Greenville, SC Anniversary | Shuler & Jane

As we have walked down this road of small business ownership, we have met some pretty incredible people! Last year, we met Shuler & Jane at a dinner party. Turns out, we have mutual friends & even share the same Alma Mater! Isn’t that the best?! After a few minutes of conversation, we told Shuler & Jane that we were photographers. Jane lit up, “We are about to celebrate our 3rd anniversary! We would love for you to take our anniversary photos!”

Shuler & Jane invited us to spend the evening with them on their farm that also doubles a vineyard. As we pulled in the driveway, we were greeted by their puppy & smiling, Shuler & Jane greeted us with big hugs. We enjoyed the evening exploring their property & playing with all the animals. We swapped stories & watched the sunset together. It was truly one of our favorite evenings spent with clients turned friends!

But, it’s only fair to tell you their engagement story since we are celebrating the Polk’s anniversary, right? The following is Jane’s version of how Shuler proposed to her three years ago on Lookout Mountain, Georgia. 

We had dated for a year and two months. I had no idea if or when he was going to propose; all I knew was that Shuler and I both knew we wanted to marry eachother, and our parents were 100% supportive. In my mind, we had no reason to wait!

It was January 23, 2013, our junior year at Covenant College. The night before, Shuler and I talked briefly about wedding details, but when I dove into the color of bridesmaid dresses, he told me to “umm, maybe just… take it easy” and backed away from my iPad of Pinterest photos. I closed my iPad. My eyes fell. Sullen, I hugged him goodnight and climbed the stairs to my dorm room.

The next morning, I avoided him. When he finally tracked me down, I struggled to contain my bottled frustration. At lunch, I exploded. Shuler started to apologize, but I interrupted him: “No, I’M sorry. The last thing I want to do is make you feel pressured or pushed to marry me. I don’t want you to feel like you don’t have a choice; I don’t want to be that desperate girl.” Shuler tried to stop me, but I was inconsolable. I interjected, “BUT… if you want me to ‘take it easy’ on my ‘planning’, you MUST stop talking to me like we might get married this summer. It’s already late January. You haven’t spoken to my dad. I don’t think you’ve even looked at rings. And it just isn’t fair to me or my parents for you to say things that lead me to believe something might happen, when really, you really haven’t even made up your mind.”

Tears streamed down my face as I sat there in the very middle Covenant’s crowded dining room, The Great Hall. I noticed people watching, but didn’t even care. Shuler just shook his head, apologizing. He told me to just give him a little bit more time, that he would get his act together, and pleaded for me to be patient. At my core, I was disheartened. I had always thought my proposal would be a special surprise, and now, I thought it would be expected and rushed.

Later that day, after a good nap & then coffee with my roommate, I trotted back to my dorm room. My emotions had settled, and I had decided to call Shuler and apologize for my outburst.

Humming, I flung open the door to the third floor of Carter Hall, my dorm, & swung left towards my room on Third North. Rose petals covered the floor and made a path to my room. “Cool! Rose petals!” I trucked through the rose petals and burst into my room where several hall mates had gathered. “Hey guys! What’s up with the flower petals?!” I assumed they were for one of my roommates. My roommate Molly, smiling with eyebrows raised, said “I think they are for you.” 

“The heck?” I put my book bag down, confused.

“Look on your desk” Molly encouraged.

I stared at my desk. There was a note. It was from Shuler. He wanted me to meet him at the barn (where I kept my horses). He wanted me to wear something that made me feel beautiful.

My head spun. I thought at one point that I should put on some make-up, but I just fumbled around. “Forget it”, I thought. I grabbed my keys and sprinted to the barn. 

At the barn, two horses were tacked and waiting. Shuler had cleaned and groomed my little white pony, a Christmas present from my parents ten years earlier, to furry perfection. We rode a routine trail that led us to a gorgeous bluff on the side of Lookout Mountain. There, friends were waiting. Two guys took our horses back to the barn, and Shuler led me to the bluff where one of my friends had prepared a table and chairs with a beautiful spread of flowers, sparkling grape juice, and cheesecake. We chatted for awhile, and then Shuler washed my feet. He promised to love and to serve me his entire life. He dropped to one knee and asked if I would spend the rest of my life with him. My enthusiastic “YES!” could not come out fast enough!

I apologized for being so silly! I learned to trust him. He had driven 10 hours to my parents’ house and back the weekend he said he was going hunting with a buddy. He had picked the most gorgeous ring I could ask for. He had told around 70 people–family, friends, professors, and staff–that he planned to propose, and he wasn’t the only one concerned during our lunch! Everyone knew except me, and he surprised me with the most amazing proposal I could have ever dreamed of.

Shuler & Jane, telling your story is a privilege. Sharing your journey is a joy! We love how the Lord has brought you two into our lives & are excited to “spur one another on” as we seek to the love our spouses & honor the Lord! Happy anniversary, friends! 

  1. Pam Benedict says:

    God must’ve been smiling the whole time during your dating time! Love your story, thanx for sharing!

  2. Jane says:

    Thank you so much for sharing our story, JP and Ryland! Shuler and I have so enjoyed getting to know you guys, and we are still in awe at the quality of these photos! Thank you for capturing the beauty of the place we have been so fortunate to call home. You guys are incredible!

  3. Amber Dozier Stout says:

    Thank you for sharing your love story!! It’s so beautiful!!

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