparently I did manage to ask her to marry me somewhere in that mess of nerves and words. From that point, we promptly spent the rest of the trip celebrating . I don’t know what magic words I used to convince Calli to agree to marry me, or how I came up with them, but there is one thing I know: of all of the beautiful things in all of that beautiful park, Calli standing there, smiling up at me with that ring on her finger was the most beautiful.”
Here are a few of our favorite photos from their engagement session: