The very second I got wind my dear friends Anna and Ben had chosen Nancy Ray for their Raleigh engagement session, I knew something sweet was right around the corner. She captures raw, honest-to-goodness love in a way only few can, and today we’ve got the photos to prove it. From hand-in-hand strolling to coffee shop cozying, these two couldn’t be cuter if they tried. Congrats, lovers!

From Nancy Ray… I just couldn’t stop smiling after I spent the morning with Anna and Ben. They are joyful people who love one another deeply. One of my very favorite things about Anna and Ben is how I can see that they are really good friends – they laugh together, they genuinely care for one another, they aren’t afraid to show affection or even poke fun at one another. Most of all, they are kind with their words and actions. And their style? I can’t stand how adorable they are together! His glasses + her high waisted shorts were just too adorable.

From Anna… Let me start off by saying that if anyone is looking for a photographer in the Raleigh, North Carolina area, look no further than Nancy Ray Photography. From the moment Ben and I saw her work we were captured by the beauty and character in her photographs. When we finally met her, all over again, we fell in love with her sweet personality and the genuine joy she finds in working with couple like us, who are sharing one of our most intimate, personal moments of our life with her. Nancy Ray is great. I will continue to sing her praises to anyone who asks.

When Ben and I arrived at Joule (a wonderful coffee shop in Downtown Raleigh. Delicious southern cooking, Counter Culture coffee, the whole shebang) we were a bit disheveled. Ben had just stepped off the plane from a 6 AM flight from Boston and wasn’t quite prepared for his close up, as Marilyn would say. It was also about 45 degrees outside (maybe it’s an exaggeration, but it felt that cold) and I had felt this intense commitment to my high-waisted shorts that could not be sacrificed. My own mother convinced had to convince me to grab my coat on the way out the door (“just because you live in the

Northeast doesn’t mean Southern 50 degree isn’t cold!”). I’m giving you a little background to set up the story, because this shoot, like most things with Ben and I, was a little chaotic heading into but turned out to be a wonderful moment for the two of us, and we have the pictures to prove it!

Ben and I met in Boston, MA shortly after I had moved there in 2011. After being friends, confidents, partners for two years, we started dating in the fall of 2012. During the past two years we’ve run the whole gamut, we’ve been crazy in love, we’ve taken breaks. We’ve have beautiful summer days and moments interrupted by bombs on Boylston St. Lots of couples probably would have given up, but Ben fought for me, he fought for us, and for that I am eternally grateful.

The night we got engaged is the best story I have to capture our relationship. The short version starts with us petting reindeer at a Christmas tree farm on the North Shore, driving two hours to a deserted “beach” (read: immense abyss of darkness) to catch the sunset (which by 4:00 PM we’d missed since this was Massachusetts in December). After absolutely refusing to get out of the car we made our way to dinner at the Land Ho! Restaurant which was so full of crotchety old lobstermen we felt like everyone was staring at us the throughout our dinner. By this time Ben was out of sorts. He was sweaty and refused to talk to me because he was so upset. Obviously, his actions lead to a huge fight between us and we ended up not talking to each other the whole drive home.

It was 1 AM when we made it back to Boston. At this point we were both exhausted, I was exhausted from asking what was up with Ben, and he was tired from me pestering him. He made an unexpected detour to South Boston’s Fort Point Channel. Asking me to get out of the car and go for a walk I wasn’t completely sure if he was going to leave me there to find my own way home or if he was going to propose. The night was enchanting; all there was to see was water, brick and the steel of the skyline that form the city we both love so much. When you are standing by the water you feel a connection with history, with the forefathers of the revolution who stood in the same spot 200 some years ago. This was the spot where Ben and I had one of our first dates, and this was the spot he had chosen to ask me to marry him, some 200 dates later. I turned around from looking at the skyline and he was down on one knee saying all of these sweet words that I can’t remember and yet at the same time remember so vividly.

In that moment I know I had a choice to make. It was active decision of choosing this man for all of his faults and all of the wonderful things about him. I could have said no, but the prospect of doing life without him seemed burdensome. He was the one I wanted beside me, and I was certain of it. I said yes that night and in two short weeks we are going to be married. I am incredibly thankful for our relationship and the short time I’ve had here to tell our story!

Photography: Nancy Ray | Film Lab: Indie Film Lab

These Vendors are members of our Little Black Book.
For membership information, click here
Nancy Ray Photography

VIEW PORTFOLIO