A romantic Montana engagement showcasing breathtaking scenery with appearances from multiple types of wildlife, this session incorporated nature in such a beautiful way. Stunning light poured in & became softer as the evening continued on, creating magical portraits highlighting Alix & Jarell’s love so well!
How did you meet? We met online. His profile said “no cats” (I have two), but I thought everything else about him was perfect – he seemed fun, adventurous, smart, and very handsome – so I pretended to not see that part… and I’m really glad I did! I was so nervous for our first date. We were walking from opposite directions and ended up getting to the bar at the exact same time, so I saw him approaching. He was wearing this dark blue suit and looked fantastic! He gave me his amazing smile and my nerves completely dissipated. I was hooked!! We only intended to grab some drinks at happy hour but had such a great time and clicked so well that we ended up heading to another restaurant for dinner and talking late into the night. We made plans to go skiing/snowboarding together the next day. I haven’t left his side since!
When deciding where to do their engagement session, Alix and Jarell really wanted to keep the location aligned with a few things they loved about Montana: the mountains, the water, and a beautiful sunset. Alix also loves wildlife, so we landed on the idea of exploring Ninepipes Wildlife Refuge and the National Bison Range in the Flathead Valley, just a few miles from their wedding venue. We couldn’t have asked for a more enjoyable evening. Everything lined up perfectly for us to take our time, see all kinds of wildlife (bison, grasshoppers, birds, deer, elk, and even a rattlesnake!), and soak up an incredible view of the Mission Mountains. There was no wildfire smoke – a rare thing for this time of year – and the temperatures were perfect. Alix and Jarell told me all about their engagement on a jetty under the starry skies of Mexico, their adventures traveling to Costa Rica and China, and what they are looking most forward to about their wedding next year… all while taking photos and soaking up one hell of a golden hour. When I asked them where they feel most at home together, Alex responded, “I feel most at home when I’m with Jarell. It doesn’t matter where we are; we could be at home on the couch watching TV or adventuring in a foreign country… Jarell makes me feel so comfortable.” -Stella Kelsie Photography
Tell us about the ring/band My ring is a beautiful bespoke engagement ring made by Jarell’s high school friend, Maggi Simpkins. Her work is ABSOLUTELY gorgeous. I went to medical school in New Orleans and fell in love with the city. A little piece of my heart will always be there. As a nod to this part of my life, Jarell had Maggi include a fleur de lis on the basket as well as an engraving on the inside of the band that only we know about.
What is your proposal story? From Alix – We were walking on a beach on Holbox (a small island off the coast of Mexico). It was an absolutely beautiful night and we were completely enjoying each other’s company. Jarell suggested that we walk out to the end of a jetty, so we made our way, occasionally skipping over missing boards, until we reached as far out as we could go. It was so perfect being underneath the moon and the stars, surrounded by the waves and each other and nothing else. And then Jarell got down on one knee and asked me to marry him and, in doing so, made me the happiest woman in the world! I was afraid to put the ring on until we got back to solid ground as the jetty was just a bit rickety in spots, so we went back to shore. One fun part of the story is that the day prior to our engagement, there was a giant storm that drenched the island in an insane amount of rain. Jarell and I had been exploring the beach and had stopped to grab a bite to eat when the storm hit. We weathered it out for a bit underneath a tent that had been lowered close to the ground until everything began to flood. We ran back to the apartment where we were staying, sloshing through knee-deep water and battling the wind and torrential downpour the entire time. We finally made it back in one piece, and part of me was honestly afraid the whole island was going to completely go under water and we would be washed out to sea, but we managed to keep our spirits up and ended up having a good time and nervously laughing it off. Jarell later told me that he almost proposed that evening because he loved how I took the whole thing in stride and, despite the storm, we made the best of things. I’m glad he waited another day, because his proposal was perfect 🙂
From Jarell – Alix captured most of the details, but I’ll add that the downpour the day before involved buildings collapsing. It was insane. And we still capped the day off with killer tacos! Also, the missing boards on the pier were not expected. Just glad I didn’t drop the ring – and even more glad she said yes!
Tell us about your engagement shoot outfits and accessories. Both of my dresses were from Nordstrom’s. The sundress is my fav! I wanted something flowy and light that didn’t distract from the beautiful scenery.