Meagan and Derrick are SO much FUN! We have had a blast from the very beginning when we photographed their engagement session. These two love to pick on each other, which is a lot like Chris and I, and they are so cute together! We have loved each time we have gotten to work with Meagan and Derrick and will miss not seeing them every once in a while! We really enjoyed getting to know them and photographing their journey to where they are today, husband and wife. Their wedding was at Lake Guntersville Lodge in Alabama and this venue and the environment surrounding the lodge itself is simply breathtaking! Each and every detail was absolutely perfect and their wedding and reception were both beautiful! Meagan and Derrick we are so glad you chose us as your wedding photographers and we hope to get to photograph you guys again in the future! Congratulations and we pray God blesses your marriage!
How did you first meet and what were your first thoughts/impressions of each other?
Meagan: We first met at work back in 2013 after I started working at Nissan. He says that he saw me on my first day when I was doing my orientation, but honestly I was oblivious. A few days later, I was working a job that required his help, and we ended up introducing ourselves and asking the basic “get-to-know” questions. I found out that he was from Lawrenceburg, TN, he was 20, and that he had been working there for a year. He asked me how old I was, and when I told him I was 23, he says that his first thought was that I would never be interested in him because he was younger than me. I could tell that he was shy, so I tried to make conversation light for a while. We eventually started making jokes with each other, and I could tell he was flirty with me, but I was determined to not make the first move. I was looking to move from Bellevue, and being from Alabama, I wasn’t very familiar with the surrounding areas so I was asking around work about different areas that would be good to move to. I asked Derrick where he lived and if he liked that area. When he told me he lived in some apartments across from MTSU, I told him I had a friend that I previously worked with that lived over that way. Coming to find out, that same group of my friends were also his friends that he hung out with a lot. I finally gave up that he would ever ask for my number, so I texted our mutual friend and asked her for his number. Knowing he didn’t have my number, I texted him “Hey!” When he replied “Who is this” my response was “Fine! If we’re not friends enough for you to have my number, I won’t text you again!” He looked up the (256) area code and knew it was me… My contact name in his phone was Alabama for the longest time 🙂 My work days were Wednesday-Saturday and his were Monday-Thursday… needless to say, Wednesdays and Thursdays soon became my favorite days to work because I knew that he would be there.
Derrick: The first time I ever saw Meagan we were both at work. I was driving around on my forklift and she was in the break room for her orientation. I had to do a brake check to make sure I wasn’t having night shift hallucinations. I’m not exaggerating when I say my heart skipped a beat. I laugh about it looking back, how she didn’t notice me staring at her every pass I made. I wanted to say hello more than anything but I was too shy. I didn’t know what she would say or do, but after a couple of nights passed by I finally decided that it was time to man up and at least say hello. She laughed and asked me my name and I asked for her’s. We made small talk to pass the night by and she asked how old I was and this is the part where I thought I’d blown it all. I told her I had just turned 20 only to find out she was 23. That didn’t phase her at all. Our love just grew stronger everyday.
Tell us about your first date!
Meagan: After asking me several times to go bowling or out to eat and me never going, Derrick asked me one day in casual conversation if I liked hockey. I told him I did, but I hadn’t been able to make it to a Preds games since moving to Tennessee. A couple weeks later he told me that he had bought Preds vs. Blackhawks tickets and wanted me to go with him. I figured I had tortured him enough, so I said I would love to go. I had to work that day, so I told him I would drive but he had to meet me at work at 5:00… 5:10 I had to call him because, of course, he was running late. On April 11, 2014, we had 2nd level, center seats to a sold out game that resulted in a home team win for the Preds. After the game, we met up with a couple of my friends that were downtown, and I was able to introduce Derrick to them. We just hung out and had a great time full of fun and laughs. Next thing we knew it was 3:00am!!! I had to be back at work at 6:30am and Derrick had drill in a few hours, too. Well…. I was late to work, and he was late to drill… but it was totally worth it! I consider that night my first true “date” ever, even though I was 23, because Derrick was the first guy who has ever went out of his way to plan a “date night,” surprise me, and ask me out, rather than it being mutually planned.
Derrick: I asked her almost every week if she would like to go out some time and every time I was shut down. So I asked her if she liked hockey and she told me yes. I finally took the opportunity and bought the two best tickets to a Preds game I could buy. I asked her and I knew she couldn’t say no after I bought the tickets. The plan was to meet her at work as soon as she got off. Of course I was late.. haha. We got to the game after it had already started, but we had a blast so I didn’t mind at all. At the end of the game she wanted to go to a bar that she worked at before Nissan. WE WERE THERE UNTIL 3 A.M. I had drill the next day and she had work. We were both late… But I wouldn’t change a single thing about that night for the world.
When did you first know he/she was the one? Was there something he/she did?
Meagan: As soon as he told me he was joining the National Guard and that he would be gone for 4 months! He told me that news, and I said “NOOOOOOO….” It was everything I could do to hold myself together and be supportive of him because I knew it was something he really wanted to do. I just knew that I would miss him. Of course, I thought the worst. I was afraid that I would never get to talk to him and that everything we had worked towards a relationship would just kind of dissipate. Before he left, I had about a month and a half to spend every second I could with him… and that’s what I did. Before he left, I worte my address down on an orange piece of paper (because that’s his favorite color, and I knew he would notice it), and I made him promise to write me while he was gone. On May 27, 2014, I met Derrick and his mom in Nashville, where he would be sent to Ft. Benning, GA for 4 months. We spent a couple hours laughing, hugging, reminiscing on how far we had come in such a short amount of time, and sharing animal crackers. Around noon, it was time for him to load up and leave. After a final kiss, it was time to say goodbye and just hope that he kept up his promise. That was on a Tuesday morning. By the weekend, I had already received a letter from him letting me know that he got there, but it was a temporary stay so he didn’t yet have a return address and he would write me when he got to the barracks and had an address I could write him back at. We wrote letters back and forth consistently every week. As soon as I would receive one of his letters, I immediately started writing a letter back to him. Checking the mail had never been so rewarding. One afternoon, late June, I was on my way to work. My phone rang, and when his name popped up, I couldn’t believe it!!! I answered it, and Derrick had 30 seconds to talk. It was sweet and short lived, but it was amazing to even be able to say hi and hear he was doing well. The letters continued and phone calls came rarely… but during this time is when we grew so incredibly close. I even overcame my fear of his reaction and told him that I loved him. I needed him to know. I’m pretty sure he probably cried a little in front of his Army buddies. By August, he was on his last stretch there, and they were being rewarded with more phone time.. at least a couple times a week for 30 or so minutes. It was a relief. Family day was August 1-3 , I didn’t have any info about it, but I knew I wanted to see him, and I knew that his family couldn’t go. I hadn’t heard from him in a few days and so I had already doubted I would get to go down for Family Day. That Thursday evening he called me and told me that Family Day was the next day so I instantly packed my bags, booked a hotel, and Google mapped the location. Early the next day, I took off to Ft. Benning. After a 5 hour drive, I arrived to meet a man who had already transformed so remarkably it made my jaw drop. I couldn’t believe it! I hardly recognized him, but I couldn’t have been more proud. I parked my car, ran up to him, and I’m pretty sure we hugged for like a minute and a half in the parking lot of the PX. That weekend was exactly what we needed. We were able to finally tell each other in person how we felt. That’s when I knew! We continued to write letters, and I sat back and wait for September 18, when he would graduate Basic Training and return home. I rode down with his family for graduation, and that day was one of the proudest, happiest days of my life. He was now a US Soldier, My Soldier. We still have every letter we sent each other. I even included one of them on our wedding day during our note exchange.
Derrick: I knew she was the one before I stepped onto the van to go to FT. Benning. I wanted to say it before I left, but once again I was too shy. I got to basic and we wrote letters back and forth every week. I knew that I wanted to marry her just because it drove me crazy to be away from her. She was my motivation to push myself at basic, so I knew she’d do the same thing in my everyday life. On family day she drove five hours just to see me for a total of about twenty hours. I told my mom that I wanted to propose to her when I got home so she gave me my grandmothers ring, but I’ll cover the rest in the next question.
Tell us all about the proposal!
Meagan: Everything moved so fast, but looking back, I wouldn’t have changed anything about it! We had both found exactly what we were looking for. He had already told his mom that he knew I was the one he was going to marry. I still have no idea how long it was in the planning, but it couldn’t have been very long. On September 20, 2014, we went to his mom’s house because we were meeting them for dinner. He had asked me where I wanted to go eat, and I wanted Japanese because it is my favorite! So we got to his mom’s, and he begged her to let him drive the Jeep, which she was hesitant about because that is her toy. On our way, we followed his family, and with the top off, we only stalled out once, but it was funny and as we held up traffic, we laughed. We sat at the hibachi grill, eating our soup and salad…I ate Derrick’s because he doesn’t like it (more for me). As we watched the cook engage us, he formed a heart in the rice, and I turned towards Derrick and was like “Look! That’s cute!” and continued watching him. Next thing I know, Derrick was down on one knee, tapping me on the shoulder, holding a ring box that contained his late grandmother’s ring (the same ring we are going to pass down to our child). I turned back towards him, and after he asked me, I was so surprised that my first reaction was “Are you serious!” I had absolutely no clue or idea that it was coming, but his whole family did, and they all had their cameras ready! It was truly an amazing moment. I was nervous, but excited nonetheless. The freaking out part didn’t really hit until all the wedding planning. We knew that we wanted to have a longer engagement, so we were in no big hurry to start planning right away. One night Derrick, a friend, and I were all hanging out asking each other random questions, and one of the questions I asked them was “With an unlimited amount of money, where would your dream wedding be,” and Derrick’s response was “Guntersville State Park Lodge” because he and his dad would go down there when he was a kid to fish, and he always thought it was beautiful out there. I was so shocked because I grew up just minutes from there, and I’ve always loved going out there. It was the perfect venue for our wedding, and I was determined to marry my dream man in his dream setting. On October 10, 2015 at 2:00pm, we did just that! It was far more perfect put into action than I could’ve ever imagined! Our wedding was nothing big and elaborate, but it was our dream, and I wouldn’t change anything!
Derrick: As I said in the previous answer my mom had given me my grandmother’s ring. I had never met her parents, but I still wanted their blessing so I gave them a call with a little help from her sister. I was sooooo nervous… But amazingly I got a yes from her father and her nannie. My mom had made dinner plans for us to go to Asuka which is a Japanese hibachi grill. The cook made a heart out of the rice and said “I believe someone here has an important question for someone special.” I scooted my chair back which made the loudest noise ever, I got down on one knee and had to get her attention and then I popped the question. Her first reaction was are you serious!?! It was a great day and I’ll never forget it for as long as I live.
What is the one thing you love most about each other?
Meagan: The thing I love most about Derrick is that he loves me for me. I have never had to be someone else to impress him. He treats me like a queen, which is far better than I deserve most of the time. He tells me I am beautiful everyday. He doesn’t have eyes for anyone else. I can say “Wow, that woman is so pretty.” and his response is ” Eh, not as pretty as you!”… just makes the heart feel good. He will go out of his way, and drop the world for me, even when I don’t expect him to. He always knows how to lighten the mood and make me laugh, even when I don’t want to. I think the best part, though, is that even when we argue, we always talk it out. We take it back to what caused the argument, and we learn and grow from it. We forgive, we never stay mad long, and we remember what brought us together in the first place.
Derrick: I love that she is so independent and crazy. haha. She is always trying to pick and poke at me. But I love her for who she is and that she is my pesty but loving wife!
Share with us something silly or quirky the other person does that is normally annoying or crazy, but makes you love them a bit more each time!
Meagan: Derrick is always silly, so it’s kind of hard to pick just one thing. He always talks with this funny lispy voice.. i don’t know how to describe it, but it always makes me laugh. The thing that he does that drives me nuts, but makes me realize that I really do love him, is he is an impulse buyer… and I’m not talking about the kind that decides in the checkout line that they want a candy bar. I call them his 1 week hobbies. When we got together, I had a dog, he had a dog, and he had a snake. Since then, he has bought 5 more snakes, countless fish, and an Argentine tegu. For about a week, he will be so interested and caught up in his new purchase, but then they just become a chore to feed and take care of. Also, he used to have a truck, but it was starting to have problems so he wanted to get a new car… but instead of researching and picking something that we truly wanted, he went out and got a VW GTI because he had a friend that had one and thought it was cool. He looked at this car for like a week, bought it, and now 7 months later, wishes he had got something else. I call it his Barbie car 🙂
Derrick: She loves to honk my car horn while I’m driving at random times. She will laugh until she cries and in turn it makes me laugh until I’m out of breath and crying. It can get a little frustrating at times, but she always makes me smile no matter how rough my day was
Besides getting married what was the best part of your wedding day?
Meagan: Besides getting married, one of my favorite parts of that day was having a day that was all about us. Neither of us are the type to ever want to be the center of attention, but for that day, it felt good. Another thing that made it the perfect day was that everything fell right into place with little to no stress, even despite the power outage across the whole park that we woke up to. It wouldn’t be a wedding day without a little bump in the road to really test a bride’s patience. Of course, walking down the aisle to meet my handsome groom, dressed in his dress blues, was the highlight of the day and what everyone came to see, but my favorite part of the day was our note exchange. Even without seeing each other, it was an intimate moment alone with each other to express our love in sappy love notes just like we used to. I included a poem that I wrote him while he was gone in my letter to him… I knew that he wanted that note to be part of our wedding day, but I knew it was something I could not read aloud with others without crying, so I surprised him with it in that moment. He still says that by doing that, I played dirty because I knew it would make him cry. With my letter, he included a pink bear that he had won only minutes before while him and the guys were downstairs so the girls could get pictures. I thought that was funny, but that’s totally him, and it’s special.
Derrick: My favorite part of the wedding was getting to see her for the first time that day. She is so beautiful and seeing her that day the way she was was so overwhelming. I may have shed a tear or two…
Any advice for newly engaged couples planning their wedding?
Meagan: Start your planning early!! Everything, and I mean everything, books fast (venues, DJ, photographers, etc.) We really lucked out with Lisa and Chris being our photographers, and we are so glad we did! Another thing is, a wedding is a team effort! Do not try to do everything yourself! If you have people offering to help, accept the help! You will thank yourself in the long run. You want your big day to be perfect with no stress on you. Make sure you assign people to be “behind the scenes” on the day of; people to help set up the reception space, make sure your ceremony space is set up to your liking, flowers arrive on time, cakes have been delivered, etc. You may feel like you will have time to help with those things, but honestly, your mind will be thinking about a million other things, and you do not want something a little as your cakes being delivered 30 minutes late to stress you out. It will all fall into place. Eat throughout the day!!! Ladies, if you have an afternoon or evening wedding, do not go all day without eating just to fit into that perfect dress! It will be a long, exhausting day. In fact, I ate the greasiest McDonald’s sausage biscuit the morning of my wedding, but by noon, I was wishing I had a full meal. Just relax, breathe, enjoy the day, and have fun!! It will go by so fast, and after it’s all said and done, you’ll wonder why it took so long to plan. Always tell each other how much you love them, love hard, laugh a lot, and pray often.
Derrick: Just breathe and relax. Regardless if everything goes right or wrong, you’ll be just as married to the love of your life either way.
Venue and Catering: Lake Guntersville Lodge – Guntersville, AL
Officiant: Dr. Joseph Holmes
Hair & Makeup Artist: Nikki Nizer
Florist: Rodney’s Flower Shop