Just like Austin, I knew Laura was one of a kind the first time we ever spoke. The way she spoke of Austin and their love for each other, their mutual obsession for their three fur babies, and her genuine kindness was enough to draw anyone in and have the perfect step brothers moment – “did we just become best friends?” Yup.
When we all met up for their engagement session, their connection was so evident and magnetic. It was obvious that Laura’s love for Austin was completely mirrored in the way he felt for her. He keeps her safe + loved, she keeps him calm and excited all at the same time.
Their proposal story was one for the books. On a day-climb to the top of Devil’s Tower, Austin secured the ring on a carabiner and prepared their route. He timed it perfectly with the sunset, just so they had reached the top and begun to enjoy the golden streaks paint the black hills, he bent a knee and asked Laura to be his. To which, Laura ecstatically accepted.
It was only fitting that we incorporate their love for climbing and proposal story into their engagement photos. Along a windy road in the Big Horns, Laura + Austin showed me their favorite parts of their home canyon, and how wonderful they are, both together and individually.
How did you guys meet? Who made the first move?
We met at the West Tensleep Lake trailhead over labor day weekend. I was on a solo backpacking trip to Cloud Peak with my two dogs and he was camping with his friends. After eating nothing but Mountain House for two days, the steak he fed me won me over! Three weeks later, after a day of climbing in the Black Hills together, he asked me if I would like to be in a relationship with him!
What was your first impression of him/her?
Austin: “She was a tough person who could handle herself. She had a sweet, welcoming voice…and a huge Cabela’s backpack! I figured she could use a beer and a good meal.”
Laura: “My dogs started to play with his border collie while he was deflating a paddle-board next to the water’s edge. I definitely thought he was handsome, and as soon as he started talking my confidence dissipated. He had this soothing, intelligent presence that paired over-the-top with his physical appearance! I had a schoolgirl-like crush almost immediately!”
How long have you guys been together?
We started dating on September 23, 2018. He popped the question after 9 months, so our wedding will be two months shy of two years together.
How did he pop the question?
His proposal was hands-down the most romantic and special day of my life. The day before, we spent time with our friends Jeff and Sarah and enjoyed the evening with a bonfire and s’mores. We started the day of the proposal at 4 AM with a biscuits-and-gravy breakfast made by Sarah before heading to Devil’s Tower to climb. It was a gorgeous summer day, and the climbing couldn’t have been better. About 3/4 of the way up, we were caught by a sudden rain/hail storm. Luckily, we were able to traverse over to a section where a broken pillar created a “cave” that protected us from the weather. We cracked open a beer, gave our feet a break from our climbing shoes, and enjoyed the short-lived storm from our dry vantage point. Once it cleared and the sun dried the rock a bit, we pushed on to the top of the route. Once we summited, I made an entry in the summit log and he walked around admiring the views (later I would learn he had walked away to pull the ring out of the backpack that I had carried up and to say a prayer before proposing). After I said yes, we laughed, cried, smiled, and enjoyed the beauty of nature as butterflies floated around us in a surreal moment frozen in time. It is worth noting that a previous time climbing the tower was the first place Austin told me he was falling in love with me. When I asked him later what would have happened if I had found the ring in the backpack during the climb, he said, “That’s why I told you that everything we would need for the day was in this pouch!”
Did you guys choose your ring together, or did he pick it out himself?
I had no idea he was going to propose! Over months of meticulous decision-making and collaboration with Garwood’s Jewelers in Fort Collins, CO, he designed the engagement ring and wedding band himself. Austin’s great-great-grandmother on his father’s side had a diamond watch that had been passed down through the generations. Austin incorporated the smaller diamonds from the watch into both bands. It is SO special to me because of the thought and time he put into it. I wasn’t the type of girl who knew what kind of ring I wanted one day, and I honestly couldn’t have designed it better myself!
What is your favorite thing about him/her?
Austin: “This is a trick question! Cassie asked me this question during our engagement shoot. I couldn’t answer it then, and I still can’t now. Everything. My favorite thing about her is everything that she is.”
Laura: “I love his soul. He is such a generous, kind, and Godly man. He puts the needs of others above his own and he is the most patient person I know. He has this calm demeanor and handles all situations in a thoughtful and purposeful way. I know it sounds cliche, but he makes me a better person.”
What is your favorite thing to do to relax together?
We both love cooking and eating, so what better way to relax than to combine those two activities?! Our idea of relaxation is going to turn us into a pizza…
Tell us about the best date you’ve had since you’ve being together.
Our relationship gives us the advantage of being adventure partners. Every outdoor activity; from rock and ice climbing to back-country snowboarding, and camping and fishing to mountain biking, every adventure is a date that is enhanced by one another’s presence (and that of our fur babies).
What are you most excited for on your wedding day?
We are both most excited to see our loved ones and friends that we don’t get to see often enough!
Any advice for brides currently planning their wedding out there?
Be true to yourself. Prioritize the aspects that are most important to you, but make sure to incorporate your partner in your decisions. Our photographer is the most important vendor because the pictures captured on our big day will be the tangible memories that will be passed down and reflected on for a lifetime. Choosing Cassie was the easiest decision in the whole planning process and we can’t imagine this experience without her!