Devil’s Thumb Ranch Photographer | Shelby and Hogan’s Colorado Winter Proposal
I just don’t think we are able to express our joy and excitement for this incredible newly engaged couple! A few months ago, Hogan’s mama, Stacy, contacted us a to tell us that Hogan was planning to propose to Shelby during their Colorado vacation. She said that they were in need of a Devil’s Thumb Ranch Photographer and we were so thrilled to be invited to capture it! Horseback riding has been one of our favorite things we do together as a couple. Getting to share that as well as a magical moment, with two amazing people was simply a dream come true. The nerves running through our bodies as it comes time to shoot this moment is an overwhelming rush of excitement!
Needless to say, Shelby’s reaction was truly overwhelming for everyone involved…and there were a lot of people! Hogan didn’t stop with the surprises at the amazing proposal. Oh, no. He invited their friends and family members to fly out and surprise her afterwards! It was simply an unforgettable experience that so many people, ourselves included, go to be apart of. Shelby and Hogan, thank you so much for inviting us to be your Devil’s Thumb Ranch Photographer for your proposal. It was truly an honor and we are so excited for your Texas wedding this winter!
Mike and Taylor
How did the two of you meet?
“One of my friends was on an intramural softball team with Hogan and invited me to come watch one of their games. We wish we could say it was love at first sight, but it wasn’t until three years later that Hogan asked me out on a date.”
Tell us about your first date!
“We grabbed a Pizza to-go, a cheap bottle of wine, and went to watch the sun set over beautiful Lake Bryan. When we got there, the clouds rolled in and we got soaked in the rain! It was almost romantic.”
What is your favorite quirk about the other?
Hogan: “My favorite quirk about Shelby (besides her dimples) is the way she waves to every single horse that we pass while driving.”
Shelby: “Hogan has too many quirks to pick from, but my favorite is his ability to go into any fictional or nonfictional character. He keeps me on my toes. You never know when he is going to turn into an old grandma, Harry Potter, or an Irish barista.”
Hogan, tell us what was going through your mind the couple hours before you proposed?
“Believe it or not, I wasn’t nervous to propose at all; I was just trying to hide how excited I was! I was more worried about her getting carsick on the way up the mountain or somebody spilling the beans early. There was a lot of moving parts that were the root of my anxiety that day. However, it ended up being more perfect than I had drawn up in my head.”
Shelby, tell us about your experience when Hogan dropped down to one knee.
“I really wish I could say that I remember this moment vividly. To be completely honest I think I blacked out. The photographs helped me recall the memory of losing control of my legs, falling to the ground and weeping tears of joy.”
What are you most excited about for your wedding day?
“We both agree that we are most looking forward to having all of our friends and family in one place. The people closest to us really know how to celebrate! Shelby is a dancing machine so I am sure she will be taking full advantage of the dance floor.”
If you could describe your relationship in 3 words, what would they be and why?
“Unwavering: We went through a lot together along the way. But we always relied on one another and our love for each other was never in question. Deep-rooted: (2 for 1 special) Our relationship is built and nurtured by the love of our friends and family. We have always had a strong support group and recognize we would not be engaged today without the love of the people around us. Barley: We have to pay homage to our best friend in the whole world. Our happy-go- lucky Golden Retriever, Barley. She [Shelby] got Barley when he was only a few months old and we have had the pleasure and responsibility of raising him into the good boy he is today. He has been a major part of our growth and maturity as a couple. Now we get to be a family!”
Rocky Mountain National Park Proposal at Sprague Lake
Shooting proposals is one of our favorite parts of our job as Colorado wedding and engagement photographers. Especially when it’s a Rocky Mountain National Park Proposal! We get a rush nothing else when we see a couple show up to our meeting spot. Knowing that the girl holding the hand of her beloved boyfriend is about to be a bride is an incredible experience. When Eduardo called us last fall to tell us of his plans to propose to his girlfriend, Karen, on their weekend getaway to Colorado, we were so excited to be apart of it!
We chatted about Colorado locations that he was interested in popping the question at. Since they were coming from San Antonio, Texas, he wasn’t sure of the exact location, but knew that it absolutely had to be a Rocky Mountain National Park Proposal! Immediately, knowing it was going to be winter, I suggested Sprague Lake. The views from this spot are absolutely breathtaking. What’s more, it’s easily accessible in the winter, one of the few places that is in RMNP.
When these two showed up at Sprague Lake…
I was on my way to the entrance to keep an eye out for them. From across the lake I saw Karen’s bright pink jacket and made a beeline to the other side of the lake to meet up with them. Mike was on the other side of the lake at the pier––the proposal spot. When I met up with them, they were exploring and having a snowball fight. We knew Karen was completely clueless as to what was about to happen! They slowly made their way to the pier as Mike and I prepared for the big moment. But before he popped the question, Karen escorted him out to the frozen lake for some “ice skating”!
You can easily tell from the images how sincere and sweet this wonderful couple is…and how caught off guard Karen was! Thank you, Eduardo, for having us be apart of this incredible moment for the two of you! Congratulations on your engagement. We can’t wait to see where marriage takes you guys!
Taylor and Mike
Watching a couple go from “boyfriend / girlfriend” to engaged, is one of the most magical, indescribable moments we get to witness. When Jon contacted us a couple months ago to tell us about he and his girlfriend, Brittany, and their story, we were immediately on board with his proposal to marry her! These two fell in love in Winter Park, Colorado on one of their first dates together. Jon was teaching Brittany how to ski and said that their relationship immediately solidified after that first trip. He went on to tell us that they had been dating for three years and were coming to Colorado from Nebraska in February. It was there, at Winter Park, that Jon wanted to ask Brittany to be his wife. (Insert all the feels!) Despite a blown tire during their eight hour drive, Jon had his sites set on making this trip a memorable one!
You guys, this proposal was simply magical. We got to know Jon quite well over the last couple of months and knew this moment was going to be perfect for Brittany. As he lead her to a beautiful spot amidst the Rocky Mountains, he distracted her with a selfie to get her to take her gloves and goggles off, and immediately following got down onto one knee. Brittany’s reaction was amazing as she giggled, squealed, and grabbed her new fiancé for a huge hug! Brittany and Jon, it was an honor to be a part of this moment with you! We are so excited for your incredible journey into marriage and can’t wait to hear about wedding day plans! Read more about their love story and enjoy their wintery Colorado proposal photos below!
Mike and Tay
• How did the two of you meet?
“We had mutual friends watching a Husker football game in the Railyard in Lincoln, Nebraska, so we had both been invited to join. It was really crowded, so we didn’t notice each other at first, then a random girl came up from behind, wrapped her arms around Jon and yelled, “Scott!” and we all turned around to see the astonished and puzzled look on Jon’s face, and the girl run off, likely mortified. So our first conversation stemmed from him clarifying his name was in fact Jon, not Scott.”
• We know Winter Park holds a special place in your heart. What history do you have here?
Brittany : “A few months after we met, we went to Winter Park with a couple of friends. Jon is an experienced skier and grew up skiing at Winter Park with his family. I had never skied before but Jon thought he could teach me, and for some reason I thought that would be a great idea. When we arrived, Jon and I went to the rental shop at the base to pick up my gear. The guy at the rental counter asked if I’d ever skied before, to which I answered, “No,” with a laugh that hopefully masked my terror. He asked if I needed lessons, and Jon and I both told him Jon would be teaching me. I’ll never forget the look on that guy’s face as he cautioned us of the many fights and breakups he’d seen on the mountain when significant others assumed the role of “ski instructor.” This should’ve made me second guess our plans, especially since we had only known each other a few months, but I fully trusted him.
Nothing can adequately describe how terrified I was going up the lift for the first time, and I seriously contemplated being “that person” who rode the ski lift back down. But, Jon calmly coached me through the entire run, skiing backwards the whole way as he broke down every component of how to turn and stop. Even though I was scared out of my mind and my hip flexors were on fire from snow plowing, he never once showed frustration. We were able to turn something scary and stressful into something humorous, and by the end of that first day, I knew he was the one for me, and we’ve been coming back ever since.”
• Brittany, what were you thinking when Jon started to lead you to take a photo and when did you realize what was about to happen?
“We knew the weather was perfect, and Jon seemed pretty antsy waiting for the lift, which I attributed to his excitement for a full day of skiing. On the ride up, he casually mentioned we should take a picture at the top before the day got away from us and we forgot. Once we got to the top for our first run, we went off to the side and I figured we were in a good place for a picture. Then he told me we should take off our skis and walk up a little higher. I was so confused because this was taking time from skiing, and it seemed like an awful lot of hassle for a selfie, but I went along with it. Then he asked me to take the picture because “it was a better angle,” which conveniently required me to take off my left glove. I just kept thinking, this is odd, but tried not to read into it. I took a quick picture then as I handed him his phone, he paused and gave me a look, and at that point I knew. He held both of my hands, looked me in the eyes, and I think teared up before he even started speaking.”
• Jon, how were you feeling the morning of your proposal?
“I was super excited the weather looked better than it had been the day before. I was also super anxious to get to the spot and also nervous that I would somehow slip up in the hours before and give the surprise away.”
• What do you two remember most about your proposal?
Jon : “Brittany’s answer, ‘Yes!’ Then I remember thinking to myself just don’t drop the ring because I was kneeling in a couple feet of fresh powder. The rest was a little bit of a blur.”
Brittany :”I remember being so excited I could barely contain myself. As he was down on one knee in the snow, it was all I could do to keep myself from wrapping him in a big hug, which I knew would likely cause us both to fall into the snow, but I didn’t know where the ring was and I didn’t want to lose it in the powder, so I kept my composure the best I could! I then heard a camera snapping away, and I remember saying, “Oh look at that! That nice lady caught all of this on camera!” Then Jon told me he hired Taylor and her husband (Mike)! So cool!”
• What did you guys do for the rest of the day?
We stopped at the lodge and immediately called our parents and siblings to share the news, then we skied the rest of the day because the weather was gorgeous! At the end of the day, we left the mountain and headed to Fort Collins to surprise Jon’s grandma, aunt and uncle. We even caught the end of the Super Bowl before crashing for the night.
• Jon, where did you get Brittany’s ring?
“I had the ring custom made at Sartor Hamann in Lincoln, Nebraska, which is also where Brittany’s parents bought their rings 33 years ago.”
This weekend was something magical! We had the honor of being a part of Krysta and David’s surprise proposal in Rocky Mountain National Park! These two are just the sweetest couple, and we learned quickly that David was willing to do whatever it took to make this moment perfect for Krysta. When I first chatted with David, he had a few ideas of how he wanted to ask the love of his life to marry him, but all the ideas revolved around their camping trip to RMNP for the weekend. With poor weather earlier in the week, we were all a little nervous for what might happen on Saturday afternoon (thanks for the unnecessary worrying, Colorado!). Nevertheless, the sky was blue, the sun was shining, and David’s heart was racing as they made their way around Sprague Lake to a picnic set up by the lake.
Mike quickly climbed a nearby tree to get this amazing event and when I saw them coming I yelled, “THERE ARE FISH IN THE WATER!”, our code for “THEY’RE COMING!!!!!!!!” We get so excited for this moment in couples lives and are honored to be a part of it. When they arrived, Krysta said, “Let’s just sit on this bench here,” while David struggled to get her to walk to the picnic he had us prepare of the two of them. As they walked she thought someone was doing just that…having a picnic. It was only seconds until she realized that the photos in the frames were of the two of them and that something incredible was about it happen! You can imagine what happened next, so we’ll let you enjoy the photos and let them tell the rest of the story. A huge congratulations to you, David and Krysta! We are so honored to have been there with you when your life changed in just a few seconds. Thank you for letting us capture your story!
Mike and Tay
• How did the two of you meet? “I moved to California in June 2013 to start my first travel nurse assignment. After six months at Stanford Hospital, I loved everything about the hospital and the surrounding area so I decided to stay as a permanent nurse. The timing was perfect; I had enough time to fly home for the Christmas and make it back before my full-time position started at Stanford. I sent a Facebook message to David and asked him for his phone number and we ended up catching up and talking about where our lives had taken us over the last few years. I invited him to a get-together with some of my friends while I was back home and was surprised that he actually showed up! We ended up talking and hanging out the whole time I was back over the holidays.”
“I went back to California thinking it would be hard to start a relationship since he was living in Minneapolis pursuing his MBA in Finance while I was living in in Santa Clara and working at Stanford Hospital. Shockingly enough, we ended up talking almost every day and visited each other a few times over the next year. In March of 2015, David went on a trip to Mexico with his younger sister and we spoke on the phone the night he got back. At one point in the conversation, he asked me where I thought our relationship might be headed because he was starting to think that he was falling in love with me. The rest is history.” -Krysta
• Tell us about the proposal from your eyes! “David and I decided to plan a weekend getaway to go camping in Rocky Mountain National Park. We went to Estes Park the prior weekend to meet David’s aunt and uncle, Pam and Clark. We had such a great day with them; touring the Stanley Hotel, riding the Aerial Tramway to Prospect Mountain, and visiting the Estes Park Brewery. Afterwards, David and I drove to our campsite so David could “make sure everything would fit at the campsite.” We were so excited for our first camping trip together but were a bit nervous that there was quite a bit of rain in the forecast. David got off of work early on Friday and we arrived to our campsite just as the skies were clearing.”
“We woke up Saturday to clear blue skies and beautiful weather. David made me breakfast over the fire before a great 13 mile hike alongside Alpine Lakes and scenic vistas. We had such a great day hiking and laughing together. Once back at our campsite, we changed out of our sweaty hiking gear started to make our way to Sprague Lake to watch the sunset over a glass of wine. The sunset was as perfect as the sunrise earlier in the day with clear blue skies. As we were walking around the lake, we noticed a bride and groom taking their wedding pictures. We congratulated them as we passed and were approaching a clearing where it looked like someone was having a picnic. As we got a bit closer, I sat down on a bench to rest my legs after a long day hiking.”
“David, acting somewhat strange, took my hand and started leading me up a small hill to the picnic area. I was so confused because as we were walking, I saw a photographer moving from behind a rock. I looked at David and said, “Dave, move! There’s a photographer who’s trying to take that bride and groom’s picture!” He just smiled and kept leading me up the hill. We reached the area where the blanket was laid out and I noticed that it wasn’t a picnic at all; it was pictures of us, candles, roses, champagne and champagne flutes that had been engraved with our names, date, and location. David got down on one knee and asked me to marry him as Taylor and Mike, our fantastic husband and wife photography team, captured the best moment of our life!” -Krysta
Would you believe me if I told you these two met at a funeral? Well, it’s true! But Jeremy, being the stand-up guy that he is, couldn’t have asked for a pretty gal’s phone number at a funeral. As the stars aligned, Jeremy and Cass crossed paths later in life and began dating. When Jeremy called a few weeks ago to tell me about his proposal he said something along the lines of, “She doesn’t have a clue. I just got a book on craftsmanship, so she thinks I’m building a canoe, not planning her proposal and buying a ring!” During a long weekend trip from Omaha to Colorado, Jeremy knew he was going to ask the love of his life to marry him. As they made their way to the trail at Red Rocks, he dropped down to one knee and Cassandra in shock excitedly said, “Yes, I’ll marry you!” Thank you so much for having us be a part of this incredible moment in your lives and congratulations you two!
Taylor and Mike
When Cale called me a couple months ago to tell me he and his girlfriend, Kristin, were coming to Colorado and that he was planning to propose to her, I squealed as soon as we got off the phone. I could tell he had been planning this for quite some time, but he was missing something: an army of people. Over the weeks, Cale and I would chat a couple times a week and he told me of the people who were involved in the proposal. Quickly, his army of loved ones grew from Kristin’s mom, best friends, church small group members, florist, and family and friends in Colorado who were in on it and elated for these two! After Cale proposed, he went through the list of their closest friends and family who knew he was asking for her hand in marriage and she was floored!
We are so incredibly honored to have been a part of this magical and intimate moment between the future Mr. & Mrs. Spratt! Congratulations, you two! We’re so excited for your engagement season and journey through marriage!
Mike and Tay
If there’s any way to make a vacation to Colorado any better than it already is, getting engaged is definitely the cherry on top! When Austin messaged me about the proposal he was planning for Morgan, I was so honored that Mike and I were going to be a part of it. Planning a proposal has to be the single most stressful moment in a man’s life, and I’ve just got to say, I’m so thankful I’m not a man. The rain was coming down in sheets just hours before Austin was going to propose. Minutes before the were scheduled to arrive at Pine Valley Ranch Park in Pine, Colorado, I myself started getting antsy, barfy, my hands were literally shaking, I was nervous. And then I remembered, I’m not the one with a ring in my pocket or a girl on my shoulder who has no idea it was about to happen! Poor Austin, he must be feeling this times a million bajillion! At least I can sing Lady Gaga’s “Paparazzi” in my head to chill out. I’m so glad I’m not a man.
As Austin and Morgan walked towards me pretending to stretch at Pine Valley Ranch Park, Austin and I exchanged smiles. Having never met it was super exciting to see them walking towards us (Mike was close by, 15 feet up in a tree), and I followed close behind as they made their way to the gazebo Austin had planned to pop the big one! I could see Austin getting all the moves ready; he grabbed her hand, told her to take off her sunglasses, and assumed the one knee position! Immediately, Morgan started giggling and before she even said, “YES!” she reached down to steal a kiss from her man and they stood in a beautiful embrace. Once they came out of the hug, Austin yelled, “So that’s a ‘yes’?!” Morgan replied, with so much enthusiasm and without missing beat, “YES! YES!”
It’s so cool shooting the photos right after the proposal because you know, suddenly, their whole world has changed. NOTHING else in the world matters except that moment. Suddenly, Morgan was looking at Austin and I’m sure thinking something like, “F-O-R-E-V-E-R! My FIANCE! My HUSBAND! My WHOLE LIFE!” Thank you, Austin and Morgan, for having us be a part of this incredible moment in your lives and for trusting us to document these amazing minutes for you! We’re so excited for this incredible journey into marriage!
Taylor and Mike
“Hey, Kari, I have a question for you…” Brent said as he backed away from Kari. She fiddled with the tri-pod (just as planned) as she setup their camera to take some photos of snowy Red Rocks and replied, “Ah huh? Yeah?” Still unaware that Brent was already down on one knee, ring in hand, she finally turned back to look at him and was immediately in shock of what was about to happen!
Proposals are beautiful and hands down one of our favorite moments to be a part of. We didn’t even know what Kari looked like for the first 5 minutes because when Brent popped the big question, she just threw herself into his arms and cried. It was beautiful! Kari and Brent, thank you so much for having us be apart of this beautiful moment! We are so excited for you two!
Taylor + Mike
If you were at Rocky Mountain National Park this past weekend and a gender confused construction worker smoking a paper cigarette and a sniper looking man dressed in camo, you were about to witness a proposal! Mike and I got to play dressup for this proposal for Alex and Nicole at RMNP this past weekend. After building a fake parks and recreation sign (which had all accurate information on it!), setting up our positions and waiting for a couple hours in an area with no cell service, we were amped and ready to shoot this proposal! Enjoy the photos!
Taylor + Mike