Once Chris finally worked up the nerve (you guys, it took him FOREVERRRRR), he asked me to be his girlfriend and we officially started dating. We both got haircuts, we decided it was best if only one of us wore earrings, and we started making memories together. Slowly, over time, what started as a friendship grew into a relationship. That relationship grew until we both realized we had found the last person we would ever date. I sat down to write this post with the intent of sharing the moment when I knew that Chris was “the one”, but it quickly became clear that it was the sum of a LOT of little moments over the course of our four years of dating that made me recognize he was the right one for me. Here’s a little peek into how I knew.
1. He Was My Constant Protector
I don’t know about you guys, but it’s safe to say I don’t do well with being alone. Not that I needed to be in a relationship all the time, but more in the way that if I am alone in my house, especially after dark, I have watched enough crime shows to know I am probably never going to make it out of that house alive. I remember vividly a time where my college roommates had finished exams and gone home for Christmas break, leaving me home alone for several days to study for my remaining finals. I was in my room studying when I began hearing a commotion in my kitchen – it sounded like someone was knocking things off the counters and clanging pots and pans… so I did the only thing there was to do. I locked my door, tried to convince myself it was probably nothing, officially freaked out, cried, and eventually called my boyfriend and told him I needed him to come over and take care of this intruder. He only lived a few blocks away and arrived a couple minutes later, at which point it occurred to me for the first time that I was going to have to leave my room to head downstairs and let him inside (cue more crying). I gathered myself, put my track skills to good use to sprint to the door, and let him inside only to find that his weapon of choice was a TINY MAGLITE. You guys… he brought a flashlight. He had great plans to clock this (obviously) large man in my kitchen while holding this flashlight and assured me it could do a lot of damage. (Or, perhaps he didn’t actually believe there was going to be a man in my kitchen. We’ll never know.). Either way, he bravely checked the place for me only to find that the large man was really a sad little bird that had entered my apartment through the vents. What ensued was a hilarious chase, a heroic bird capture and release, and a lot of cleaning after a terrified bird pooped all over my house. In the end, although I’ll never live down the bird story, he was there for me when I needed him, keeping me safe.
2. He Ate The Brownie Edges
This is pretty self explanatory. I needed a man who was okay with consuming crunchy brownies and letting his lady eat the middle brownies with no crust. I found this man in Chris.
3. He Was an Incredible Dad
How did I know this while we were dating? We tested his dad skills on a puppy. Suffice it to say that, in addition to letting me name our six pound Yorkie Moose, he was completely in love with her tiny little self and proved his dad skills long before we had any “real” children.
4. We Survived Several Road Trips Together
Being in a car with someone for long periods of time can really test a relationship. From being teammates on buses and planes headed to races all over the country to driving everywhere from Gatlinburg to Florida for short getaways, we actually ENJOYED being in a confined space together for long periods of time.
5. I Was Proud of Him
I loved telling the world he was mine (even when he had the long hair and the earrings). He has always been such a GOOD MAN, he was always making everyone laugh, he loves Jesus, and I honestly just had a blast when I was with him. Now that we have been together over 12 years, it’s safe to say I still feel pretty lucky to call him mine.
One of the best parts about being wedding photographers is meeting with newly engaged couples and getting to hear their story. We LOVE getting all the details about how they met, what the proposal was like, and everything in between. There is always something so fun about looking back and reminiscing about the beginning… before you knew you had found the person you would grow old with. After we hear our couples’ story, they usually want to know ours, so we decided we would share a little bit of it here over the next few months!
I honestly don’t remember the first time I saw him. I was on a recruiting trip to meet the track and cross country team and check out the University of Louisville campus to see if I wanted to continue my running career there after high school. The trip was filled with meeting new people and seeing new places and general information overload… the whole thing is kind of a blur in my memories. I was mostly concerned about meeting the other girls who might be on the team and deciding if I wanted to live with any of them, to be honest. Chris claims he noticed me right away, but I swear he didn’t speak to me at all on the that whole trip. He was one of the top runners in the state in high school, and I remember the cross country coach at U of L being so excited to show me his locker and point him out on the team… but I had no idea who he was!
In the end, I chose to accept the offer to compete at U of L, and when I arrived on campus that fall, I finally figured out who this Chris Danks guy was. We spent most of our time either in class or with the team… riding the bus to and from practice, running together, stretching, doing drills, lifting weights, taking ice baths… it was about as romantic as it sounds. (And if you’re wondering what an ice bath is, it’s where you literally sit in a tub of ice water for 12 minutes in an attempt to make your legs feel less like jello and death after a hard workout.) Chris and I had the same sarcastic sense of humor and he would drive me home from practice every now and then or sit by me on the bus, but I didn’t realize I was falling for him until one particular trip to the movies in October 2006.
He asked me to the movies, and I remember telling my roommates about it. We analyzed the situation for awhile to determine if this was meant to be a date or not. Because Chris and I were athletes and teammates, we didn’t even call each other by our first names – he called me Dukes (my maiden name) and I called him Danks… hilarious and not at all romantic. As it turns out, half our team was going to this movie with us, so I think it’s safe to say it was NOT intended to be a date. We ended up carpooling to the movie (you guys, I got carded to get into the rated R movie… in college… I’m still traumatized) so we rode there together with a few of our teammates. I don’t even remember if we sat next to each other at the movie! All I remember clearly is the drive home…
The team had taken about four cars to the movie, and Chris was one of the guys who drove. Everyone else was in a four-wheel-drive vehicle of some kind, and Chris was chauffeuring us around in his Honda Civic. This wouldn’t have made much difference except that when we left the theater it started to rain… and by the time we got back to campus, it had turned into a severe flash flood with roads so far underwater that we couldn’t get back to our apartments. It was like nothing I have seen before – so much rain in such a short time and people driving the wrong way on one way roads just trying to avoid flooded underpasses and make their way home. Tons of people were stranded because they had tried to drive through too much water and ended up flooding their car. Chris repeatedly stopped and got out in the POURING rain, loaned his phone and umbrella to these strangers, and generally just loved and served people who were panicked and alone… It still gives me chills because that was the first moment I knew… I liked this guy with long, wavy hair and earrings. And that’s really where it all began…
Big news and big changes over here at Danks Photography… We have decided to rebrand and rename the business! Starting this Thursday (in two days), we will officially change our social media accounts over to Kortni and Chris Photography. We will also be launching our new website as soon as our blog is fully migrated over later this week! This is your heads up so you aren’t totally lost and confused when you search Danks Photography and can’t find us anymore. 🙂
So, why the change? There’s many reasons, but here are the main two.
1. We ARE our business.
We are the ones taking the pictures, meeting the clients, creating the blog content, answering the emails, giving the styling advice, loving and serving our brides and grooms, filing the taxes, and generally running all of the behind the scenes business-y things. This business is our baby… one that we are loving and pouring into over lots of late nights, early mornings, long weekends, and everything in between. When you book with us, you have SO MANY options for wedding photographers, and we know that you are choosing us not just because you love our work but because you connect with us. This is a big reason why our clients become friends and we still see and talk to most of them long after their wedding day has come and gone! We want to get to know you and we want to let you get to know us. This business is our little tiny corner of the universe where we believe God has given us an opportunity to impact people’s lives, and part of that requires us to let the world into ours.
2. We want to make it as easy as possible for people to refer us to their friends.
We don’t want you to have to remember two names, and our friends and clients know us MUCH better by our first names than our last! Our hope is that you will feel confident in sharing with your network that Kortni and Chris are wedding photographers who take wonderful care of their clients and deliver gorgeous images… and then that network can easily find us just by remembering our names! Referrals are the lifeblood of our business, and the greatest compliment we can receive. We appreciate each and every one of our friends, family, and acquaintances who trust us enough to take the time to tell others about us. Because photography is such a personal experience, people will naturally use our first names when talking about us to others, so it made sense to also make our names our business name!
OK, so maybe it’s also a sneaky ploy to try to force the world to learn how to spell my name. 😉 (It’s Kortni, you guys, not Kortini. I’m not a pasta…. or a mixed drink…. or a summer swimsuit. It’s just Kortni.)
Anyway, if you read all the way to the bottom of this blog, we love you. We appreciate you. And we are so thankful you care enough about us to click on this, open it, and read the whole thing. We think, much like our photography style, timeless and classic is the best way to go and now our name will better reflect that. Super excited the take on this next season of our business with you all!
Well… we’re baaaaaaack. I started this blog when I created our website almost 3 years ago, and then I proceeded to NEVER WRITE ON IT AGAIN. Womp womp.
I’m super excited to get back at it (for real this time), and use this forum to share tips for you guys whether you are planning your wedding, picking outfits for your family pictures, or trying to decide whether or not you REALLY need newborn pictures… and, of course, we will also be sharing lots of really beautiful images with you here!
I am excited to share some peeks into our crazy life raising three super sweet, super fun, super exhausting girls (4 and under… because, like I said, we’re crazy). This blog is the place for you if you like to laugh, you love love, and you enjoy pretty things!
Stay tuned later today for our first “real” post as we showcase last week’s engagement session. Thanks to our moms and the maybe five other people who are reading this right now… Ha! But seriously… Looking forward to getting this blog up and running. Praying it’s a helpful resource for y’all!