The location for Karley and Hayden’s rustic country engagement session was extra special because this land has been in Karley’s family since 1909 when her great-great-grandfather, Alfred Moore Blalock, brought his family here in a covered wagon from Oklahoma. He came in response to a land sale promoted by Dr. Charles Simmons. The land has changed hands a few times but has remained in the Blalock family for well over 100 years.
Dr. Simmons enticed settlers to the area by placing newspaper ads all across the country. He described this land by using phrases like “the garden spot of the world” where the “seasons never end”, with “warm winters and cool summers” and “people are so law-abiding that it takes only two days every six months to hear the criminal cases.”
South Texas is beautiful, but not exactly as Dr. Simmons described it. Most of the people who ventured to this part of south Texas in pursuit of “the garden spot” didn’t last very long. Many early residents left after great disappointment and many lots and tracts were sold or completely abandoned. Those who did find the tenacity to stay became known as “Simmons Suckers.” It’s a term still used by some descendants but in a light-hearted and good-natured way.
Karley & Hayden’s Rustic Country Engagement Session
When Karley told me that she and Hayden met at a Koe Wetzel concert. I had to Google what a “Koe Wetzel” was. And when I discovered that his real name was Ropyr Madison Koe Wetzel, I then had to find out what kind of music someone named Ropyr Madison Koe Wetzel would sing. I was pleasantly surprised. I mean because that name kinda made me think I might be about to be listening to something along the lines of Marylin Manson—and no disrespect to any Marilyn Manson fans… it’s just that the first glance of Ropyr’s real name threw me off for a second. I wasn’t sure how you’d pronounce that. But after hearing just a few bars of Good Die Young, I immediately knew that his real first name was pronounced “Roper” and I immediately knew I liked his music and we could probably be friends. I even listened to a few more songs. Koe Wetzel is someone who could definitely be on my playlist. [Note to self: I should really update my playlist more often to include more than just ’80s and ’90s beats.]
Anyhow, I digress.
That Koe Wetzel concert was in April of 2018. Karley’s college friend, Katie, invited her to drive four-and-a-half hours home for the concert and that Friday night she met Hayden. Hayden texted Katie after the concert and confessed that “Carly seems pretty cool.”
KARLEY (which Hayden now knows how to spell correctly) and Hayden REALLY hit it off at the concert and have talked every single day since then!
However, in the two-plus years before they became engaged, they maintained a long-distance relationship. They were always at least a four-and-a-half drive away from each other. Karley admits that, “It was very difficult.”
On April 24, Hayden finally popped the question. Karley’s family came to visit for Germanfest in Muenster which was something they had been planning for two months. But Hayden had been planning the proposal for even longer because he already had the ring. Karley was clueless.
All the girls visited the winery while the boys went golfing. After a while of drinking wine at the winery, the boys decided they were going to stop by the winery for food. When lunch was finished, everyone decided they should take a group photo. But when Karley attempted to walk away, Kelsey, Karley’s best friend and co-maid of honor created a distraction by saying, “Oh, look up at the tree!” When Karley turned around, it happened. Hayden was on a knee!
She said, “Yes!”
Karley and Hayden’s rustic country engagement session took place on her parent’s homestead—where she happened to do most of her growing up. Her parents built a home and moved here in 2005 when Karley was just eight years old.
Anyhow… These two enjoy working out, attending college-level or professional sporting events, and taking trips to the lake. But spending time with their families is probably the most important thing Karley and Hayden do together.
For now, Karley is a kindergarten teacher for Gainesville ISD. She’s out for the summer but typically spends her school days trying to make sure all of her students learn something, feel loved, and get a Band-Aid for each and every wound. She is registered in a master’s program this summer to obtain her Master’s Degree in Curriculum and Instruction with Schreiner University.
Hayden currently works for a CPA doing taxes, bookkeeping, and payroll services. He is set to finish his Master’s in the Science of Taxation in December 2021. He will then begin the test-taking process to obtain his CPA license.
After the wedding, they will be moving to be closer to Karley’s family. So they will be house searching and looking for new jobs! They’ll officially tie the knot on June 18, 2022, at the Sacred Heart Catholic Church with the reception at Heritage Hall, both in Muenster, Texas—Hayden’s hometown.
Enjoy some of my favorite images from Karley & Hayden’s rustic country engagement session then be sure to watch the slideshow at the end!
If you’d like to see all the images from this country rustic engagement session, please enjoy this video. For the best quality, be sure to change the video player settings to 1080 HD.
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I am a San Antonio-based wedding photographer and I cater to outdoor-loving couples who prefer to have all the realness captured on their wedding days. I am the wedding photographer for the outdoor adventurers, the romantics, the laid back, the snugglers, and those who wish to capture all their realness.
I am absolutely in love with capturing the kinds of weddings where there are more hugs than handshakes, the dance floor rumbles all night long, and chairs are pretty much rendered useless after dinner. Whiskey bottles are passed around, most of the wedding party has been best-best friends since kindergarten, Grams is likely to lose her shoes and your partner is much more emotional than you are. These kinds of weddings are my jam!
I started Ata-Girl Photography Co., LLC in 2010. I firmly believe that the unique set of circumstances I have faced in life has prepared me to take a personal and genuine interest in my photography clients. I enjoy documenting the important milestones and captivating moments in people’s lives. I love being a part of people’s journeys and consider myself privileged to document their legacies.
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I am a published author (purchase my book here), a podcast host (listen here) (watch here) and a WPPI-C certified professional, full-time wedding photographer. I specialize in a 10-day image delivery, same-day prints, same-day slideshows, Italian handcrafted wedding albums and I have a mobile meeting space.
When I’m not behind my camera, you can find me hiking, cycling, backpacking, camping, enjoying water sports, listening to music (Elvis and Prince), hunting for arrowheads, reading audiobooks, occasionally eating a few glazed donuts (my only weakness to sweets) and then re-starting my keto diet about every 10 days. The most important things in life are for me to see my two daughters happy and to create a family history my grandparents and grandson would be proud of.
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