My priority to be more and do more and create an experience they will never forget Capturing their memories in a fun and memorable way is just as important as their beautiful images

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Jen said “YES”! | Hannah Barlow Photography | OH Wedding Photography

Happy Black Friday, everyone!! I hope all of my U.S. readers had a wonderful Thanksgiving! I stayed up last night typing up this blog because Jen gave me the “go ahead” right after I had dinner last night and I just couldn’t wait! My kids were tucked in and snoozing and I NEEDED to share this with all you!! It’s quite a story and I can’t wait for you to read it! AHHHHHH!  I’ll give you the summary though…Ethan proposed to Jen, she said “YES!”, and I was there to capture the whole thing!  It’s a great story!


First, we really need to rewind! Someone please cue the rewind noise they always use in those TV shows if you would! Thank you!  

So, this is Jen!  I met her at Amanda and Tom’s wedding (click here to see it).  She is one Amanda’s very best friends and was also a bridesmaid!  She has the most infectious laugh and I wish you all could hear it!  That’s the first thing I really noticed about her! She’s so sweet, always smiling, and that laugh of hers!  I just love it!  It also reminds me of my friend and fellow photog’s laugh (Hi, Larissa!).

Now to the important part! Here’s how I first met Ethan!

…and then this happened! Yes, that’s Jen too!

This was an AMAZING moment!  Amanda called Ethan “Magic Mike” and it wasn’t until Ethan and I started chatting about this whole proposal that I realized this wasn’t “typical behavior” for him!  Back at the wedding when I was taking these photos, I instantly remembered a very brief moment during the early part of the day when Jen had mentioned wanting to get engaged and married sooner rather than later and guaranteed me she was going to catch the bouquet!  I remember thinking “OMG! It’s happening!…She caught the bouquet and this must be her boyfriend!”.  Well, Ethan claims this will NEVER happen again but I explained that all grooms MUST remove the garter from his bride’s leg and most people insist on a very elaborate dance prior!  I also told him the pressure is on because he needs to outdo himself!  I may have also got myself uninvited to their wedding when I mentioned I’m “in good” with some of the DJ’s and I may suggest they announce there will be a dance happening! HA!  Whoops.

So anyway…Jen hired me to do some Christmas photos!  Ethan (with the help of Amanda) got my number and started texting me his grand plan!  It took quite a lot of coordination…Jen saw one of my texts pop up on his phone…her parents may have mentioned something about him coming over one night….Amanda and Chelsea tried to put her off the subject of engagement…THERE WAS A LOT GOING ON!  We did our best and while I have a feeling Jen MAY have known something was up…I still hope the moment was a huge surprise!  Here’s some of my favorites from their “Christmas session”.  I don’t care what Ethan says, he’s got lots of personality and I love that!  He was also the first brave man to call me “bossy” to my face and I’m not even offended because it’s true! HA!  Well played…well played.  Check out Jen too…can’t you just hear her laugh! It’s amazing!

Are you wondering why is there alpacas (or are they llamas?) in that photo?!  WELL, I was so darn nervous.  For real!  I’ve photographed HUGE weddings.  I aced my speech class in college with a 4.0++ and didn’t even need to take the final to keep my “A”.  I stood up at my best friend’s wedding and made a great speech (if I do say so myself) without any paper or phone or anything!  Heck, I even stood up in front of Kari’s entire guest list and asked that they stand, smile, and take a photo!  Listen, people…I usually don’t get nervous BUT I was freaking out this day!  My heart was pouding! I don’t know what was wrong with me!  This was a total out of body experience for me! So, what did I do?  I started taking photos of the animals that were sneaking up on me because I just didn’t know what else to do with myself and those nerves! LOL!

…and if you don’t believe me.  Here is proof!  Yes…I named him “Ethan Engagement” in my phone…I didn’t know his last name at the time and figured that was the least important detail I needed!  I texted him when I left my house to head to their session and this happened!  He probably should have been the more nervous one, but I’m not sure that was the case! HA!


Ethan and I probably should have also planned a little more.  They changed into these outfits because they are Pens fans and I wondered “Would Jen want to get engaged in this?  Hmmm…I don’t know!”.  So, after we shot these, I had her change back into the teal shirt to keep it more “neutral”.  I am sure she thought I was nuts.  I kept telling her how much I liked her outfit and while that was true I also just really couldn’t decide what she would want to be engaged in (and photographed wearing). HA! So, the secret’s out, Jen…THAT’S why I kept having you change! I DIDN’T KNOW!

I kept reminding myself, “Do NOT use the word fiancé!”…”Do NOT treat this like an engagement session!”.  It was SO hard for me!  Even though Ethan said I was bossy, he really has no idea, does he?!  It was REALLY hard for me to allow those hands to not be touching (my couples know what I’m talking about).  I always say “four hands must be touching…it makes you look more”in love”.  I kept my mouth shut and let these few “test shots” happen.  I didn’t know exactly when it was going to happen so I just kept on snap, snap, snapping photos!

…and then it happened! IT HAPPENED!  I asked Jen to look at my camera and “tell me if she liked them”…the photos.  I don’t typically do that but Ethan and I had a plan that he’d sneak up behind me! HE IS QUIET!  I didn’t even know!  That’s why my car is in the background in this one but I just couldn’t not share it!

…and FINALLY the secret was out! I’m pretty sure I jumped for joy not just for them but because I could BREATHE again! Whewwwwwww!  I think I did a little dance…shook my arms out…and just enjoyed the relief! Jen laughed.  It was a great moment! I knew she’d say “yes”…I knew Ethan had a plan….WHY WAS I (of all people) SO NERVOUS?!  I will never know!  NOW, we could continue on with the photos!

Goodness, look at the joy on their faces! This was so amazing! I’m such a sucker for great love stories!  Amanda and Chelsea were there (hiding inside watching this all unfold) and I think they came outside to congratulate the NEWLY ENGAGED couple at this point!  The love was flowing from everyone!

Look how relaxed everyone is now!! EEEKKKKK!!!

I think this one below is my very favorite!

…and finally…I could really get them to “pose” for me and be in love and look like an egaged couple very much in love! THIS is what I’m used to! HA! 

And check out this bling!! WOOOOO!  Because it was so shiny and so new, you can see Jen in the reflection on the band! I love it!  Jen also mentioned that I “never take rings outside” and she’s totally right!  I also love that she’s been reading my blogs and knew this information!  It is so unlike me to take rings outside (except on engagement sessions when we are already out there)…I almost dropped this one on the ground too when the wind blew! AHHH!  Ethan probably was having a heart attack! THAT’S WHY I DON’T LIKE TO TAKE THEM OUTSIDE!  See?!  There are reasons I’m a crazy person sometimes! 

Ethan, thank you so much for allowing me to be a part of this!  It is a memory I will never ever forget!  Congrats to the both of you! <3 I’m SO happy this all worked out and I’m hoping I’ll get to be there when it’s your big day!  No pressure, of course! 😉   But really…I could just come and eat some cake too! KIDDING!  In all seriousness, I wish you both all the happiness in the world!  No matter who your photographer is, I can’t wait to see your photos! <3 

Huge shout out to Amanda and her family for welcoming me back to their farm!  They are ever so gracious and it’s always a great time being there!  I even arrived early and snapped some photos of the cattle! Check this one out! 

Ethan and Jen also celebrated with their friends after I left and Amanda was kind enough to share the celebration with me!  Isn’t this whole group amazing?! 

The cake says it again for me but a huge “CONGRATS” goes out to the future Mr. & Mrs. Kleinekes! YAY!

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My priority to be more and do more and create an experience they will never forget Capturing their memories in a fun and memorable way is just as important as their beautiful images





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