Crandall, a sales executive, and Brenton, a political consultant, met in 2006 while they were college at the University of South Carolina. During Crandall’s freshman year, a friend of hers starting dating Brenton’s college roommate; the four of them would frequently hang out, and there was an immediate and undeniable attraction between Brenton and Crandall, but the timing never seemed to be quite right. Over the years, they would move in and out of other relationships, and Brenton always referred to Crandall as “the one who got away,” so Bo, Brenton’s college roommate, never gave up on trying to get them together.
Fast forward 12 years to 2018. Crandall is hanging out with Bo and his now-wife Katie at the lake, and Brenton mentions that he’s headed to the beach with Brenton in a couple of weeks. By one of those strange turns of circumstance that make the world go round, it just so happened that Crandall was headed to the same beach and precisely the same time with her own family. Brenton called Crandall and they went on a date, and they’ve been together ever since. Theirs is one of those meant-to-be stories. Only adding to the happy hilarity of their first date was the fact that a huge thunderstorm stalked them the entire night, knocking out the power in the first three restaurants they tried to visit. By the end of their umbrella-less evening, they were both drenched and laughing.
As the months went by, they only fell more and more in love. Crandall loved Brenton’s baby-blue eyes, and Brenton adored Crandall’s magnetic personality and beautiful blond hair. Before long, Brenton decided to propose, and on Memorial Day of 2019, he popped the question. The two of them spent all day lounging by the pool in his hometown of Greenville, SC. Brenton told Crandall they had dinner reservations that night. She was surprised but didn’t think much of it. They took an Uber to Larkin’s on the Water, and since they were early, Brenton asked Crandall to take a walk with him in Falls Park which runs along the Reedy River. She was shocked when Brenton suddenly dropped to one knee and asked her to spend the rest of her life with him. Onlookers crowding on a nearby suspension bridge cheered, and Brenton and Crandall were happily surprised when a couple who had been taking photos of the goings-on approached them to say they had taken 40+ pictures of the entire production. It’s something they both swear they’ll pay forward if they ever see a proposal developing in front of them.
After the proposal, Crandall’s first instinct was to call her mom, but Brenton urged her to wait so they could just take it all in for a few minutes. They meandered along the river to the restaurant, and when they arrived, both of their families were waiting there for them with flowers and champagne. Nicely planned, sir. The ring, it should be said, features a diamond from Crandall’s great-grandmother. Brenton reached out to Crandall’s mom for advice, and she helped steer him toward a gold ring with an eternity band. It was just what Crandall wanted.
The engagement shoot was amazing for a variety of reasons. The first was that I was actually able to attend. The date Brenton and Crandall had requested for the shoot just happened to coincide with my family’s chosen date to celebrate my father’s birthday. I had kept the weekend open on my busy fall calendar so I would be available to travel. Coincidentally, my parents live in Greenville, so I told them I would be delighted to make time for the portrait session while I happened to be in the same town these two sweethearts planned to call home. Crandall drove up from Atlanta to make a weekend out of the occasion. They wanted to shoot at Falls Park, which made perfect sense since that was where Brenton proposed. The plan was coming together flawlessly. Well, almost… I was not aware that our scheduled date was falling on the weekend of the annual Fall for Greenville festival in Falls Park, a three-day event that draws over 150,000 people essentially into the exact location of our planned shoot. I’m skilled at navigating around crowds but this was like nothing I had ever experienced. The place was absolutely jammed. Fortunately for me, Brenton and Crandall were having some trouble finding parking, so I had a few additional minutes to thoroughly scout the area. If I shot from this funky angle and used this glass for reflection, or if I laid on the ground and shot up from here…I just might be able to make 150,000+ people disappear. By some divine magic and a bit of staging ingenuity, we ended up with a beautiful image collection with (and if you look at the images, you’ll see I’m telling the truth) virtually nobody in the background. It turned out to be one my very favorite engagement shoots of all time.