Joe and Makena met in first grade at St. Francis Borgia School in Cedarburg. Isn’t that amazing! What a start to a beautiful story. They decided to have these photos taken in Door County, because it has a special place in their hearts. Since they were little, both of their families vacation there every year over Labor Day Weekend. In the middle school years, their families bumped into each other on the sand volleyball courts, year after year. They parted ways in high school, after she transferred to a private school in Milwaukee, and Joe, to a local school in Cedarburg.
Sophomore year, Makena went to Cedarburg’s homecoming with her girlfriends, unaware that she would bump into Joe on the dance floor while “Party Rock Anthem” played. After they danced the entire night away (and jumped around to that song four separate times), they realized they wanted to spend more time together. The relationship remained a friendship for a year and a half until March of Junior year, when he asked her to be his girlfriend.
Senior year, she transferred to Cedarburg High School where she joined friends, new and old. They graduated side-by-side, given that their last names are so close together. And they’ve now been together for over five years!
When Joe started at UW-Whitewater, and she started at UW-Madison, their relationship faced challenge. But through it all, they watched one another grow, supported one another through each struggle, and cheered each other on for four years. The distance that tested their relationship, only made them stronger together
Like I mentioned before, Door County has a piece of their hearts. We started with a bang (by popping some bottles of champagne!) at their favorite winery–Stone’s Throw Winery in Bailey’s Harbor. We headed to Peninsula State Park, where Joe popped the question after a long hike. On May 29, 2017, he knelt by the water and his hands trembled so much that when he held the ring box out toward her, that the ring fell out into his hand. The empty box confused her for a moment, but she realized what he was doing, and said yes!
After we left the park, we headed to Sister’s Bay, where we stopped on the side of the road to take these gorgeous photos in a cherry tree field. “Have you ever had a Door County Cherry?” Makena excitedly asked me as we finished a few ring shots. It was then that I knew I was absolutely in LOVE with DC!
After that, we headed up the road to an intensely sunny, rocky beach. It was a beautiful setting for this bright and beautiful couple.
Among the countless memories and endless laughs made up north, some of their favorites are morning coffee on his family’s cabin porch, or “five o’clock somewhere cocktail hour” in the same spot later in the day. Touring Fish Creek with her parents, making fires in the cabin during winter with Joe’s family all together. Hiking and biking through Peninsula State Park with their families, running (for fun?! They’re training for a marathon right now!) Competitive sand volleyball tournaments between our two families are always the best time!
Now, after a year of being engaged, Joe is starting a full-time job as a college graduate, and Makena is one semester away from her degree. Joe will soon be moving to Madison, where they’ll train for half marathons along lakes Mendota & Monona, enjoy drinks at the Memorial Union Terrace, and of course, cheer on Bucky!
They’ll carry on with their love for Harry Potter by faithfully attending all of the HP Movie Symphonies. They make each other laugh like no one else can, (and I can attest to this!), and encourage each other strive to be the best version of themselves. For them, the best part about their 5 years together is spending it with their absolute best friend. And next August, they’ll be MARRIED to their best friend, too! We can’t wait to celebrate alongside you (and take some lovely photos of your contagious joy!)!
So here’s to you, sweet friends! It was an incredible session, and next August can’t come soon enough!