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As a wedding photographer, I am excited and honored to get to take and share all VRP couples’ engagement photos. However, I can’t help sharing that I am particularly excited to share Tori and Phil’s session on the blog, because this 2023 VRP bride and groom will forever have a special place in my heart.
Not only are Phil and Tori just the most kind and loving human beings, but they also gave “Little Richard”—the sweet pup Zach and I found on the street and fostered—a home and family!
Little Richard, whose name is now “Remi,” even got to join his parents for their engagement session, and I’m so excited to share Tori and Phil’s summer engagement photos at Fairfield Lakes Park in Lafayette, Indiana with their rescue pup on the blog!
Phil’s cousin who happens to be a friend of Tori’s knew Phil & Tori would be a perfect match.
If you were to just meet Phil and Tori, you’d likely assume that they’re high school sweethearts. I mean, they complement one another so well that it’s almost crazy to think that they’ve actually only been together for a couple years.
But, in 2020, Phil—who grew up in Chicago—was living in the city, and Tori was living in rural Newton County, Indiana. While the two only lived a couple hours apart, they seemingly lived in different worlds without a reason for their paths to ever cross.
However, Phil’s mom’s side of the family is from Rensselaer, Indiana, and as a result, Phil has cousins in the Newton and Jasper County areas whom he’s close to. Thankfully for Phil and Tori, one of Phil’s cousins and his wife just knew Phil and Tori would be great together. As a result, they asked Phil and Tori if they’d be open to a blind date.
After texting and talking a bit and learning more about the other through their mutual connections, Tori and Phil agreed, and Phil made the trip to Rensselaer to meet Tori for dinner at eMbers.
Tori will tell you that she was very nervous about this date. She even shared this with Phil a couple hours before their date, and Phil sweetly assured her that, “There are no expectations.”
While Tori may have been anxious before their date, from the second she and Phil sat down at their table and got to talking in person, Tori felt as if she’d known Phil her whole life.
Tori and Phil’s first date included talking about their passions, ambitions, and priorities for four hours over food and drinks at eMbers.
Then, just months later, Phil found out his job could become remote permanently. Not wanting to do long distance any longer, Phil decided to leave Chicago and make Rensselaer, Indiana his home.
They may not have been together long at the time, but Tori and Phil both knew where they wanted their relationship to go. And, because they both value family above almost all else and so much of their family lives in the Rensselaer area, they decided rural Indiana was exactly where they wanted to spend their lives.
Phil proposed on the land that will always be part of Phil & Tori’s story.
Tori and Phil have both always loved being outdoors—whether that means doing something adventurous or just being outside with friends and family.
As a result, since they started dating, Phil and Tori have spent a lot of time hiking, fishing, just being outside, and hunting. (Hunting was new to Tori, but she’s since learned to love it, especially since it means one-on-one time with Phil!) And, considering Phil’s family owns some truly beautiful property in the Rensselaer area, Tori and Phil can easily participate in their favorite activities on the regular.
As a result, Tori wasn’t the least bit suspicious when Phil asked if she wanted to go out to “the land” to hunt with him during the very last weekend of turkey hunting season.
The two spent the morning just like they had so many mornings before. And, after being out for a while, Phil looked to Tori and said, “You know how I always say that one day this land will be ours? That day is today.” Then, Phil got down on one knee and asked Tori to be his wife.
In the meantime, family was waiting on the other side of the property ready to celebrate with Tori and Phil.
Now, as a wedding photographer, I have to say that I’ve heard a lot of proposal stories over the years, and Phil and Tori’s—in my opinion—is an especially good one. You see, since getting engaged, Phil and Tori have begun the process of building their forever home on this land. For all of their days, they’ll be able to look out the window and see the exact spot where they decided to share their lives together. And, someday, they’ll be able to show their kids and grandkids the same spot.
This land will forever represent the beginning of Phil and Tori’s love story, the life they share, and every moment in between.
Phil & Tori decided to take summer engagement photos at Fairfield Lakes Park with their rescue pup.
If you followed the saga of “Little Richard” on Instagram, you know I can’t not talk about this sweet boy, and I was absolutely thrilled Tori and Phil decided to include him in their summer engagement photos at Fairfield Lakes Park in Lafayette, Indiana!
You see, in July, I found a stray pup. While Zach and I did our best to find his original home, no one claimed him. However, when I started sharing photos and videos of this little guy on Instagram, Tori messaged me and more or less said, “If you can’t find his home, we would love to take him! Phil and I are actually planning to adopt a dog very soon, and we’ve been hoping for a lab-hound rescue of some kind.”
While Zach and I highly contemplated keeping Little Richard—whose name is now Remi—once Tori reached out, we knew that she and Phil would be able to give him a much better life—which includes life in the country and the opportunity to become a hunting dog. As a result, Phil and Tori became Remi’s mom and dad!
Coincidentally, Phil and Tori’s engagement photos were already scheduled for just two weeks after they took Remi home. As a result, they decided to include him in their engagement photos, and I’m so glad they did! I mean, not only is the addition of a pup to your family a very special thing that deserves to be documented, but I got to see Remi—who definitely remembered me, and that just melted my heart!
With a young pup who is still being trained, Fairfield Lakes Park in Lafayette, Indiana was the perfect place to take Phil and Tori’s engagement photos. Not only was there plenty of open space for Little Richard to run, but the location is beautiful.
And, between their outfits (Peep how perfectly the dusty blue coordinates between Tori’s dress and Phil’s jacket!) and how Tori and Phil make one another smile and laugh endlessly, this VRP bride and groom killed their engagement session! By the way, Tori is a very talented photographer herself, which made her extra prepared for her own engagement session. Be sure to check out Tori Welsh Photography!
Congratulations, Phil & Tori!
Phil and Tori, I was excited for your Rensselaer, Indiana wedding before. But, now, after getting to know the two of you better and having the opportunity to have the two of you plus Remi in front of the camera, I cannot wait for your big day!
While May 2023 can’t get here fast enough, I hope you love these previews from your summer engagement photos at Fairfield Lakes Park with your rescue pup!
Don’t Tori, Phil, and Remi make the cutest little family?! Can we all appreciate how well Tori’s dress and eyes match Phil’s jacket? These are engagement photo outfit goals! Gosh. I hope this sweet boy never grows into his ears. He’s just the cutest. It was so hard to let him go, but there’s no doubt in my mind that Remi is meant to be with Tori and Phil.
Are you loving this location? Fairfield Lakes Park is one of my favorite engagement photo locations in Lafayette, Indiana. See more engagement photos taken at this beautiful location!