Oh man, this Washington Oaks Gardens and River to Sea Preserve engagement session is SO dear to my heart. I had never met Ellisa and Dustin before our session (except for our one Skype call), but it felt like I had known them forever. Ellisa and Dustin are two of the most genuine souls I have ever met and I am SO thankful for this session with them! Washington Oaks Gardens and River to Sea Preserve are not new to us by any means, but every couple we bring out there has such a unique experience. From the scenery and couple, to the laughter and *slight* accident, this was one of my favorite sessions I’ve ever had.
Meet the Couple
Dustin and Ellisa met in Savannah, Georgia via Tinder. They were both attending the same small university but had surprisingly never run into each other. Dustin reached out to Ellisa in September of 2017 and after some chatting about the great outdoors and history, he asked Ellisa out to dinner. They had their first date at a German Beer House followed by a historic stroll through Downtown Savannah. Fun fact: Dustin’s first masters degree is in Georgia History, so he was the perfect person to take Ellisa around and share details few people know about the city!
Ellisa + Dustin’s Relationship
Dustin and Ellisa are the perfect example of opposites attract. Ellisa is more of a social butterfly and loves meeting new people. Dustin is more quiet and reserved. The couple challenges each other in all aspects of their lives. They are currently in a long distance relationship and try to find unique ways to help their relationship flourish. Ellisa and Dustin both LOVE breweries and always get a flight at at least one brewery whenever they are together. They are currently working their way through the Orlando Ale Trail! Craft beer is something Dustin introduced Ellisa to as she was not much of a beer drinker before they met.
Ellisa and Dustin also love to share books. It started when Dustin took Ellisa to a local Savannah book store called E. Shavers. They picked two books together, purchased them, then headed to the beach. When they’re finished with their books, they swap! They are able to share their take on the book as well as a small piece of one another. How freaking adorable is that?? Ellis and Dustin also spend a good bit of time outdoors. During the summer, they take their two bloodhounds on hikes in North Georgia or go kayaking. They’re up for a good adventure regardless of the weather! They always end their nights with a TV show snuggled in bed.
Ellisa really values the couple’s intellectual chats and intimate moments. They keep the silliness alive in their relationship and truly balance each other out! She doesn’t have an exact moment when she knew she wanted to be with Dustin for the long haul. Both Ellisa and Dustin see their love as a culmination of many different moments that has lead to an incredible and lasting love.
Dustin had taken Ellisa to meet his family in Georgia a couple months into dating. On their way back home, he expressed to her that he wanted to take her somewhere special. They ended up in a bald cypress tree grove in a swamp. They parked and walked out onto the dock. The water was black and reflected like a mirror. The couple stood and took in the scenery and just enjoyed each other’s company in the quiet of the swamp. This is when Ellisa knew she loved him.
Dustin proposed on December 21, 2019 at Cinderella’s Wishing Well (Ellisa’s favorite spot) in the Magic Kingdom. Both of their families were present. He knew he wanted to propose to her there the first time they went to the Magic Kingdom together in 2018. Dustin found a way to get both of their families to meet them there in the evening. He proposed about 40 minutes before the fireworks when the castle was sparkling with holiday lights. The pathway was roped off by cast members, so the proposal was private. Ellisa cried and laughed the whole time, and obviously said yes!!
The Washington Oaks Gardens and River to Sea Preserve Session
Ellisa and Dustin celebrated their engagement with a session at Washington Oaks Gardens and River to Sea Preserve in Palm Coast, Florida. We wanted to find the perfect spot to bring together their love of nature and the beach. Ellisa and Dustin had never had professional photos done before (I was JUST as shocked as you probably are!!). They were the perfect models and were laughing non-stop through the session. It truly captured their personalities! I think falling flat on my butt towards the beginning of the session definitely helped that too. Ellisa and Dustin were up for everything and anything, including climbing the rocks at the beach and getting in to the FREEZING ocean for some amazing shots.
Ellisa and Dustin, we absolutely LOVED working with the two of you for your engagement session! We can’t wait for your wedding in Georgia in the upcoming year.
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