jess + joe | verona, il engagement.

I first “met” Jessica and Joe when Joe was in the wedding party of a wedding I shot earlier this year; I use quotations around the word because while I don’t always formally meet the wedding party members, I do spend time observing and capturing them that day, and more time staring at their faces as I eventually edit the images. So when Joe and Jessica reached out and mentioned seeing me work at Brittany and Matt’s wedding in May, I remembered them immediately – they made up part of the fun group I photographed on the party bus, who were singing and having drinks and making my job ultra easy by simply enjoying themselves.

I finally got the chance to formally meet them at their engagement session this fall, and hanging out with them was like hanging out with a couple of good friends – it was easy and fun and something I would do regardless of whether or not there was a camera in my hand. I got the chance to hear about how they first met – how years ago, when they were both studying to become physical therapists at different universities, they went out for drinks with mutual PT friends while in the same city for a conference. As the group chatted, someone suggested how funny it would be if someone in their group were to suddenly fake a proposal in the middle of that random bar. From there, Joe decided to fake propose to Jess, this girl who he hardly knew at the time, in front of their mutual friends and the crowd at the bar. While everyone in their group cracked up over in it that moment, nothing immediately developed between Jess and Joe. A few years later, they found themselves both living in the Chicago area and reconnected, and eventually Joe would find himself “real proposing” to the girl he had fake proposed to years ago. I loved this story, and the way the two of them laughed and chipped in details as they told it to me, and how the world has a way of bringing us back to the people who we belong with most of all. 

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