Courtney and Mark

Raleigh, North Carolina



Photographer | f8 Photo Studios | @f8photostudios

Courtney & Mark decided to incorporate Mark’s firefighter uniform into their sweet fall engagement photos.

Let’s start at the beginning. How did you two first meet?

We were set up, although I didn’t know it at the time. Mark’s best friend was dating one of my friends. We were at a party one weekend, and they invited him and told him he should talk to me. I didn’t find this out until our third date, but I was suspicious because he kept popping up all night long.


What makes your relationship special? Tell us some things that you both value in your time together. What makes your relationship unique?

Though we seem dissimilar on paper, we’re actually very alike. One of the things we enjoy the most is spending time on the water together. We made our relationship official while catfishing a month after we met, and we got engaged after a day of fishing at Oak Island. Even when we don’t have much luck, we enjoy being out in nature and just being together.


How did you know your partner was the one? When did you first know this in your relationship?

I knew Mark was the one because I’ve never had to question his commitment or seriousness about our relationship at any point. I immediately felt close to him as soon as we got to know each other, and that has never changed. The longer I know him, the more things I find about him to like. We always have a great time together, and I always thought in the back of my mind that we’d get married. I realized that it was really going to happen the year before we got engaged when I had to approve of the house he was renting because I’d be living in it one day if we got married.


Give us all the details about the proposal. How and where did it happen? Was it a surprise? What was the planning process?

It was a complete surprise. We had a beach trip planned in late April, but Mark asked me to take an extra day off for Memorial Day weekend and wouldn’t tell me why, so I was sure he’d ask me then. As it turns out, it was a fake-out and he asked me on the April trip. He had been scheming for months, and even got my mom in on tricking me. We were finishing up a long day of fishing on Saturday of that weekend, and hadn’t caught anything. We were getting ready to head in for dinner when I hooked something. After fighting it and fighting it, I finally reeled in a huge red drum. It was the biggest fish I’d ever caught, and we were both beside ourselves with excitement. Mark told me to cast in the same area and try to catch another. I felt a tap on my back, and when I turned around, he was on one knee. I have never been so surprised in my life! He’s generally not a sneaky person, so I thought I’d have some clue when he would propose, but he got me!


We’re all about the bling… Tell us all about that ring!

It’s a three stone with oval diamonds. We went shopping together and I narrowed it down to two styles I liked, but Mark said I couldn’t pick out the exact ring that I wanted because it would ruin the surprise. He ended up picking exactly what I had in mind!


Are you excited to start planning your wedding day? Do you have any ideas in mind yet?

I did not do much planning until we had about 7 months to go. I had a few ideas on a Pinterest board, but I’ve mostly found what I like as I go along.