Engagement sessions are such a blessing, for and beyond their results: they are an incredible chance to not only spend time with your photographer before the rush of the big day, but also serve as a prelude to the beauty that lies ahead. They meet you in your in-between and wriggle out all the jitters, and soon you’re left with an event that’s special all on its own! When Mary Liz and her love, Clay, set out to document their engagement with photographer Avery Earl, they knew they wanted to make their adventure just as thoughtful and intentional as their nuptials to come. With each other, a church, and a very special Mustang, I’d say they accomplished a little magic!
A word from photographer Avery Earl:
“Mary Liz and Clay are the type of couple that you meet in your favorite story. They’re kind, compassionate, considerate, and entirely in love. For their engagement session they wanted to sprinkle as much as they could into who they are as a couple. As a result, they brought Clay’s father’s Black 69′ Mustang and picked a location that Clay’s father helped design (The Church their wedding will be held at).
On one of their first dates Clay decided to drive his father’s mustang to pick Mary Liz up, hoping that it would make the drive. He drove the mustang all the way from Fort Wort, TX to Austin, TX and with only 2 miles till her house the mustang broke down on the side of the ride, which resulted in Mary Liz having to pick him up for the date.
Mary Liz and Clay are the kind of couple that run after one another and won’t let go. Their dedicated to one another and all of those that they love. When they love, they love wholeheartedly. As their wedding photographer, I know that this is a couple that will go the distance and have a love that will last a lifetime – even when the other needs a little help being picked up off the side of the road. They’re the kind of couple that make what I do the greatest joy and honor.”
Love notes from the couple, Mary Liz & Clay:
How did you two meet? What were your first impressions of one another?
Mary Liz: “We met in uptown Dallas and I went up to Clay and told him he looked like Luke Bryan (this was 4 years ago when I was in college) and Clay went along with it all night. He joked about writing a song about me and his buddy being is body guard and manager. We were both smitten by the other and we went to coffee together the next morning since both of us were dragged out to uptown Dallas.”
Any special ways you incorporated your family into your wedding day?
Mary Liz: “Clay’s father passed in June 2015 and was a project manager at Linbeck, which is the company that constructed most of downtown Fort Worth. We wanted to feel his father’s presence and honor him on our wedding day so we had our ceremony at Christ Chapel, which was one of his father’s favorite projects he worked on. His father also worked on the City Club of Fort Worth and the Worthington hotel, which is also where we celebrated our wedding with our guests.”
What was your favorite part about planning your wedding?
“We loved interacting with everyone involved in our wedding day! The cake tasting, the dance lessons, the photographer and engagement shoots, meeting our videographer, our wedding coordinator/florist, food and drink tasting, and crafting were all such special moments!”
If you had one piece of advice for other couples, what would it be?
“Go to the courthouse! Partially kidding, but planning a wedding with a 6 month time frame and demanding jobs was quite challenging and little room for error. We lucked out with everyone involved in our special day but our google sheets also saved the day in many instances. We are going to publish our google sheet into a wedding planning kit for newly engaged couples to help couples save time (and money)! More to come on that!”
Describe a hurdle you had to overcome in your relationship or during your wedding planning.
Mary Liz: “We dated long distance for 2 years; Clay moved to Detroit and I moved to New York City right after meeting each other in Dallas. We both had jobs already lined up in those cities and decided we wanted to pursue a relationship despite the distance. It was fun but progressively got harder to see each other and some devastating life events happened so we both decided to move back home to Texas. Clay moved to Fort Worth close to work and family, and I moved to Dallas where my best friends from college lived. Within days of moving to Dallas, Clay was laid off from his job. This caused quite a big (marriage) hurdle to jump, but it was all part of God’s plan. We knew that God’s plan is far greater than ours, but when in the ‘sharpening’ process, it’s not always painless. God worked on both of our hearts during this time and we were made stronger and more equipped from it. Months after Clay found his new (and really awesome) job, we got engaged! Once we started wedding planning, everything kind of fell into place. We were so fortunate and we really lucked out with everyone that was involved! Every person we met along the way was spectacular and we loved how everything turned out!”
photographer: Avery Earl / venue: Christ Chapel Bible Church / dress boutique: Neiman Marcus / plum dress: Badgley Mischka / gold dress: Aiden Mattox / hair + makeup artist: Haylee Purdy / men’s formalwear: Men’s Wearhouse / film lab: PhotoVision