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Joel + Megan :: Engagement Adventure Session

I do love a good secret. I wish I could say I’m a pro at keeping my lips sealed, but I’m not. Thankfully I am half way across the country, so keeping this golden nugget under wraps has been easier, because the excitement has been killing me!

Joel and I have been secretly texting (007 style) scheming how we can surprise Megan (and the world) about their engagement.

I told Megan the finished photos of their adventure session would have to wait since I’m up to my eyeballs on other projects. True story. But for a goodie like this, who wouldn’t want to be in on the fun? I could barely wait for Joel to tell me which night the photos needed to be ready by.

Like any good friend ought to do, I ignored my call from Megan…knowing my excitement would spill Joel’s perfected, magnificent proposal. When she called a second time, I kept our chat vague and resisted every last fiber of excitement ready to burst, “JOEL’S PROPOSING FRIDAY!!!” Instead, I kept myself chill.

Thankfully, I no longer have to hold my breathe because as two days ago, these two lovebirds are ENGAGED! I feel quite sneaky to be in on their little plan. We secretly did a mini engagements session while I was in Minnesota a couple weeks ago. The 101 “proper steps for engagement and marriage” book may gasp at taking engagement pictures before a proposal. But if you know either of these two, their lives rarely go by the book. Besides, where’s the adventure in a rule book? Rules are meant to be broken, right? For this occasion, my vote is, heck yes!

The night was a whirlwind of romance as these two souls laughed, played and whispered their hearts to each other. Be jealous y’all because I got to be a part of their date night adventure.

Our adventure session started with getting the best burgers in lake country: Maple Beach Grill

Vintage cooler. Check.

Classic Sprecher Root Beer? Check.

Hawaiian shirt? Check

One of the things I love about my adventure sessions is I get to personalize each shoot around the uniqueness of the couple. Since Megan is a writer, I know words mean a great deal to her. One of their planned “activities” was to write what they most love about the other person and then read them to one another.

Along with a love letter to his soon to be fiance, Joel made us laugh with the little man scribbled on the back.

Megan and I go waaay back to our college days. She is what would be considered a “best friend” and one of the closest things to a sister. When together, we are quite a sight. Energy and immediate excitement sparks, uncontrollable laughter and many wild, somewhat risky adventures are bound to happen. She was my partner-in-crime to the Philippines this past spring and my  travel buddy while recently moving to Colorado Springs. This kindred spirit has been a source of love and encouragement to my life and I couldn’t imagine what these past years would have been without her friendship.

Megan is marrying an incredible man, Joel. His calm, yet steady strength seems to balance her outgoing social craziness of which all who know Megan, love her for. Joel is giving, kind, humble, solid, genuine, dedicated, compassionate and the list goes on. His quiet heart of gold is loud in his actions and love for Megan and others. There are times where I’d find Megan googly-eyed over her man standing across the room while chatting with friends. Lost from the conversation, I tried to bring her back, “Megan!” She’d confess with a giddy smile and wrinkled nose, “What? I can’t help it.”

Joel and Megan spend much of their weekends on the lake so it was only fitting we took out their Mali for a spin.

The night’s winning shot.

Thanks Jared (Joel’s little bro) for the ride!

A water fight was bound to happen.:)

Megan fought well, but I think Joel took the gold.

Do you spot the little photobomb?

Next up: Lighting laterns.

I had one last activity. Without telling the other person, they had to write how many children they would want if culture, money or circumstances wasn’t hindering their decision. Megan later told me that she always told Joel a smaller number so this would surprise him once he sees this.

Would you like to hear the engagement story? I knew you would.

Joel and Megan started Friday evening by heading out to a fancy restaurant in northwestern Minnesota for a romantic dinner. They then headed back to his family’s nearby cabin for a typical walk in the woods before “having to part ways” for the night – this was all untrue of course, but for the sake of a good old fashioned surprise! Megan’s room-mates and Joel’s mother had decorated a beautiful tree along the path that wound in the woods, with hanging balloons, ribbons, complete with a bench, lantern & rose petals. Joel pulled out the ring he designed for Megan. She said yes! They may have kissed at that moment, then walked back to the cabin hand in hand. To Megan’s delight Joel had plotted with one of her room-mates to have 20 of Megan’s closest friends waiting on the beach with fireworks and a campfire. Even though I wasn’t there in person, I was able to join in on the excited squeals of their arrival through FaceTiming one of her friends. Can you say the best after party ever!!!

Love you both dearly and thrilled to be a part of your lives.

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July 28, 2014 - 10:10 pm

abby - love these! i congratulations, Megan and Joel!!

August 19, 2014 - 1:58 am

Kaela O. (and Peter) - Ahh, these are absolutely adorable!!! I LOVED looking at these photos and reading through this blog. Great photos, Tanya! And congrats to Joel and Megan!!! SO excited for you guys!!!

October 23, 2014 - 8:40 am

Chelsea - Hi! I loved this post so much! I love Megan, and I am also a photographer, so this was sooo fun for me to look at, just wanted to let you know. You did a marvelous job.

October 23, 2014 - 3:13 pm

Tanya - You are a doll Chelsea! Megan is s stunner so it makes me love looking at these too. :) Thank you for your encouragement!

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