This love story has been several years in the making. It’s not as simple as “They saw each other. They fell in love. They lived happily ever after.” Sometimes, the best love stories have some complications to them.
You see, one morning at the Norwin Church of the Nazarene, the newly hired daycare director decided to attend Sunday morning service. She didn’t know anyone. No one knew who she was, as her new position had yet been announced. After the service, as she was leaving, she noticed a red headed young man with a bushy beard. He was wearing an old Steelers jersey. Being a sports fan herself, she made a comment on it to him. That perked his ears right up. ‘A girl who likes sports? And she knows who this player is? She could be the woman of my dreams!’
After that, they became friends. A few months later, they started dating. However, they came into a very rough point in their relationship when their college football teams would play each other. Lauren was a Penn State alum, and Ben was a Pitt alum. They would break up during the game so that they could cheer for their own team and boo the other’s. Then at the end, regardless of the outcome, they’d get back together. They still do this by the way.
At one point in their relationship, things hit a brief pause when outside circumstances became rough. They decided to break things off. It gave them both time to figure out what they really wanted. And a few months later, at a friends wedding which they both were guests at, they knew just what that was. It was during a slow dance at the reception, they knew they were meant to be. They picked up their relationship right where they left off. And a few months later…
It was the grand opening of MarWin Bridal! If you don’t know, MarWin was a bridal shop in Irwin a long time ago. Their storefront was right on Route 30 at the entrance to downtown Irwin. My mom actually purchased her wedding dress there, 32 years ago! Jamie, who is the granddaughter of the owner, grew up with a dream to one day reopen the amazing dress shop that she once loved. And that dream finally became a reality in October 2017! The new storefront is on Oak Street right in the heart of downtown Irwin.
Did I forget to mention that Jamie is Lauren’s best friend? They have been through everything together, including many sad and hard times. Their friendship is the most wonderful bond. So of course Lauren and Ben were going to be there for her grand opening!
Little did she know, Ben was planning a grand proposal during that time. After all, what girl would say no, surrounded by hundreds of wedding dresses? He let Jamie know what he was up to, and of course she was all for it! He had picked out the perfect ring, all that was left was finding the opportune moment.
Well you know the rest of the story.
I was honored when they asked me to be their wedding photographer. They had one request: That they get a photo in front of each sports stadium in Pittsburgh!
I LOVE when couples have ideas for engagement photos that are so personal to them. For these sports lovers, it was the best idea.
With my little baby on the way, we picked a day in January to do their session. The day before, there was a major snowstorm! Not only did it leave Pittsburgh covered in a very big blanket of white, but it also caused many of the main roads to be shut down, due to the rivers flooding. Unfortunately, we didn’t make it to any of the stadiums that day. But we did have a wonderful, snowy engagement session at Mellon Park! You can see those photos here.
Not many nice days came around after that, and our little princess was soon to arrive. So we decided to wait on the stadiums until after she was born.
This was my first shoot as a mama! It was hard leaving my baby behind for a few hours, for the first time. But I made it, and her daddy took good care of her.
We had a wonderful, sunny time going from place to place! We went to PPG Paints arena first. I ended up taking the majority of their engagement photos there. There was no one around and it was perfect! Then we headed over to PNC Park. That view was much harder to get, as you can really only get a good view of the whole stadium from the water. But we got some great photos with the city and bridges over in that area. Then we headed over to Heinz Field for our last stop. The steps that are outside there are an amazing place for photos! We ended with some photos of Lauren’s engagement ring which is absolutely stunning!
Lauren and Ben were married this Christmas! If you’d like to see some of their wedding photos, you can head over to my facebook page! I’ll be showcasing those photos later on this year.