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Japera & Ian's Love Story | Decatur Square Engagement Session

Everyone meet Japera & Ian!

Where-oh-where do I even begin with this adorable couple? Honestly, if I had to describe these two in one word it would be: #goals :) But seriously, Erik and I knew from the very first time meeting these two, that their love for life and for each other was out of this world. Our suspicions were confirmed after we got a chance to hear their love story. And I must say, it's truly couples like this that not only inspire us creatively when capturing their images, but also personally. Thank you, Japera and Ian, for allowing us to share your love story!

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How They Met

Japera's Version: On or around April 15, 2014 I was taking a break from "dissertating" and decided to browse my OKCupid account. Immediately, I noticed that the handsome creep from a few days earlier had checked out my profile again! Clearly he was interested, but too scared to say anything, so I wrote him..."Dear Karl4370, I'm smart. I'm beautiful. I'm incredible. I see you peeking but you ain't speaking. Say something or get lost!" 10 seconds later he replied, "You are the most beautiful woman I've ever seen, may I get to know you?" I wasn't really all that impressed. I thought he should have tried a little harder, but hey, he was handsome and polite. We chatted for some time and the rest is history. Ian's Version: Ok, ya'll believe that?! Everything is #alternativefacts except the, "I see you peeking but you ain't speaking" line. Japera is bold but she didn't say all the rest of that stuff. Also, I checked her page out ONE time.. I admit, she is fine. When I saw her page, I said DAAAAMMMMMMNNNN! ... but after reading her profile I figured she was full of herself... ain't nobody got time for that! I ain't never scurred! I did think she was funny, spunky and beautiful so I obliged. Three years later, I'm still happily obliging.

First Date Our relationship can be summed up by a few words: God, dialogue, music, laughter, food, travel, family and more laughter. We bonded early over music and laughter on one of our first dates. Neither of us can remember the artist that performed that day because we spent the majority of our time laughing at the most ridiculous things and realizing just how similar we really are. The music became the backdrop to the beginning of our incredible love story.

Beautiful sign in downtown Decatur

How He Asked (Written by Ian) I'm on an exciting journey with my best friend. We've climbed volcanoes, trekked forests, snorkeled in the Pacific, flown over 25,000 miles, and explored historical monuments. We love our travels and the stories that come from them, but our physical adventures pale in comparison to the spiritual and emotional journeys we've taken together. Throughout our relationship, we didn't just learn to love each other but together, we developed a deeper love for ourselves. We've spent countless hours in prayer, devotion, spiritual mentorship and biblical instruction learning how to see ourselves from God's eyes, love unconditionally and heal from the past. We made an active decision to choose love: God's love, self love and shared love. Choosing love meant that I wanted to find a way to propose to Japera that made her feel special and set apart. If you know my baby, you know that she's a bit.... particular and not very subtle. After we finished pre-marital and blended family counseling she started outright emailing me pictures of rings. She had NO shame. For about 3 months I looked at rings, not because I was picky but because she kept changing her mind. Finally, she sent me a ring that she just "loved" and finally I liked the price. So bam... I ordered it. Trying to keep this all a secret was nearly impossible. I kept forgetting to close internet browsers on my phone and kept leaving emails open. Sometimes she would just come out and ask me, "So Ian, when are you gonna propose?" Having to look at her square in the eyes and lie was torture. I just knew she was on to me. The ring finally came in November and I finalized my plans. I wrote a letter to her deceased parents and prepared to sing to her at our Christmas party. I had it all planned out. On Thursday before the Christmas party, Japera FaceTimed me balling her eyes out. I thought something wrong had happened. Nope, she got the letter and was doing the "ugly cry." Finally, Saturday night came, everything was smooth sailing, I had rehearsed my song a thousand times, Japera's siblings were in route from Virginia for the surprise, everything was set. And then I CHOKED! I have no idea why I was so incredibly nervous but I was. Around midnight Japera's family finally made it. I kept trying to stall but heck, there was nothing left to wait for. I started calling for her to come to the dance floor. She told me that she realized what was happening and bolted for the bathroom. I sent someone to track her down. She walks in to the room, finally sees her siblings and begins crying. In the video from the proposal, you can hear her saying, "No, no, no, no..." She was nervous too. I put the instrumental on and I start singing my very own version of the Jamie Foxx proposal song. Of course I forgot a few of the lyrics, my voice was a little shaky but to her it was perfect. I asked and she said... nothing. LOL She was crying and I couldn't hear but apparently she said yes in barely audible whisper. There was an explosion of cheers and excitement. In front of many of our family and friends, Japera and I officially chose to start the journey of a lifetime. This is a journey that we won't just start... but we'll finish.

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To Japera & Ian: We absolutely cannot wait for your wedding... hurry up October! :) Thank you to: The Marlay House in Decatur

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