Heather and Eric met me out in the little town of Melrose, Florida just north of Gainesville, Florida for their lakeside engagement session. Lake Santa Fe in Melrose was much more than just a lake for Heather, but the place she grew up at and enjoyed every summer with her family. For the past 15 years, family celebrations, vacations, and milestones were created at this little lake and the personal touch of incorporating the area into their engagement was just perfect. As Heather describes it, “the lake brings serenity and happiness. It is important to incorporate the lake into mine and Eric’s future. I have never been a girl to picture my wedding, however I have always dreamed of getting married on the lake.”
While my lovebirds may not be tying the knot at this lovely lake, it was a perfect tribute to incorporate it into their engagement. Believe it or not, I finally have my first official…. drum roll please…. TINDER couple! Match.com has been one of my most common meeting spots for my darlings, however I have to admit I was in shock when Heather told me that she met Eric on Tinder. A good shock though, because I soon found out many of her friends were meeting their future partners on their as well. The convenience of it being an app and easily spotting people in your location is what leads into being able to meet others so easily. However, Heather and Eric were both a little cynical and apprehensive at first when they met, but decided to give it a shot and went on a date. Within a month, the two knew they had something special. At the time, Heather was a diehard single, independent lady (and still is – just not the single part), but meeting Eric made her realize what she had been missing her whole life – a true love. Eric at the time had just recently separated and meeting Heather made him realize that someone could be head over heels for him.
Heather loves the way Eric has made her a better person and that she has realized when it comes to dating, it isn’t about changing for another person, it is about sharing your life with that person and growing together. She also loves the way Eric puts his family first along with Heather before anyone else, as he truly cares deeply about his daughter, son, and Heather. Eric loves Heather’s kind heartedness and has never met anyone who is so willing to give without expectation of receiving anything back. He also loves the way she is full of life and as he describes Heather, “she’s the kind of person that can walk into a room and turn every frown upside down. There were countless times when I had difficult days, and all it took was for her to see me, and my day instantly changed.” Above all though, he loves how much she loves her kids as if they were her own.
After dating for some time and falling head over heels for one another, Eric knew that he had found boundless love in Heather. Preparing for their trip to Orlando, Eric asked Heather’s father for his hand in marriage. During their trip, Eric brought Heather up to the rooftop of the Hyatt Regency Orlando to share a video with her that he had made filled with pictures throughout their relationship, personal quotes, and background music of her favorite song. Eric asked for her heart and her hand in marriage, and of course Heather said “yes!”
Our session in Melrose at Santa Fe Lake was the perfect way for the two to snuggle up and share a piece of them. The love this lake has seen from family trips to just the two of them enjoying time away, is truly awe inspiring. Heather’s dad was our lead captain and kind enough to drive us around (along with holding my camera bag), while we toss and turned the boat for the right background or waited for the waves to steady for a few quick snaps. The boat is just as timeless as the lake and has been used by their family for over ten years.
After our session on the lake, we headed on an ‘adventure’ as I like to call it around Melrose to find the perfect spot. Upon driving we passed the most whimsical spot about a hundred feet in from the road and not noticeable unless you are looking. Eric did a quick u-turn after passing by and we snuck into the not so public area for a few quick pictures. You may notice a furry friend joined in on the fun this time. Grace, their adorable little Chihuahua has a story of her own.
While Heather was visiting her brother in Graceville, Florida during a hard time for their family, she stumbled, well Grace ran past her, and the two locked eyes. She was being chased down to give over to animal control and Heather absolutely could not have any part of letting that happen to her. After capturing her adorable little pup, she named her Grace for Graceville. Grace brought her out of the darkness and into the light of love and laughter. She truly has been the ‘saving grace’ for their family in showing that love can overcome all.
Looking forward to capturing these two tie the knot at First Presbyterian Church in Fernandina Beach, Florida this coming April!
Venue: Lake Santa Fe