I’m Stephanie, a wedding + lifestyle photographer based in Colorado Springs, Colorado and Warrenton, Virginia. Whether I’m by the mountains of Colorado or Virginia, my soul feels at home, surrounded by rural living and the raw beauty of nature. I genuinely love what I do, and feel so passionate to share the enthusiasm and joy of these celebrations with you!



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December 7, 2021

Casey & Mary | The Garden of the Gods, Colorado Engagement

Casey & Mary | The Garden of the Gods, Colorado Engagement

I know Mary back from good ole Liberty High School … over ten years ago? Crazy. We were on the swim team together, and she always seemed to be the cool chic in her high school class! She was tall, gorgeous, down to earth, and an all-American girl! I can see how these two are the perfect match after I met her fiance, Casey, for the first time!! As you can see, he’s also tall which obviously, means they were meant for each other. 😉 Jk! But really, he’s also sweet and funny, and I can see how much he makes Mary happy just from our time together! While we were looking for potential engagement portrait spots, our option was obvious! COLORADO because Casey’s family lives here! So over Thanksgiving break, we met at the Garden of the Gods to take engagement portraits, and I could’ve easily photographed them for HOURS! The park is HUGE with so many picturesque areas, but I took them to my few favorite spots!

One talent I didn’t know about Casey is that he has the ability to get “Princess Parking” anytime! FYI, “Princess Parking” is a term my family uses when you hit the ideal parking spot. And you must yell “PRINCESS PARKING” when you find it! HAHA! Mary joked around about his talent, but I TOTALLY believe it after we managed to get TWO parking spots next to each other in FOUR different parking spots around the park during Thanksgiving week. Seriously insane. Haha! Anyways, we had the best time running around the park, and I *had* to photograph them well past the sunset time. If that doesn’t say how much fun I had photographing Casey and Mary, then I don’t know what! 🙂 

Then… Rudolph showed up!!!

While we were running around the last spot of the evening, we noticed a deer running around us! It looked like it was in a bit of a panic with the people and cars in all directions, but it wasn’t afraid to get semi-close to people. We steered clear from its path to only find a BUCK right behind the deer! After they ran off, we continued photographing around the Red Rocks. And out of nowhere, the buck appeared by us in a secluded spot. We didn’t know what to do except, let’s stand still and take a photo with it! HAHA! **While hoping it wouldn’t just ram us!** The buck crept up right next to Casey and Mary to take a photo! You’ll have to see it below!! Needless to say, I won’t forget this session! Haha! 🙂

Casey & Mary | The Garden of the Gods, Colorado Engagement


from Mary’s perspective

In 2018, on my way to my sister’s bachelorette party weekend in Miami she says, “Maybe you’ll meet your husband on my bachelorette!” Yeah right, who would I meet on a short weekend in a city where I don’t even live?! On night two, we FaceTimed her then-fiancé only to get his friend Thomas on the phone. Thomas was on his way out with a few friends — one of them was a guy he just met, Casey, who in Thomas’s eyes was perfect for me. His criteria: both of us are tall. HAHA! He put us on a group chat the next day: “Mary meet Casey.” And the rest is history. It was fate, no doubt!


from Mary’s perspective

Our proposal was private and perfect!!! Casey booked a dinner reservation almost a month out and told me it was to celebrate my recent promotion at work (I believed him!). That Friday evening, he suggested we go up to our building’s rooftop for champagne before dinner. We’re all dressed up and about to get on the elevator when our neighbor’s puppy came running up and excitedly pees all over the floor and Casey’s shoes! HAHA! He had to go change while I helped my neighbor clean up. Not so glamorous, but it cracks me up knowing now what was about to happen next…

Once on the roof, we chatted for a few minutes before Casey wrapped me in a hug and started telling me how much he loved me. I knew it then – I hardly remembered what he said before he got down on one knee and asked me to marry him! We spent the rest of our time on the roof staring at the ring and taking selfies – we were so happy at dinner that night celebrating together! We called our family the next day and continued the celebration all weekend. The ring is sentimental because we designed the ring together, with my mom’s diamond as the center stone. It was so special to show her the final engagement ring, something I will cherish forever as a symbol of my parent’s love and now the love between the two of us.

Thank you!!!

Thank you, Mary and Casey, for the BEST time photographing your engagement at the Garden of the Gods. Talk about a DREAM!!!! My goodness, you both were so easy to photograph, and I genuinely loved spending time with you two! Let’s do this again, please! 🙂 I cannot wait to photograph your wedding day next year! XOXO!

Stephanie Messick Photography, LLC is a Northern and Central, Virginia + Colorado Family, Wedding, and Engagement Photographer. Learn more HERE or contact her HERE!!