Taryn and Jackson are ENGAGED! Huntsville Alabama Engagement Session

It's not every day that your only sister finds the man she wants to spend the rest of her life with and says YES to that ring! Taryn and Jackson actually found each other almost ten years ago, when they were freshman and Lipscomb University. They both dated other people, pursued their different majors, and traveled all over during their time in college...all while sharing the same close-knit friend group. They learned to laugh together and even STILL share the same best friends (which I think is so magical and entirely beautiful). 

Obviously Taryn's love journey and story with Jackson is hers/theirs to tell. As an older, observant sister, I would like to share some of my point of view in regards to their relationship. Humor me here.

They started "dating" almost a year ago when Taryn took Jackson to her high school reunion. It was a very last minute decision, but they were hanging out with friends and she needed someone to go with her- why not Jackson? From there, I think they both realized that they made a pretty good pair. My little sister is quiet and private when it comes to matters of the heart. I guess a lot of us are, but Taryn is someone who processes things internally before she is able to share things externally. I find myself becoming more like this, so now I understand her better.

With Jackson things were different from the start. She told all of our family right away that they had started officially "dating". She was happy. She laughed a lot with him over the phone. When she talked about him and their time spent together (Taryn and I live about eight hours apart), you could hear the smile in her voice and fear and anxiety were no where to be found. Maybe we all saw it  coming before she did? Even at Christmas, she would not yet admit that she was "in love". Yeah, they had a lot of fun together, and yeah they were BFF's, and yeah she thought he was super hot and was a great man and they shared the same friends... but it's too soon to call it love. 

Jackson came and visited our family in Alabama over Christmas, and I have never seen my sister happier. I even snapped a few photos of them, so you can see for yourself.. 

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I saw in them something I wanted for myself. I saw connection, happiness, mental stimulation, friendship, openness.. so many things it takes to build a good marriage. They share so many tiny threads that connect their past, their present and their future. While all at the same time, they have each been adults long enough to have sorted out those "growing pains", their own belief systems, and their own ideas of what they want their partnership to look like. In that time, they somehow grew closer together in their understanding of it all. I love, though, that they have been brave enough to take the hard path of aloneness to get to this point.

I have so much respect for my sister and the success she has achieved in her professional career. I have so much respect for the way Taryn hasn't settled for a partner less than everything she wants and needs. I love the way she has listened to her intuition and had the hard conversations she's needed to have with previous partners. Taryn's respect for herself and her ability to stay true to her heart's call in areas of love has inspired me more than she realizes. After being married for seven years myself, I am happy that she will be able to experience that bond with someone too. My only hope is that the dissolving of my own marriage doesn't cause her to fear what lies ahead. I can be a beautiful journey. 

Jackson proposed before they had "planned". When the call came that she was engaged, I was over the moon excited, and totally taken off guard! This is Taryn? This is the little girl I've always known who guards her heart so closely? She's been dating this guy for less than a year! And she knows! She had finally admitted to me that she loved him a few months before. But she's known her love for this man deep in her heart for years now. From my perspective, all the chips have been falling into place for her to say "yes". And she did. 

Could I take the engagement photos?  Could I shoot your wedding? Can I do that? Is that allowed? But how will I be the maid of honor? These are questions we have been asking. How amazing would it be to see your own wedding from your sister's point of view? I mean, I know a lot of the people who will be there, and I will know Taryn's intimate connections with friends and family. How much more meaningful can those photographs be when they are taken by your sister? But, we both want me to be able to exist during that day as well. To stand beside each other with flowers in my hands and not a camera. Is it better to capture or experience? 

We compromised. I'd take the engagement photos.. DUH. We'd all be together in Alabama on July 4th, only a few weeks after the proposal. It was hot. It was bright. We only had 24 hours and not a lot of location options in our small town, but Taryn and Jackson shine in them. It was such a beautiful experience to be behind the camera with them. To ask them both intimate questions about their relationship and see how they interacted together. I got to watch them laugh and argue.. I hadn't seen that yet! And to view it all through my lens.. a dream when you love your sister as much as I do. 

I am equally excited to get a brother-in-law. I have loved having a sister, but damn. I have always thought it would be so amazing to have a brother. And Jackson is one hella catch for a new brother. So, selfishly, this whole situation is a win for me too. 

Hope you enjoy seeing the love on my little sister's face as much as I do. I am excited to see where life takes these two. I'll be snapping photos of them the whole time.