When I was a little girl – like newborn little – my sister heard me cry. Her mothering and nurturing heart couldn’t take it. At less than 2 years old, she came to my “rescue”, picked me up (by the neck) and took me to our nervous and surprised yet somehow calm mother. A little bit older (maybe 4), Rachel carried around a doll named Bridgett who was twice her size. I remember trying to fit into Bridgett’s clothes! She was always jumping at the chance to babysit when she got old enough, and then – now with my kids – she mothers them with such a kind and willing heart, always willing to play, and always willing to be thoughtful around them. All this to say, my sister, Rachel, has always dreamt of marriage, children and the American Dream. She works hard, loves intensely and cares genuinely. There’s not a person on this earth more loyal than her, and it wrecks me in the best way to see her live out true happiness. Josh brought that to her life. He adores her, she him and they each other. I’m not sure how I’ll get through giving a toast at her wedding without sobbing, but for now I’m overflowing with the love of God who perfectly matched my Seester with her absolute soulmate!! Keep reading to find out more about how we got to Josh + Rachel’s Engagement Session in Santa Rosa, CA!!
Rachel and Josh officially met at our mutual friends’ wedding – Casey + Aaron – in July of 2013 where we were all in the bridal party together, and then in October of 2018, Rachels housemate, Joy, went to a wedding of a mutual friend and saw Josh there. Suddenly Joy had this crazy idea to play match-maker and introduce Rachel to Josh, Josh to Rachel! November 28th, 2018, Rachel and Josh went on their first date…
Their first date was… hmm… is there a gracious way to put this? It was a train wreck! (I love you, Josh, by the way!) Josh had an amazing restaurant in mind, so he took Rachel and picked her up… he may have been late as I recall. It was pouring down rain and through the cats and dogs, they finally made it to the restaurant – but wait. Josh passed it, thinking parking was in a different spot. They ended up having to walk a very long way in the rain to get to the restaurant and were completely soaked. Hold on. This my friends is truth… the restaurant was CLOSED that day!! So they had to walk all the way back to the car in the heavy rain and find another place. They ended up landing somewhere and eating/drinking and having a good time, but of course Josh had to endure Rachel’s nonstop teasing of the previous events. He still hasn’t let that down.
The proposal had been planned for a couple months (since June of 2019). Josh contacted me (Hannah) to find out when I was free to fly out, so we booked the weekend of August 24th, 2019. We worked as a family to come up with a plan to lead Rachel away from the truth, attempting to keep this a big surprise!! Our sister-in-law, Christina, came up with a. master plan. The “story” was that I got hired to shoot a wedding in Santa Rosa based off Christina’s referral, and I would stay with them while in town… Rachel, Josh and my parents would be invited to come hang out all weekend and drive down from Redding, CA to see their Texas girl! =) Rachel is a teacher, so getting her to travel at the beginning of the school year would be hard. BUT we pulled it off!!! Last minute, Josh told Rachel he couldn’t make it. She was a little upset and may have told him he shouldn’t even try to come! lol. He sent her a picture of one of the chef’s fingers that had been cut off so he clearly had to stay to run the kitchen. (Yes, another lie) BUT, he said he’d be there at 4 and attend our parent’s anniversary dinner. Of course, he meant 4AM!! That’s right! Josh showed up in a suit and tie, a chef apron and flowers in hand to wake Rachel up in enough time to get ready for their big day ahead! She was sleepy, confused and then really woke up, walked to the restroom, looked back at me and pointed, saying “Did you really have a wedding yesterday?” Oh, we got her so good!!
Josh cooked her breakfast tacos and whisked her off to go on a hot air balloon ride where he would propose 2,000 feet above sea level, after reading an incredibly romantic and comedic poem. The balloon driver was videoing and the whole thing went smoothly (with a few tears and the driver’s finger blocking some of the video 🤷♀️) Then this very tall man in a very tiny space somehow managed to get on one knee, present the ring, and say, “Rachel, may I have the honor (Insert very loud balloon air sound here)”. Rachel kissed him without hearing a WORD he said and then he started the proposal all over again, this time uninterrupted. LOL. Of course, she said YES!!!!!!!!!
Their engagement session was later that evening at Crane Creek Regional Park, and we had an absolute BALL!!!! I can’t believe I had the unforgettable honor of photographing this dynamic couple on their journey to marriage! To Josh + Rachel!!! You’re getting MARRIED!!!!!!
THE RING: Verragio from Heller Jewelers
RACHEL’S DRESS: Amazon Fashion
JOSH’S SUIT: Men’s Warehouse