Jared & Melissa • Downtown St. Pete Engagement Session • St. Petersburg, Florida

This session is a super special one for us. For those of you who don't know, Katie spends part of her week as a theater teacher. She is able to invest in students and Melissa is one of those students. A few years back we photographed and her sister's senior portraits and now Melissa is our first student turned bride! Also, to add to what makes this couple special to us, Jared's brother Ethan was one of our grooms a few years back.

Jared & Melissa are incredibly kind and we had a wonderful time wandering around Downtown St. Pete finding all kinds of great light and fun murals to use. As well as a few off the path spots. Enjoy!

When & how did you meet?

We met on June 20, 2011, at a Christian summer-camp. I was 14 years old and Jared was 16. We had a mutual friend who introduced us. After camp, Jared messaged me on Facebook, which began a long series of messages back and forth wherein we became best friends and fell in love. After about three months, Jared promised to marry me if I would have him when the time came. He didn't ask me to reciprocate that commitment, but I knew I was thoroughly smitten.

When & how did you get engaged?

Five years later, Jared kept his promise and proposed at that same summer-camp on June 20, 2016. I totally knew it was coming. He took me to the exact spot he first saw me and handed me a small wooden box. My heart was pounding. I opened the box and pulled out a small piece of paper with a poem written on it (not a ring). The last line of the poem read, "Melissa, will you marry me?". Jared then pulled out another small wooden box (the one with the ring), got on one knee, and officially asked me to be his wife.

Jared as explained by Melissa: 

Jared is an old soul, a poet, an artist, and a faithful man of God. He loves the Word of God and the people of God, and constantly gives of himself for others. He is a thinker, doesn't budge on truth, but doesn't take himself too seriously. He is gentle, kind, and gifted at putting himself in other people's shoes. He can seem serious if you don't know him, but truly he's a teddy-bear and a cheese-ball. He is an introvert, but is not afraid to dance like a robot and quote comedians in public to make you laugh and feel comfortable. He is a continual picture of God's grace to me and the unshakable love Christ has for His Bride, the Church. I just love him.

Melissa as explained by Jared: 

Melissa is a servant. She gets a lot of joy from helping others. She always looks to include the odd ones out. She's quick to assume the best of people. She is kind and patient, hardworking and dedicated. She is gentle, but not weak. She likes to get her hands dirty: the outdoors, the ocean, camping, and fishing. She is analytical, intellectual, but imaginative. She can debate philosophy, defend her theology, and also have a blast playing with little kids. She is sweet and sentimental. She likes odd things. She loves me faithfully. She serves me happily, and respects me unconditionally. Blows my mind. I thank God for her, my joy and my crown.

Jared & Melissa, we hope you love your images! We had such a blast with you and cannot wait for your wedding next May!

Oh and here's a little BTS from the session. Thanks for the help, Jared!