jessica & andy | chicago sunrise on the beach + heritage bicycles engagement.

Andy and Jessica’s paths crossed for the first time far before they actually started dating – these two met for the first time at the gym, when Andy ended up being Jessica’s personal trainer. While they immediately got along well, they were both seeing other people at the time, and thus considered one another simply as friends in that moment.

As life moved along, relationship statuses went on to change, and eventually Andy would ask Jessica to grab coffee sometime. They made a plan to meet at Heritage Bicycles for what would eventually, unbeknownst to them at the time, become the first of many more dates together. They took me with them this time around for their engagement session, and being able to relive that first date with them was something I hope to never lose sight of and appreciation for as a photographer of people – the honor of being allowed access to these intimate stories, these seemingly minute details that take up a very important place inside these people’s heads and hearts. As we walked along the side of the shop while sipping our drinks between photos, Andy pointed to a spot on the sidewalk in front of us.

“This is where I first saw Jessica walking up, as I was walking up this alley. I remember thinking, ‘wow, she is really punctual’.”

They both laughed and explained how that is not necessarily an accurate representation of Jessica’s general timeliness, which I loved, because these are the things we eventually learn about one another – when we get past the first, then the third, then the seventh date, and we let our guard down and allow ourselves to be imperfect and instead to be perfectly us.

Prior to heading to the coffee shop during their engagement session, we actually began our morning together at sunrise, on the beach. As the sun dipped back and forth beneath the hazy fog that Friday morning, Jessica told me this was something they’d been meaning to do for a long time – that catching a Chicago sunrise from the beach was actually on their list of things they’ve always wanted to do together in this city they both know and love.

I’m telling you, guys – while I’m rarely at a loss for words, one time when it often hits me is when I’m sharing a moment with people that will eventually find a home in those memory banks in their heads and hearts. I am the luckiest.

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