From a small town outside of Houston, to the eccentric streets of Austin, to the sun drenched coastline of Malibu… I was on my own adventure and completely comfortable traveling the road solo. Little did I think a former military officer (I swore I’d never date one) with a knack for public policy (I’m more of a pop culture kind’a gal) soon would join me on this journey. Then again, law school has led many to make significantly stranger decisions.
Pepperdine University in scenic beach-town California–beautiful sunsets, celebrities at Starbucks, surfers ditching work–that’s where we met. It didn’t take long for Landon and I to hit it off, but I’ll spare you the details because–well–law school isn’t that exciting! It comes down to this, within six months his persistence broke down my unconvincing attempt to play it cool. After that it wasn’t unusual to find us studying at a bookstore by day and sharing a beer by night. We started “officially” dating the fall of our second year.
Jump two and a half years–the story continues with an unexpected cross-country move to our nation’s capital. Both of us landed post-school jobs in Washington, D.C. and we couldn’t be happier! However, since we were now constantly together, Landon had convinced me he had to fly back to California to buy an engagement ring, and I had convinced myself that he still needed to ask my parent’s permission to marry me (we’re traditional like that). I was shocked to see him on one knee February 2.
The proposal was incredibly exciting, very romantic, and 100 percent… undoubtedly… a SURPRISE. Ever since we bought our plane tickets to visit Landon’s family in Las Vegas, I had heard about the big family portrait with Chelsea Nicole. From what I understood, the last time his whole family got in front of a professional photographer’s camera was nearly a decade before. Although that was true, on hindsight, he left a few details out.
Just before sunrise I joined Landon’s family as we drove into Red Rock Canyon, an iconic desert landscape surrounded by powerful tan mountains marked by copper and burgundy stripes. Following a few group pics, one or two of his brother and sister-in-law, and a couple of his teen brother engaged in his best GQ moment, Chelsea directed Landon and I to the peak of a giant red bolder. Atop this big rock, we posed for a moment and then waited… the target, sunrise! A few moments later, Chelsea had us posing again. That’s when she directed me to peer off into the distance as though I’m looking at a “Red Elephant.” WHAT!? Okay… so I starred off. Meanwhile, knowing the “code word” Landon got down on one knee. Thinking he’d fallen or was about to pull a prank, I quickly spun around, only to find a gorgeous princess cut solitaire diamond in an open box… “Will you marry me,” he whispered, a bit choked up himself. Fighting away tears of joy, my smile grew wide and I said “YES!”
Photos by Chelsea Nicole Photography