Rachel and Joe

Norwood, Massachusetts



Photographer | Ali B Photography | @alibphotography

Venue | Castle in the Clouds | @castleinthecloudsnh

Venue | The Lookout Farm | @lookoutfarm

Dress Designer | Leanne Marshall | @leannemarshallofficial

Dress Designer | Lulus | @lulus

Jewelry | Brilliant Earth | @brilliantearth

Caterer | The Red Blazer | @blazerbakery

You want to know what I love? I love it when couples do something unique for their engagement session! Not only do I love it when they select unique locations and ideas for their shoot, I also love it when these ideas and locations have sentimental value. Rachel and Joe were so much fun to talk to during out initial Facetime meeting ( Thank Goodness for Facetime!). Once we picked the date for their engagement session, she came to me with the idea that they would love to go back to the location that Joe proposed.


Joe proposed on October 20th at the, Belkin Family Lookout Farm in Natick, MA. Rachel told me “It had been a cloudy autumn day and literally when the sun came out and the light was perfect, I heard his voice behind me saying “Rachel look at this weird apple”. I turn around and he’s on one knee with the most gorgeous ring. He didn’t even have the chance to say anything before I blurted out “Yes!” He timed it perfectly too because my 30th birthday party was that night, allowing us to surprise my closest friends and have loved ones in from out of town.”


The day of our session was probably not a warm as it would have been in August but it was overcast for most of the session. We didn’t get that pop of light on the day he proposed but that is okay! May has been so crazy like that this year…. it has been cloudy and rainy for almost the whole month, but, we were able to have their session and we had the whole orchard to ourselves! It was just beautiful! They walked me around to different areas of the orchard and then showed me where Joe proposed where I got to hear their proposal story again but this time, it was even more amazing because we were there! In that same location it all happened. The smiles they had on their faces this day were contagious and I was just so happy that I got to not only capture their love, but fully see it in their faces.


Aside from the Orchard, we had time so we went to a garden area that was oh so beautiful and then we went back to their house where I got to meet their fur baby, Pepper! We had so much fun and I am so excited to finally get to share their images with you! There were way too many photos to choose from and just select a “few” favorites! I know I say this all the time, but really, its so true! Joe and Rachel, I can not wait to see you guys again for your wedding day! Thank you so much for bringing me around these places and for letting me meet Pepper! She was just the sweetest! This year is going to go by fast, enjoy looking at these photos in the place that has so much meaning to you both! xoxo.

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

I always imagined I would meet the love of my life in a coffee shop or by locking eyes from across the room, but life doesn’t always follow lyrics from a Taylor Swift song. I had been on a dating hiatus after many failed and sometimes terrible dates in NYC. After a few months, I went on tinder to see who may be out there and then I stumbled upon Joe. When I saw his face I literally said “whoa” out loud. We started to chat but I was about to head to Ireland for work so we decided to meet for the first time after I returned. A couple of weeks later, we met up in Astoria, Queens to have brunch at an amazing Creole restaurant called Sugar Freak. It was almost jarring how comfortable I felt around him right away. We had very similar stories in terms of hardships in our past and it was so refreshing for us to be able to talk to each other about it and actually be understood. Before I met him, I was always self conscious about anything that might be perceived as “baggage” or less than perfect. I could finally just be me. Our brunch date turned into a long walk around Astoria…. 10 hours of walking and talking later, it was very clear that this was different. Tinder… who knew!


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

We have the type of relationship where we bring new things to each other lives that we wouldn’t have tried otherwise… and we’re both willing to give it a go! For example, Joe loves Jeeps and takes trips to go off-roading. Before I met him I probably would say I’d never do that but we’ve gone on a few off-roading trips at this point and it’s really fun! I, on the other hand, am a huge foodie and have introduced him to new cuisines and dining experiences like tastings, wine pairings, and prix fixes. We’ve opened up each other’s worlds to new things.We both love to travel and so far have gone to Aruba, Curacao, Thailand, Las Vegas, and Florida together (in addition to some smaller trips). We’re always able to balance each other out too, if one of us is stressed or worried the other person is able to provide calm and reason. If one of us is thinking about an opportunity outside of our comfort zone the other is right there to provide confidence and encouragement. I think the most special part of our relationship, though, is how we understand each other so well. We can relate to each other about our pasts and be 100% open about our feelings and thoughts. We’re an open book to one another.


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

We were approaching our first Valentine’s Day together (hang in there, it gets more cheesy) and my friends were organizing a couple’s getaway to a lake house in the Catskills. It was still early in our relationship but I asked Joe anyway because we were already getting a bit serious. When I met up with him to head upstate, he surprised me with over 50 HANDMADE chocolates and flowers. When I say handmade, I mean he literally made them with his hands. He had made 4 different flavors: white chocolate raspberry, dark chocolate with salted caramel, dark chocolate with raspberry preserves, and dark chocolate with bacon (I love dark chocolate.) I was floored…. I knew I loved him at that very moment.


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

It happened on the weekend when I was celebrating my 30th birthday. Friends were coming in from out of town and a big party was happening that night at a cocktail bar in Boston. I had wanted to go apple picking during the day so we went to Belkin Family Lookout Farm with a few very close friends to soak up what turned out to be a perfect Autumn day. We were walking through the orchards and the sun was breaking out from behind dark clouds in the sky, making the landscape look very dramatic and colorful. I was taking photos when I heard Joe from behind me say “Hey Rachel, look at this weird apple…”I turned around and there he was on one knee, holding the most beautiful ring in his hands. I stared at him, he stared at me, and I couldn’t wait for him to ask any longer so I just yelled out “YES” before he had a chance!My best friend had been in on the WHOLE thing and was able to videotape the proposal.


After all of the photos and apple picking (though it was hard to focus on the apples at this point), we had some celebratory cider at the Taproom on the farm’s property (yes, they make their own cider and it’s amazing.)On top of everything, when we showed up for the party that night we were able to surprise EVERYONE and it turned into an impromptu engagement party. It couldn’t have been a more perfect day filled with surprises, love, friends…. and of course, cider.


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

The ring is from Brilliant Earth which ethically sources recycled metals and conflict-free diamonds. Both features were very important to me so I was thrilled to know my ring had come from Brilliant Earth.The setting is rose gold with twisted pavé diamonds on the band and halo. At the center is the most beautiful (and sparkly) round diamond I’ve ever seen. I had sent examples of what I want to my best friend (and MOH) Kate and I had told Joe to speak to her about what I wanted. They ended up going shopping together to scope out what the options were and both agreed that this was the one. It was more than I had even hoped for and couldn’t be more perfect.


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

Yes! We actually jumped in head first after the engagement. We will be getting married at Castle in the Clouds in NH and I have my dress already. Our florals are going to be heavily focused on green from eucalyptus and olive leaves with various pops of color from peonies, ranunculus, and anemones. I can’t wait to have our vision come to life! The overall theme will likely be Secret Garden with details from our love and lives woven into the mix.