Newlyweds | Allison + Paul

From the moment I received the email from Allison asking me to do her and Paul’s portraits, I was so excited. Allison is a Fiber Artist for Loopy Cat Crochet and I have been following her on social media for years and have become friends with her. She truly has a God-given talent that has been refined by many years of dedication and hard work. I knew without a doubt that Paul had to be an incredible person to win the attention of my friend. After all she is an amazing person. She is super friendly, intelligent, bubbly, excited, thoughtful, driven, and plus she makes the most beautiful things out of yarn that every fall and winter make me want to grab a hot cut of coffee and snuggle up by the fire.

I was completely surprised though when I received an email out of the blue telling me that her and Paul were eloping in less than two weeks and that she wanted to know if I was interested in taking portraits of her and Paul together post-elopement and what my pricing was.

I was OVER THE MOON excited. Seriously. I squealed because she and Paul were getting married. And I squealed because she said I was one of her favorite photographers she followed and that she has loved my work for years and then I squealed even harder when I received her follow up email saying everything was a perfect fit and within their budget and that they were eager to get started.

Jackpot? YES. So much yes. This session was this photographer’s ultimate dream.

Before we dive into their interview questions about their relationship though, I want to let you in on a few behind the scenes information regarding the location and a few session details because so many things really came together and it made everything feel so right.

Leading up to the session, I asked Allison to make a blanket or some kind of fiber arts piece we could include in their session to give Loopy Cat some attention. She was SO excited and immediately began to work and finished this blanket within 4 DAYS. FOUR DAYS. Y’all. It’s perfect. And it was all yarn from her scrap pile. It kills me how perfect it looks.

Paul was going to get a tattoo of a wedding band, but instead inherited his Father’s wedding band so we did not have to wait as long to pick a session date.

As for location, this dream place hand picked by Allison and Paul was at White Oaks Park in Dallas Ga. This was the place they had shared their vows about two weeks prior to this session. Prior to the shoot, I met up with her to map out our game plan of our time together.

During all of my sessions I aim to keep stress minimum as possible for everyone. Photo sessions can easily and quickly become stressful due to unforeseen circumstances, so it is part of my job to try and think of everything that could be a possibility happening. There is only so much photographers can control, but I believe it is our job as professionals to do our due diligence. Part of that also means trying my best to plan moments during our time together that will hopefully help everyone remain as “cool” as possible and sweat the least. I know that is a HUGE feat to attempt in Georgia, where it’s a humid subtropical climate and smoldering in 95 degrees for what feels like all of the time, but I try.

This location truly was perfect though and honestly the way everything fell, it wasn’t too hot for us anyways. Part of what made this location a dream to me though was all of the different options it offered. It has two lakes, several open fields, paved trails, valleys, stone, gazebos, ducks, and beautiful big trees. But the biggest part of it all was how much team work was involved.

This location is about an hour and some change for me away so I really couldn’t study it as much as I preferred, so Allison being about 10 minutes away would go on walks with Paul leading up to the days of the session and look at the sun and send me photos and keep me updated on her thoughts. I can not put enough emphasis on how much communication is vital for every session, so truly I mean it when I say this was every photographer’s dream situation all around.

Plus, the other big part I was majorly excited about was my husband was able to be my assistant during the session. This was the first time we had worked together professionally and so I was confident because we’re a great team together in general. After all, we are married and began building a house together BEFORE we got married and still chose to be together so I felt very confident… But my work and art is such a passionate thing for me that requires me to take the lead, so this dynamic was uncharted territory for us. All of which I had discussed with Paul and Allison pre-shoot and they were so gracious and encouraging to let me include him and to experiment with the lighting.

Let me just say: He did AMAZING. I had no idea how much talent he has for holding a reflector and getting the exact lighting I was aiming for and he was incredibly supportive. Paul and Allison also really enjoyed meeting him and loved seeing the light he was able to modify. Needless to say, I was in heaven.

Anyways, enough about me and all of my fan-girling moments. Let’s get to the interview. If you’re a photographer and are more curious about the nitty-gritty details, drop me a comment with any questions you may have.

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The Stewarts | ©2018KatieWeeksPhoto
Katie: How did you meet?

Allison: Hilariously, we meet at our place of work. After some previous experiences at a different workplace, I swore up and down I would *never* date anyone I worked with again. We see how that worked out for me. But in all seriousness, we both used to frequent the work patio on our breaks. I noticed he had an unusual mutual friend on Facebook and we started talking. One thing led to another and suddenly we were staying up until 3 am in the morning on a hole-in-the-wall bar porch and having the most awkward hug known to this universe.


Paul:
I met Allison on my first day at work at Top Flight; I was going in the wrong door and she yelled at me to go in the employee entrance.

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The Stewarts | ©2018KatieWeeksPhoto

K: What did you first think of your partner?

A:
So you want the actual first thing or after I actually noticed him in any way other than a co-worker? I first met Paul one fated day in June when he came in for his New Hire Orientation. My initial thought was “He smells.” HA! He was in the process of moving to GA from NC and it was the middle of that sweet GA heat season, what did I expect? As I got to know Paul, I quickly discovered that he was a genius, hilarious, and super sweet (three things I require in a mate).


P:
I thought she was cheerful and I could hear her smile in her voice.
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The Stewarts | ©2018KatieWeeksPhoto
K: How did you start dating?
A: I did not know our first date was a date, hence the awkward hug comment above. One day on the work patio, Paul and I started to discuss our mutual love of Blues. I told him about a little (than) hole-in-the-wall Blues joint called Darwin’s. So on the following Wednesday evening, we went for a burger, gin/tonic, and blues. We stayed talking on the patio till almost 3am in the morning. The awkward hug, you ask? When we left, Paul walked me to my car in the dimly lit parking lot, and as we said our goodbyes, leaned in for a hug that took me completely by surprise, and I butchered. I am sure you are thinking what Paul likes to say, “How were you surprised?!? I stayed there till 3 in the morning!” He was smooth though. I said we should try it again sometime. He yells “How about now?” He is a super-duper hugger. Paul and I took it slowly when deciding to make is “official.” While he and I never even thought about seeing other people, it was about 6 months, a lot of deep discussions, and a whale of a good time before we were calling each other “girlfriend” and “boyfriend.” We both had disasters of previous relationships and wanted to be sure that this was it for us, that this was someone we wanted in our lives forever.
P: We started hanging out together at break times and learned we both had a lot in common, then went out one night to a dive bar called Darwin’s and hung out until after the staff had already gone home… on a “school night.” (We had to be at work the next day…)
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The Stewarts | ©2018KatieWeeksPhoto
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The Stewarts | ©2018KatieWeeksPhoto
K: How did you know that your partner was the right one for you?
A: I actually have two very specific moments. The first was just that soulful warm feeling when he gave me a Christmas gift shortly after we started dating. It was unexpected, so sweet, and he was so excited about the book. But I absolutely knew Paul was the right one for me when one day, about 4 months in, my anxiety got the better of me and I panicked because it wasn’t clear what we were doing and how he was feeling. In my panic, Paul took my shoulders, kissed me on the forehead, told me exactly what he was thinking, than gave me a big hug while I cried a little. No one had ever handled an episode so well. He doesn’t even know this…yet.
P: Every time we’ve faced challenges together I have had an utter sense of loyalty and devotion for her and from her, and I have this certainty that neither one of us is physically, mentally, or emotionally capable of giving up on the other.
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The Stewarts | ©2018KatieWeeksPhoto
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The Stewarts | ©2018KatieWeeksPhoto
K: Tell me three things you love about your partner.
A: I love that he is just as weird, nerdy, and wonderful as me. I could be a whole lot more specific but that sums it up with a perfectly tied, department store bow. Oh, and he will get my lazy ass glasses of water. I really love that about him.
P: She organizes and is organized– a planner. So she makes us “do the things with other people,” which is amazing since I forget about that stuff. She’s also got taste and class, which I don’t, so now instead of wearing blue jeans 3 sizes too big, she dresses me in clothes that look nice… The biggest thing though is that I’ve never felt like anything I do or like is something she would belittle/mock, or anything I need to feel embarrassed about. I can truly be myself around her without restraint!
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The Stewarts | ©2018KatieWeeksPhoto
K: What are some of your partner’s quirks?

A:
He is a fidgeter, such a fidgeter.

P:
There are particular *ways* that chip and cereal bags must be folded (tri-fold, to seal freshness)/(shoved to the utter bottom of the box) to maintain freshness and so-forth. Also cannot Be In A Grocery Store Alone without considerable time to heal and recover from the trauma of Being In A Grocery Store Alone. Also loves vinyl records, which means on Sundays I get to listen to vinyl records.
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The Stewarts | ©2018KatieWeeksPhoto – Blanket by Loopy Cat Crochet
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The Stewarts | ©2018KatieWeeksPhoto – Blanket by Loopy Cat Crochet

K: What are things about your partner that drives you a little crazy? Things that only you could love.

 

A: His fidgeting. Lol. OMG, I could kill him sometimes. The way he answers me so truthfully and doesn’t bullshit or try to placate me when I am being ridiculous. For example, when I ask him the same questions a million times because *I* don’t believe the answer. Also, the way he just drops his clothes wherever he is when he takes them off…and leaves them there indefinitely. If I had a penny for every article of clothing I have picked up, I would be rich!

P: Her need to make plans and organize drive her into periods of incredible stress. Ever been mad at your partner because they are doing too much nice for everyone else and none for themselves? Isn’t that a crazy head-space to be in? “Hey, you gotta quit being so awesome to other people and start being awesome to yourself!”

How did the proposal happen?

A: There’s not sweeping tale or really super cute story to our “proposal.” Honestly, it is the exact *opposite* of what I used to dream about but it was perfect for us. I think this is because we had already committed to each other in our hearts long before we even discussed marriage. We had a unique situation which forced us to talk at length about getting married and what it would mean (no, we were not pregnant). This combined with the fact we had talked everything over in the first 6 months of dating, lead to a rather benign decision one day while hanging out. None of the excitement or magic was lost, it was just nothing spectacular. He did let me pick out my ring, though, and I really enjoyed shopping for it with him. Two weeks later, we were married. SURPRISE!


P:
Allison asked me directly one weekend afternoon in early spring of 2018 if getting married was something I wanted to do, and I said it was– though we had had a couple of drinks and neither of us thought that was an appropriate condition for the proposal to be official, so… I didn’t hear about it again until later, while we were on a 9 o’clock break together at work; she asked me directly. I said I would have done it much sooner, so we didn’t need to wait for a very long engagement, and if we could go make it official on lunch that would suit me just fine. But she said that we’d offend some folks if we did that, because they wouldn’t have a chance to experience and share in our joy/happiness. I thought that sounded reasonable.
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The Stewarts | ©2018KatieWeeksPhoto – Blanket by Loopy Cat Crochet
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The Stewarts | ©2018KatieWeeksPhoto – Blanket by Loopy Cat Crochet
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The Stewarts | ©2018KatieWeeksPhoto – Blanket by Loopy Cat Crochet
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The Stewarts | ©2018KatieWeeksPhoto
K: Tell us more about your wedding day. Did it rain or was it sunny? Was the ceremony an intimate gathering or a large celebration? Tell us how you remember the details of your day.

A: Paul and I got married in a very intimate elopement ceremony on August 18th, 2018 at 10:00am in White Oaks Park. Since Paul and I are fairly simple when it comes to important events, we wanted it to be a family affair and later we would have a large backyard BBQ to celebrate. Renee Cannizzo, my oldest friend (other than my sisters) married us. Each of our immediate families were there (which ends up to be a large number on my side) as well as my other best friend, Elisma van Eeden, The Cayce Family (Paul’s extended family), and the ever talented Kristen Englez (friend and genius singer/songwriter). Kristen was our wedding gift from my sister Patsy. In about a week, Kristen learned our wedding song and played it for us at the end of the ceremony. It helped make our day extremely special. Both our families did a lot to make it special. Paul and I were just going to have a very casual thing, but both our sisters made sure we had special details. My parents gave me the most perfect, minimalist Hydrangea (my favorite flower) bouquet. I wore what I have dubbed a “70’s country chic,” lace, bell-sleeved, knee-length dress and Paul wore “his favorite outfit,” cords, his heather blue button up, and his dress shoes. We each wrote our own vows. At the wedding, we hadn’t decided who should go first, so he did. HUGE MISTAKE. I started crying and couldn’t stop, cried my way through my vows and the end. Afterwards, we had a small reception in the pavilions. After some rest, we went to Krog Market later that night to celebrate with some other friends. Perfect Day.

P: We had a small ceremony at White Oak park, which is near to our house. It was morning, though we wound up running a little late and started around 9:30. Our friend Renee performed the service, and Allison and I spoke to one another in front of our close and immediate families. It was clear outside and we had the service in a little gazebo on the edge of one of the ponds there. There were a couple of duck friends floating around, and it was fairly cool for an August day in GA, and mercifully light on the humidity. People wore nice, but casual clothes, and after the ceremony we had some brunch up in the little covered picnic area. I remember having trouble finding words to say to Allison for our ceremony, but found guidance in Corinthians 13, which speaks of authenticity and love, which are the feelings I will most closely associate with that day.

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The Stewarts | ©2018KatieWeeksPhoto
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The Stewarts | ©2018KatieWeeksPhoto

K: What were your firsts thoughts upon seeing your partner on your Wedding Day?

A: “Mmmmm…dat ass.” No joke because I saw his butt first. Lol. I rather enjoy his butt when it’s not smelly.

P: I thought she was beautiful; I remember being concerned that she felt as calm inside as she was showing outside, haha…

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The Stewarts | ©2018KatieWeeksPhoto
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The Stewarts | ©2018KatieWeeksPhoto
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The Stewarts | ©2018KatieWeeksPhoto – Blanket by Loopy Cat Crochet
K: Name three memorable experiences you’ve been through together as a couple.
A: (1) Our week long trip to New Orleans: This was the first real vacation that Paul and I took by ourselves. We got a little flat in the French Quarters, wandered around slightly buzzed all day taking in all the sights, and just enjoyed being. (2) Our first fight: I cannot remember what we actually fought about but it was memorable because of what it taught me about our relationship. It taught me that we handled each other very well, that the patience I learned in previous relationships taught me to handle it with love, and that at the end we were never truly mad at each other but instead frustrated about some miscommunication. It’s a lot easier to talk through a miscommunication than some intangible anger. (3) Our first time roller skating: There was nothing super special about it but it sparked a shared hobby that eventually lead to us buying skates. It is just one of those super simple, happy memories. These are my favorite type of memories.

P:
Well, our first date was pretty memorable. Allison says she didn’t think it was an actual date, but when the owner of the bar says he’s going home, and we can talk on the back patio for as long as we like, and it’s 2am on a Wednesday… well anyway maybe she didn’t think it was a date, because when I went for the hug it was crazy awkward… We’ve been on a few vacations together, but we spent a week in the French Quarter together in September of 2016– got an apartment BnB about a block from the river and hung out in New Orleans for a week. Highly recommended. We’re going to try to go back next year to the same hostess’ BnB. And though it had some rough patches (We had some really scary moments!), it turned out well in the end: The Saga of Samuel, or The Tale of the Golden Kitty. We adopted Samuel together– he’s our cat. He appeared one day at Allison’s apartment asking for social interaction, food, and water. So we invited him to move in, got him cleaned up and checked out by the vet and all was good… (But all was not good)
It turned out that Samuel had some complications with his neutering and developed “kitty crystals” which is sort of like kidney stones in cats, but the male urethra is somewhat nozzle shaped so it tapers. Samuel’s urethra kept getting blocked by the stones and he couldn’t pee, so we had to take him to the Kitty ER a few times. Ultimately he had to have a special (life-saving preventative) surgery so that he wouldn’t get blocked like that anymore, and obviously it was expensive and a hard choice for us to make because neither of us could save his life alone… so that’s why we call him the Golden Child sometimes.
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The Stewarts | ©2018KatieWeeksPhoto

K: How would you describe the dynamic of your relationship? How would others describe it?

 

A: I would describe the dynamic of our relationship as equal. Paul and I look at each other as equals in everything we do. No large (or most small to his dismay) decisions are made without discussing it. We help each other but don’t coddle. We bring out the best of each other and help to better the worst. I truly am the best version of myself now because of him. I believe others would describe it in a similar fashion. Our family and friends are extremely happy we found each other. I think they would very quickly say “healthy” as another word to describe our relationship.

P:
We’re both very “chill” and accepting people by nature, though I think of myself as the lower, stable sort of energy and hers is the excited, more dynamic.
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The Stewarts | ©2018KatieWeeksPhoto
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The Stewarts | ©2018KatieWeeksPhoto – Blanket by Loopy Cat Crochet
K: What values are important to you as a couple?


A:
1 Corinthians 13:4-7. I know that sounds corny but this Bible verse encompasses everything we value as a couple in any relationship, romantic or platonic. Loyalty, compassion, integrity.


P:
Integrity, loyalty, inner satisfaction/happiness.

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The Stewarts | ©2018KatieWeeksPhoto
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The Stewarts | ©2018KatieWeeksPhoto – Blanket by Loopy Cat Crochet

K: When you’re looking back at these portraits, what would you want to remember about your life right now?

 

A: How cute we are together. :p Seriously, that was one of the goals but I also want to remember how happy and in-sync we are right now.

P:
The stresses in our life right now are not important stresses; we’re doing well in our careers, we’re relatively well off, especially in the larger context of the world and have so much to be thankful and grateful for.

Me: Whisper something sweet in Paul’s ear.
Allison whispering to Paul: What do you want to hear?
Paul: Tell me about Samuel. 


K: Where do you see yourselves in five years?

 

A: I see ourselves as happy as we are now, celebrating our wood anniversary (5th year). I hope that have purchase or are about to purchase our own little property that we can renovate and make our own. Personally, I desperately want open shelving in the kitchen.
P: At this point we better have another kitty and at least one puppy (corgi, in my opinion).

Celebrating the 5-year anniversary of you asking us this question! ~Mitch Hedberg Seriously though, our world is changing and it’s hard to take anything for granted. We plan to save and buy property, further our careers and so forth. Perhaps one day we will finish Doctor Who. Mainly, I hope and plan to see us healthy– physically strong and in shape, morally centered, mentally still and emotionally calm…

 

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The Stewarts | ©2018KatieWeeksPhoto
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The Stewarts | ©2018KatieWeeksPhoto

They specifically wanted to get a few portraits in “Blue Hour”, something I do not typically do but I loved the look!  

K: What are you most looking forward to in your future as a couple?

A: All the adventures with someone forced to share them with me. MUAHAHAHAHAHA!

P: Spoiling the next generation with awesomeness; taking our time to drink coffee in the morning with a record playing while the sun comes up because we don’t have to go to work if we don’t want to, having 6 cats, having 2 dogs (1 corgi and 1 doberman), teaching Allison how to play computer games better, and owning a house we can modify, renovate, and so on.

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The Stewarts | ©2018KatieWeeksPhoto

K: Is there anything you would like to say to your partner to close out our interview? Any stories you would love to share about you two? Or possibly a story about your partner that you adore or think is the best thing?

 

A: Paul has been self-appointed a “Disney Prince.” When he told me this a few months into dating, I scoffed. Literally- scoffed. BOY! was I wrong. Animals *flock* to him. Those that don’t flock, eventually come around in about 5 minutes. Even our cat loves him more (I don’t believe it’s just because he is a heater). If he were a cartoon character he would have little birdie companions tying his shoelaces and pomading his wavy locks. Detect some jealousy? It’s there, he has the most perfect hair and lashes any gal would kill for. He loves the way I talk. Not my accent, the way I phrase things and the words I choose. I know I have a quirky way of speaking/writing, enjoying odd word pairings and sentence structures. Normally, people only mention it when they find it off-putting. He constantly surprises me when he quietly mentions how much he loves it. I’ve said a lot of things in here that I don’t think he knows. We kept most of our answers secret (all but one but we kinda discussed how to read another). This will be fun!


P:
Sometimes I forget a towel when I go to shower, and so I have to yell for a towel… which she always brings. Like they say in Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, “it’s a big universe, and if you want to survive out here, you better know where your towel is.”
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The Stewarts | ©2018KatieWeeksPhoto

 

To close out the session we played around with my beauty disc and battery strobe in the middle of one of the fields after sun hid behind the horizon. I told them that I wanted something a little different and interesting I love this shot so much that I had to include the two different looks and talk about it a little bit. In the color version I retouched Paul’s glasses so the glair wasn’t so intense because I felt like it was too distracting, but in the black and white version I really felt like it added something.
What do y’all think?

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