Jessica + Rachael | Roanoke Explore Park Engagement Session

Jessica + Rachael | Roanoke Explore Park Engagement Session

What a beautiful setting to photograph such a beautiful couple!

I was looking forward to Jessica and Rachael’s session since I first met them for their wedding consultation. Jessica and Rachael chose the Explore Park in Roanoke for their engagement session. It was such a beautiful day and the leaves were just beginning to change color. We walked around the park enjoying the crisp air and the beautiful scenery!

How They Met

Rachael told me the story of how they met: “Jessica and I grew up 209 miles apart, but it took me moving nearly 1,200 miles away for our paths to cross. In the early spring of 2015, I was living in Muncie, Indiana and completing my graduate work at Ball State University. With graduation approaching, I made plans to return to my home state of Florida to begin my career in a city where I would know nobody. I joined a meet-up site in hopes of finding some potential opportunities for friends when I returned about 8 weeks later. A few weeks passed, and I saw the infamous red notification from the site pop-up on my phone. Jessica had sent me a message. I spent the next 2 weeks ignoring her message, thinking we had nothing in common. Finally, I decided to respond back, and we spent the next few weeks getting to know each other’s hobbies and interests with the goal of eventually building a friendship. I returned to the Jacksonville area in May of 2015, but Jessica still lived 3 hours south. We agreed to drive and meet in the middle for lunch. The two of us instantly hit it off and spent the next several weekends driving back and forth or meeting in the middle to spend time together. Eventually, new jobs for both of us brought us a little closer together, and our love story began. The rest, as they say, is history.” What a perfect story that is!

The Proposal

I asked who popped the question and how, and Rachael went on to tell me a wonderful story. “I asked Jessica to marry me on March 3, 2018. Jessica and I were preparing to return to Florida for a trip and would begin making the drive on March 4th. She thought the trip’s primary purpose was to meet my newest niece and spend some time relaxing on the beach. I also told her I’d like to go back and visit some of the sites from our earliest dates while we were back home. What Jessica didn’t realize was that we were also returning home so we could celebrate our engagement with family and friends. I talked her into going on a hike with me to the waterfall at Roaring Run the day before we left town. This was the first hike Jessica and I embarked on when we first moved to the state, so it held some significance for us. We brought along two friends who were in on my plan; one was carrying a backpack with the ring in tow, and the other had a camera ready. When we reached the top of the trail and were looking at the waterfall, I quickly got the ring out of the backpack while our photographer/good friend distracted her. I then took Jessica’s hand and got down on one knee and asked her to marry me. She said yes!”

The Pair

Jessica and Rachael enjoy many activities together. Some of their favorites include camping, Kayaking, and hiking. They love soccer and are hug Orlando Pride and USA soccer fans. They go to as many pro soccer games as they can, even if it means lots of traveling. They also enjoy live music, traveling, and cooking.

Now that they are engaged, they are looking forward to many things. The first thing they told me when I asked what they were excited most about was the honeymoon! Of course they are also excited about “traveling together, building our life together, and starting a family. Having a partner for our kitchen dance parties forever is a plus, too!” That’s awesome!

Jessica described for me what she loves about Rachael. She said, “I love Rachael’s passion and drive to accomplish anything she sets her mind to. Within the first couple months of dating, she said to me with such confidence, “I’m going to marry you one day.” And, look where we are today! I love that she cares deeply about people and strives to give back to others. She’s a country girl at heart who really enjoys simplicity. Her eyes and smile can light up a room, and I look forward to having my life brightened every day! While I like to think we’re equally funny, she definitely knows just what to say to get a laugh out of me. In fact, it’s not uncommon for my stomach to hurt from laughing so hard. She loves deeply and unconditionally and is genuinely my best friend and other half.

Rachael described Jessica to me as well. She said, “I love that Jessica is the most positive person I know; I can count on one hand the number of times I’ve seen her down. She is so supportive and always has an encouraging word. She is undoubtedly my biggest fan and best advocate. Jess consistently asks me about my day and never fails to remember the details. Jessica embodies kindness and warmth and all that is good in the world; she inspires me to live boldly and chase adventure.”

Isn’t their love for each other just perfect?? Makes my heart smile for sure!!! Okay! Enough words!

More Photos!!!

Jessica + Rachael | Roanoke Explore Park Engagement Session