October 1st was a beautiful day to be alive. Whitney had no idea what was about to happen. The weather was perfect and the sun was shining, spreading so much warmth and love throughout the day. Around 5:00 I had the opportunity to photograph one of the sweetest moments in one of my favorite couples’ lives.
I’ve done surprise engagement proposal photoshoots before, but for some reason I was more nervous about this photoshoot than the last two. This time I was by myself. Around 5:30 PM, I gave the boyfriend the signal that it was showtime. Nestled between the shrubs and bushes of Shakespeare park, I stealthily shot a few photos.
It was Whitney’s birthday, so Jared and Whitney spent all day together. To end the day, Jared took her to Shakespeare park and gave her one last gift. They sat by the edge of the water looking through a box of photographs and reminiscing their lives together thus far. During this time, I was so thankful for flexibility and yoga because I had to move in way to make sure she didn’t suspect anything! A few people pass by my hiding spot, and I tried my best to be like a tree branch. I failed and accidentally scared some people. One guy jumped and said, “You playing hide and seek?” Another guy was pacing around the area, making sure I didn’t attack Jared and Whitney. I’m harmless.
So after a few minutes, Jared finally stood up and I thought, “THIS IS IT.” So I adjusted my settings as fast as I could, ready to capture the moment. Jared started to leave the area, and I couldn’t help but think, “WHAT’RE YOU DOING?!” Jared moved closer for me to catch the moment. Boy, was it quick.
I have never been in the presence of such genuine and raw feelings. Their love for each other is so true and so real, and I am thankful for their example. I’m glad I contained myself to capture these precious moments, but then again it does take a lot to make me cry. I knew Jared was relieved that Whitney said yes, and that Whitney was ready for him to pop the question. I think we all were waiting for Jared to propose. Boy, he DONE did it!
After a moment of realization, Whitney turned around and said, “Jinny! What’re you doing here? I thought you were a child!” I am glad that I have a wonderful disguise. The lighting was perfect and I wanted this sweet couple to have photographs to commemorate this day. So this is the beginning of a beautiful, beautiful life together.
After the shoot, I asked the couple a few questions.
1.How did you meet?
J: “We met during one of those awful ‘get to know you’ games where you take off both of your shoes and grab someone else’s shoe. You had to find who the shoe belonged to. We met February 15th, at Scholar’s Day at Faulkner. Then we saw each other at camp that summer and realized that we met before.”
2. First impression?
J: “Whitney was hilarious and cute. After meeting her, I remember really wanting to be her friend. I wanted to be her friend more than anyone else I had ever met. She was a really interesting person.”
W: “I met Jared at Scholar’s Day and I thought he was the most beautiful thing I’d ever seen, so obviously I went to talk to him and weirded him out immediately. We met again at camp and then at Faulkner and I decided I didn’t like him because he was a prep. It’s funny how things work out!”
3. Favorite things about each other?
J: “My favorite things about Whitney is how well she gets along with other people especially those she doesn’t know. She is always super compassionate and likes to do nice things for people without them knowing who did it. She makes me laugh with her quick wit and humor. She never gets boring or old to me. She is a person who always prays. She’s always encouraged me to pray more often and it has blessed my life a lot.”
W: “I like a lot of things about Jared. He is a wonderful spiritual leader and has great leadership skills. He leads with compassion and patience, which most people don’t have much of. He is also the funniest and most genuinely loving person I’ve ever met. I could literally go on forever because Jared is truly one-of-a-kind and there should be more people like him. Also it helps that he’s really cute!”
4. When did you know you wanted to marry Whitney?
J: “The beginning of our relationship was so fun and meaningful. I enjoyed being in the moment so much that I didn’t think about the future often. I fell in love with her quickly. We were friends for 3-4 months before dating. I fell in love with her shortly before we dated. Around the holidays when we were away from each other for the first time, I definitely knew I wanted to marry her.”
When did you know you loved him?
W: “I actually knew I loved Jared before we even told each other our feelings for one another. We were just best friends for a couple of months, and I just found myself wanting to spend every waking moment with him. Life would be terrible without him. I then realized that this was strange, and I definitely not felt like this about anyone else before. I asked someone who knew what love felt like and she confirmed my suspicions. That’s when I found out that I was in love with Jared Kelly.”
When did you realize that he was the one God has prepared for you?
W: “I’m still seeing all of the ways of how God made Jared and me to be together, like our dumb inside jokes, the way he holds me when I cry, and his passion for ministering to others. I never could speak volumes about the time God took to make sure that we could be together. So, there really was no “moment”, but many moments in which I see God’s providence in our lives.”
5. Where do you see yourselves in the future?
J: “I’m a person who likes to live day by day. I don’t think about the future often. Whitney on the other hand thinks about the future a lot, which is one way we are different. But in the not-so-distant future, I do picture us happily married, in a house of our own, and working with a local church that we love. I also think about our occasional adventures and vacations we plan to go on and just the joy of being together on a daily basis.”
W: “Well married, of course!! Jared will be the best youth minister in the world and I will be an occupational therapist! We will live happily with our cat and dog!”
I fell in love with their love for each other. Wishing this couple much love and prayers as they are beginning a new chapter in their lives!
“Therefore what God has joined together, let not man separate.” (Mark 10:9)