Riley and James | A Texas Summer Engagement Session | Austin Wedding Photographer

Okay, this is a very special blog post! I am so utterly humbled by and grateful for every one of my couples that I get to introduce to you guys, but I have a back story with this couple that is truly, truly incredible. 

A little over a year ago, back in June 2018, I picked up a stray dog on the side of the road. I held onto her for several days, trying to find the owners, but ended up having to drop her at the shelter because we had travel plans we couldn’t change. Leaving her at the shelter was honestly traumatic, because she was a precious dog and I worried greatly about what would happen to her. Well, late that evening, I received a notification from one of the websites where I’d listed the dog. A girl named Riley had written me and said she thought the dog I listed could be her relative’s dog… that he had lost a year and a half before. I jumped to my phone and messaged her frantically, confirming the dog’s description and location. The next day Riley sent me videos and photos of Eugene, the dog’s owner, being reunited with Jenny, which is what I learned was the dog’s name. Jenny and Eugene were, as Riley described them, “best friends,” and their reunion was so sweet! Last summer I wrote a blog post about the whole story because it just totally blew me away how God worked it all out! Jenny had been lost for 18 months!!! And now she was back at home with her best friend, happy and healthy. To this day it’s one of my favorite stories to share with anyone who is feeling a little lost or down in their faith because it’s just so amazing and so God!

Well, fast forward a few weeks to July of 2018 when I grab coffee with Riley because I just had to meet the girl who saw my post about Jenny! We’re sitting over coffee and I learn that she’s engaged. Well, fast forward to now, over a year later, and I’m writing a BLOG POST about her and her fiance James because I’m SHOOTING THEIR WEDDING IN JANUARY!!! Cue the cry faces, because this story is so beautiful I could never have written it myself!! Who knew that day when I picked up some “random” stray dog that it would lead me to 1) a beautiful story about God’s grace (again, please read the blog post about Jenny!), 2) a new friend in Riley, and 3) an EBP couple that I’m so in love with that I could cry! 

So, now that you’re all caught up on the incredible back story I have with this couple, I’ll move on to share about them and their incredible engagement session! As you can imagine, when Riley told me they wanted to do their session at Eugene’s home I about died. One, because I’d heard about how special the property was to her and James and two, because I’d get to meet Eugene and see Jenny again!!!! 

The day did not disappoint. My heart is still so, so full! Eugene’s land is magical. It’s also very, very special to Riley and James. The moment I hit the long curvy drive I knew why. The original farm house (where Eugene’s mother was born) graces the end of the drive and opens out to an oak tree lined pasture that is dotted with healthy, happy looking cattle. Behind the house is another, smaller pen where Riley and James’ own bull, Leonard, rules the roost and comes up to the fence to say hi. A whole host of canine cuties greeted me when I got out of my car, but I have to say when I saw Jenny I about cried. Just as I remember, she leaned against my legs and melted at my feet (which is exactly how I described her in the found dog posts I shared when I picked her up off the street!). When I knelt down to say hi to her, she licked my face incessantly which made my heart explode. It felt like she was saying she remembered me and was so happy to see me again. I remember you, too, Jenny! And I’m so happy you’re home and safe! (See photos of our reunion below!!)

But the magic didn’t stop at the four legged creatures walking around spreading all the happy, because I got to meet some sweet family members while at James and Riley’s session, too! And let me tell you, these wonderful people feel sweet and nostalgic and hospitable like a good glass of iced lemonade. Honestly, I got out of the car and felt like I was at home. The land, the animals, and especially Riley and James and their family make you feel so warm and safe. I really can’t even explain how lovely they are. They’re just good, real, kind people. Riley and James are the type of couple you want by your side through thick and thin. Oh, and, they love each other a lot too, which is always fun for me to get to document! 🙂 

So, let me back track a moment to the cows and Leonard, the bull! When we were planning for their session, Riley told me she had some specific visions she wanted to bring to life that would include all the cattle on Eugene’s property. I am always so excited to make my couple’s dreams come to life for their photos, but I had some fears to conquer for this shoot because, while horses are completely second nature to me, cattle intimidate the heck out of me – especially bulls! But Riley was so sweet and reassuring and James made sure to keep an eye on the cattle and keep us all very safe while we shot! Here was Riley’s vision: something Eugene does on the property is feed the cows by dropping feed for them in a long line in the pasture. Riley thought it would be cool to let Eugene feed while I was there so we could get some photos of the cows behind Riley and James – and that’s what you’ll see below. After a while the cattle got curious about us and that led to some really cool moments! Now, Leonard, the bull, is Riley and James’ special guy. He’s enjoys life in his own pen by the house and gets frequent visits (and treats) from his owners. Goodness – going in to take some shots with him was seriously amazing. For one he’s HUGE and he’s nowhere near close to being fully grown, and he just LOOKS like a bull. His coloring and presence are so incredible and it was really an amazing experience photographing Riley and James with Leonard right as the sun set behind them!! 

Oh I’ve gone on so long, but I hope you can see how special this session was because I’m still just bursting at the seams writing about it! Riley and James are the kindest, most down to earth people, and they’re also sooooo fun, too! And this night at Eugene’s, with their family and Leonard and the cows and the house and sweet Jenny, it was truly a gift. I’m so grateful for this couple, I’m so grateful for this story, I’m so grateful that I got to meet Eugene, and I’m so grateful for sweet Jenny girl who started it all! 

As promised, I had to include some moments with Eugene and Jenny! This sweet pupper is so special to him and seeing her crumble against his legs for pats and love like she crumbled against mine over a year ago when I picked her up off the side of the road makes my heart so happy. It was so special to meet Eugene and get some kisses from this sweet girl who is home and happy!

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