Snow-fall engagement | Brad and Yukari in the Third Ward Milwaukee
There is nothing more romantic that images captured during the perfect snow fall for and couple so in love that the cold and wind doesn’t even phase them. It was such an honor to photography Brad and Yukari during one of Milwaukee’s loveliest snow storms along the street of the Historic Third Ward.
Probably one of the greatest experiences I had in college was studying abroad. The fall of my junior year — not yet 21 — I hugged my family and my boyfriend (this is still when people could walk to the gate with you) and boarded a plane to London. That is right about when I thought to myself, “what the hell am I doing?” I knew not a soul. At that point, I had never traveled beyond the east coast of the U.S. I remember wearing the international programs t-shirt that was provided in the registration packet just in case someone else was traveling for the same reason and looking to make a friend — what a dork move! I didn’t cry. I shook. My entire body was in total anxiety mode. Luckily, I turned that fear into determination realizing this experience was going to be profound.
The flight was actually the easiest part. I struck up a conversation with the person next to me…British, thank god and I learned a little about where I was headed. Although I don’t think I remembered any of it once the plane touched down. I clenched the welcome form letter (also provided in the registration packet) that contained a few vague directions on how to get from the Gatwick airport to my flat. I think I read that letter at least 100 times…mostly to ensure I wasn’t going to end up in another country, but also just to hide the fact that I felt completely lost. Oh, and, did I mention my luggage weighed about the same as me? Imagine lil ole me trying to haul those bags around in my “too school for cool” t-shirt. But I did it. I felt like a super hero. I was in the UK. If only folks back home could see me. I was well on my way to becoming “big city”, worldly and independent. Cue the upbeat, “she is on her way” adventure music. I made it to my flat, checked in at registration and received my room assignment. With key in hand, I schlepped my luggage to the front door. Swung it open and the angels from heaven above sang…until my eyes adjusted and I realized I was standing at the base of 5 flights of stairs…78 of the most narrow steps I had ever seen, to be exact. There was no elevator and my flat was on the top floor. The Chrissy of today would have left all items that were not absolutely necessary on the curb and found the nearest pub for a pint…the 20-year-old Chrissy didn’t have the guts for that sort of thing. Instead, I lugged my bags up one at a time, stopping every few steps to catch my breath. My arms and legs were sore for days after. But I had triumphed. I was confident I could make it through anything there after, and I did. I made great friends. Visited 7 countries. Saw amazing theater and art. And learned more about myself in those 16 weeks then most of the 20 years prior. It was awesome.
I am convinced that it takes the experience of crossing over countries, cultures and fear to find yourself… and sometimes you find it in someone else. That was the case for Brad and Yukari. When I heard of their love story, I totally got it. They met while Brad was studying abroad in Japan. Ok, way more adventurous then my English-speaking counter exploit, I know. And I am so sure Brad didn’t pack his weight in “essentials”. But I get how he put himself out there in a new world with new opportunities and ultimately discovered a new part of himself in Japan and in Yukari. They fell in love that semester and a piece of Brad will always remain in Japan as long as she is there. But Brad and Yukari are holding on to their love despite the distance and these two halves are becoming forever whole when they get married in August.
I will share more about them in my post from their wedding, but on a recent visit Yukari made to Milwaukee to spend a month with her fiancé, we got together for an engagement session. I am honored to be capturing all the love these two share. Congratulations, Brad and Yukari! I look forward to seeing you in August.