Real Couples // Casual Same-Sex Romance in Columbia, SC: Brittany + Michele

Michele:

I'm from Dillon, SC, a small rural town about 2.5 hours from Columbia, SC. I studied early childhood education and elementary education in college and obtained a master's degree in divergent learning. I have been teaching for four years now and I currently teach fourth grade. Education is my passion and I love seeing the positive change that I can have on children. Brittany and I love trying new restaurants and visiting new places. We are huge Gamecock fans and love going to football and basketball games.

Brittany:

I am from outside of Charleston, SC and moved to Columbia, SC to attend college. I studied political science and continued that path in graduate school, obtaining a Master of Public Administration. I thought I wanted a career in public policy and worked in the field until I lost my mother to cancer in January 2017. That moment changed my life and made me realize what was truly important. I quit my job and opened a business, 72 Coffee Company. I have found a true passion for coffee and sharing it with others, and I am so grateful that I realized this and was able to make a change in my life.

We met in college. We were actually both dating other people when we became friends. We talked all the time and could not wait to be around each other. The relationship eventually became something more and we broke it off with our other partners. We both knew from the very beginning that there was something special between us and despite some drama in the beginning (ending our other relationships and Michele's family not being supportive), we made it and have never been happier.

I proposed October 2015 in Asheville, NC. We both love fall and the mountains, so I always wanted to do it during that time. We hiked up to the top of a mountain and I gave Michele a little book that I had made that included pictures of us through the years with song lyrics to "our songs." On the last page there was a picture of me holding a ring with the lyrics "I have loved you for a thousand years. I'll love you for a thousand more." Michele saw the picture and said, "Are you serious?" and I pulled out the ring. She started crying and I couldn't even speak. I mumbled will you marry me and she said yes!

The funniest thing about the entire proposal is that I had a photographer secretly capture it, but I wanted to keep it a secret the entire time. The photographer thought I was going to tell Michele that she was taking pictures and we could take a few staged photos after the proposal. So, the photographer kept getting closer and closer to us with her camera and she could see that I wanted her to back off, so she finally did. Michele asked me if she was taking pictures of us and I said, "she probably was on the mountain taking pictures and as an artist wanted to capture the moment once she saw it happen." Michele believes everything so she didn't even question it! I gave her the images for Christmas and she was so surprised.

Michele has a single princess-cut diamond on a Tacori setting. We have matching bands that are thin eternity diamond bands. We love that our bands match and it makes us feel even more connected.

For our engagement session, Michele opted to wear a floral dress and I wore jeans with a solid shirt and heels. My heels were coral which matched part of her dress. Our outfits in this shoot really describe our style. Michele is the more "feminine" one but I like to show that feminine side sometimes as well. I typically do not wear dresses, but love to rock some heels.

We wanted photos for an anniversary party we were planning, so we thought it would be cool to take a few pictures outside of the venue. The venue, Studio Cellar, is in downtown Columbia, SC and we love that area!

We've been married for a year now and the best thing about it is being able to say the word "wife." In a same-sex relationship, there are always people that do not see your relationship as legitimate and everyone always assumes we are roommates or sisters, but to be able to say "no, this is my wife" is the best feeling. We were already living together and were basically married before we actually tied the knot, but making it official was so cool.

We picked Jessica because we saw that she had taken photos of same-sex couples before. It can be scary to reach out to photographers because you are never sure if they are willing to take photos of same-sex couples. Actually, it is scary to reach out to any wedding services for that same reason. We talked with her and loved her style, and it was a plus that she takes amazing photos. We couldn't be happier with our choice!

Words by Brittany and Michelle, the couple, as told by Amber Marlow. Photos by Jessica Hunt.

 Casual Same-Sex Anniversary Photo Shoot Brittany and Michele on bench in front of Studio Cellar
 Casual Same-Sex Anniversary Photo Shoot brittany and michele holding hands on stone bench
 Casual Same-Sex Anniversary Photo Shoot couple against brick wall of studio cellar
 Casual Same-Sex Anniversary Photo Shoot foreheads touching
 Casual Same-Sex Anniversary Photo Shoot embrace
 Casual Same-Sex Anniversary Photo Shoot kiss on sidewalk in front of studio cellar
 Casual Same-Sex Anniversary Photo Shoot brittany portrait
 Casual Same-Sex Anniversary Photo Shoot michele portrait
 Casual Same-Sex Anniversary Photo Shoot brittany holding michele from behind
 Casual Same-Sex Anniversary Photo Shoot brittany smiling at michele
 Casual Same-Sex Anniversary Photo Shoot kiss while holding starbucks coffee cups reading "mrs."
 Casual Same-Sex Anniversary Photo Shoot couple on sidewalk posing for camera
 Casual Same-Sex Anniversary Photo Shoot michele and brittany on sidewalk
 Casual Same-Sex Anniversary Photo Shoot kiss

 jessica hunt photography

JESSICA HUNT

Jessica Hunt is wedding and lifestyle photographer based out of Columbia, South Carolina. Jessica Hunt Photography was founded in 2011 and now serves 20 to 25 couples a year throughout their wedding photography experience. Jessica has a passion for enriching the photography community by building real relationships with other business owners and pushing those peers to enhance every portion of their businesses. Jessica Hunt Photography currently serves couples throughout Southeast and is available for worldwide wedding coverage while specializing in naturally-lit, fine art portrait work and photographing classy, head-over-heels-in-love couples!