When your fiancé is the cousin of your childhood best friend, you know it was meant to be. Alyssa and I grew up together in South Florida. We both went to the same middle school, were in the same Girl Scout troop and shared an (un)healthy obsession of cats at a very young age. Throughout our childhood, Alyssa was always best friends with Audrey. The two were inseparable. High school and college came and went and, soon enough, Audrey was engaged to be married. With Alyssa by her side, she said “I do” to the love of her life. Little did they know, Alyssa would meet the love of her life that very night.
Waite and Alyssa would start on the journey of a long distance relationship. He would visit her in DC and she would fly down to the Georgia coast. After all this back and forth, long phone calls and not long enough weekend visits, Waite decided that the distance had to end. He proposed to Alyssa in her hometown on the beach just minutes away from her childhood home and she moved to St. Simons island to start their lives in the same city.
When coming to Georgia to take engagement photos, I had no idea what to expect. In fact, I was pronouncing St. Simons completely wrong for months. There is a kitschy saying, sometimes printed on bumper stickers, that perfectly sums up my expectations “Georgia has a coast?” I arrived in town for the long weekend and immediately fell in love. If Charleston and Delray Beach had a baby, St. Simons would be it. The Spanish moss is surrounded by sand and palm trees. I was in heaven. We started our first night with dinner on the main island and wine with dessert. In the morning, Waite and his dad boated us over to Little Cumberland island to stay the night at Waite’s family home. Mr. Thomas, Waite’s father, built this cabin from the ground up for his dad and mom. The cabin was like no place I had ever been before. It was remote and charming with a perfect view of the ocean. There are no roads to get to and from the cabin so you need a golf cart or “Gator” to navigate the island. I felt like I was living in a dream.
Inside the house, you are surrounded by artifacts from Waite’s grandparents’ lives. Pictures from Antarctica, art from South America and a map that pin points all the places they’ve once traveled. Waite made the three of us dinner and we played games, made s’mores and chatted about good times. This was the ultimate way to get to know Waite and Alyssa as a couple. This cabin was such a crucial part of their love story and I felt honored to be able to spend the weekend with them in this place. We ended the weekend with a few portraits and a little lesson on how to clean a trout! I cannot wait to celebrate more of their love story this April! Here are a few of my favorite portraits from our weekend together!