Dear Caelen,

I’ll never forget when Mom and Dad first brought you home. I was six. I don’t remember a lot from that age, but I do remember that. I can still picture the living room at our old house, the cherry leather recliner where Dad held you, the green couch where we got our turn, too. You entered a world of three older brothers. At that time, three wild banshees, really. To an extent, you were foreign to us. Mom was the only girl any of us had ever lived with. And, even though we probably didn’t recognize it at the time, looking back, you were the best belated Christmas gift our family ever received.

Growing up, in a lot of ways, you took a backseat to us, our lives, and our priorities. We hauled you around from one soccer field to the next, filling up your weekends with more green grass than you’d probably ever care to see again. That meant, as your got older, we missed a lot of your dance recitals and the things that mattered to you. But, even though we didn’t see it all, don’t think for a second that we didn’t see you for the special young girl that grew more into a beautiful young woman with every passing year. You excelled in high school in every possible way. You got good grades. You danced. You cheered. You made time for friends. You still supported us. You established deep roots for your faith that led you to where you are today: standing at the starting line of the rest of your life, engaged to be married, months away from trading our last name for a new one.

Before you cross that line, though, let’s stop for a moment to celebrate you. There hasn’t been enough of that these past 22 years, so let’s make the next few months all about that, beginning now. Tonight, you’re graduating from college with a degree from the best journalism school in the land, which is impressive on its own, but you somehow managed to be a leader in multiple on-campus ministries, follow in Mom’s footsteps and join a philanthropic sorority, and hold down several high-level internships, including one with the Make A Wish Foundation. So, this morning, while you’re reading this, while you’re steaming your maroon and gold graduation gown and making sure your cap fits just right, know this: we are so proud of you. So, so proud. You’re the stuff this world needs more of and your fiancé is, too. I never thought (in a million years) that I’d like any boy you ever brought home, but then in walked Austin, and I knew right then and there that we’d be here, celebrating your engagement, as soon as the tassel moved to the other side. And we’ve been ecstatic about it from the start, because you found a man of good and noble character, and we know that he’ll lead and love you with Jesus as his compass constant. We’ve found that’s the secret sauce to a marriage that doesn’t just survive, but thrives.

You’ll be Mrs. Austin Tallant in just a few short months, and Amy and I can’t wait to stand next to you when you do, but for now, for 136 more days, I’m going to cherish the fact that you’re still a Demos, the only girl of five boys. I think God did that by design, by the way, because He knew that there couldn’t be any more, because you, my dear sister, would be an impossible act to follow.

It was quite a surreal experience for Amy and me to take your engagement photos. We hope when you look at these, now, and for the next fifty years, they’ll help you remember the joy between the two of you. Because that’s what we see when we look at these photos. We love you. I love you.


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the GEAR USED for this session…

Canon 5D Mark III
Canon 50 1.2
Canon 70-200 2.8
Entire Gear List

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filed in: Engagements

    Lori Shinn

    Such a beautiful letter to go along with amazing pictures. Thank you for sharing you big brother feelings Jordan!


    I love these SO much!! Especially the first few!