What a joy it was to photograph in one of my favorite parts of the country with the absolute sweetest couple! Katelyn and Freddy met up with me at the beach across from Whalehead Club in Corolla, North Carolina. Their sun kissed golden hour OBX engagement session was AMAZING. I am so excited to be able to serve this incredible couple and to show you these bright and beautiful images!
So let me begin by sharing their story in Katelyn’s words:
“Freddy and I met during the first week of orientation at William & Mary, where we both attended college. He had been on campus for less than a week, while I had been there for almost a month since I was there early for field hockey pre-season training. Having been already settled in, my roommate, who was from Richmond, organized a lunch with one of her guy friends (Tripp), who she knew from home and who happened to live in our dorm building. My roommate brought me and two of our other freshman teammates (Erin and Katherine). Tripp brought 3 guys as well: Charlie (his roommate) and Freddy and Mac (who were both roommates).
We walked from our dorm on a Monday afternoon, Aug 25th, 2014, to the Crust, which was a restaurant bar that had good pizza on the other side of campus. On the way there, I walked and met the guys and ended up walking alongside Freddy most of the way (who I found to be particularly cute). We had a fun time talking and ended up sitting next to each other at the restaurant, where we sat outdoors on the patio. I ordered a BBQ chicken pizza which was delicious. For some reason, Freddy didn’t order anything for lunch, so I ended up sharing some with him. We had a fun time talking over lunch which kicked off the beginning of our friendship.
After that lunch, Freddy and I would meet up more and more frequently over the next several weeks. Oftentimes, I needed to print something for class and would come to his room since he had a printer. Or, he would text me because he needed help with calculus, which I had taken in high school and liked. At some point, we started going to breakfast every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday together before our 9am classes that were in the same area on campus. We would ride our bikes over to the dining hall together on the other side of campus (I often would have to call or text or go knock on his door when he was frequently running late and had overslept – he thanks me now for his spectacular attendance to these early morning college classes freshman fall while he was rushing a fraternity).
Freddy ultimately ended up pledging for Kappa Sigma, who held events where we spent the majority of our college social lives including countless date parties (one of which was our first date). At the ‘fall formal’ retreat in Charlottesville, we started ‘officially dating’ on 11/15/2014 (after a friend asked Freddy ‘why in the world haven’t you asked her out yet?!’). We had so much fun through the rest of college, meeting some of our lifelong friends, enjoying each other’s company at every social event we could make it to, and also studying in some classes together.
After college, we both moved up to the NoVA/DC area. Freddy got a job in finance and I began medical school. One of my favorite things about our relationship is that we always make time for adventure no matter how busy we are. We both love traveling together and really any activity outdoors. One vacation spot we have been extremely lucky to frequent is Corolla, NC. This became a special place for the two of us, which I particularly loved sharing with him as I visited there most summers during my childhood.
Six and a half years after we met, Freddy proposed on May 3rd, 2021 at the Whalehead Club in Corolla, NC. It was a special night mixed with many elements that were very “us”: Freddy had been working all day while I was in virtual classes. We had made a plan to bike over to watch the sunset at the Whalehead Club that evening as well as take some pictures with Freddy’s new camera. At about 5pm or so, he was trying to wrap up work as quickly as possible and asked if I wanted to go on a quick run before we headed there. Me, always worried about planning, suggested it might be a squeeze, but that it would be good to workout, so I agreed.
While on our run, he mentioned that we could wear nice clothes for the pictures so we made a plan for me to switch his nice shirt from the wash to the dryer and for me to get showered and ready, all while he got ready and ran to the grocery store for some last minute happy hour snacks. We managed to hop on our bikes and get over there to set up a picnic spot just as the sun was starting to set. Unfortunately, some clouds rolled over and it began to lightly rain, but it was warm out so we just covered up our things and toughened it out. The beauty of the rain was that it cleared out the area, so it was just us on the small peninsula, and it left behind a beautiful sunset.
Freddy set up his tripod camera for us to take some pictures in front of the sunset overlooking the sound. He cleverly (and sneakily) managed to set the camera to an endless automatic timer that took a picture per second. In the middle of this stream of photos of us, he got down on one knee and asked me to marry him. I was so excited and initially couldn’t believe it, but then realized how imperfectly perfect the night he had laid out for our engagement, it was beautiful. We spent the rest of the night celebrating, biking home with a beach towel as a tow rope since one of the bike’s chains broke, and calling family and friends to share the exciting news.”
And now in Freddy’s words:
“I met Katelyn on my fourth day of freshman year at William & Mary. Eight freshmen had met for lunch at ‘the Crust’, with all but Katelyn’s roommate and the guy who lived across the hall from me needing introductions. Afterwards, we took a leisurely stroll through Colonial Williamsburg while trying to think of something interesting to say to each person before an awkward silence would inevitably ensue.
I must not have encountered any of these (or at least the fewest) walking next to the slightly nerdy, seemingly fun, and exceptionally cute one named Katelyn. She also seemed to like my charming conversation, as it didn’t appear that she longed to find out much about the others either – we hit it off. With her busy field hockey schedule, and me trying to decide which group at school I wanted to drink beer with for the next four years, it left little time for our circles to cross paths in the early weeks of college. That is until I started struggling in calculus class and was told Katelyn would be more than willing to help. My printer also turned out to be a very valuable wingman with Katelyn from the hall downstairs.
We found out we had a 9 AM class that was near each other, and I made it on time every single class. Every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, Katelyn would call me from the bike racks outside our building and wake me up after oversleeping my alarm; if I didn’t respond she would have to tip toe past my roommate to wake me. Teeth, hat, clothes, apologize for being late, then bike to breakfast. Even though I was late every time and tired every morning, the charming conversation I brought must have still been working, since after all of this, she kept calling / nudging me awake through the end of the semester.
Just over six and a half years after freshmen orientation, I realized that I couldn’t keep Katelyn waiting any longer. We had spent most of the spring and fall of 2020 in Corolla, and as the place that Katelyn had grown up visiting since before she can remember, and now the place that we have visited countless times together since – it had to be here. During another three-week stint at the beach in April & May of 2021, we had a day between our friends visiting, named holidays over the next two days, and family coming back for the following weekend. Things were planned, but not to any degree of accuracy, as doing so would be impossible without raising suspicion.
However, I had three things going in my favor: 1) we have had bike-to sunset happy hours at the Whalehead Club in the past, and after spending a week with friends and no time alone, I had planted a seed that a similar event would be fun once our friends left the beach, 2) this plan resonated with Katelyn, so much in fact that she was eager enough to be reminding me of our plans to go that evening, and 3) during the winter, I had purchased a camera and had been extremely eager to use it to take pictures of anything and everything, and had effectively de-sensitized Katelyn to me taking pictures of everything, but her in particular. With wanting to try out my new camera to take sunset pictures, Katelyn was putting on a cute outfit without any persuading.
After biking to the small peninsula on the sound in a light drizzle, Katelyn was hopeful the weather would clear up by the time the sun was going down – I was desperately begging it to. Even after shielding our belongings through a bit more rain than was planned for, the clouds did clear, and we had the sunset we hoped for. I set up the tripod and we took some silly pictures as we figured out the lighting. I then was able to awkwardly slip the ring box in my back pocket while Katelyn pretended to spot the lighthouse in the distance. Katelyn had asked if we should take some more funny pictures – I said no. Instead, I asked her what I had in mind – she said yes.
Congratulations Katelyn and Freddy on your engagement and I cannot wait to document your Big Day next year! It was so great to be able to capture your engagement session at Whalehead Club! Keep scrolling for more images from their OBX engagement session!
Michelle with Lieb Photographic is a Virginia and USA destination wedding photographer (and OBX beach wedding photographer!) If you’d like to view more lovely engagement sessions, visit the engagement session gallery.