Alexis & Paul's Winter Engagement Session | Hamilton College, Clinton, NY

Alexis and Paul got engaged in an adventurous way... Paul surprised Alexis by being at the top of a mountain she was hiking and proposing there! So it was only fitting that we went on a little bit of an adventure for their engagement session. Getting caught in nearly a blizzard did the trick! We had fun frolicking through the snow at Hamilton College in Clinton, NY and we were in out of the buildings a few times when the snow turned into a near white out! They were good sports through it all and we had a great time... I always love a couple that's down for an adventure! I can't wait for their wedding this fall!

I enjoyed getting to know more about Alexis & Paul and learning about their love story!

Here's what I learned...

How did you meet?

Paul: Since we were in the same school, we were aware of each other for many years - especially having been in orchestra together. How we finally got to talking - it's a bit of a long story - but the important part was that I was just trying to be a genuinely nice person in Alexis' time of need. She was going through a bit of a rough patch and I just wanted to be someone there to support her. I never expected it to turn into anything, and considering it actually did made it all that more meaningful. As we talked more and more, it was clear the chemistry was there. It's super cliché, but love truly finds you when you are not looking for it.

Alexis: I can't really remember when we first officially met, but I do know that music is something that brought us together and has been an important part our relationship ever since. We played in the same orchestra since middle school, but at that time I just knew Paul as the goofy kid across the room who always seemed to be making people laugh. When we started getting to know each other in high school, I started to see just how caring Paul is. He remembers the little things and will go out of his way to make someone's day brighter. I'll always remember the one morning in high school (before we were "officially" dating), I sent him a text telling him I didn't feel great and had a sore throat. Paul was already out at the bus stop, but he ran back inside his house to grab a bag of cough drops to give to me when we met up at school that morning. I know it seems silly, but that was one of those moments I really knew he was something special.

What was your first date?

Paul & Alexis: Oh boy - this was 2009 - not many details remain vivid. We don't even recall the exact date - but it was the night of the Mr. CNS competition where students and teachers from our school put on a talent show of sorts. Looking back, it was not terribly exciting - but we enjoyed each other's company. Our former biology teacher (though we did not have him at the same time) ended up winning.

Do you have a favorite date you've ever been on together?

Alexis: It's difficult to pick a favorite date. With life being so busy, I truly do value all the moments we have together, regardless of where we are or what we're doing. However, if I had to pick one, I would say it's got to be the "Oceans and Autos" event we went to at the Georgia Aquarium in 2016. I stumbled upon this event when we were living in South Carolina and knew we HAD to go. I have a passion for marine life (especially sharks), and Paul loves cars. A car show taking place inside the largest Aquarium in the country was basically an event made for us. It was well worth the trip and was so cool to be able to share our passions with each other all in one place. Paul got to show me fancy cars as I told him random facts about the whale sharks swimming by in the background.

Paul: In the Summer of 2010, we went to the NYS fair together one day. We started many traditions that year - such as the lotto ticket tent. Obviously we have not hit it big yet - maybe someday! On the midway, we played a ton of games - I needed to win a stuffed something for Alexis. I spent way too much money, and in the end I did not technically win. It was the squirt gun bullseye game where you shoot water into the hole and whoever fills it first wins. The carny watched as I precisely hit the spot as the game started which was the trick to the game. Somehow, mine did not register and someone else won. I did get a prize though because even the carny knew I got ripped! It was a pity prize - but a prize nonetheless! The $40 stuffed gorilla that probably cost $0.50 to make.

Alexis, What made you fall in love with Paul? What do you love most about him?

Alexis: I absolutely love all of the little things Paul does to show how much he cares. The best part is that they always come when I least expect them, or when I need them most. It could be something as simple little notes hidden in random places, or a heart carved into the sandwich I bring for lunch. Those little day to day things never fail to put a smile on my face. They truly are the best.

Paul, What made you fall in love with Alexis? What do you love most about her?

Paul: I absolutely admire her drive in life. She is so passionate about what she does - and smart about doing it. She is the smarter one in the relationship - and I am not afraid to admit it. She keeps me grounded, gives me purpose, and has made me such a better person. And perhaps most importantly, she loves food!

How did you get engaged? Tell me the whole story!!

Paul: In February 2018, I asked my dad to 'talk me out' of what I wanted to do - knowing that if he couldn't, it was time. His reaction said it all (and I knew that would be his reaction anyways!). In April, I finally purchased the ring. It took a lot of restraint knowing I had the ring, but I had to be sure the day was absolutely perfect. Alexis is tough, and it is hard to get anything by her. I enlisted the help of her former college roommate, Nicole. In almost reverse psychology, I was able to get Nicole to convince Alexis to plan her own engagement without her even knowing - I knew on top of a mountain was the place. Fast forward to September 21, I headed to my parents for the evening, though I told Alexis with few details that I was heading to Connecticut for a car meet. I even hopped in the car and called her while at my parents acting as if I was on the Mass-Pike heading that way. So far, everything was falling into place. The next morning, I watched as Nicole and Alexis left the house on the security camera and knew it was time to head up - albeit in a different direction. I hopped in a different car she wouldn't recognize and headed north. Nicole also turned on a tracker on her phone, so I knew where they were at all times. They were hiking a triad of mountains, while I was waiting on the third one ready to go - dressed up with flowers and the ring of course. I got a very early start on the third mountain (Mt. Arab) and would spend quite a bit of time on that mountain that day. It was a beautiful day. I made friends with everyone heading up and down that day and I even saw my neighbors on the top of the mountain while I was waiting. To see these special neighbors who were like a second family to me at the top of this mountain and that very day - well everything happens for a reason. I knew this was another sign and I was eager to see Alexis. Shortly, Nicole and Alexis made their way up - and almost missed me as there were a couple overlooks. Nicole steered her in the right direction and BAM there I was. A confused Alexis came down as we hugged and I asked one of the most important questions ever. She said yes of course - and yes she cried. One of my favorite moments on one of the best days of my life.

Alexis: Several weeks prior, I was discussing plans to have my former college roommate, Nicole, come visit from Boston. Once we finalized the dates she would be coming to visit, we started talking about activities to plan for the weekend. Nicole does photography on the side and told me she wanted to go somewhere the leaves would be starting to change, as she was working on a photo project and wanted to capture some fall foliage. I LOVE the outdoors, hiking, and the mountains, so my mind immediately jumped to the Adirondacks. Nicole is not much of a hiker herself, but she was onboard with my suggestions. I didn't think much of it, because I knew she wanted to get some unique photos, and I was just excited to be able to take her on some hikes! Little did I know, Paul and Nicole already had a plan put together, and he knew Nicole would lead me to believe I was actually the one planning this whole trip. As the weekend approached, I remember being a little bummed that Paul wouldn't be able to see Nicole at all, because he was going to be in Connecticut that same weekend for a car show. Paul left that Friday- I even remember him calling me at one point while he was on the road and letting me know later that day when he had made it safe. On Saturday morning, Nicole and I made our way up to the Adirondacks. It was the most beautiful sunny day, and we had three mountains we were planning to hike. As I mentioned previously, Nicole isn't much of an outdoorsy person, but her dad sure is. Nicole's dad is very into hiking and camping, and he has always been interested in hearing about my own hiking adventures. Therefore, I wasn't the slightest bit surprised when Nicole told me she had our route mapped out on an app and she was sharing the location with her dad because he wanted to see the progress we were making on our journey. I had no idea at the time that the person actually checking in on our location was Paul, and that Nicole had changed Paul's contact info to her dad's name and photo. As we hiked the first couple mountains, Nicole was taking pictures along the way, and I even took some of my own to send to Paul. Hours later, we reached the summit of our third and final mountain. We took in the views, and even climbed a fire tower that was located on the summit- it was absolutely beautiful. At this point, I was very satisfied with our day and was ready to head back down so we could get some dinner. However, Nicole was determined to find a specific lookout point on the mountain. After some trial and error, we found the little trail that led to a clearing. All of a sudden, I see Paul come from around the corner and said something along the lines of "It's about time you made it!" He was all dressed up and was holding flowers in his hand. I stood there for a second, frozen in shock. Paul was on the rock below with his arms stretched out and finally said "Well, aren't you going to come give me a hug?!" I went down to meet him with a hug. He then got down on one knee, said a few things that are honestly a blur to me at this point, and asked me to marry him. Of course I said yes- with a lot of tears in my eyes! Nicole was there with her camera to capture it all. I couldn't have imagined a more perfect day. It all felt like a dream, and I still get goosebumps when I really think about it.

I can't wait for Alexis & Paul's wedding coming up in September!

COPYRIGHT © REBECCA SHEETS PHOTOGRAPHY 2020 / UTICA, NY / PHONE: (315) 864-3115 / EMAIL: photos@rebeccasheets.com

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