Natasha and Eugene knew that embarking on a long distance relationship could be difficult, but their connection was so strong, they had to make it work.
After meeting on Twitter, they started an intense 9 month, long-distance relationship. Natasha shares, “we traveled sometimes twice a month between Milwaukee and Baton Rouge…. We spent a lot of money and put a lot of time into our relationship. Eugene was a full-time Ph.D. student, and I was also working full-time. We stayed up until 4 AM and 5 AM on FaceTime, without the ability to just hold each other.” It was hard, but they endured until they made the huge first step to purchase a home together.
The couple loves to travel together, so Eugene knew the perfect time to propose would be during their trip to Paris. The Louvre Museum served as the stunning backdrop, and a photographer Eugene secretly hired, captured it all.
For their engagement session, they wanted to mix their love of fashion with their love of the architecture and vibe of New Orleans.
See all of the gorgeous photos captured by Shagari Gerard Photography.
- Couple: Natasha Lee & Eugene Johnson
- Occupations: PhD Students
- Wedding date: June 6, 2021
- Wedding location: Ponchatoula, Louisiana
- Location of Engagement shoot: New Orleans, Louisiana (Seraphim House)
Tell us how you met and all about the proposal.
Most folks don’t know this, but we actually met on Twitter (over 1,000 miles apart), where Eugene slid in the DMs (Direct Messages). I lived in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and Eugene lived in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
We had a 9-month long-distance relationship, and we traveled sometimes twice a month between Milwaukee and Baton Rouge. We even made stops in Memphis, Florence, Venice, New Orleans, and Tybee Island. These adventures were so much fun, but it was also very hard. We spent a lot of money and put a lot of time into our relationship. Eugene was a full-time Ph.D. student, and I was also working full-time. We stayed up until 4 AM and 5 AM on FaceTime, without the ability to just hold each other.
It. Was. Hard…
BUT…. in August 2019 the long-distance came to an end when we bought our first home together! I left my job, moved to Louisiana, and enrolled in a Ph.D. program! Yep, after just 9 months of a long-distance love we took a huge step because we knew that our love was real!!
In January, we took off to another adventure—PARIS! Eugene and I LOVE to travel, and we wanted to bring in 2020 under the Parisian lights! We had a blast—our hotel had a window’s view of the Eiffel Tower (which is so beautiful at night), we sipped champagne on the plane, shopped at the Louis Vuitton store, had dinner at the L’Oiseau Blanc rooftop restaurant with the perfect view of the Eiffel tower, and we took photos with the Mona Lisa. We also got engaged outside of the Louvre!!
I guess I missed a few details! On Tuesday, January 7th, the second day of our trip in Paris, we had lunch at a small Parisian café and then went back into the hotel for a nap. Usually, Eugene allows me to rest but that day he kept asking me to get up because he really wanted to see the city on a City Sightseeing tour. He kept saying “I want to get some good pictures in front of the Louvre while it’s daylight,” I reluctantly obliged.
When we got on the City Sightseeing tour bus, it was freezing outside, but the sites were great! I did not know Eugene planned on us getting off at the Louvre on the bus tour, but he kept saying “We have to get off at stop 10 to see the Louvre.” When stop 10 came, the bus didn’t stop, Eugene then made us get off on stop 11 which was about 1.5 miles away from the Louvre. We then had to walk back to the Louvre in 30-degree weather. I had on leather loafers and they were cutting into the back of my heel, Eugene joked, “I guess you do some crazy things for love.” I shot him a stare and he only held my hand while beaming with joy. We walked for about 28 minutes and arrived at the Louvre at directly 4:30 pm.
Once we arrived, we saw everyone taking photos and some were even taking photos atop of the cement blocks outside of the Louvre. Eugene told me he would take photos of me first; I did not know that he actually planned for a Parisian photographer to be there to capture the moment. Eugene slowly walked up to me to help me stand on the cement block; in the midst of me turning around, I did not realize he had gotten down on one knee. The rest is honestly kind of blurry, I cannot tell you what he said, but I was in shock and disbelief. I could not stop laughing, but without hearing a word he said, I said “Yes, you know I will.” Eugene literally put me on a pedestal for everyone to see and that summarizes our entire relationship. Laughter, sacrifice, uplifting each other, and most importantly love.
Describe your engagement session.
Our engagement session was great. One thing we pride ourselves on is dressing well. We knew we had two outfits, so we wanted to go with a monochromatic look and something chic and sexy. The Seraphim House in New Orleans met all of our desires. Our photographer Shagari Gerard is also a really amazing photographer who was able to capture us in some amazing light.
What did you do on your first date?
On our first date, we went to St. Roch Market in New Orleans, Louisiana for smoothies and conversation. The conversation was progressing, so we decided to grab lunch at a local neighborhood restaurant and wine bar, Silk Road. Over the next 4 hours, we would share wine, delicious Indian meals, and great conversation traversing from our favorite Black romantic films to our desires and goals.
What’s your favorite thing to do as a couple?
Our favorite thing to do as a couple is simply, spending time together, which has only been enhanced during the Covid-19 pandemic. In a world before Covid-19, we would go to movie theatres, cuddle at home, go play pool, study together, go to restaurants, and travel the globe going to places such as Venice, Florence, Paris, Tybee Island, and Memphis, Tennessee. Since Covid-19, we have taken up home improvement projects and DIY activities. We have also had to be creative in our dates, we have done picnics on the bluff at Southern University, we have had backyard movie nights, game nights, coffee dates, and we have had amazing discourse around our studies (Natasha is a Ph.D. student in Social work; Eugene is a Ph.D. candidate in Political Science).
How has wedding planning been so far?
Wedding planning has not been as difficult as we would have thought it would be. Our wedding date was so far out that we did not have to worry about Covid thus far. It did impact our ability to have an engagement party, but that isn’t as important as making sure our friends and family stay healthy. The venue that we chose, The Oaks Wedding & Event Center, basically comes complete minus a few minor details. Our wedding colors were picked, the wedding party has started to purchase/rent their items, and our wedding website is almost done.
Tell us what you’re looking forward to most on the wedding day.
We are looking forward to exchanging our vows in front of our friends and family, but we may be even more excited to have fun. We’ve been in the house quarantined for a while, hopefully, when our wedding finally arrives next year things will resemble something close to normal.
- photography – Shagari Jackson @ShagariGerardPhotography
- venue – Seraphim House @theseraphimhouse
- his hair – Nathaniel James – Executive images Barbershop @natedabarber504
- makeup – Jessica Haynes @makeupbyjess
- her hair – Jacqueline Richardson – co owner of Happy Hair Salon & Boutique @Jacquelinerichardsonhair