On September 2nd, 2017 Ridge, Jenna, and I took a three hour drive up to Cloudland Canyon in North West Georgia near Chattanooga, Tennessee. I chose this location after Ridge had contacted me asking if he could propose during our passion project session. My roommates can attest to the fact that I started squealing with joy when I received this news from Ridge. I felt so honored to be able to capture this moment for the two of them after choosing to share their love story. I had known Jenna from high school and had done a mini couple's session for the two of them last Spring along some other work for Jenna's family. Ridge and Jenna have the type of love that I pray for. That I yearn for. It gave me so much joy to see them take this next step in their forever fairytale.
"About 30 minutes into the shoot, Maura asked me to read my submission for the contest to Ridge and she'd take pictures as I did. When I was done doing that she told Ridge to go ahead and he pulled out a letter that he had written me. After he read the letter, he got down and asked me to spend forever with him (the letter was beautiful and there were many tears). It was the most beautiful day and he asked me in such a special way. We are on cloud nine and truly couldn't be happier or more blessed!" -Jenna
Passion Project Submission:
"The first time I ever saw Ridge I was 13 years old. He was four years older than me. He was a country boy, which at the time was the complete opposite of my type. We only spoke once, and it was over Facebook. We both dated lots of other people throughout my high school years. Our parents went to our alma mater, Jackson County, together in the 80's. They were close friends, and for as long as I can remember my mom had been trying to get me to date Ridge Eckstein, because he was "super cute" and because my parents and his were friends. Ridge and I talked once or twice while I was in high school, just meaningless conversation about what was going on with the other, and then we'd continue on with our own lives. Towards the end of my senior year, I had just gotten out of a terrible relationship. I vowed to myself that the next guy I dated would be different. He'd be patient, kind, compassionate and gentle: he'd be a picture of Jesus. I prayed for myself and for my future husband not knowing what the next few months would bring. I prayed for an accountability partner and for a friend, someone who would push me towards eternity. Someone who would encourage me to be better. To want to be better. Not long after, Ridge happened. I'll admit, I made the first move. He "liked" one of my pictures on Instagram, and I figured I'd message him just to see how he was doing. I had no idea what that conversation would bring. Two weeks later, I met Ridge in person for the first time and we went on our first date. It was truly a whirlwind. He was everything I had prayed for, and more. When he dropped me off that evening I knew that would be the last first date I'd ever go on. A few weeks after that Ridge left for a mission trip to Juarez, and while he was there, from over 2,000 miles away he sent me a bouquet of flowers and a sweet note. I had never been so intrigued by and in awe of one person in my life. I was amazed by how willingly he died to himself to follow the Lord and serve others. I was overwhelmed by how much he respected me, and accepted me, regardless of my past. Ridge is an adventure. Being with him has forced me to try things that I never would've before, things that I've fallen in love with. Ridge is patient with me when I don't deserve it. He is kind and he is generous. He gives with no thought of receiving. He loves Jesus and He loves Him before me. He follows Him wholeheartedly and unreservedly. He pushes me to be the best version of myself I can possibly be. In Ridge, I have found a forever adventure partner, my best friend, and faithful companion. He is everything I know God has wanted for me all along, and then some. Loving Ridge is easy. And my life with him is truly a fairytale."