Portugal Engagement Session: Carla + Max

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What a dream. On top of witnessing my beautiful sister and her boyfriend get engaged on a Portuguese beach (proposal post coming soon!), we stole a few minutes later in our trip to do a more formal engagement session! These were taken on Paia do Porto de Mos, a beach located a quick walk from our Airbnb in Lagos. We had the beach to ourselves as the sun set and I couldn’t believe how dreamy it all felt.

On the night he proposed, we were all drinking champagne when Max asked if I’d always thought they’d get married. After thinking about it, I realized that I did by default because it simply never occurred to me that they would break up.

When they started dating in high school over eight years ago, it seemed crazy to think of this day. I remember joking in the first few months of their relationship that if they got married, her name would become Carla Kiley and us laughing, thinking that was hilarious, but fitting because it sounds as bubbly as she is.

From my point of view, their relationship has always had a wise, laid-back, “we’ll see” attitude. From the beginning as teenagers, they never needed to see each other everyday. They didn’t plan their lives around each other. They had separate friends and separate hobbies. They spent time together when they could and their friendship was always at the forefront of their dynamic. I can’t remember them ever fighting or having the drama common in most high school relationships.

When they graduated from different high schools set to go to separate colleges, people asked constantly how they were going to make it work. She happily replied, “We’ll see!”

A couple years later when she left to study abroad in London for four months, everyone asked if they’d break up. She happily replied with a knowing smile, “We’ll see …but I think we’ll be ok.”

When they graduated from college and began their lives as working young adults, everyone began asking when they’d get engaged. Again, she always happily replied, “We’ll see!” To which people would turn to me and quietly ask why it didn’t seem like she cared too much. The truth was, she wasn’t concerned about it, just as she had never been too concerned with the rest of their relationship. Things would work out as they were supposed to.

I think that attitude only comes from two people who have always known. When they began dating so young, it seemed too far away to even picture marriage, so their relationship was just two best friends having fun. As time passed, their friendship grew, their love grew, and each challenge they faced together became another ring in the tree of their relationship. Now, looking back, that tree is strong. Very strong. That sweet high school relationship with no pressure on it, free to shift and change with the pressures and joys of life, has grown through sunshine and storms into something beautiful, solid, and resilient. It’s the kind of love you see in people who have been together for a lifetime and have complete and total faith in each other. It is unique and special at any age, but especially two people in their early twenties.

Of course, this is the ramblings of her older sister, so she may not have the same perspective on their relationship, but all I can say is it’s been a privilege to witness. Having a front row seat to them growing up individually and together has been a true joy. And now, I can’t wait to see where their marriage takes them. Congratulations, Carla and Max. I love you :)