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Makala and Riley's Engagement Session at the Japanese Stroll Gardens and Nathanael Greene Park

An Evening at the Park in September

Makala and Riley's wedding was in two days. Crazy right? This is probably the closest engagement session I've ever done to a wedding! 😄 But technically, Makala and Riley’s session was more of an anniversary/pre-wedding photo celebration. They've been married for a while! This wedding is a celebration with friends and family. The reason the session ended up being so close to the wedding was because this was our third attempt at meeting up. The first cancellation was due to random circumstances. The second time, Riley's job took him out to California. This third time I had my fingers crossed. 😁🤞We made it happen. Makala and Riley were going to be in Springfield in preparation for the wedding so they chose to have their engagement session at the Japanese Stroll Gardens and Nathanael Greene Park. The weather was perfect. Maybe not California coast perfect 😉, but for how hot it's been in the Ozarks. I'll take it! When they arrived, they came with three close friends. All of us may have bonded a little since they were from the Kansas City area.

We started at the Japanese Stroll Gardens. Typically they stay open till 7, but tonight they were going to be closing at 6:30 p.m. I wasn't worried though, an hour would be a perfect amount of time 😍. We hit all the top spots in the park. The gorgeous bridge over the water, the zig zag walkway, and any other places that gave us inspiration. Makala and Riley's friends wandered in and out of the session. They were busy taking photos of their own. The park is just too beautiful! Two memories I'll always have from this part of the session…the first being on the bridge. I had Riley sit down and then instructed Makala to sit in front of him. She moved at tad fast and hit Riley in the nose with her head. Luckily no injuries were sustained lol 😂 The second memory was when they attempted a lifting shot. They have tried this before in photo shoots, but it didn't go well. This time, they were perfect and the shot turned out fantastic! Time got away from us and before we knew it alarms were sounding throughout the park, giving us the 30 minute warning, then a 10 minute warning, to finally a staff member walking through the park with a megaphone announcing that it was time to leave 😂. He was very serious about it too!

We wandered into Nathanael Greene. In retrospect, I probably should have had them drive because we walked all the way across the park to the rose garden. In my defense I was planning on stopping at a fountain 😂, but there were just too many people. That's okay though...their friends did say that they needed to walk as they had been in the car for a while! This also gave me time to talk to Makala and Riley about their wedding timeline. We talked about doing the first look, when they wanted to do family portraits, and if they were going to do a grand exit. While there's no grand exit, I was super excited about this bubble exit after their ceremony!!! This blog post will probably be posted long after their wedding, but as I'm writing it it's before the wedding and I'm really excited 😂. The sun started to set and our time had come to an end. We made our way back to the cars and said goodbyes.

Makala + Riley


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