Mari Catherine is one of my best friends in the whole world. When I met her, it was like friend at first sight. We were both in an Italian Class in Gilbert Hall at the University of Georgia (Go Dawgs!!) and I remember her sitting down, when it hit me. Not only is she super gorgeous, but I could just tell she had the sweetest spirit. I knew I wanted to be friends, and well, that we would be! Unsurprisingly, we did totally hit off and had a lot of fun speaking Italian and studying together. Our shared love of Italian culture and the language (she actually is partly Italian! Me? Not so much. Ha!) was an easy first way to bond, but since then we've shared about roommates, boyfriends, careers, academics, trials, joys, etc. She's a chosen sister to me, which, although I don't HAVE a sister by blood, seems to me to be the best kind ;) She's amazing and we're so fortunate to have shared so much of our lives, the good and the bad, together.
At one point in our friendship, we sat on the very bench you see them on now (okay, it was the one opposite but still - more images lower down) and were discussing who she should be with. She kept telling me about this incredible guy, who got my vote every time, hands down - even though I didn't know him; I was basing my vote on what and how she was telling me. Well, as we were discussing how great this guy was, he walked up to us.
"Robby?!" I exclaimed. "Hawley?!" he responded with surprise. As we saw each other, we realized we'd met earlier through living in the Honor students dorms and he remembered me because my birthday was just a few days after move-in my freshman year and I received more packages than I ever had in my life for my birthday. With all of the packages arriving with my peculiar first name, he couldn't forget it and I couldn't forget him because he was the happiest, funniest mail guy ever.
Seeing him as he walked up felt like a huge sign, however you want to describe it. We already thought he was the guy for Mari Catherine, and then there he was, showing up and being there for her even when he didn't know what we were up to... So it was a tremendous gift for me to be able to be by her side as they dated, and also when they wed.
Now, I have the immense privilege and joy of having captured this beautiful, miraculous time of their lives as they await the coming of their baby boy. It's extra fun to be able to share these images as I'm reminded that the way Mari Catherine told me that she was expecting was by asking if I was available for a newborn photography session this fall... Ha! I was totally shocked, stunned and overwhelmed with happiness.
Mari Catherine is a radiant mama to be, as you can see, and she is so breathtakingly beautiful that it is hard for me to narrow down the selection to just a few to share. I'm happy that's the case though, because being with them both is so fun and effortless for me that I was nervous - because it's usually easier for me if I am 100% photographer during a session, and not trying to fulfill another role at the same time. But with them, I will always be 100% friend - so I was going at about 200% I guess ;) Maybe that's why the images are so hard to narrow down?!
Anywho, Robby offered to take a picture of Mari Catherine and me, and I'm so grateful he did. So, to start us off I'll share those and give you a glimpse into our friendship, and their start... before sharing the rest of their gorgeous images.
And yes, I did include an image of my "big, ugly laugh" as they say - because it's very me. And I laugh a lot with these two. And I can laugh at myself, too ;)
Without further ado, I share with you the gorgeous images of Mari Catherine + Robby as they eagerly and with great joy await their precious baby boy, currently known as "Baby Tater". I love how you can visibly see their love for one another and also their love for this baby on the way. Mari Catherine rocks at being pregnant... Can you believe she's 30 weeks along here?!
Can't wait to meet your baby in the next few months! Love you both so much.