Cristin + Tav-Engagement Session




Hello dear friends! I’m so happy to be re-introducing the blog after an almost year-long hiatus. My business began to rapidly grow and change early last fall, and blogging sort of got pushed to the backburner. Sometimes breaks are a good thing; sometimes we need a moment to regroup and give ourselves room to change. I’ve been bouncing new ideas with other bloggers and I hope you stick around to see all the “new and improved” changes that will be coming soon!

With that being said, there would be no better way to kick off the re-introduction of my blog than by blogging about my dear sister, Cristin, and her fiancé, Tav.

Tav proposed to Cristin last November a few days before Thanksgiving. Their wedding is set for next spring at a gorgeous venue called Cedar Tree Barn! (Speaking of, I’ll have some VERY exciting things to share about Cedar Tree, so be sure to stick around the next few days to see what that’s all about.) Wedding planning is already well underway, and I’m glad I get to be part of this process as a sister, maid of honor, and engagement session photographer.

I’ve had many, many people ask me if I am photographing this special occasion for my sister. And the answer, happily, is no. As Cristin said, the best case scenario would be if she could clone me to have me as her MOH and photographer, but since that’s not really an option, we’re hiring another talented and capable photographer to take care of everything from start to finish that day. I’m thrilled that West Star Photography is going to be present to capture such a beautiful and special day for my sister and family and I’m glad I get to enjoy her special day with everyone I care about rather than working.

The other questions I’ve had people ask me frequently is “How are you going to be able to give it up for a day?” The answer is: easily. Very, very easily. I absolutely love being a wedding photographer, I love the process. I think I have the greatest job in the whole word, but “job” is the keyword here. Weddings are my job, and I don’t want to work on this one day in my life when I get to stand beside my best friend and sister as she marries the love of her life. Being present in that moment is much more valuable to me than trying to juggle two important roles in my sister’s wedding. I want to be fully there for her as her sister and maid of honor.


Although we are often mistaken for twins, I am Cristin’s older sister. People seem to always seem shocked by how well we get along. But that is because she is without a doubt one of my best friends. When Cristin joined track in the 7th grade and I was a junior in high school, we shared coaches and track practice each day. We would talk almost every day during practice. One of my teammates came up to me and said, “I don’t know how you and your little sister get along so well! Don’t get me wrong, I love my sister, but I cannot stand her sometimes.” It made me a little sad at the time to think there really were sisters out there who didn’t have a relationship like Cristin and me. I like how we’re different enough to be our own people but we also share many of the same interests.  

Knowing all of that, I guess it shouldn’t be a shock that I had a hand in introducing Cristin to Tav. Tav and I shared a mutual friend who thought he would be a great fit for my sister. I had met Tav once, during homecoming festivities at Pittsburg State University. After hanging out with Tav for one evening, I completely agreed, Cristin and Tav had to meet. Blind dates rarely go well, but after an uncomfortable meal at Olive Garden and seeing Deadpool (which, by the way, is not an ideal first date movie with someone you met 3 hours ago… sorry, guys.) Cristin and Tav stayed up talking until 2 am and went to breakfast the next morning.

I’ve had more insight on this relationship than with my other couples. Cristin and Tav have grown so much in two years between graduations, new jobs, and life. Cristin, I’m so happy you’ve found your best friend and life partner. Tav, I’m really excited to have another brother in less than a year, and I’m glad that you’re my birthday buddy! (Fun fact: Tav and I share the same birthday!)

This was also the most involved engagement session I’ve ever been a part of. Cristin and Tav really are a great fit because they both HATE shopping…

And they both have me to do their shopping for them…

I can’t complain though, the shopping trip was actually a blast! I mean, what isn’t great about dressing up your clients?


Tav is from the Fort Scott, Kansas area, and we decided that there were many good locations we all liked so that’s where the session took place. Our first stop was Dill Farms. Another friend of mine, who is also a photographer owns a cute little farm outside of Fort Scott with these beautiful, rustic white barns. I was so excited to use these for Cristin and Tav, because Cristin and I grew up on a farm, so it was sweet to have some images taken in familiar country scenery.


I asked Tav why he was excited to marry my sister, and his answer is on this Instagram caption.


Second stop was downtown Fort Scott. I honestly just liked their outfits by themselves but I had no idea how amazing they would look in the downtown scenery!


Third stop, the historic fort. The grounds are so beautifully kept here and the late 1800’s style buildings were just so gorgeous.


As promised, I told you I would let you all know how I got that genuine laugh out of Cristin. In between takes, Tav’s mom took us all out to lunch. We were sitting in a BBQ joint and looking over our menus. Suddenly Tav asks, “Is anyone else hearing this song?” Honestly, I wasn’t but my focus shifted to the “music”. A less than artistic song was being played over the intercom of what sounded like a chain-smoking man and woman were singing “you can go to hell” to each other over, and over, and over again. Once you heard it you couldn’t unhear it. So after enduring that for a few more minutes and having a good chuckle we went back to glancing over our menus.

I think by now you know where this is going…

Let me clarify by saying that Tav and Cristin are incredibly kind to one other with their words and conduct, so this was out of the norm for both of them. I also have a pretty good handle on my sister’s sense of humor and I was about 99.9% sure she would think the scenario I was setting up would be hilarious. (So if you’re a photographer reading this blog, I highly recommend NOT using this with just any other client.)

I pulled Tav over to the side so Cristin couldn’t hear the instructions I was giving him I said,  “I want you to stand behind her and then give her a hug and then I want you to whisper ‘you can go to hell’ in her ear.”

The plan worked as both Cristin and Tav erupted into genuine laughter at the ridiculousness of what he had just said.


Cristin and Tav, thank you for sharing such a fun afternoon with me, I’m delighted that that day is a fun memory that we’ll have forever! I’m also euphoric about the fact that I’ll get to enjoy your wedding with the both of you! There’s not a single doubt in my mind that Kim is going to do an amazing job capturing the special moments at your wedding.


I’m glad you’ve found the greatest love, best friend, and life partner in your relationship with each other! Congratulations and thank you for asking me to be you MOH, I’m excited for all the fun things to come in the year ahead as we plan for your wedding!





  1. How did you meet your partner? My sister convinced me accepting his friend request on facebook was a good idea. Then she set us up on a date before we had even met in person.

  2. What first brought you two together? (i.e., marching band, church, friendship, a sport) Knowing Caitlin

  3. Is there anything special about your first date, kiss, or “I love you”? Not really, but soon after Tav asked me to be his girlfriend, he explained to me how our relationship was not going to be like anyone else’s so there would never be any need to try to compare ourselves to other people. He also said our relationship was going to be between the two of us and God and I thought, wow you don’t hear that every day. Then with the whole “I love you” thing, we both knew for quite awhile we loved each other, we just tried to see who would say it first. It was Tav by the way.

  4. What are your favorites? (Food, activities, songs, shows, movies, etc.)

a. Our favorite foods have to be mac and cheese from The Painted Horse, Chick-fil-A and pizza from Hideaway. Oh, and McAlister’s.

b. Activities- going on walks, working to help our families with projects, playing card/board games

c. Songs- Tav always ends up singing For the Longest Time or Uptown Girl by Billy Joel for some reason. Your Man by Josh Turner is another one that is usually stuck in his head. Between the two of us, song selection can be pretty random.

d. Shows- We both like The Office and we have both kept up with Riverdale

e. Movies- Not Deadpool *eye roll* I really don’t know, we don’t watch that many movies

  1. Do you have any pets? Not together

  2. Do you have any children? Nope!

  3. What are your plans as a couple? To trust in God’s guidance for our upcoming future together.

  4. What makes your relationship unique? We are honestly each other’s best friends and we do a good job of working through our problems and keeping each other accountable.

  5. What is a favorite memory you have together? When Tav asked me to marry him. I hope I never forget how surprised I was or how happy I felt!

  6. Why did you decide to get married? I knew Tav was the person who was going to bring me closer to Christ through a marriage and vice versa. There also isn’t anyone else I could ever picture myself marrying after knowing Tav.

  7. Where are you getting married? Cedar Tree Barn in Parsons, KS

  8. What are you most excited for in this next phase of life? I think mostly seeing how much we will grow together. I think we make a good team right now, but I am excited to see how much we can accomplish as a couple. It’s going to be a fun time for sure!

  9. Is there anything else you would like us to know about you? You know us pretty well, lol. BUT, I will say I still get just as excited to see Tav now (and maybe more) as I did when we first started dating. He’s the coolest, and I don’t know what I did to deserve his kind-hearted, goofy self.