A Country Virginia Engagement: Sara + Dan

It was 2010 during an after-work visit to Cheeseburger In Paradise, a local pub, for happy hour when Sara and Dan’s fate was sealed.  After several Landshark Lagers and a spontaneous, co-ed trip to the salon for pedicures, Sara and Dan knew their lives would never be the same.  And neither would Dan’s feet.  This was his first pedicure, but Dan admits that the experience was life-changing.  And while this evening would not last forever, Dan was determined not to let his relationship with Sara come to such an abrupt end.  Unbeknownst to Sara, Dan asked one of her friends for her phone number.  It appears that Dan had some plans up his sleeve….

Sara had enjoyed herself that evening, and a lot of laughter was had.  Evidently, one of Dan’s friends ended the evening with pink toenails, and let’s be honest…who isn’t going to laugh that that?!?  Sara found Dan to be a tad arrogant at first, possibly misreading his unshakable confidence.  But lucky for Dan, Sara found him insanely charming.  In the end, that charm is what won Sara over.  

From then on, Sara and Dan lived life together.  They laughed and loved, planning for their future.  Together.

Fast forward to Christmas Day, 2012.  Sara and Dan were home celebrating Christmas together before they ventured out to visit family.  Every Christmas since they were together, they embraced the tradition of the Christmas Pickle.  This tradition can be traced back to Germany, and each year a pickle-shaped ornament is hidden on a Christmas Tree.  The lucky person to find it is destined to receive good fortune in the upcoming year.  Just prior to leaving home that day, Dan asked Sara to find the pickle ornament that was hidden on their tree.  Sara was happy to oblige.  Who doesn’t want good fortune, right?  Well, after finding the Christmas Pickle, Dan instructed Sara to close her eyes and hold out her hands.  She felt him place a wooden object in her hands.  She opened her eyes to find a picture frame.  In it was a piece of paper displaying some of their favorite lyrics.  The print in bold stated, “A whisper away from changing everything.”  Sara was immediately impressed with Dan’s thoughtfulness and was thrilled to receive such a sweet gift.  She turned and placed the frame on the table so they could leave, but when she turned back around, Dan was kneeling.  His hand was extended, and he was holding the most beautiful diamond ring Sara had ever seen.  Dan, on bended knee, asked for Sara’s hand in marriage, and once Sara was able to speak, she (of course) excitedly exclaimed, “YES!”  Dan, being the smooth man that he is, then keyed the song from which he had taken the lyrics for the frame.  And Sara and Dan danced.  This was the first day of the rest of their lives, and they savored every.  single.  moment.

Dan equates their love to a Starbucks Caramel Macchiato.  He is high-octane, and she is super sweet. I couldn’t agree more.  Dan is confident, energetic, and insanely kind-hearted.  Sara is genuine, smart, and gorgeous.   It is completely clear that these two have a solid, true love, and I couldn’t be more lucky to have been a part of their special moment.

Sara, Dan, and Sara’s parents met me in Burkeville, Virginia this past Sunday.  From there, we drove about 40 more minutes to a family farm.  If I knew where I even was, I’d totally tell you.  I just followed their white van, and all I know after that is we ended up in one of the most incredibly beautiful locations I have ever seen.  No joke.  The farm was spectacular, and these images in no way do it justice. We had a total blast, and I am super pleased with the end result!

Sara and Dan, thank you! Thank you!  Thank you!  I had sooo much fun with you this weekend, and I so appreciate your warmth and trust.  Your family was amazing, and I have no doubt that the other folks in your life are just as fabulous.  I’m cannot wait for your November wedding at the Mill at Fine Creek!  I hope you enjoy your engagement photos and the story they tell.  This is your love story, and I’m blessed to be a part of it.  -M xoxo


At one point, Dan suggested they go into the barn and look out that top window.  Plans changed pretty quickly when he started opening the barn door and realized something was alive inside.  Now that I think about it, we never actually found out what it was.  BUT, I’m here to tell the story, so that is the important thing, isn’t it?


I need to just tell you that Sara and Dan totally rocked this session.  I tend to stumble over my directions sometimes while shooting.  You’d think as a mother, I’d be extra good at multi-tasking, but shooting and talking is NOT my strong point.  At any rate, it didn’t matter.  These two just got it. 



I am in love with how much they are in love.


This is one of my favs…



What a beautiful smile, Sara!



I asked Dan what his first impression of Sara was.  This was his response: “Dayum, baby dayum, baby dayum.”  Can’t you see why?


Here, we were giving Dan his “15 minutes of fame.”  Often, we use these guys as accessories to highlight their bride-to-be, but it wouldn’t be right if we didn’t give them a time to shine as well.  This was one of Dan’s.  He loved every minute.


So, this house is very old and very unique.  I wish I could tell you about it the way that it deserves, but I can’t.  All I know is that those walls are something special.  And if you want more information, we can call Sara’s dad.  He knows EVERYTHING about this place, and I was in awe of all the information he was able to share.  He also has a knack for location scouting, so don’t be surprised if he’s on my payroll one day…


I was a little concerned about the lack of light in this house, but the window light was perfect.  Natural light is my fav.


So in love…


Another favorite.  It exudes sweetness.


I joked around with Dan, calling him GQ.  But get a load of Sara.  She’s one hot chick.


See what I mean?  Gah!

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It’s probably a good thing I’d never be able to find my way back to this place.  I’d make it my weekend getaway, haven, run-away from life spot.  Every. weekend.


I love how natural these next several images look.  The camera loves them.

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This is another building on the property.  I could sit on this porch and listen to the crickets anytime.


How fabulous is this quilt?!?  I am always excited when clients bring props!  It shows their personality and adds a personal touch to the shoot.  This worked out perfectly.


Sara and Dan work together at a military supply company, and they love this country.  Dan’s grandfather was a soldier and this flag belonged to him.  The couple wanted to honor his grandfather during the session somehow, and this is what we came up with.  Again, another perfect idea.


As the sun began to set, I asked Sara and Dan to do a little walking, and I shot them as they did so.  Beautiful couple. Beautiful backdrop.  I have the best job.  EVER.


Gorge.  Plain and simple.  All of these.

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To view more of Sara and Dan’s Country Virginia Engagement, please view a slideshow and visit their client site!

Happy Monday, friends!

M xoxo


3 thoughts on “A Country Virginia Engagement: Sara + Dan

  1. Pingback: A Mill At Fine Creek Wedding: Sara + Dan | Michelle Renee Photography Blog

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