Joe + Ali - The Covenant Sessions - Saint Louis

Joe and Ali, St. Louis Missouri Covenant Sessions

Returning to St. Louis is always an interesting experience for me. I was part of a suburban middle class family, and we basically went from home to school to church to Target and back. We seemed to avoid going to the city center other than for hockey or baseball games. On occasion we would head down to see the Arch, pack ourselves into a tiny pod and slowly make our way to the top. From the top of the arch you can see for miles in all directions, but the history, culture, and beauty of the city were essentially lost on me. St. Louis has a few serious, very real issues, but the city is thriving, especially now, more than I ever realized.

Joe + Ali have been dear, dear friends of ours for about as long as we can remember. The three of us were part of the same church youth group, and from the moment Mindy and I met, she and Ali started forming a bond that has grown stronger over the years. One of our favorite things about visiting Joe + Ali is that we know, not matter what, they're going to lead us to an amazing restaurant. Usually these restaurants are in parts of the city that I never saw growing up, like Rooster in South Grand, or Dressel's Public House in the Central West End. The Shaved Duck in Tower Grove, or Baily's Range downtown. Seriously, if you're a foodie, St. Louis should be on your list.

Coincidentally, today marks their nine year anniversary. In those nine years, they've been through a lot, and it's been amazing to watch their relationship flourish despite some financial hardships, losing jobs, a number of miscarriages and car accidents, and starting a business. They have never lost sight of their love for each other, and even after having four beautiful children, I've seen first hand the way they look at each other. That look may be a little more tired, and a whole lot wiser, but it's not entirely different from the way they looked at each other in high school. They have always remained faithful to one another and to Jesus. Ali has served on the staff of their church, and Joe is a brilliant worship leader. Their marriage has been an encouragement and a blessing to us for years, and we're so excited to share these images.

Here's to you, Joe + Ali, on your anniversary! We pray that God will continue to strengthen your relationship and instill an even more intense desire to follow Him.

Megan + Paul // Just For Fun.

We're pretty excited about the session (so much so that we blogged it out of order). This isn't an engagement session, per se. Let's go back probably six months… Mindy and I were sitting in Dorothy Lane Market (a fancy local grocery store with an awesome dining area and great food), minding our own business. Sort of… we noticed this couple down at the other end of the cafe. They were über stylish, they looked like they were in love, and they looked like they were saying goodbye. We watched as they embraced, and watched him leave, hop in his car, and take off. She sat there, silent, pretending to read. Maybe even crying a little bit. We joked about how we figured they were from out of town. People don't dress that well to go to the grocery here in Ohio. As we cleaned up our lunch and headed out to our car, we had a mini conversation about something our friend Andria Lindquist talked about earlier that week. She talked about her own boldness and how she will approach random people and ask them to take their photos. We said, "man, we should totally just ask them if they'll model for us…" as we started the car and began to drive away. At that point Mindy stopped me, and said, "Wait. Screw it, I'm going in there and asking. Do we have a business card?" To which I responded they way I usually do when I get that question. "Umm… not on us. But we have this napkin and a pen."

I waited in the car while Mindy gathered up the courage to walk in and talk to Megan. She told her about how we noticed them for their fashion sense, and then saw a little bit of their story unfold in front of us as they said goodbye. She asked Megan a little bit about their relationship, and if they would be interested in spending some time in front of our cameras, because we felt like they might be a good fit. Turns out they were engaged, but also graduate students working through a long distance relationship. And we were right, although Megan grew up here in Dayton, she is originally from England, and Paul is from Nashville. "That explains a lot," we thought.

Megan was actually surprisingly warm to the idea of doing photos with us, but with all of their traveling and studying, it was a crapshoot at best. Mindy thanked her, handed her the napkin (apologized for how unprofessional we are when it comes to business cards), and we went on our way. It felt good to step up and ask, even if we'd never hear from them again. We had done something new, something we had never done before.

Fast forward a number of months. At this point we had nearly forgotten about the whole thing. Obviously we would never hear from them, so we moved on. Then we got a surprise Facebook message from Megan, asking if we were still up for it. They were going to be in town visiting family, and her and Paul were interested in having their photos taken. Wow! It worked? We were able to coordinate a day that worked, we got the absolute perfect evening, and this is what happened.

Casie + Darrell // Lakeside Sunset Engagement // Dayton Ohio

The first engagement session of spring is always epic. We get all excited about the sun and the warmer weather, and it really inspires us to push ourselves creatively. Casie + Darrell were obviously inspired too. These guys are SO fun, and we're definitely looking forward to their wedding next weekend!