Last weekend’s weather sort of jerked us around. It snowed most of Friday and into early Saturday morning. But then Saturday was sunny and in the 40s. Normally, this would be fantastic, but we were hoping the snow stuck around for Derae and Dillon’s Loveland engagement session.
Derae had her heart set on a winter wonderland-style engagement, but sadly, one of the few things we can’t control is the weather. Nevertheless, we soldiered on, determined to take the best possible photos with what Colorado handed us. And what Colorado handed us was chilling temperatures and bitterly cold wind. Derae and Dillon braved the cold and the wind in their formal wear and we cycled through the spots Jesse and I had picked out earlier in the day, in between bouts of sitting in the car trying to warm up.
But Jesse and I had a surprise up our sleeves for the couple.
We had been communicating with Derae and Dillon through Derae’s mother. Dillon was burned in an explosion in October and it’s already been a long road to recovery with much more to come. So the couple had more important things to focus on than planning an engagement session. They got engaged shortly after Dillon came out of a medically induced coma, but with hospital bills and their lives completely upended, an official engagement ring didn’t seem like it was in the picture. Derae simply took a ring Dillon had given her before as a gift and transferred it to her left hand.
But Dillon did have a ring for her. We worked with Derae’s mother to come up with a plan so Derae wouldn’t know the proposal was coming. We set them up back-to-back to ostensibly take another portrait. I’ll admit, I felt bad doing this; I could tell they were both getting cold and were probably ready to wrap up. Jesse snapped some photos as Dillon got down on one knee with Derae’s back still turned. We told her to turn around and the surprise worked too well. Derae thought Dillon had brought along a fake ring just to pose some proposal images. When he explained to her that it was, in fact, her new engagement ring, you could see her face turn from confusion to surprise to pure happiness.
After giving them another break from the cold, and some time to call their families to celebrate, we finished the night with the only way I know how to celebrate an engagement….popping some bottles of champagne!
Derae and Dillon, thank you so much for braving the cold with us! I know it was painful in a way we can’t begin to comprehend and we’re incredibly honored to document this happy time in your lives. We can’t wait to hang out again in June!
Location: Chapungu Sculpture Park