Shelby and Adam

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How We Met: Adam and I met in college at the University of Memphis. We were both dating other people at the time so we were just friends for about 5 years before we actually began dating. For about a year and a half, Adam and I had eyes for each other but our timing always seemed to be off. He was 3 years older so I was still finishing college when he was already out building his business.

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We would see each other out and about and would always get a sparkle in our eye when we would see each other and end up talking most of the night. He asked me out on dates numerous times but I always declined. I knew I still had things to do that I didn’t want to be tied down for like studying abroad for a summer. It was almost like I knew that it would happen eventually and when it did, I knew it would be for real. Adam once told me, “You just watch, I’ll have you one day.”

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Fast forward to April of 2014 and I was out with some friends at a bar. I ended up seeing Adam and some of his friends and one of his friends pulled me aside and asked me why the heck Adam and I weren’t together since we clearly liked each other. He said I should ask HIM out on a date since I had turned him down so many times. I had a few drinks at this point so I was feeling pretty confident :) I went up to him and asked him to go to dinner with me the next Thursday. Why I picked Thursday I have no idea but we still laugh about it today. Adam was right that one night a few years back, he finally got me :)

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How He Asked: Adam and I had been planning a trip to Montana for months. It was somewhere we both had always wanted to go so we spent the next few months saving our pennies and honestly not planning much of anything. We decided we would just go with the flow once we got there and take advice from locals on what area to stay in and things to do. The only thing we were really sure of was we were flying in to Bozeman and wanted to go to Yellowstone and go fly fishing.

If anyone has ever traveled with just one other person, you know the struggle of getting good pictures of the two of you. You can always try and find another person to take the picture, but being in the settings we were..there was hardly anyone else ever around us. Me being the camera nerd I am (I own my own wedding videography company), I usually bring a mini-tripod and go to extreme lengths getting the camera set and auto timer ready. Poor Adam is use to this and is a good sport about it. Theres always selfies too but I didn’t want an entire album of selfies.

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Montana is probably one of the most incredible backdrops for pictures you could imagine. By the 2nd or 3rd day we were there, I kept thinking how cool it would be to get some really good pictures of us to remember our trip by. Pictures (and video of course!) mean so much to me and I knew these would be some pretty stellar pictures with how Montana looks through the lens.

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I got to looking at the hashtag #Bozemanphotographer on Instagram and found Mallory with 40 Watt Photo. Not sure how we got so lucky but it’s safe to say Mallory is not just “the photographer” to me anymore but a new friend of mine. Mallory and I had emailed back and forth and planned to take the pictures on the 19th (the day before we left). I specifically told her I didn’t want them to look like engagement pictures – just casual and laid back with a Montana feel.

Adam was pretty into the idea but I did find it strange that he kept saying things throughout the week like, “Have you heard back from the photographer? What did she say? Did you email her back? When are we taking them?” We organized with Mallory to do a sunrise session at Pete’s Hill in Bozeman that over looks the mountains. Let it be known I was still completely clueless that a proposal was coming. I think people who don’t know Adam and I very well assumed since we were on vacation together that it was happening that week.

However, all of my close friends who know us knew that since Adam and I already lived together, we weren’t really in too much of a rush. Especially since a lot of my close friends are engaged and I work weddings every weekend. Adam hadn’t dropped any hints the past few months and wasn’t acting strange or nervous the day of. Cool as a cucumber. Even a few months back, I remember Adam and I having a conversation about how so many of my close friends were engaged/about to be engaged and while I wanted to marry him, maybe we should let all of my friends have their time and we could get engaged the following year.

He said he remembers thinking to himself during that conversation, “Tough for you because I’m asking you anyways!” Ha! He said he didn’t see the point in waiting any longer. It really is cool being able to share these experiences and excitement with my other engaged friends. We got to the photo session and started taking the pictures. It was a breathtaking view and sun was just peaking up over the mountains. Mallory was giving us some direction but Adam and I are obviously not camera shy were doing some of “How about this pose? What about this?” Mallory directed us to move to another spot and then Adam says to me, “How about we try this pose?” I guess I blinked or something for two seconds too long because next thing I know Adam is already down on one knee and has the ring out and says, “Will you marry me?”

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I don’t think I even really said yes because I was in complete and utter shock. Adam said and I kind of just nodded and was giggling. My lips started quivering like I was about to start to cry but I think my excitement and shock overcame that. My mind was racing and the next thing I know he was putting the ring on. I stuck out the wrong hand at first (you think me being in the wedding business I would know better). I immediately recognized the ring when I saw it and I’ll get to that in a second :)

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We took a few more pictures (now they COULD look like engagement pictures!) and I’m sure I look so giddy in all of them. I couldn’t stop squeezing and looking at Adam. I was gushing over the fact that Adam wants me to be his wife. WIFE. We had obviously talked about marriage, our future, kids, etc. but it just felt SO real finally. Did I mention it wasn’t even 7 am yet?!

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So you might be thinking at this point….so did she basically plan her own engagement with organizing the pictures? Well yes, I kind of did! But there’s more to that story. Adam had planned for a few months to propose in Montana. He got the ring from my dad the morning we left for the airport. He didn’t really have a specific day in mind, he just knew that he wanted it to be in a really pretty spot with someone there who could snap a picture of it happening. He knows me well :)

My 25th birthday was also when we were in Montana. We went horse back riding on my birthday and little did I know, Adam had the ring in his pocket then. Adam knew we had the pictures planned at this point so he figured if he proposed before that, we could just use the opportunity to take some actual engagement pictures here in Montana. Adam was thinking that during the horse back riding trip, our guide would lead us up to the mountain where we would get off our horses and have a break to take in the view and such.

Well, we got to the top but the path was SO narrow and there wasn’t even a spot to stop. (Not kidding, I was a little nervous that my horse would miss a step and I would go tumbling off the side of the mountain.) We kept going and turned the horses around and went back down the mountain. We didn’t get off the horses for the entire 2 hours. Adam said he knew it just wouldn’t feel right. He knew we had several other things planned and knew there would be other opportunities. I’m so glad it happened the way it did! Can’t believe he had the ring in his pocket the whole time though!

After the proposal we took a few more pictures and then went to breakfast with our photographer, Mallory. We were telling her about us and our trip and learning about how she got to Montana and just talking like old friends. We got back to our hotel and obviously had to make all the phone calls to our friends and family. My heart was racing from excitement when I was calling everyone! I think this is when it started to hit me more. I WAS SO HAPPY and kept tearing up. Hearing how excited and shocked all my friends and family were were such sweet moments to me.

We went out for lunch to celebrate and to just soak in the moment. We still had a few friends/family members calling us back. At this point I think I had told the story 15 different times but I could have told it 50 more times because I was so excited!

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Throughout the day we were so overwhelmed with how much love and support we had from all of our friends and family. I’ve heard friends/clients of mine say that but holy moly. I was on cloud 9. I was so excited I could barely sleep that night. It still feels a big dream to me. I do know one thing, I am so fortunate that I get to spend the rest of my life with Adam Hartman by my side. He makes life so much more fun and I know we’ll have a lifetime of adventures and laughs together.

If you had asked me a few years ago, I truly thought I might never find someone I would want to be with for my entire life. I kind of thought it wouldn’t be in the cards for me to get married until later in life and I became okay with that. But boy did Adam turn that upside down. Now, it’s hard to imagine not having him to share my life with.

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Photos by: Mallory