It’s been a little while since we posted something suuuuuuuuuper sweet and sentimental (wait, nope, every one of our Real Weddings hits on those things), but given the snuggle-worthy weather situation happening right outside my window - second day of spring snowstorm in NYC, NBD - it seemed like the perfect time to whip out something ridiculously heart warming.
Meet Elmer and Fran Armstrong, both 76, the cutest pair of soulmates we may have ever seen. This June, they’ll be celebrating being married 55 years. And while that anniversary usually connotes an emerald gift, this tremendous twosome dared to do something differently with the occasion - all thanks to their creative photographer granddaughter.
Courtney Stepp, 24, makes a living shooting couples in love - she’s a sought-after wedding photographer in O’Fallon, Missouri. Having witnessed countless couples commit to each other over the years, she has a sixth sense for sniffing out true love - and her grandparents, aptly adored as ‘mama and papa,’ epitomize it. On her blog, she shares that her relationship role models were “born in the late 40's and nearly have been through everything.”
So, as their 55th anniversary loomed, Courtney thought it’d only be appropriate to commemorate their enduring love with a photo session that threw back to their early days. And Elmer and Fran are literally all of us. Or what we always hoped we’d be: two kids who fell in love at the malt shop. Well, Steak ‘N Shake, to be more precise.
From Fran herself:
I first met my husband Elmer on a chilly rainy day in March of 1962. We met at the Rock Road Steak 'n Shake which is no longer there. Steak 'n Shake was a place where teenagers would meet, hang out and have fun. My friend and I were waiting to meet with some friends, when Elmer who was in the next car was trying to get our attention. I rolled down the window and stared at him. Elmer said "Your windshield wipers are squeaking miss." I proceeded with "no kidding" and further rolled up my windows. Once our friends got to Steak 'n Shake, Elmer knew one of our friends and got in the car. It just so happened Elmer knew our guy friend from high school. He first called my friend and asked her for a date, she said "no thank you." Elmer then called me and asked for a date. I was annoyed and was unsure about this Elmer guy, but I gave him a chance and said "Okay why not." This marked our first date which was downtown at a theatre to go see a movie. The entire movie Elmer was looking towards the ceiling sound asleep. Once the lights came on at the end of the movie he woke up confused about where he was.”
Oh, Elmer, you kill us 😂. Only three months later, they got engaged, and the rest is history….
So when Courtney wanted to take things back to where it all began, the Armstrongs were all ears. Unfortunately, their flagship meeting place has closed, but Courtney arranged to have the session at the next closest location.
And the pictures were just too perfect. We’re eating them up. Really. ((Sitting in a booth sipping milkshakes with the love of my life is beyond goals)).
From 🍓milkshake moments, to sweet and salty smooches 😘 courtesy of the cheese fries and burgers, the chemistry between Fran and Elmer just bubbled over - and their granddaughter now gushes over how special the entire shoot was. She has plans to give the lovebirds an album for their official anniversary, in June, but for now, everyone is just coasting on their sugar highs.
Definitely head over to her page to see all of the sassy shots… have to say, Elmer did a👌 job with his wife’s engagement ring. Whoa, emerald stunner, soooo nice to meet you!
All photos courtesy of Courtney Stepp / CMS Photography LLC.
Maybe these ice-cream loving sweeties will be celebrating their own first few dates like this in 50+ years, for now, we all should just take Fran's forever-love feedback to heart: "Stick together through thick, respect, be kind and tomorrow will be another day."