As the number of couples I’ve photographed increases, the number of “how we fell in love” stories I’ve heard has also, obviously, grown. I’ve heard some amazing stories—funny, moving, even scandalous—but Deanna and LeShawn (Shawn to most) have a story that can only be described as fated.
These two fell in love in high school. Deanna got pregnant and had a baby girl. They were both so young…things happened, things fell apart, they split up. They each wound up finding different partners, marrying, having families and raising children. And then, years later, they both found themselves single again. They had never forgotten each other, never fully gotten over their young love. They reconnected. Found the flame still alive. And decided to give it another go. For real this time. Two adults, with a large blended family, making a very adult choice. Let’s not let this slip away again.
Hearing them tell this story together on the phone honestly moved me to tears. It was the kind of story you read about in novels, see in sweeping movies…and here this couple was—normal, struggling, overworked and overwhelmed like the rest of us—doing this fairy tale thing in the real world.
They were also incredibly funny and easy to talk to on the phone. Deanna is the sarcastic one, the one who keeps everyone in check. Shawn is there for the love—to make everyone laugh, feel special, and to make sure things don’t get too serious. They are smitten with each other, which is really special to hear (and see) in people who have a complicated, grown-up story and aren’t twenty-two.
We met at Black Rock State Park in Connecticut. Deanna got out of the car and immediately admitted that she was freaking out about the shoot. (Have I mentioned how scared people get at the thought of being photographed? You’re not alone!!). I loved her candor, her honesty about it all. I loved their mutual warmth and friendliness with me right off the bat. They barely knew me but were treating me like family, and trusting me with this very special moment in their lives. I reminded Deanna that I would not let her fail at this, and that all she had to do was listen to me and hang out with Shawn. She agreed, and off we went.
Shawn was (not surprisingly) a ham. He wasn’t scared of the camera, and his penchant for cracking Deanna up made our session fly by. They are so clearly made for each other. There is such familiarity between them, but there’s that spark too. There’s also this kind of old-soul gratitude that comes off them in waves when they are in each other’s arms. It says, We know this might not have happened. It says, We are lucky to have found this again.
Between jokes, sass, and SO much laughter, it was easy to find our way to tender moments. They went there with me. It was beautiful.
I am beyond grateful to be photographing their wedding. I can’t wait to meet the rest of their family and see them all celebrate a relationship that has SERIOUSLY been a. long. time. coming.