how he proposed

Misael & Ellisa | Engagement Portraits on the family ranch | Dublin, TX

A couple laughs together while they hug, engagement portraits in Dublin, TX - Jason & Melaina Photography -

We're so excited to tell y’all the love story of these two, because it is the sort of cute, everyday love story that shows finding your perfect person is possible.

Misael & Ellisa met at a mutual friend’s house party. Misael, tired from working a long day, was sitting quietly on the couch, watching TV. Ellisa came up and sat beside him, and struck up a conversation. She asked him a lot of questions, but being so tired, Misael wasn’t very talkative. Then, when Ellisa went to chat with someone else at the party, Misael left without saying good-bye.

Ellisa thought that was the end of that, and didn't expect to connect with Misael again. She was surprised when their mutual friend told her Misael had asked for her number so he could call and apologize for appearing rude. The apology led to Misael asking Ellisa out on a first date, which led to a more formal second date. It was at this second date Misael likes to joke that Ellisa “fell for him,” since she literally missed the step getting out of his truck and face-planted in the grass right in front of him. Luckily for these two, laughter is one of their defining marks as a couple, so they laughed it off and have been together ever since.

One of their favorite ways to spend time together is visiting Misael’s family’s ranch. Ellisa enjoys spending time with his family and his mom’s home-cooking. Both Misael and Ellisa work with cows, so they also like to drive out on the property to check in on the cows and enjoy the country views. When Misael decided to propose to Ellisa he picked his family’s ranch as the perfect spot, during one of their drives out in the field on the gator.

Ellisa noticed Misael seemed a little off or nervous that night, but wasn’t really sure what was going on. When he suggested they go for a ride in the gator, she didn’t think it was anything out-of-the-ordinary. Yet when she went to open the glove compartment, Misael freaked out and told her not to look in there. She thought that was weird, but he played it off and off they went for their drive. Little did Ellisa know that her engagement ring was riding along in the glove compartment, and she had almost ruined the surprise.

Misael drove Ellisa out under a tree on a hill that overlooks the ranch. And as her back was turned to him, looking out over the view, he got down on one knee behind her and touched her leg. She swatted his hand away, thinking he was messing with her. But when he kept touching her leg, she turned around and realized what was happening. Misael asked her to spend forever with him as his wife, and she said yes! And so the wedding planning began!

When we were meeting with them and discussing their engagement session, they brought up the idea of doing their session at Misael’s family’s ranch, photographing them at the same spot Misael had proposed. We loved the idea! I mean, how cool will it be to show your children an engagement photo and tell them that’s the exact spot where your dad proposed to me?!?

So we drove out to Dublin, Texas on Sunday to photograph these two Sweethearts for their engagement portraits.

Being with Misael & Ellisa again reminded us just how much fun they are as a couple. They laughed so much during their session, and caused us to laugh along with them. Especially when we wanted the cows in the background of their portrait and had to call on their parents to herd them around for us.

The joy they have in their relationship is so evident you just know they are going to have such a happy marriage, full of love and laughter. And it all started with an awkward conversation at a friend's party!

A couple stands in front of the Dr. Pepper mural downtown during their engagement portraits in Dublin, TX - Jason & Melaina Photography -
Fun engagement portraits in Dublin, TX - Jason & Melaina Photography -
Fun engagement portraits in Dublin, TX - Jason & Melaina Photography -
Romantic engagement portraits on a family ranch in Dublin, TX - Jason & Melaina Photography -
Romantic engagement portraits on a family ranch in Dublin, TX - Jason & Melaina Photography -
A couple smiles at one another in a field of cows - engagement portraits on a family ranch in Dublin, TX - Jason & Melaina Photography -
A couple stroll hand-in-hand on the groom's ranch in Dublin, Tx - Jason & Melaina Photography -
Romantic engagement portraits on a family ranch in Dublin, TX - Jason & Melaina Photography -
Romantic engagement portraits on a family ranch in Dublin, TX - Jason & Melaina Photography -
Romantic engagement portraits on a family ranch in Dublin, TX - Jason & Melaina Photography -

Dear Misael & Ellisa,

We had a blast being with you guys out in Dublin! Thank you so much for showing us your ranch and letting us meet your sweet family. And thank you for the reminder of how fun love can be! We pray you continue to laugh together as you finish up your wedding plans...and for the rest of your lives!

Love, J&M

A couple embraces in a field with a Texas sunset behind them during their engagement photos on a family ranch in Dublin, TX - Jason & Melaina Photography -

Austin & Andie | Engagement Portraits in Cameron Park | Waco, Texas

A couple embraces on an overlook of the Bosque River in Cameron Park for their engagement photos - Jason & Melaina Photography in Waco, Texas -

Austin & Andie’s love story has all the makings for a romantic movie. And not because their story is unbelievable. But because their story proves real life, forever love can be found in everyday life.

Both Austin & Andie are actively involved in their church’s young adult ministry here in Waco. Andie had noticed Austin around church and was interested in getting to know him more. Austin wanted to connect with more friends in the area, and began hanging out with the group from church. Andie is a teacher for deaf students in Waco, and one day Austin, a elementary PE teacher, subbed at her school. She introduced herself to him during lunch and after that they began connecting more every time the group from church was together. Before long, these two Sweethearts were dating and proved friends-that-turn-into-partners are the best.

After a few months of dating, Austin knew Andie was the one for him. So he planned one of the most romantic proposals we’ve ever heard. He knew Andie was very close with her family, and wanted them to be a part of this special moment. So while celebrating Christmas with Andie’s family on Christmas Eve, Austin proposed to Andie in her family’s home with her parents and siblings there. And what’s more, Austin learned how to say what he wanted to say to Andie in ASL, and proposed to Andie using sign language. How romantic and perfect!

An engaged couple sits on a cliff in Cameron Park during their engagement photo session

Of course, Andie said yes! Which brings us to this past week, when we meet these two Sweethearts in Cameron Park. With all our J&M Sweetheart couples we really seek to photograph their engagement session in locations that are meaningful to their love story. We do this so years later they can show their grandchildren these portraits and tell them the meaning behind the pretty pictures.

Austin & Andie picked Cameron Park in Waco, Texas as their engagement session location because it’s been the spot of so many of their dates throughout their relationship. A perfect day for them would be hiking in Cameron Park, then grabbing food and watching a movie together. So we knew Cameron Park had to be part of their engagement session! 

When talking with Andie about the session she mentioned a particular overlook of the Bosque River she and Austin went to on their second date. When she said this, we got excited! See, Melaina had found an overlook near the area Andie had mentioned one day when she was hiking with a friend. She told Jason about how it would make for such beautiful engagement pictures. But there was a catch, there was a pretty rocky and steep hike down to it, and she wasn’t sure if a bride-to-be in a dress and heels would be willing to jump down the rocks to get there.

So when we met Austin & Andie in Cameron Park, and Andie changed into tennis shoes, we got our hopes up. And sure enough, as we reached the end of the trail with Austin & Andie as our guides, we realized it WAS the spot Melaina had found earlier. YAY for brides who rock heels in their engagement sessions but bring tennis shoes to hike down to amazing locations!

We loved hanging out with these two Sweethearts, exploring different parts of Cameron Park. From scenic overlooks, to sunset drenched roadsides, to the cliffs of Brazos Park East, Cameron Park gave us some amazing spots for this session. But what truly made this session was the obvious love Austin & Andie had for one another, that showed through in every single portrait. Serioulsy, romantic movie worthy, yall.

Cameron Park Engagement Session in Waco, Texas - Jason & Melaina Photography -
A groom and his fiance hold hands in the sunlight near a road in Cameron Park - Jason & Melaina Photography
Cameron Park Engagement Session in Waco, Texas - Jason & Melaina Photography -
Cameron Park Engagement Session in Waco, Texas - Jason & Melaina Photography -
Cameron Park Engagement Session in Waco, Texas - Jason & Melaina Photography -
Cameron Park Engagement Session in Waco, Texas - Jason & Melaina Photography -

Dear Austin & Andie,

Your love story is the epitome of #relationshipgoals! And we pray the foundation you are building now for your marriage will make the many years ahead of y’all the definition of #marriagegoals! We had a blast with y’all in Cameron Park, and can’t wait to be with you this summer for your wedding day!

Love J&M

A couple kisses as the sun sets over the Bosque River during their engagement session - Waco, Texas - Jason & Melaina Photography -

The first 5 things you need to do after you get engaged

A groom hugs his fiance while she shows off her engagement ring during their engagement portrait session in Waco, Texas - Jason & Melaina Photography -

Woo-whoo! You just had the most magical moment of your life and have a sparkly ring on your left hand to show for it! But after the initial shock wears off, you may look at all the wedding planning to do and wonder, "What do I do next?"

So in this installment of our Bride Advice series, we're sharing the first 5 things you need to do after you say, "Yes!" Read on to learn from our experience as wedding professionals, and as fiances who planned our own wedding!

A groom dips his fiance and kisses her during their engagement portrait session near the Suspension Bridge in Waco, Texas - Jason & Melaina Photography -


It can be tempting once you get a ring on your finger to immediately start wedding planning. But before you do, take a little time to enjoy the excitement of getting engaged! You just had the love of your life ask you to be his wife and spend the rest of your life with him. Don’t let the planning process overshadow the significance of what just happened!

And don't just enjoy it now, figure out how you can keep enjoying this time! Wedding planning can get stressful. There are a lot of decisions for you to make, and everyone will be looking to you for answers. But it doesn’t have to be a stressful process if you keep the big picture in mind. You’re not just planning a big party, you’re planning the celebration of your marriage. So vow now to enjoy the process, and when stress comes, to take a step back and look at the big picture.

A groom kisses his fiance's cheek during their engagement portrait session in Dallas, Texas - Jason & Melaina Photography -

2. Plan for your marriage

Speaking of big picture, the MOST IMPORTANT thing you can do immediately after getting engaged is not wedding planning, but marriage planning! Seriously, if you get nothing else out of this blog, remember that. Maybe you and your sweetie have already had long conversations about the type of marriage you want...or maybe not. But either way, now is the time to plan for the success of your marriage. Take some marriage courses, meet with a marriage therapist or your officiant for some premarital counseling, or at the very least, have some honest conversations about what you want your marriage to look like. We believe this step is so important we gift our Sweethearts a copy of The 5 Love Languages to help them have these marriage-planning conversations. Because when the ceremony is over and you have all your wedding images in an album on your coffee table, the daily task of living in your marriage begins...and keeps going day-in and day-out for years to come.

A view from the balcony during a catholic wedding ceremony in Sweet Home, Texas - Jason & Melaina Photography -

3. Determine the type of wedding you both want

There are as many unique wedding styles as there are couples, so start talking about what you like...or what you definitely don’t. A massive party in a hotel ballroom with hundreds of guests? Eloping on the side of a mountain with just you two, your officiant and a photographer? Something in between? Talk through what type of couple you are and what ceremony is perfect for y'all.

Decide what season you want to be married in, or if there is a specific date you'd like as your wedding date. Think ahead of life changes coming up in your calendar (i.e., graduations or new jobs) and figure out how those affect your wedding planning and/or date.  Realistically consider how long you need to plan to achieve the wedding you want. If your busy schedule or the type of wedding you want doesn’t allow for a quick planning process, you may need to push the wedding date back a few months or into next year.

A summer wedding ceremony at Stone Hall at The Springs in McKinney, Texas - Jason & Melaina Photography -

4. Budget!

The next thing you really, really, really should do is create a budget for your wedding. We know, budgeting is not exciting or glamorous. It’s so much more fun to pick out a wedding dress or go taste-testing for your cake. But trust us, having a budget allows you to make smart decisions when planning your wedding. Every consultation you have with wedding professionals will go so much more smoothly if you have at least a ballpark idea of what you can spend on their services.

Having a budget also helps you know what’s important to you. Because if you’ve always dreamed of having certain flowers at your wedding and then discover it’ll cost hundreds more than you thought, you can decide if there are other areas of your budget you can adjust...or figure out an acceptable alternative for your floral arrangements.

So talk with your fiance, talk with your parents (if they’re contributing to the budget), and figure out what you realistically can and want to spend on your wedding. If you need help figuring out your budget, you can reach out to wedding planners for a budget consultation. This is a meeting where you can talk about your wedding plans and an expert will help you craft a budget for your big day. Two central Texas planners we love who offer this service are Taylor Bible Weddings and Karla McNeill Events. A planner’s knowledge of the realistic cost of weddings in your area is extremely valuable, and they can even help guide you in the best ways to get the most out of your budget and have the wedding of your dreams.

A groom and bride embraces with a sunset behind them on their wedding day at Bear Creek in Gatesville, Texas - Jason & Melaina Photography -

5. Book your big 3 wedding professionals

Once you have a budget in place, you can now start ticking off all the actual planning to-dos on your list. But of all your tasks, there are 3 big wedding professionals' services you need to book ASAP after getting engaged.

  • Your venue - Where you are going to get married is one of the first decisions you need to make, because this is a huge factor in the date of your ceremony. If you have a specific date in mind, you’ll need to find a venue who has that date available. If you have a general time of year in mind for your wedding, picking a venue will help you pick your wedding date based on their availability. Some venues, particularly ones whose main purpose is weddings, book months or even a year out. So you don’t want to wait in securing your venue, especially if you want a certain date, or a certain venue!

  • Your planner/day-of coordinator - We’ve already highlighted the obvious and not-so-obvious reasons you should have a wedding planner on the blog, so we won’t discuss that here. But if you’re even thinking you need a planner or day-of services with a wedding coordinator, you should hire this wedding professional very soon after getting engaged. She or he will be able to help you plan your budget, design your dream wedding, and help connect you with the perfect-for-you wedding professionals who will make your dream a reality.

  • Your photographer(s) - We don't list your photographers next because we’re photographers and we think we're the most important. Trust us, we don't think that. No, the reason you should book your photographers ASAP is because our calendars get full fast, especially if you are getting married on a popular day (like say, Saturday 8-18-18). Most other wedding professionals have a team working for them and have the ability to commit to more than one wedding any given day. But unless your photographer has associates working for them, they can only photograph one wedding a day. And once they’re booked, they’re booked. So you really don’t want to wait to book your photographer and then not be able to get the one you want because they’re already photographing someone else’s wedding on your day.

    (Not sure how to pick out the perfect photographer for your wedding day? Stay tuned for our blog post covering that topic next week!)

If you do these 5 things ASAP after getting engaged, you'll set you and your Sweetheart up for success and have great memories of the time you planned your wedding!

Did any of these 5 steps seem surprising, or super helpful? Let us know in the comments below!