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Picture Perfect (but Slightly Soggy)

Avalon and Blake in the rain

Photo by  Melissa Cervantes Photography

February 2017

Avalon Sorensen '15 and Blake Brooks '15 have offered the world a much different perspective of wet, cloudy days.

The couple, who will be married this fall, joyously experienced a downpour during their engagement photo shoot. The images, and their love story, have gone viral.

Popsugar features a gallery of 44 of their engagement photos taken by Melissa Cervantes Photography. Your Engagement 101 also features some of Cervantes' photos of the couple along with an romantic essay written by Brooks about how he and Sorensen met, how deeply he fell, and how he proposed.

As first-year SAU students the two shared a management class, but it wasn't until they were juniors that they formally met and shared a few sentences. Brooks said he knew then Sorensen was the woman for him.

"We began dating on Sept. 23, 2015 and a month and a half later, on Nov. 15, 2015, we picked out an engagement ring together," Sorensen said.

"We had been best friends prior to dating. We already knew everything about each other, felt completely comfortable being together and knew right away that we were in this for the long haul. I knew that Blake had a ring in his possession but when he would propose I did not know," Sorensen said.

To celebrate their one-year anniversary, Brooks planned a trip to Seattle. "He proposed at Bridal Veil Falls, about an hour away from Seattle, while we were on the hiking trip with our final destination being Lake Serene," she said. "I was surprised to find out it would be a different chapter in our life we'd be celebrating on this trip."

Late last year, the couple scheduled an engagement photo shoot with Cervantes at Blackhawk State Park in Rock Island. They were not disappointed when it began to rain and happily continued the shoot.

"Our photos began getting some interest the day of our engagement shoot when our photographer, Melissa, posted a couple sneak peek shots. We, along with a few friends and family members, shared her posts and photos and people continued to comment and like them more and more with each photo she posted," Sorensen said.

"Melissa would hashtag a few popular hashtags on her Instagram posts to gauge some interest from a few outside sources and there were a few that reposted, shared, and commented on her images. A week or two later, Melissa emailed me saying that our engagement photos were being recognized by some websites and blogs."

The couple gave Cervantes permission to allow other websites to publish the photos and their story went full-blown viral.

The couple will be married Sept. 23 at The Barn on the Ridge in Burlington, Iowa. Avalon currently works at Necker's Jewelers and Blake is in a management training program at Blackhawk Bank & Trust.

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