Lauren and Josh first met while they were both on the cheerleading team at Marquette University, so when Lauren reached out and suggested the idea of meeting in Milwaukee for their engagement session to revisit their old stomping grounds, I was all for it. We had emailed back and forth in the process of planning for their session, but it was our first time officially meeting in person when I met them at a Starbucks on campus that afternoon. I immediately felt their warmth and friendliness as we started chatting, which only increased as we moved into roaming around campus together while I snapped photos. They held hands and pointed out the buildings to me where they had spent time while they were at Marquette – the halls their classes were in, the old chapel that came stone by stone from France, the building where their cheerleading practices had taken place. At one point early in the session Josh said, with absolute sincerity, “I’m having so much fun already”, and I laughed and couldn’t have agreed more.
Spending time with these two was like hanging out with one of your favorite sets of couple friends – there’s an ease and a lightness to their relationship, which I would guess comes partially from the fact that they’ve been long distance ever since they graduated from MU, so they know a thing or two about being flexible and rolling with whatever opportunities and moments they’re given, even if it’s simply an NCIS watching date over FaceTime. But there is now light at the end of their long distance tunnel — Lauren recently finished her grad program to become a Physician Assistant, and Josh found out he’ll be flying the F22 for the Air Force, so they’ll be moving to Florida together, and for the first time in 2.5 years, they’ll know what it’s like to be near each other once again.
There’s something so cool about being in on the excitement with couples when they’re in the midst of these big life changes (Lauren had literally graduated the day before their engagement session, so they made the drive up to Milwaukee from Central Illinois later that evening). I feel like I get to know couples when they’re in the midst of this big, wonderful whirlwind; they’re figuring out next steps together, and likely starting to talk about bigger, messier things, like finances and the future and wedding plans and finding a home. It’s exciting and wonderful and a little scary and a lot like jumping off into the big unknown, and sometimes engagement sessions feel like a bit of a celebration of that to me – like, “hey this is wild and sometimes stressful and crazy, but look at us freaking doing it, and I still can’t believe I get to do all of this with a person like you.”