Nearly a year ago, Gloria booked a family portrait session with me. She wanted new family portraits with her sweet girls, Anna and Amy. Shortly before the session, she sent me a sweet email and said she was in a relationship with a very special man, whom the girls loved as much as she did. Evan was going to be part of our family session. I showed up anxious to meet the man that had captivated Gloria’s heart. Much to my surprise (and delight), Evan had proposed the day before our session.
We took a road trip to Gruene for their engagement session. This was my first session to shoot there, and I’m so excited it was with these two. They were up for anything. One of my favorite moments has been previewed on the blog, but you’ll get to see a bit more of it today; the storm clouds rolled in and took away our bright blue sky. As this was happening, we were in the middle of an outfit change; I quickly set up my off-camera flash gear and asked them if they’d be up for a trip into the tall grass. This is something different for me, but something I may try to incorporate when the sky offers such incredible beauty.
Don’t forget to scroll to the bottom for Gloria and Evan’s Q&A. They have awesome answers!
How did you meet? Tell me about it – from both of your perspectives.
Gloria– We actually met online on a dating website. I did NOT think I would meet the man I was going to marry on there! Initially, neither of us thought we were a match either. I obviously have children, and his profile said he was not interested in dating someone with children. But- something intrigued us both. We ended up chatting through the website now and then over a course of about 6 months. And then, surprisingly, he asked for my number. I didn’t want to give it to him (because we’d never met), so he gave me his. I knew that he would have my number as soon as I called or texted him, and I’m still not sure what it was that made me feel like it would be okay to text or call before meeting him. I first started texting him, mostly out of boredom, on a long car trip I was making by myself to Colorado. Then I got the nerve to call him, and we talked for hours and hours over the 3 days I was on my road trip. Our first date was the following week. He took me to Dirty Martin’s for burgers and then to The Draught House Pub. The real kicker for me on this first date was that he had Scott H. Biram CD playing in his car (one of my favorites), AND he didn’t play a single song that sucked on the jukebox:) He had great taste. It was the best first date EVER, followed by the best first kiss EVER, and we’ve been having fun together since then.
Evan – Well, I had seen and talked to her online through a website a few times–not too often. But one day I saw a picture of her with her daughter on her shoulders acting crazy and I wanted to meet her and talk to her. We had great conversation and so I asked her out on a date and her number. She said yes to the date (because she was saying yes to just about anyone…just kidding) and said no to the number because she’d never met me before. So I gave her my number and we texted and talked for her whole trip up to Colorado. Our date was fantastic and the kiss at the end pretty much sealed it for me. After our first date, I remember telling a friend that I’d met the girl I was going to marry, which is a little cheesy, but that’s how I roll, yo! That is how my students would say it.
What’s your engagement story? Tell me all the juicy details!
Gloria– I’ll let him tell the story because it was all his doing, but I will say that I knew that he would propose at some point, as we had been having pretty serious marriage conversations, but I was completely unsuspecting on the day it happened. He involved Anna, and she managed to keep it a secret for a whole month, which is a big deal. I loved it:)
Evan– I had picked the ring out with the help of her oldest daughter. I carried it around in my pocket for a week because I did not want to lose it at all. One Saturday in December (the day before Magan took our family portraits) we went to go get a Christmas tree for Gloria’s apartment. As the girls were pulling out the decorations and after the tree was in its stand, I got down on one knee and asked her to marry me. I’d always thought it was going to be this huge fireworks-laden event, but it was very personal and intimate. It was in the presence of the family we were joining and more importantly wanted.
Evan, what is your FAVORITE characteristic or personality trait about Gloria?
She accepts people for who they are. She accepted me as I am. I have some faults, which I know is a shocker. But it’s true. She takes care of me and does things like fold my laundry or even does my laundry. I hate doing laundry. She goes grocery shopping and cooks dinner for us and breakfast every blue moon. She is a giving person and gives of herself and is constantly busy giving. I fell in love with her because she lets me be myself. She takes me as I am. She even loves me for who I am. I feel empowered by her and have grown as a man. She is the reason I am the man I am today. Another reason would be her ability to laugh with and at me and herself. I love laughing with her or at her. We constantly crack each other up, and I constantly put my foot in my mouth, which is a skill I have perfected over many years of practice. I am a jedi at it. The laughter helps us quite a bit. Her ability to communicate with me and be open and honest is something I adore. Our communication with each other is one of the reasons I have a strong faith in our relationship. We have always been very open about pretty much everything. It’s the thing that gives me hope through our rough times that have and will come. I’m pretty damn lucky.
Gloria, what is your FAVORITE characteristic or personality trait about Evan?
My favorite thing about Evan is the way he cares for people, particularly me and my girls. He cares deeply, and he’s not afraid to show it. He goes out of his way to be helpful, patient and kind (which is not always easy in a house full of girls) and make sure that I always feel loved, supported and respected. He’s very attentive, and as a result I always feel special. A close runner up is his sense of humor. One of the things we first bonded over was inappropriate humor. Evan doesn’t always have a filter between his brain and his mouth, which makes for a lot of hilarious moments… and a lot of awkward ones. We make each other laugh a lot… and he makes me shake my head and sigh equally as often. He says THE cheesiest things. Sometimes I tell him he’s the girl in this relationship- He doesn’t like that very much:)
What is one of your favorite moments, experiences, trips, etc. that you’ve done together since you began dating and through the engagement? Tell me about it… from each of your points of view. (Or let me know if you have two different favorites.)
Gloria– This summer, we took a vacation together. We took a road trip through Arkansas, Tennessee, Kentucky, West Virginia, Virgina, Maryland and Delware. Our air conditioner broke on the very first day of this trip- near the end of July in the midst of a heat wave. It was well over 100 degrees both times we passed through TN, and pretty unpleasant any time we were driving in the daylight. So, we spent a lot of time on the road feeling hot and miserable, but we also saw some very gorgeous scenery. We spent so many hours in the car, uncomfortably hot, in silence, and we could have had a terrible time, but we never got sick each other, and we enjoyed just being together the whole time. I just enjoy Evan’s company, no matter what we’re doing. I loved that vacation. I also have little moments all the time when we’re doing things as a family, and it’s easy and natural, and Anna and Amy are happy and smiling, when I realize how fortunate we all are to have come together as a family.
Evan – That road trip was awesome. We spent many hours suffering through the heat. We were driving through Nashville at the hottest part of the day and Gloria was sitting next to me as I drove, laughing (Gloria edit: I was laughing at absolutely nothing. I think the heat was making me delirious). It was the most annoying thing ever. It was then that I realized that I was hot, sweaty, and miserable and anyone could be sitting there and I’d just be annoyed at their existence. So we stopped to walk around in the AC at some Petsmart just to cool off.
What have you enjoyed MOST about being engaged and planning your wedding?
Gloria– Planning the wedding has been difficult for me. I am very excited about being married, but I have not been so thrilled about having to plan the event. I’m not the kind of bride who had a theme and a color scheme and a million ideas picked out. Evan and his parents have been so great. Evan really had a vision for what he wanted this ceremony and celebration to be, and his parents have been right there to research and crunch numbers and really help us figure out how to pull it all together. We have a great support team of family and friends who want to help make our wedding special. There were only a few elements that were truly important to me, and they’re being incorporated as well. It’s going to be beautiful and fun and relaxed, and I’m getting very excited about the big day.
Evan – I have enjoyed planning with my parents as well. They really are very helpful. I’m also excited that we get to have a wedding that is completely our style. Not too formal, but not too casual either. We will have a great spring Texas wedding with BBQ, dancing, good beer and wine, and most importantly the friends and family that have meant the most to us in our lives.
Do you have advice for other couples who are planning their wedding? Why is it important you let them know this?
Gloria– Drink wine while wedding planning. It helps.
Evan – or beer…
Why did you choose the location you did for your engagements photos? Did it have a significant meaning?
Gloria- While Evan and I are Austinites right now, we have a dream of a slower, simpler small town life. We both have a love of things that feel very Texas or country or old: barns and wood floors, dancing and barbeque, dirt roads and pickup trucks. When we asked you, Magan, to help choose a place, we didn’t really know where we could go in Austin that wouldn’t feel like we’re in the middle of the city. We also wanted the background to just be the background for the most part, and we were certain we didn’t want any obvious Austin landmarks. When you suggested Gruene, we were excited. Evan loves visitng Gruene and used to go dancing there quite a bit.
Evan – I mean, it’s freaking Gruene, Texas – the home of the oldest dance hall in Texas. I’m a Texan and an Aggie. You don’t get much more Texas than a dance hall in Gruene. ‘Nuff said.
What is the theme of your wedding and what are you doing to make your wedding special and personalized?
Gloria– We’re getting married in Llano, a small town where I graduated from high school. The familiarity of the place and the vendors and people we’re working with really makes me feel like I’m going “home” to get married, even though none of my family is still living there. The ceremony will be in a tiny stone chapel built in the late 1800’s, and our reception and dance will be held outdoors at a beautiful B&B, The Dabbs Railroad Hotel, on the Llano river. We don’t really have a theme, but the feeling will be natural with neutral colors and maybe some vintage details. The only thing I REALLY, REALLY wanted to have for this wedding (besides my groom) is the dress that I have ordered to be custom made. It’s not a typical white dress, and I’m super excited about it.
Evan – I don’t think there is an actual “theme,” but there is a Texas feel to it. I really like the feel of Llano. It’s a quiet small town and Gloria has a lot of familiarity with the town. I grew up Episcopalian and wanted to get married in the church with an Episcopal service and priest. That has been very important to me, and I really like that we have such familiarity for both of us. Gloria has the town and I have the church. And we get to combine them in our wedding. It is a kind of symbolism. We are joining ourselves to each other, much like the wedding is taking on parts of our personalities. We are also growing and forming our joint personality as well. We are one, and we are different.
If you got in your car right this moment and could go anywhere you wanted without thinking about any responsibilities (aka: jobs), where would you go and why?
Gloria– I want to go to Maine. It looks so picturesque and quiet, and I haven’t seen much of the east coast.
Evan – Zion National Park. It is one of my favorite places on this planet. I have been there several times and I always feel in the presence of God. I feel amazed at His creation. I can already feel the calming peace that I feel just looking over a valley. I can’t describe that feeling, but it must be what being in the presence of God is like. Or snow skiing. There’s snow somewhere in the world.
What is your ideal date night?
Gloria– Burgers and beer and maybe dancing… if I can stay up that late.
Evan – Ditto…it is a part of why we are getting married. We like some of the same things. Plus, it was 2/3 of our first date. We didn’t go dancing until later.
What are you looking forward to most about your wedding?
Gloria– I’m most excited about the end of the ceremony, and we get to celebrate and dance. I’m also looking forward to both of our families all being together. I think it’s just going to be a fun time.
Evan – The celebration and listening to what my friends have to say about me. I can be a little vain at times, and I love hearing people roast me and then tell me why I’m wonderful. It’s one of the perks of the job (of being the groom). I’m also looking forward to putting on the ring and saying the vows with Mike (a long-time family friend) as the priest.
If you won $20 million in the lottery, what would you do with the money?
Gloria– We would want some land in the hill country and an old, old house that we could work on and fix up. We would want to travel to Europe and South America. Evan would be able to start up his brew pub, which is his dream job. There are also some great causes I would want to make donations to, and I would take my sister on a girls only vacation.
Evan – Pay off any debt we may have and pay off this house. Get rid of my car and buy a truck. Pay for this wedding. Donate to Camp Capers and the Episcopal student center. Travel any and everywhere for a year. Save some of it in an interest bearing account and live off the interest. Start my brewery/brewpub. Donate some more. Buy land in the Middle of Nowhere, Texas (preferable the hill country and some in Colorado near a ski resort). Take my brother and dad on an endless winter or maybe just a ski trip. Maybe go to brewer’s school. Fix up an old house. Buy a lathe for wood turning. Open a bed and breakfast so Gloria could run it (it’s a dream of hers). Pay for school for Gloria because it’s important to both of us. I haven’t really thought about this for very long. So I’ll have to come up with a few ideas later…(oh, sarcasm, you and I are bosom buddies.)