A Photographers REAL Love Story

That girl In the picture up there, that’s me. That hunk of man standing next to me is my husband, John. And this is our love story.

We aren’t the lovey dovey type, and we don’t post mushy stuff on social media really ever. I’ve honestly hesitated putting my personal life on the internet like this because whose business is it anyway? But recently I came to the realization that there was no better place to talk about John than somewhere that people look to for “relationship goals” or a dreamy extra perfect love story. So here I am.


The other day I found myself reading yet another “how they asked” blog post and drooling over the picture perfect mountain top proposal the couple shared. Having photographed a fair share of engagements in my time, I know that it’s nearly impossible to pull off a proposal as perfect as that blog post made it seem. So reading that made me wonder what those two people are like in real life. How they REALLY met, and what the girl REALLY said when her boyfriend got down on one knee.

So I decided that I’m going to tell the REAL story of how John and I met. Im gunna talk about how we fell in love, and how we got engaged. Most of the people that follow me are probably suckers for the romantic, perfect, fairytale love stories, but we aren’t that. Were the real, dorky, crazy, idiot kinda love story. And we honestly both agree that there is no better way to be. We choose to love each other every day. We put up with each others quirks. Sometimes we agree to disagree. We cry on each others shoulders, support each other’s dreams, and do what we can to push each other toward heaven. Honestly, were still learning how to “complete each other” like all the rom coms convince us to, but were loving every stinking second of it.


In May of 2017 I was swiping on bumble (yes bumble, lol) with one of my friends for fun when I came across a cute boy that worked at John Merrill State Farm. For those of you that dont know, John Merrill is my dad and he’s a State Farm agent. So to say I was intrigued by this profile is an understatement. Since he worked with my dad, the first message I sent to him said “do you know who i am?”. And well, long story short John and I exchanged numbers and for about two weeks we talked every day. We joked about how he would get fired if my dad found out that we were talking. He constantly bragged about how he knew my parents better than he knew me. I still remember how giddy I got seeing his name pop up on my phone and how fun it was to sneakily text him any time my parents were in the room.


After those first two weeks of texting, I went home to Tyler for the weekend to visit my family. When I got home my parents asked me if I wanted to go to an office party with them. So obviously I thought this would be the perfect opportunity to meet John in person. Plus, we could have some fun making my parents think we didn’t know each other. When he got there we shook hands as my dad introduced us and pretended like we didn’t already know each other.

For the rest of the night we couldn’t stop making googly eyes at each other. We texted under the table and did our best not to break out in laughter. It was fun having a secret from my parents. I felt like I was in highschool again being sneaky and trying not to get caught with the cute boy I had a crush on. This charade went on for about a month. John came up to Fort Worth twice during that time, and my parents had no idea.


It wasn’t long before the goody good inside me felt bad about keeping that secret from my parents. It was time to tell them about the romeo and juliet thing we had going on. The first time I knew that john was extra special was when he asked if he could tell my dad that we had been dating. He wanted that news to come from him, and it was the sweetest thing. Without knowing how my parents would handle the news, we crossed our fingers and hoped all would be okay. And it was… kinda.

For the next month our relationship was pretty awkward. My parents weren’t thrilled at the thought of us dating which put a lot of strain on us. John had to figure out how to balance a boss/girlfriends parent relationship with my dad. It took some time, but eventually (obviously) we got the hang of it.


On July 4th of 2017, John asked me to be his girlfriend. I said no twice before he convinced me to say yes (gotta play hard to get). For the next year or so, we dated long distance. We would trade off weekends of who would drive to who. Over the span of those 15 months, there was only two weekends we didn’t get to see each other. And every monday morning, one of us would wake up at 5:00 AM to drive home to make it to work/school. I’m still so shocked by all the miles we must of spent going to see each other and how my body allowed me to make a two hour road trip before 8:30 AM.

For Christmas that year, John had a book made for me. It was filled with different memories that we shared over the past 6 or so months. At the back of it he had written “I love you”, and it was the sweetest thing.


Fast forward to September 22nd of 2018. After a lot of talking about spending our lives together, John decided that he wanted to make it official. I woke up that morning thinking that I was going to take photos of our friends that had gotten engaged a few months back. It was a rainy day, so I assumed that we would postpone the session. Little did I know, that session was actually where John was going to propose to me.

We drove out to the spot that I thought I was going to take the pictures and got out of the car. I was wearing sandals that were slipping off because of the rain, so I took them off. Barefoot, I walked up to the place where he would propose. It was then that I saw the cutest little setup with twinkly lights and flowers, and a little gift sitting on the table.

John told me to open the gift, and inside there was a book and on it was written “volume 2”. At this point I knew exactly what was going on. He told me to read the book – so I proceeded to skim through the pages summarizing our love story. To be honest, I didn’t read a single word. How was I supposed to read a book at a time like that?! The last page said “will you marry me”, and when I looked up, John was down on one knee. Without saying yes, I kissed him and pulled him up to give him a big hug.


The truth is that I don’t remember 90% of the day John proposed. I don’t remember what the book said, I don’t remember what he said, and I don’t remember if I even said yes. September 22nd was special, it changed my life in so many ways, but it wasn’t the best day of my life. The best day of my life is every stinking day that our love story is a reality, and thats how it should be. 

Getting engaged and now being married has taught me that love isn’t always “instagram worthy”. A lot of engagement posts and “how he asked” stories on social media portray a kinda love that doesn’t really exist. Almost every aspect of what we see in movies and on the internet regarding relationships is full of unrealistic romance and perfection.

All this being said, I don’t want John and I to be yet another relationship that seems perfect, because its not. Our relationship is everything I could have ever asked for and more, but it’s far from perfect. And that’s okay.

Were best friends and we laugh all the time. We have special moments and we have moments where were absolute idiots and laugh our heads off. Most importantly we’re so obsessed with falling more in love with each other everyday, and in my opinion, that’s what it’s all about anyway.