Melissa is one sweet-but-badass lady. You know those big military cargo planes? The C-17s? The cockpit of one of those bad boys is her "office." And Ryan? He's a meteorologist . . . and Special Ops guy who does all kinds of cool stuff. (Well, I'm assuming it's cool stuff but he can't really talk about it in detail though. It's that kind of cool stuff.) They've been together since 2005 but because of the many deployments that come with a military career, the two didn't even live in the same state until 2012. Seven years of long distance. Seven years of long, late-night phone calls and missed dinners together. Of sleeping alone and dozing off to thoughts of your loved one, hundreds of miles away and dozing off to thoughts of you. Needless to say, these two are fierce, courageous, loyal, strong, and all-around good people.
Ryan proposed in the summer of 2011. The two still weren't living together quite yet, but there was a light at the end of the tunnel. About a year later, they moved to Washington together. Finally! To celebrate, Melissa planned a weekend getaway to Yosemite for the couple to relax and be together. The beauty and peacefulness of Yosemite called to these two nature lovers. They decided then and there to have their wedding in Yosemite, too. A few months later, Melissa & Ryan made the trip down from Washington again to cement some final wedding planning details. We decided that would be the perfect opportunity for their engagement session as well, so I drove up to meet them for an evening of photos in Yosemite Valley. Half Dome was shining brightly in the setting sun but nothing could top the glow of Melissa's smile, which basically never left her face as long as Ryan was by her side.