My Own Love Story | Part One



I am BLESSED to be a wedding photographer. I wake up every day ecstatic to live this life. I get to document love stories. What could be better? When I initially meet with prospective photography clients, before they even book me for their wedding day, I make it a priority to hear their love story. I want to know how they met, how he proposed, and what brought them to the point where they are that day.  

I get to hear so many stories! Each one unique and sweet and lovely. I may be biased but I think my own love story is a bit wonderful also and I wish I got to tell it more often. 

I will start with the good stuff and save the bad relationship stories for another time: 

I am originally from Kansas and I was attending college at Kansas State University in Manhattan, KS. In the Fall of 2011 I started going to a church called TheWell. I went there for several months and then in January of 2012, Mason, my husband started going there after he got back from serving in Iraq. He was stationed at Fort Riley, an Army base located about 15 miles from Manhattan. 

I noticed Mason immediately but I was not the type of girl to just go up to someone and strike up a conversation, especially not with someone I found attractive. And boy did I find him attractive. How could I not? But I wasn't focused on him or any guy at the time. I didn't really want a boyfriend. I was focusing and thinking about my upcoming trip to Alaska where I would be spending the entire summer volunteering at the Kodiak Baptist Mission as a camp counselor.

A couple of months went by and during that time, Mason dated another girl from our church for about a month. I didn't think much of it because I had never even talked to him and I didn't have a crush on him or anything like that. In April, a couple of weeks after he broke up with her, I hosted a house show at the house that I owned. A traveling musician couple needed somewhere to play while in town, so my roommate and I volunteered my house. We invited everyone from our church so naturally, Mason showed up. 

I knew that he was a musician himself because he sometimes played with the worship band at church and that night he opened for the couple. I distinctly remember him playing "Green Eyes" by Coldplay (which he now changes to "Brown Eyes") and "Wonderwall" by Oasis. Cliche cover songs? Maybe.  After the night wore on, Mason came up to me as I was standing in my living room. This part of the story is fuzzy to me but apparently Mason started talking to me and I kind of responded but then I got distracted and walked away from him. Ouch. Mason calls this my "Oh, look...a butterfly" behavior. I don't remember being so rude but apparently I was. 

A really awesome (sarcasm) picture of Mason from the first night we talked to each other. 

A really awesome (sarcasm) picture of Mason from the first night we talked to each other. 

Obviously this did not deter him from pursuing me later on. I left for Alaska in May and sometime in early July, I get a message from Mason on Facebook. It read, "I want to buy your house!" 

Who knew that's how my future marriage would begin?

I messaged him back and we got to talking about outdoors-y stuff, camping, hiking, etc. I told him about everything that was happening there and he says he even read my "Off the Grid" blog. We messaged back and forth for a while and the I, being the bold woman that I am (not), gave him my phone number so he could call or text me. And he did. For the remainder of July we talked on the phone for 4 hours a night, which I'll admit was a little excessive. He would text me things in French, comment on my Instagram photos, and be all around flirtatious. One night at the Mission, when word got around that I was talking to Mason, everyone that lived in my cottage decided to call up Mason and put him on the "hot seat," where they basically had the right to ask him anything and everything. 

ALASKA. Glorious Alaska. 

ALASKA. Glorious Alaska. 

I went back to Kansas at the end of July and it was bittersweet. On one hand, I was excited to go home and go on and actual date with Mason and on the other hand, I was devastated to leave the best place in the world. A part of my heart still remains in Kodiak.

A few days after I got back to Manhattan, we had our first date at Coco Bolo's. I honestly can't remember what we did for the rest of the date but I remember walking around central park (Manhattan, KS is the "Little Apple"). This is also where he asked me to be his girlfriend about two weeks later. We spent the next two months just being together. We would spend time in his recording studio that was above our church, where he first told me he loved me. We did the usual Manhattan things - hang out at Bluestem Bistro in Aggiville, go up to Manhattan Hill, etc. Mason was still in the Army at this time so sometimes he would have to "go into the field" for a week at a time and this just killed me. We took a trip to Amarillo once during that time where he showed me Hidden Falls Ranch and (I may be criminalizing myself here) where we climbed "The Tower." 

Mason hates this picture.

Mason hates this picture.

The weeks went fast. Before we knew it, it was fall. In the middle of October, on a Saturday, I was working at Hale Library, where I had worked for the entire time I was in college. I once (and still kind of do) had aspirations to be a librarian. The library phone rang and I answered it but the person on the other end asked for my coworker, Katie, so I handed her the phone. About half an hour later Katie told me that we needed to go find a few books in the stacks. She had a list in her hand and she ripped off the top call number, handed it to me, and told me that I should look for that one first. So I did. I headed toward Stack A, where I knew the book would be. I entered the ancient library shelves with the low ceilings and the thousands of books. I found the shelf that my book would be on and scanned the call numbers on the books. My eyes finally landed on The Book. 

It was called The Act of Love and sitting atop it was a diamond engagement ring. 

I was a little shocked so I just stared at it for a moment. Then, quietly, I whispered, "Mason?" And he came out from behind a shelf. Awkwardly, we stared at each other smiling. And then, because I'm full of tact, I said, "So, are you going to ask me?" 

He laughed and said yes, picked up the ring, got down on one knee and asked me to marry him. Of course, I said yes.

The Ring. That's a much better photo.  

That's all for today but stayed tune for the remainder of our love story...because honestly, a love story is never over. 


Kayla SmithComment