Katie and Luke

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How We Met

Luke and I met in landscape architecture school at the University of Georgia. I was dating someone else at the time, but we were close friends. Late nights working on projects together in the studio definitely brought us closer, and would often end in a celebratory beer once the work was done at our favorite bar downtown. I was constantly setting him up with my favorite friends, because I couldn’t believe he was single and wanted him to be with someone incredible. I look back now and realize the whole time I was setting him up, I was wondering what he’d ever think about me.

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Fast forward a year or so, and my relationship that I thought was forever disintegrated. Luke was right there to help me through it, and I leaned on him throughout a super confusing time in my life. We quickly realized friendship just wasn’t all that was meant for us, and we’ve since graduated and started navigating adulthood together. He’s always been exactly who I needed.

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How They Asked

We’ve been living together in Atlanta with our kitty girl, Duck, for the past six months or so. In that time, I’ve started a small photography side hustle, and in an effort to grow my business, my parents gifted me a mentor session with one of my favorite local photographers for Christmas. She set up a styled elopement shoot for March 6th, and I got to pick my dream location – Preacher’s Rock, on the Appalachian Trail, near Dahlonega. I knew a proposal was coming, but on the day of the shoot, I had two million other things on my mind (i.e. don’t trip and fall down the trail with your camera in your hand, Katie!) Emily, the photographer I hired, reached out in the days leading up to the shoot that she’d happily drive both of us to the trailhead (so nice and so above and beyond) and that she wanted to snag some branding photos for me right before sunset once we were done photographing our model couple (also so nice and so above and beyond!) I remember telling Luke how kind I thought it was.

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On the day of the shoot, Emily and I talked about Luke on pretty much the whole two-hour drive to the trailhead. She completely kept her cool, and I suspected NOTHING. We moved up the trail and towards the overlook, which was our main planned location. I was completely in my element and had the best experience, and I mentioned several times being excited to get home and tell Luke all about it! Emily let me know it was time for my branding photos (which highlighted how truly awkward I am in front of a camera), and after a few minutes, she told me to stand up and turn around.

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Luke was approximately 6 inches from my face. He asked if I knew what was about to happen, and I couldn’t even tell you if I answered – I was in complete and utter shock! He’d always said he wanted to surprise me, but I wrote off even the possibility of that since we live together, and I’m known to be quite the detective about this sort of thing. But surprise isn’t strong enough for how it felt to see him right in front of me, down on one knee, telling me the sweetest things anyone ever has in my life. I said yes 15 times so that he’d know how much I meant it! We got to hike back down the mountain during the most beautiful sunset and drive home together while calling our friends and family. It was magic – I’ll never be over it.

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Special Thanks

Emily Battles Gillespie
 | Photographer