Mountaintop Engagement Session


11 years ago, if you had told me that I'd be sharing my engagement session on the peak of a mountain with the boy sitting across from me at this seemingly insignificant, extra-credit luncheon, I never would have believed you. In that moment, I had a mouthful of colorful braces, styling a bright neon shirt, and I was most likely drooling in his direction. It wasn't until 5 years after that first meeting, that we finally went on our first real date in the city, down the street from where we live now. That evening, as I sat cross-legged on his kitchen counter-top with a glass of sweet, white wine in hand, and we caught each other up on our lives, I felt in my heart that this date was different

Not surprisingly, what I had originally thought would be a Summer romance before my semester away, wound up being the last first date I would ever go on. From that night forward, we immediately became inseparable. We held hands through museum exhibits, played tourist in our hometown, grew closer over quiet dinners, ordered take-out on rainy afternoons, and not long after, began planning our lives together.  

"I came here tonight because when you realize you want to spend the rest of your life with somebody, you want the rest of your life to start as soon as possible." - When Harry Met Sally

We knew from the very first year that we were going to get married. Only a month or so after our first date, half of my closet was already overflowing from his tiny dresser. We've discussed our future consistently and very openly over the past 6 years. So much so, that my biological Dad has referred to Sam as my "husband" to literally everyone he's met for the past few years. "It is only a matter of time", we would say. Being as young as we both are, we had a checklist of milestones that we wanted to hit before tying the knot. Now that we have proudly hung our matching college diplomas in our office, we've settled into our home in the city, and feel confident in our careers, the timing couldn't be more perfect. 

Since we switched over to Lifestyle by Anna Elizabeth, Sam and I have done a number of shoots in Baltimore, Annapolis, DC, and beyond. But, I knew that when I was planning our engagement shoot, I wanted it to be different from anything we've done in the past. 

As a stylist and admirer of editorial shoots, there was no question in my mind that I needed to design our engagement session myself to ensure that it was extra special and personal. I first came up with the idea of shooting on the peak of Rocks State Park when I visited with a girlfriend and was reminded of how absolutely incredible the view is overlooking the trees below. Sam and I had never hiked this particular park before and I just knew that he would be as in love with the unique setting as I was. This peak being as popular as it is on the weekends, I came to the realization that we would have to shoot our session at sunrise to avoid the crowds. Quickly, as I typed out our day-of schedule, I discovered that this meant I would be getting ready at 2:30am, that we would be traveling to the mountain at 4am, and hiking in the pitch dark to set-up before sunrise around 530am.

On the morning of, Sam, Jade, Nick, and I rummaged through the forest, tripping over rocks, totally unable to locate the real trail, carrying all of our very heavy equipment, and dripping fresh sweat from head to toe. Did I mention that this was after we went back to the house to retrieve my forgotten engagement ring, dodged a few excited deer, and the curls in my hair fell out entirely? No stranger to the "real BTS (behind the scenes)" that it takes to get the perfect, Pinterest-worthy shot, I knew that this vision I had for the session would be no easy feat. I also knew that after rolling up our pants, and maintaining a positive attitude and a killer sense of humor, it would be totally worth it and that we would cherish these photos for the rest of our lives. 

So, while it may have been humid and our hair may not have been Kristin Ess-glam, the moment that the sun started breaking through the clouds, giving off the most energizing light, I knew that this was exactly the place we were meant to be. We read the lyrics of our first dance song, poured champagne, and twirled at the edge of this jaw-dropping cliff. 

The chaos of the morning floated away and the only thought running through my mind, over and over, was "I get to marry this man". After 6 years of promising each other that we would get married someday, this exciting new season was finally beginning. It was the perfect way to honor and celebrate the beginning of our wedding planning journey. 


Our incredible participating vendors -

Photography: Jade Nikkole Photography (WebsiteInstagramFacebook)

Videography: Nicholas Koetz (Instagram)

Calligraphy: Pine & Pen (Instagram)

Florals: Les Fleurs by Jes Wilson (WebsiteInstagramFacebook)

Ring Box: The Mrs. Box (WebsiteInstagramFacebook)

Earrings and Belt: Mary's Bridal Boutique (WebsiteInstagramFacebook)

Styling: Lifestyle by Anna Elizabeth (WebsiteInstagramFacebook)

Other - 

Gown: Jenny Yoo

Suit: Jos A Bank

Ring: Radcliffe Jewelers

Watch: Ulysse Nardin 

I hope you all enjoyed seeing some highlights from our styled engagement shoot! The full video will be added shortly*

xo Anna Elizabeth