What a treat this engagement session has been!!! Let me start by saying, that I first met Noah and Amanda at the Rustic Wedding Showcase at Brandy Hill Farm and they were obviously a special couple from the start. But I already knew Noah’s mom as she helped me through some difficulties with nursing after my son was born and I know that she is an amazing nurse, lactation consultant and friend. So I knew Noah had to be special too. But I didn’t know Amanda and what a joy it has been to get to know her!!! She attended my Bride’s Day Out this past February and she has been such a helpful and gracious woman to other brides as well. So when we discussed the idea of an engagement session at JMU...I was pretty excited...AND this year marks 20 years since I graduated From James Madison! Yup, I’m THAT old... (:
JMU is a special place for Amanda and Noah as well, because that’s where they met! So we had such a great time, exploring all of the important spots...the clapping circles (I don’t know what they really are called!), the tree outside of Harrison Hall where Noah would wait for Amanda and the classroom in ISAT where they met for the first time...and of course the infamous Kissing Rock, Wilson Hall and a quick stroll through the arboretum. We had an amazing sunset and I am still just utterly impressed with how much JMU has grown and changed since I was there...it is literally the best campus I’ve seen. I may have also stopped at the Outpost while in Harrisonburg to get some t-shirts for Judah and I...
So how did they meet and how did he propose? In Amanda’s words:
Once upon a time I was a sophomore at JMU who for some crazy reason decided to take a Computer Science class to help with my Web Design major. So the first day of class, in August 2009, I went to Computer Science 139, a class in which we were lined up in the front of the class room and told to go down the line calling out 1-4 as it became our turn. Then, guess what? Go stand with the other people that have your same number. I was teamed up with three other guys: some guy who's name I don't remember, a tall skinny guy with a backwards hat, skater shirt, cargo shorts & flip flops named Noah, and his roommate Jason. As the semester went on we all worked together well...not so much what's his name, but Noah, Jason, their other roommate who was also in our class (Bon), and I. We would study together at the guys’ apartment, watch The Office together, and they would even cook me chicken nuggets.
Throughout this time I had a boyfriend that attended another school, so there wasn't a romantic prospect on my mind, but I discovered that Noah and I got along really well and that I enjoyed hanging out with him and his roommates. As the year progressed we would hang out more frequently and my roommate Ariana would tease, "he likes you!!" And I would say "C'mon we aren't in middle school anymore...it is possible to just have guy friends." Well wouldn't you know...once the school year ended, my current boyfriend and I broke up and the very next day I get an IM from Noah..."Hey, what's up. :]" We proceeded to talk everyday throughout the summer and when I moved back to school in August we planned our first date...one of those where you have no clue if it is a date or not though, until the check comes. Sure enough, he paid! :D
We went about dating for about a month until September 26, 2010, when he invited me to a pig roast back at his parents’ house in Culpeper for the weekend, along with some other friends from school. Once there I met his parents and one of his old childhood friends who was home on leave from the Army. He gave me the "don't rush him, he had a rough time with his last girlfriend" speech and I was very understanding and informed him I was in no rush, he could take all the time he needed. Noah asked me to be his girlfriend later that night. Well worth the wait! :D
As with all stories there were ups and downs but any downs have only made us stronger. I have known I was going to marry him since about a year in and we are going on seven years this fall. First let me say we have been dating almost seven years (six when the proposal happened), so you know that hints have been dropped, parents have pestered and the discussion has been had many times as to when he was gonna pop the question. So last September when our six year anniversary was rolling around and Noah said he had a surprise weekend trip planned I thought, "nope, it's too obvious." So he picks me up from work that Friday and we head out, me having no expectations for the weekend ahead. But also thinking I'm so smart that I found out the time on the GPS and start google mapping it and decided we were going to Philadelphia, PA. Ha ha, you can't surprise me! And he acted as if I had figured it all out. So I go on the rest of the ride, not really paying attention. After a long while, I ask how it is possible that we are still in Maryland, it never takes this long to drive through Maryland. It turns out we weren't going to PA, he was taking me to Chincoteague Island, one of my dream vacations due to my love for horses.
We got there pretty late so we didn't do much the first night, but spent the next day exploring the nature preserve, seeing the lighthouse, eating awesome tacos & ice cream, visiting an antique car show, & seeing a day old baby foal that had just been born. All with perfect weather...I couldn't be happier! That evening he had booked a boat tour around the island that was supposed to help you spot the wild horses. As it got closer to the time, the weather started taking a turn for the worst, skies graying and rain starting to fall. He kept insisting, "oh we don't have to go, the tickets were cheap and I don't really feel like being out there in the rain." I refused, saying "I came here to see some horses, I was going to see them!"
Once we got there it looked like the rain hadn't scared away anyone else either, there was a bunch of people waiting for their boat rides. The crew broke us up into smaller groups, telling us to go with the captain that called our names. Our captain called us and one other family. Once we got up to him he said the family had just called to cancel, so lucky us, we had the whole boat to ourselves! Crazy!! We started out alongside three other boats and a big group of dolphins were quickly spotted. So cool! They were swimming all around us. After hanging with the dolphins for a while they started to take us around the island and the captain mentioned that if we found the horses on the beach we would be able to get off the boat and walk around near them. Unfortunately, the horses weren't really cooperating and were never in a good spot. Eventually, our captain broke away from the other boats, saying they were too slow and took us around some more of the island. As we started to head back to the dock, he said "I feel bad you guys didn't get to see the horses close up, but there is this island in the middle of the bay with nothing on it but grass and sand and we could get off and walk around and take some pictures." I said, "No thanks, I'm too cold, can we just go back?" Noah said, "oh come on he is already pulling up to it, let's just get off for a minute. We will be back to the dock to warm up soon." So we did, he pulled up and when the tide pulled back, we jumped off and walked a bit onto the beach while the captain stayed on the boat. I walked maybe 15-20 feet, stopped, and took a couple of pictures, then I was like, "okay, I'm done let's go back."
So I started to walk back to the boat when Noah grabbed my hand and said "wait", so I turned back toward him to find him getting on his knee. This is right about where I blacked out, memory wise, because I don't remember anything he said (he told me after the fact he read that this can happen to girl's during a proposal, haha :D). So before he could even get the ring on my finger I kissed him and said YES!!! It turns out the captain was in on it, Noah had rented out the whole boat, and the captain even took pictures of us! The captain had our favorite champagne for us when we got back on the boat. I couldn't have asked for a more amazing or memorable moment to start the next phase of our lives together!
Hair and Make Up: Main Street Hair Salon
Michelle Lieb with Lieb Photographic is a Charlottesville Wedding Photographer, Culpeper Wedding Photographer, Fredericksburg Wedding Photographer, Alexandria Wedding Photographer, Washington DC Wedding Photographer, Phoenix Wedding Photographer, Williamsburg Wedding Photographer, High Country Wedding Photographer and a wedding photographer in the surrounding areas.