So, I mentioned in my last Indoorsman column that I got engaged recently.

That means wedding planning is going to dominate my life for the next eight months or so. I apologize in advance if it becomes a too-common theme here in this column; I have no intention of covering the entire process. That said, I do want to tell you about this phenomenon they have these days called “the engagement photo shoot.”

It’s a whole thing.

I didn’t know it was going to be a whole thing, until Alana and I did it this past weekend. I figured, you know, put on a nice shirt, smile, say cheese, and snap, snap, snap, we’re out of there in 15 minutes. This expectation was, it turns out, woefully naive.

We are lucky enough that Alana’s aunt, Ashley, is a professional photographer. And, since we were visiting a bunch of her family in Spokane last weekend anyway, we decided it would be a perfect time to get some engagement photos. I packed several of my favorite outfits, as Alana asked me to, and we headed out. (Side note: I do not have any favorite outfits. Alana told me what to bring.)

We had barely left Yakima when Alana, having received a text from Ashley, started jibber-jabbering about how great it was going to be: “She’s got a bunch of props! An old bicycle, a picnic basket, this great old quilt. And we can go pose by some old barns and wheat fields near my family’s property! Oooooh! This is going to be fun.”

Props? An old bicycle? Wheat fields? Fun? Dear lord. This was clearly more involved than I realized it would be.

So, anyway, the time came, and we snuck away from the family gathering to pose for some photos. We did a half-dozen costume changes and about a million scenery changes. We did some shots on a quilt in a field with an old bicycle in the background. Some shots on the old bicycle. Some shots in the middle of the country road. Some shots leaning up against a barn. Some shots of me holding Alana in a wheat field. Some shots next to a rusted-out Model A Ford. Some shots inside a rusted-out Model A Ford. (We put a thin blanket down atop the rusty metal springs that were all that was left of the car’s seat.)

If not for the bottle of Maker’s Mark that we had smuggled out there for the photo shoot, it would have been a pretty stressful afternoon. By the time we were done about two hours later, Ashley had shot nearly 400 photos, and I had cuts all over my hand from trying to maneuver that stupid old bicycle. But, aided by the bourbon and the fact that I am in love with Alana, it ended up being not really all that bad.

And the photos? Well, I’ve only seen a handful of them so far, but they look great. You can’t see the bloody hand or the rusty car-seat springs or the pickup that almost ran us over when we were posing in the middle of that country road. I swear they almost look natural, like we were hanging out in a field with a bunch of old-timey stuff in it when a photographer just happened by. I guess that was kind of the idea.

— The Indoorsman