The best part about taking photos of people is learning about who they are and where they come from. Emily and Mitchell decided that part of their engagement session would be to adventure out to the agate beds outside of the Painted Hills in eastern Oregon. They found some cool rocks (or what I hope to be thunder eggs, I am still waiting for them to saw it in half and let me know!) and then went to the spot where Mitchell proposed for some photo magic! When I told these two I wanted to hear about their life and how they met (and not to spare any details) I was met with two single spaces dissertations that knocked my socks off.
So without further ado, I present to you the Emily + Mitchell saga:
“I was born on April 4th, 1996 in Roseburg. I grew up in Days Creek with my sister, Brooke, on our parent’s ranch. Mom and dad had us on horses before we could walk, and we spent a lot of time roaming around the place, picking berries and trying to figure out how to catch squirrels. As we got older we became better help and spent summers and weekends moving irrigation pipe, fixing fence, and working cows and sheep. I was active in 4-H and FFA, I raised sheep and cattle and showed them at county and state fair and I showed cattle in jackpot shows in high school. I started raising Gelbvieh cattle in 4th grade and grew my cattle herd from there. I’ve always loved animals and running around in nature. I graduated from Days Creek High School in June 2014 and went to Oregon State that fall. I majored in Agricultural Sciences.”
"I swiped right on Mitchell because he had a really cute dog in the picture, turns out it wasn’t even his dog."
I had downloaded Tinder just for fun and to go on dates, I had zero intention of finding an actual boyfriend. I really didn’t plan on getting married until I was like, 30. I swiped right on Mitchell because he had a really cute dog in the picture, turns out it wasn’t even his dog. I knew I wanted to marry him on our first date. By the time we ended the date, I was convinced he only wanted to be friends because he told me a story about a girl named Emily that he knew that really liked him that he only wanted to be friends with. I assumed this was some sort of weird allegory so when he went for the hug I offered him a firm handshake. He still doesn’t understand why I thought that, he was apparently just trying to reassure me that he wasn’t a “player”.
He stood me up on our second date. I’ll probably forgive him someday, but not today. I was so mad I decided we would go on one more date, and then I was going to dump him and make him regret standing me up forever. It was going really well until he smiled at me and his eyes twinkled, I knew I was screwed.
He asked me to be his girlfriend right before I left to go back home for the summer. We made it through that first summer and picked right back up in the fall. Unfortunately, this was around the time I started dealing with depression. Mitchell took care of me through it, even on days I couldn’t get out of bed. It was an ugly chapter in our relationship, but he stuck by my side and showed just how kind and caring he was under his big, loud, rednecky exterior. I really struggled to find myself again and one day I skipped all of my classes and drove to Central Oregon. I ended up wandering around the Painted Hills for hours, just thinking and trying to figure out how to get my life back on track. When I was done, I had a plan, and I drove home and we spent hours together planning for the future.
We moved in together in Albany, in the sketchy part of town. Around this time we got our first cat, Finn. We had a rough patch after a year there, we both had some growing up to do and we weren’t sure if we wanted to do that together. We spent Memorial Day weekend camping and exploring and talking, and we went to the Painted Hills, and by the end of the weekend we decided that even if it was messy and ugly, we wanted to grow together. The next year was a happy blur of entertaining friends and spending time together and getting ready for our future. Somewhere around this time we rescued our other cat, Binky.
After Mitchell graduated he ended up getting the best job offer in Coos Bay as a log buyer for Georgia-Pacific so we decided to live separately again. He moved to Coos Bay with Binky and I moved to Cottage Grove with Finn to finish up school online while I worked full time in digital marketing for Roseburg.
"I was fortunate enough that she also swiped right on my profile."
"I was born on August 2nd 1993 to Thomas and Michelle Cipriano in Oregon City, Oregon. From then on I grew up in Molalla, OR which is basically east of Woodburn for those of you who didn’t know. Molalla was a small logging community amidst the change to becoming a commuter town for Portland. Both of my parents worked so I spent a lot of my free time with my Papa tinkering in the shop. Horses were a big part of our family growing up as well as camping. When my family did go on vacation we usually went horse camping and stayed in tents. I grew up spending a lot of time trail riding on my pony, Billy Bean. I was active in the local community and could be found in the Molalla Kiddie Parade every year with Billy Bean until I was around 12 or 13. My family used to spend major holidays having picnics in the woods and either going for a drive, having target practice, or riding our horses together. I learned a lot about the outdoors and gained an appreciation for nature that has carried into today. Once I graduated high school I started out at Clackamas Community College working towards an Oregon Transfer Degree with the intention of going to Portland State for civil engineering. While going to school I worked for the BLM tree seed orchard in Colton Oregon. It was there that I began to turn my love of the outdoors into a possible career. I started taking classes on wild-land firefighting and for a short while my career seemed to go that direction. I had all intent of going into the national guard until my appendix burst and the guard said I would have to wait another year before enlisting. I didn’t want to postpone my college transfer so I decided to chase what interested me and grew out my beard, enrolled at Oregon State and started studying trees."
It was the spring of my first year at OSU when I met Miss Emily Hopfer, the love of my life. We started messaging and eventually went on our first date at a Mexican restaurant in Albany, Oregon. After our date Emily convinced me to let her trim my goatee because it was crooked, her argument was that she clipped cattle at fair and could handle my beard without issues. After our first date we both seemed uncertain so we ended it on a firm handshake. Later on we planned to go on a date however due to me being a huge procrastinator I had to cancel because I had forgotten that I had a paper due that day that I hadn’t started. Emily thought I was trying to blow her off intentionally which was not well received however she did give me a second chance and we hit it off again. I remember one of our earlier dates we went fishing at a pond north of Corvallis, the mosquitoes were so dang bad that she ended up getting bit over 100 times but she never whined or complained about it because the fish were still biting. I was really impressed at how tough this beautiful woman was. We spent a lot of time together, we were basically inseparable. A few weeks before the school year ended after a sushi dinner I asked Emily to be my official girlfriend. The school year was almost to an end and I remember her being like dang it why did you have to come around before I moved back home. It was really funny but of course she said yes and we embarked on our journey together. The first summer apart was kinda tough but we persevered going from seeing each other every day to on the weekends. The next summer Emily was working down in Douglas County again and she decided to bring in the first member of our little family. She adopted a kitten who we were told was a little boy cat, when we took her in to the vet our Finnegan became a Finn because it turned out she was a girl. The same year we moved in together and Emily quickly turned our house into a home filled with love, warmth and lots of laughs. I’ll never forget the feeling when she moved in after the summer and we finally got our little house all set up. It felt amazing to love this woman and live together. Nothing seemed to matter, we had each other and Finn. The next year we adopted another cat who Emily had known from her days growing up back home. Binky came into our little family and was immediately an important part of our life even though her and Finn maybe don’t love each other all the time. The following year I graduated from Oregon State and had an opportunity to start my career in the wood products industry. The downside was that I had to move to Coos Bay, Oregon which was 2 hours from my beautiful fiancée. We made it work but it was tough living 100 miles or 2 hours apart.
It was shortly after moving apart that I had enough saved to buy the ring. I’ll never forget custom ordering her ring out of Colorado and how nervous I was about it. I didn’t really know when I was gonna propose because we were so busy between both of us working full time, her being in school full time and all of the other obligations such as state fair. Emily was supposed to go spend a Saturday with her best friend Sasha when something fell through and I knew I had to take the chance to do it then. I had been carrying the ring around with me everywhere for an entire week, whilst being nervous about losing it but never letting it out of my sight. So I took this opening and booked us a room in Prineville for a Saturday night. We got a late start on getting over there because Emily had an online exam in the morning. We got over there and went out for dinner, Emily was suspicious because I was wearing a button down but I just told her it was because I had gotten so used to wearing them at work. We went to the painted hills and walked around, I remember carrying the ring in my boot. I had it tucked into my sock to hide it from her. We got to the top of the painted hills and she sat in front of me on a bench. I quickly retrieved the ring from my sock and put it in my back pocket. I’ll never forget this moment, right as the sun started to set I said oh man there must be something biting me leg. So I bent over and she stood up concerned to see if I was okay. As she stood and turned to me I got down on one knee and pulled out the ring. It was met with tears of joy as I asked her to marry me. When she said yes it was by far the best feeling in the universe. We were both so happy, that pure bliss and love that I felt at that moment was truly amazing. We walked down the hill and were now engaged. We went back into Prineville, made the important phone calls to our families and then got ice cream and went to hotel room to watch a movie and eat ice cream. I feel so fortunate that Emily said yes to spending our lives together. I am truly blessed by this woman and love her more than anything, more than words can describe. She makes me happy beyond belief and I can’t imagine a life without her by my side. I cannot wait for each and everyday we will spend together moving forward and all of our shenanigans that are sure to ensue.