“We met on career day,” Lauren Gwinn shares sweetly. “He’s a veterinarian, and he came to speak at the local, elementary school. I brought up my dog as a conversation starter, and we exchanged information. We went to dinner a week later.”
What’s ironic about that initial meeting between Lauren and her now-husband Brenton Gwinn is that Lauren is a speech pathologist who works and travels between dozens of schools. The fact she was at that school on that day, the same day he was at that school on that day? A charming, serendipitous start to a beautiful relationship.
That was April 2015. The two connected quickly over a passion for anything outdoors and a love for animals. They dated for a little over a year.
Then, on May 23, 2016, the couple went for a horseback ride in the West Virginia Mountains. Though Lauren didn’t know it at the time, Brenton had coordinated with his extended family, who live in the area, to make arrangements for a romantic trail ride to ask an important question. He planned a course that would take them over a mountain and down into a valley, ending with a stop at a creek with a beautiful waterfall.
That day, the two, who both grew up horseback riding, set out on the trail; their dogs were with them, running off-leash. Lauren remembers it was a beautiful spring day in one of the most beautiful places in the world.
Then, they heard a yelp from one of the dogs up ahead; and they started to run the horses around the bend. Both dogs had the same wild raccoon in their mouths, pulling on the animal. Drama ensued; when resolved (both dogs were fine), Brenton was left frustrated and angry that such an important trail ride had gone array.
“I think he was nervous to begin with, and then all that happened with the dogs and the raccoon,” Lauren shares. It had already been one thing after another getting to this point – they had also experienced a flat tire on the drive up from Charlotte, NC.
Despite the circumstances, Brenton rallied with love; as the two stood by the waterfall, he got down on one knee to ask Lauren to marry him. She said yes.
The two were married privately on April 9, 2017 at Worth Mountain in Hickory Grove, South Carolina, a beautiful, favorite spot where the couple enjoys hiking together. Their wedding portraits were taken a month later at Roan Mountain in Tennessee. With the highest point in Tennessee outside the Great Smoky Mountains, the venue was both simple and stunning – as well as more than appropriate for a couple who loves the outdoors, the fresh air, and the time together.
(Written by Meg Seitz w/ Toth Shop)
Introducing the world’s cutest raccoon killers : )