About two years ago, I made the decision to not take on any more weddings and focus more on families, babies, and expecting couples, so it's been a good while since I've done an engagement session! I was a bit nervous to dip my toes back in on this "side," but honestly, I can't imagine a sweeter, more genuine couple to do it with.
There's a lot more to this story than that, though, as my nerves weren't simply from a shooting standpoint. When I met Amanda for the first time, I remember how I fumbled for words when the conversation eventually came back around to her two boys, how I did my best to tiptoe around the reason why I was the one she had initially reached out to.
You see, our connection happened to be through my Dad. Back in January, he served as the officiant at their youngest son's funeral. Ryan passed away from SIDS at only 6 months old. I can still clearly remember the text my dad sent to me that day- how he asked me to keep them (and him) in my thoughts, and how he had to retreat to his office to gain his composure before the funeral started. Over the course of those days and weeks, they really connected with my Dad, and later asked him if he would be willing to be the officiant at their wedding. When Amanda mentioned that they didn't even know where to begin looking for a photographer, my dad gave her my info.
After an exchange of texts, Amanda and I met on a chilly, rainy morning in March in what felt like a never-ending winter. Then- as is always the case- I blinked, and it was May. (And in true RVA style, it was 98% humidity on the day of our engagement session). We trekked through Maymont and I watched them in between snaps- saw the way they looked at each other, the genuine happiness. They talked about how ready they were for their date night after our session, and how excited they were that all of the little details for their wedding day were finally coming together. It's been such a long road to get here for these two. They've sustained a loss that's incomprehensible. And as I drove home that evening, I couldn't help but think that not all that long ago, there was a moment or two (probably many more) when they thought they wouldn't breathe again, smile again, make plans again. Because how do you keep going after something like that? What does that even look like?
Well, I got a tiny glimpse when I uploaded their images that evening.
And this weekend, I'll get another one as we celebrate the union of these two beautiful souls who are so very clearly meant to be together. Dan and Amanda, I couldn't be happier for you all. I can't wait for this Saturday!