Newburyport Plum Island Engagement Shoot :: Gavin + Kyle :: with Alyssa S.

Gavin + Kyle are pure MAGIC together!!  We love them both separately and, together, they could light up the whole world.  We already know that their wedding next month will be one for the books.  Even more, we love their love story!!  Here’s one side of the story, from Kyle…

“It was February 2010. I was a sophomore at UNE in charge of the University’s Trailblazers Program which takes incoming students on outdoor trips as part of their college orientation. I had already spent months working on the program; planning different types of trips, contracting with vendors and writing schedules. Now I just needed to hire a team.
The ideal Trailblazer Guide is welcoming, adaptable, spirited, and fearless. These are college students being paid pennies an hour to take incoming freshman to the far reaches of grueling Maine wilderness. Not only does a Trailblazer Guide need to facilitate group bonding amongst 10 teenage strangers [gulp], they need to make sure none of them get lost, struck by lightning, or worse: discouraged. Trailblazer guides have exhausting work. They wake up first. They paddle the heaviest boat. They eat last. And they smile because they love it.
Applications came pouring in and I anxiously scheduled interviews, hoping to find that ideal Trailblazer.
I was just beginning to worry when the door opened and the ideal Trailblazer walked in. He was wearing a tan jacket and brown baseball cap. He looked at me and smiled, a genuine, adorable smile. I glanced at my copy of his application, Gavin Kuns- Freshman from Sandusky, Ohio. I wasn’t sure if an Ohio boy would take to Trailblazing, but his eyes had the spark of someone who would learn. We need this, I remember thinking.
I stood up from my chair and leaned across the table to shake his hand.
“You must be Gavin,” I said, with a strong hand shake, “my name is Kyle. It’s nice to finally meet you.”
Gavin’s smile quickly faded. “Yeah,” he said, disappointed, “from the Leadership Retreat this fall?”
I froze mid-handshake. I had absolutely zero recollection of Gavin from the weekend Leadership Retreat we both attended 4 months prior. I was trying my best to impress him and I had already ruined it before we even sat down. “Oh! That’s right,” I said, pretending to remember, “Sorry, Gavin! How’ve you been?”
Too late. Now we’re one of those couples whose “how we met story” has 2 distinct versions taking places 4 months apart. Years later, I tried to tell Gavin I didn’t remember him because we didn’t interact closely on the retreat. He dug up a photo of us smiling at each other while carrying the same 8 foot 2 x 6 in a bridge-building activity and another of us literally tied together at the hip while belaying a classmate on the ropes course. Thanks for nothing, internet.
I should be clear, however, this was no “love at first sight” [or I guess technically second sight]. I was half a year into my first serious relationship, so I wasn’t quite “on the market,” nor did I suspect Gavin would ever be on that market either. But fate was patient and made sure to keep us in each other’s company for as long as it took to figure things out.
At first, we were just Trailblazers. Slowly our social circles merged and suddenly we were best buds. By the following winter, I was single again and totally oblivious to Gavin’s messages that he was available too. I basically didn’t notice or remember any of his increasingly more obvious hints. Are you noticing a pattern in this relationship? Well stop, patterns are dumb.
When it finally clicked, my world had changed forever. Despite being surprised, somehow I had never felt so sure of anything before. When I found Gavin, I found the rest of myself that I didn’t know was missing.

That summer, our one-month anniversary took place on an island under the stars [you guessed it, staffing a Trailblazer Trip]. We snuck away from the group for 15 minutes to watch the stars and I was totally bewildered about how our lives had somehow collided. We were happier than we had ever been, even if the world around us had no clue.
I tried to stay practical, reminding myself that Gavin would likely return to Ohio after college and our futures would probably pull us apart. But what followed over the next 7 years reinforced that our intersection was no random accident. Our bond survived each subsequent threat until we trusted it enough to keep it going through anything. I think the world simply discovered that Gav and I are our best when we’re together. Happier, braver, steadier.
Within a year, Gavin and I will be married. And doctors. Whaaat? I’m not sure how all of this happened. Maybe I blacked out sometime between Obama’s reelection and The Office Series Finale. Either way, I haven’t forgotten how lucky I am. I guess you could say it’s been one, crazy long Trailblazer Trip. I know we’re headed out for a long paddle but, Trailblazers that we are, we’ll be smiling because we have each other and we love it.”

Congratulations, Gavin + Kyle!! xoxo, The OLAS Team

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