South Carolina engagement session celebrating LGBTQ+ love in the outdoors
Joe proposed to Mark on a hike down Sassafras Mountain’s Sulphur Springs Trail near Greenville, South Carolina. As one of their close friends, Certified LGBTQ+ Inclusive photographer Devin Hayman of D. Hayman Photography, followed behind and took photos, Joe got down on one knee, with the couple’s dog, Atticus, sitting beside him. Mark had no idea it was coming–and it was the shock of a lifetime.
What do you love most about each other?
Joe: I love that he loves all of me. He’s never tried to change me or anything about me. My quirks, my challenges, my successes, my failures. I love that I have someone who truly loves and appreciates me for who I am, exactly how I am showing up in that moment. It is such a comforting and secure feeling to know that your partner loves all of your authentic self.
Mark: I love that he never makes me wonder how he feels about me. He makes his feelings known and makes me feel special. No matter how much he works, or how tired/stressed he is, he shows me more love than I could ask for. I can’t talk about reasons I love Joe without mentioning his weirdness. Anyone that knows him would not use the word normal to describe him. Odd is part of his essence and I love that about him. From making up his own words to songs to making jokes that are often times over my head, he keeps life interesting and always leaves me with a smile on my face.
What are you most looking forward to in your marriage?
Joe: 10 years ago anyone you asked who knew me said I would never get married. I said I would never get married. 10 years ago, I couldn’t accept who I was and marriage wasn’t even a legal option. Then I met Mark and it did not take long to realize everything I thought my life was going to be was going to change. So I’m looking forward to having something I never thought I would have. With marrying Mark, I look forward to sharing a journey together that will ebb and flow as life changes but knowing that the love we share never will. I look forward to marrying Mark because I don’t think I would have ever found myself if it wasn’t for him. So to continue that journey of self-exploration with the man I love as a partnership, there is nothing better that I could ask for.
Mark: Over the last 7 years and 8 months, Joe and I continuously grew. We grew as individuals and as a couple. I am so excited for what the future holds for us. I look forward to seeing further growth as we tackle the world together. I also look forward to overcoming obstacles that get in our way. Raising children has always been a priority to me. I look forward to being able to do that with the man that I love. I don’t worry about the future because I know that with Joe as my husband there is nothing that we cannot overcome.
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