Shannon & AJ | Romantic Winter Engagement | Maple Grove Minnesota

The sun was shining brightly through the chalet windows; the cold, brisk winter air moved effortlessly through the surrounding trees, while the zamboni gracefully smoothed over the ice surface of the outdoor skating rink. Not to sound cliche, but the warm sunlight and winter backdrop for Shannon & AJ’s engagement session was exactly this – picturesque.

When Shannon & AJ arrived at the chalet, I was so happy they were such good sports about getting back into their car and heading to the previously agreed upon second location for their session. I had originally planned to start their session near the ice-rink & chalet – AJ is a hockey coach so this setting seemed perfect. However, there was no one on site to light the cozy, outdoor campfire; which was a bummer, because without the outdoor campfire, the vision I had for their session wouldn’t fully come to life. So, being the problem-solver that I am, I asked Shannon & AJ if they wouldn’t mind starting their session at the park instead. Without hesitation, they both agreed. And off to the park we went. 

But before we continue talking about their engagement session, let’s talk about their love story. The one that brought them to this very point in life. You see, they both were college students when they happened to find each other online. Long before dating online was the “cool” thing to do, or before “swiping right” became trendy. And to this day, they both agree that when they met, they both felt an instant connection; they then continued to carry on a long-distance relationship through many long weekend trips and late-night phone calls. AJ would cook for Shannon during their long weekend visits, and ensure she took leftovers back with her to her dorm; while Shannon provided AJ with lots of laundered clothes for the upcoming weeks. Even then, it was clear that they made an effortless team.

And years later, after they both graduated from college and Shannon began pharmacy school, Shannon & AJ moved into an apartment together in Duluth, Minnesota. To this day, decorating their first apartment together is still one of Shannon’s favorite memories – I mean how cute is that?! 

They spent three blissful years in that teeny-tiny apartment, and created many lasting memories together. One memory they shared stands out to me, and it’s a game they like to call – “T or L.” Shannon & AJ would sit down on a bench in Canal Park in Duluth, and people watch. During their people-watching, they would decide which persons were tourists and who were locals. Sure sounds like fun, Shannon & AJ! I may have to try this the next time I am at the North Shore. 

Now they own a house together in Bloomington, MN, and are also proud parents of their fur baby, Kingsley. It didn’t take long for them to decide, that with a mortgage & a sweet puppy, they may as well make their relationship even more “official.” So, with the help of Wedding Day Diamonds, AJ proposed to Shannon on November 23, 2019 – and she said, “YES!”

Shannon & AJ, thank you so much for being such amazingly kind clients and for entrusting me to capture your love story. Amidst the frigid, winter air, you both smiled, laughed and made the best of every moment. Seeing your happiness in these photos truly warms my heart; I can’t wait to photograph you both on your wedding day in August! 

Congratulations once again on your engagement, Shannon & AJ!  


Rachel Kathleen

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