When Jules and Megan said they wanted a “romantic and soft” engagement session, their photographer, Melisa Hall of Blue Note Weddings, knew that San Francisco’s Palace of Fine Arts would be the perfect spot.
“It was a perfect San Francisco overcast day,” Hall says, “Which made for soft light. The beautiful sea foam green hues paired beautifully with the terra cotta monumental structure.”
“The two were quite natural in front of the camera and complimented one another gracefully during their session,” Hall continues. “Megan, with her doe eyes and bubbly personality, swooned over her bride to be as the two spent time dancing together beneath the gorgeous dome.”
Mariah and Alyssa’s story began in the Mexican food aisle at the grocery store.
“I noticed her first, and I immediately thought she was attractive,” Mariah says. “I kept looking away every time she looked my way, hoping she wouldn’t catch me checking her out. But then our eyes locked, and Alyssa started flirting. She was funny, too, and I’m a sucker for someone who can make me laugh.”
The pair exchanged numbers and soon began a whirlwind romance.
“I have never been so drawn to someone or something in my whole life,” Mariah says. “I felt like I just had to have her, as if I immediately knew she was it for me. Our chemistry was undeniable after our first date. We just couldn’t get enough of each other.”
About a year later, Alyssa proposed at Pennsylvania’s Seven Springs Mountain Resort.
“I feel so blessed to have the love we share, the endless laughter,” Mariah says. “Love is priceless, and I couldn’t imagine spending the rest of my life with anyone else. I’m forever in love with my best friend.”
“They say when you least expect it, that’s when it will happen. That couldn’t be more true for me. At a time in my life when I had almost given up on love, I met Kayla.”
So begins the story of Georgia couple Courtney and Kayla, who got engaged at their favorite restaurant two days before Christmas. Kayla proposed at a dinner surrounded by family, with a dessert that spelled out “Will You Marry Me?”
“I turned around and Kayla was on one knee with the most beautiful ring I have ever seen! I was completely in shock and couldn’t say ‘YES!’ fast enough!”
The couple’s engagement photos were taken at a local farm called Prospect Farms.
“She is without a doubt my better half and the absolute love of my life,” says Courtney. “Never settle, take a leap of faith, and never, ever give up on true love. Your happily ever after could be just around the corner.”
Heidi and Kat bonded over their mutual passion for nature and the outdoors. They both love camping in beautiful, remote places that have barely been touched by humans. When they embark on these adventures together, they say, they fall into the most natural rhythm.
The pair met on Tinder in March 2020 and immediately began talking all day every day. They are currently in a long distance relationship between Nevada and Georgia, but they travel to each other whenever possible.
“We have both been through a lot of relationships,” they write, “including multiple engagements, and in Heidi’s case, marriage. Through our past experiences, we both really started deeply working on healing our trauma and learning to love ourselves and treat ourselves with respect, so we are able to fully love and respect each other. That is definitely the most important and special part of the relationship. However, we both love diving into our spirituality and tinkering around with tarot cards and astrology, and our passion and love for exploring wild and raw nature was a natural fit.”
Heidi and Kat plan to elope with a small group of friends in the Oregon woods. Their engagement session with Amanda Summerlin Photography took place in Nevada’s Lamoille Canyon.
How did you each know you had found the one?
Heidi would say she knew Kat was the one when she hopped out of the truck on the side of the road and peed, and tucked her TP into the side of the door since she didn’t have a bag to dispose of it (which made her fall apart in shock and laughter), or on our first camping trip where Kat peed right through the camping chair because she was laughing so hard (egged on by Heidi, of course). These moments were in the first 3 months.
Kat knew Heidi was the one when she realized that Heidi really understood who she was as a person – when we talked about the fact that Kat is on the spectrum/autistic and Heidi absolutely loved that about her and knew how to be patient, kind and understanding in the way Kat is extremely literal and has a hard time in certain social situations because of the way she views the world… and Heidi is able to bring awareness to her in a way that makes both of them laugh non-stop. Kat had never felt so understood, and hence, extremely loved, cherished and cared for.
Kat surprised herself AND Heidi when she proposed. Kat and Heidi both knew that the other had purchased an engagement ring some time in May, but it was a race to see who got the ring first, and who would come up with a good plan to propose first. On the night Kat proposed, it was Heidi’s last night in Atlanta for the summer…Kat had put the ring in her pocket “just in case” the moment felt right.
Well, the evening turned out to be beyond perfect, as we ate the most amazing food, enjoyed beautiful weather and wonderful wine by a fire on the deck…Kat was able to finally get out, “I want to spend a million perfect evenings like this with you. Will you marry me?” and pulled out the ring.
Heidi was so surprised, and it was truly a beautiful surprise to both of them how the simple, lovely evening turned out. Heidi prepared a counter-proposal for Kat in July, where she had a custom puzzle made from another sweet moment on the deck, with writing on the puzzle asking Kat to spend her whole life with Heidi. She followed it up with a stunning diamond and rose gold engagement ring.
Tell us all about the rings!
Heidi’s ring is a custom Rustic & Main ring made from walnut wood and has real lavender flowers embedded in the ring. She wanted a wooden ring (as does Kat for her wedding band), and this one is just what Heidi wanted, something solid and nature-y with a bit of femininity. Kat’s rose gold ring was custom designed by Heidi with a princess cut diamond and some antique elements, which is more beautiful than Kat could have imagined. We are going to add some diamond’s from my Grammy’s engagement ring, from the marriage with the love of her life, which will add a special family touch with sentimental value.
Paul and Alexander’s whirlwind, ocean-crossing romance began when they met online in late 2020. Alexander was living in Puerto Rico, and Paul in South Philadelphia. Despite the distance, a stream of endless phone calls and video chats showed them they were meant to be. Finally, they decided they simply had to meet in person, and doing so confirmed their connection was real.
A commitment to make memories together forever
The couple was so sure they were made for each other that they were engaged only eleven days after their relationship began. “Paul got on his knee and asked me to marry him,” says Alexander. “Of course I said ‘Yes!’ We are in a different stage in life where we feel fulfilled and satisfied with what each other gives. Life from here on is to make memories together, with no rules or expectations. We agree in living life to the fullest, being faithful to one another and not owing to anyone’s concern or conditions.”
Paul and Alexander will be married on December 10, 2021.
“When it comes to our backgrounds and roots, Paul and I may be very different,” Alexander says, “Yet our common grounds in our wants and needs in a life partner were well met…. It didn’t take long then after that for Paul to move to PR and change the city lights for tropical sunsets in San Juan.”
He also says Paul has fully embraced his three kids and grandson. Among the things they love most about one another: their senses of humor.
Kim and Jace had a lot of plans for their early July, Steep Rock engagement session. This location is a popular tourist spot a 2.5-hour drive from their home in Winnipeg, Manitoba. Bringing with them three outfits, a gorgeous fresh-cut bouquet, and Kim’s oval-cut Noam Carver diamond ring, we started with the couple’s semi-formal look which consisted of a dusty blue, off-the-shoulder full-length gown for Kim and a short sleeve, printed navy dress shirt and gray slacks for Jace. This first outfit was backdropped by the clear blue water and sky, with photos taken on a small cliff overlooking the lake and beach (which was busy with swimmers and sunbathers on this sunny day). For the second, more casual look, we took a walk along this rocky beach, dodging photo-bombers along the way. And finally, for their last look, Kim and Jace recreated outfits after their favorite Korean drama, “Guardian: The Lonely and Lost God,” along with poses/scenes from the show. This full-day engagement photoshoot produced some truly dreamy photos for the couple.—Christina W. Kroeker
HOW DID YOU TWO FIRST MEET?
The way Jace and I met is kind of a wild story. I worked at Anthropologie, a store in the mall we both worked at, and Jace worked at Starbucks. For MONTHS all I knew about Jace was that he was my favorite barista because whenever he was working, my drink was made perfectly! (Trust me, I can tell the difference when my drink is made differently). What I didn’t know is that Jace secretly had a crush on me FOR MONTHS AND MONTHS. Long story short, eventually the stars aligned and we messaged each other on Instagram, became friends and eventually started dating. Also, he officially asked me out by wearing a T-shirt that said “Kimberly, will you be my girlfriend?” with a “YES” check box and a no “NO” option to turn him down. Ha ha! From the very first time we hung out, everything just clicked. I know that sounds cliche, but that’s how we felt. We knew we would end up married one day.
WHAT MAKES YOUR RELATIONSHIP SPECIAL?
We both care passionately about LGBTQ+ rights, have attended our local Pride celebrations together every year, except this past year, ’cause you know… COVID-19. We do almost anything together. He supports me while I geek out and cosplay at Comic Con (he even cosplays with me!), and we both love to go out and eat and try different restaurants. We have a HUGE love for Korean Dramas and even recreated our favorite kdrama in our engagement photoshoot (Goblin/Guardian The Lonely and Great God).
HOW DID YOU KNOW YOUR PARTNER WAS THE ONE?
We both knew almost from the first date that we had something special, and about one month of dating, we both started seriously thinking we were each other’s “The One.” We talked about getting engaged/married early into the relationship, setting the expectation that while we couldn’t afford to do either of those things at that moment or within the next couple months, we wanted each other to both know we were on the same page. When you know you know, right?
TELL US ABOUT THE PROPOSAL
I was SHOCKED. So, because I had actually picked out the ring, I knew that a proposal was coming at some point, but I was completely shocked when it actually happened, I thought it was still going to be a couple months out. He actually managed to trick me for the first time! I actually almost threw all his plans off by springing it on him, last minute, that I planned to get my eyebrows microbladed on the same day he was planning to propose. How was I supposed to know?! He panicked and looked up microblading to see if my eyebrows would be all red for the pictures. Lucky for us, they always look the best the day they’re done. Crisis averted. During my appointment, I got a text from “his brother” saying that he was drunk at his friends house downtown and needed to be picked up by Jace. Annoyed that he didn’t just call or text Jace, I called Jace asking him to call his brother because he was apparently “drunk” and I’m in my appointment so I can’t be texting or calling back and forth. Jace’s brother isn’t really a drinker, so it was weird he was drunk, but I just brushed it off. I finish my eyebrow appointment and call Jace to come pick me up. I meet Jace in our car, expecting to either head home or go to eat but he tells me we still have to pick up his brother, okay cool. Because Jace is awful with directions, I man the Google Maps app on his phone to the address he has already put in, which is less than 10 minutes from where we are.
We drive up to the building that Google is set to, but instead of stopping at the building, he pulls into a parking lot. I ask him, “Why aren’t we just picking up your brother from the front door of the building?” Jace replies, “No, we have to go upstairs.” I am now again annoyed and confused because: A) why can’t his brother just come down? B) we don’t know any of his friends so why are we going upstairs to their place?
We finally make our way to the building and take the elevator up to the proper floor and Jace knocks on the door, all the while, I am thinking, “Damn, I know this condo building, it’s expensive… Jace’s brother must have some rich friends. Jace knocks on the door and starts to push me forward toward the door. I immediately get mad and ask him why he’s pushing me towards the door?! I don’t know these people! I don’t want to go first! I’m really shy when I first meet people just for reference. The door opens and our friend and photographer, Christina appears in the doorway!
At this point, I still have not clued in… I was still thinking, “How does Jace’s brother know Christina?” Also, “this is not where Christina lives…” I nervously say “hi…..?” as Jace tries to push and ease me into the doorway. As I walk in, I start to see balloons and decorations in the living room behind Christina. I have now clued in that this is a proposal and don’t know what to do. Luckily Christina and Jace had planned it all. Christina motions me to the bathroom right by the front door and asks me to change into the dress hanging off of the shower bar. *Bonus points for having the dress I said I wanted to wear for my future proposal. I change, freak out a little, and then meet Christina and Jace in the living room of the condo he’s rented. Jace is fumbling to play the planned music and I read the words “marry me” written in white rose petals on the floor and there’s balloons everywhere.
At this point, Jace is taking too long with the music so I just start sobbing. Classic, right? He hugs me while I sob and he manages to get the music playing. I eventually get it together and there’s an awkward silence between us before I say, “You still have to ask!” He wasn’t even holding the ring. It was across the room on the couch with a sign that read, “Will you be my wife?” Because Jace and I are awkward, Christina takes the lead and leads Jace and I to the perfect spot and Jace gets down on one knee. He doesn’t know what to say at first and I laugh because that’s so classic Jace. A few seconds later, he finds his words and says the only thing he wants for his birthday is for me to be his wife. I start to ugly cry—there’s a good picture of it—and I say yes!
TELL US ABOUT THAT RING!
The ring I originally had my heart set on was from a jeweller in the USA, and being from Canada, the eventual cost of the ring with the exchange rate and duties and taxes to get it across the border made it just not financially feasible to make that happen. So Jace and I worked together to find a jeweller who could custom-make a close design with a moissanite stone as the star of the show. Not having a diamond was something I wanted. The price point of getting a high-quality diamond for the size I hoped for in the main stone just didn’t seem worth it. We ended up choosing Appelts Jewellers who has a designer named Noam Carver to custom make the ring I dreamed of. I only got to see the rendering of the design and pick the moissanite, so it was just *fingers crossed* from there that I was going to turn out how I dreamed. It did. It was BEAUTIFUL. Rose gold, 1-carat moissanite, halo of diamonds, and a half diamond band in a vintage style design. Couldn’t have been more happy with how it turned out.
WHAT ARE YOU MOST EXCITED ABOUT WHEN IT COMES TO YOUR WEDDING PLANNING?
Because I’ve worked in the wedding industry, I was quite familiar with how planning should be, which made things mostly a breeze. I’m sure like most brides, the thing I was excited about the most was dress shopping! I was pretty certain that I was set on a certain brand, which I only carried as an exclusive in one bridal store in my city, but that still didn’t stop me from trying on probably close to 50 dresses. Now I just can’t wait to see Jace’s reaction the day of when he gets to see me in it. If I had to pick a second thing to look forward to, it would definitely be sampling all the food at our venue for the day of.
Chon and Oscar recently moved in together in Sioux City, Iowa, after dating long-distance. Chon decided to plan an intimate Christmas-themed photoshoot in their Iowa home by the fireplace and Christmas tree. In the middle of the photoshoot, Oscar stood at the tree to hang an ornament, and Chon got down on one knee behind him and held out a jewelry box with an engagement ring for his boyfriend. Oscar said yes, of course. So romantic!
Dani and Kaelee’s engagement photo session in Big Sur was nothing short of magical. The couple was celebrating Dani’s proposal to Kaelee that took place in their backyard after Dani’s original proposal plan with a trip to Asia was thwarted by Covid-19.
“Big Sur’s landscape often experiences moody, unpredictable weather,” says Heather K. Purdy, the couple’s photographer, “and the day of their session was no different. Light clouds gave way to heave fog, and then the end of the day… We were awarded with the most spectacular sunset and when we turned around, the Universe gave us the most amazing slash of rainbow! So, the ladies proudly kissed underneath a rainbow that magically appeared during blue hour and we all took is as a sign of blessing on their union! LOVE IS LOVE!”
HOW DID YOU MEET? Danielle and I met through a mutual friend group. She will say her first memory of me was stumbling out of a bar laughing, but my first memory is meeting her at a gathering and we started talking about playing guitar. She was in a relationship at the time but a few weeks later I got a text from her saying she “had an opening” for a new friend and I invited her over. We were actually best friends for a while, even lived together for a year. Our romantic relationship didn’t blossom until I moved away to LA!
WHAT MAKES YOUR RELATIONSHIP SPECIAL? We are literally ying and yang. Where she is strong, I am weak and vice versa. She is my favorite travel buddy, guitar jamming companion, and we read books to each other before bed. What I love most about us is what we create for our relationship. It’s never about what society expects or what’s normal, we create exactly what we want. We also are both extremely successful in our own careers and we support each other as independent strong women. What I really love is that we stand for each other to be our best self, to constantly put work into being a better partner and person.
HOW DID YOU KNOW YOUR PARTNER WAS THE ONE? I wish I could say there was an ah-ha moment but it really was a creeping love that snuck up on us. We were both actually in relationships with men… and I knew that I wanted to wake up to her every morning forever. She was comfort, home, my best friend, sexy as hell, and always down for an adventure. There’s an unspoken understanding and acceptance we share that I’ve never shared with another partner.
TELL US ABOUT THE PROPOSAL(S)! Oh, man. Danielle had an elaborate plan. We were going to Thailand and Vietnam for my 30th birthday with 15 of our closest friends and then Covid hit one week before we were set to take off. She ended up rallying a whole village; my family, friends, even my employers were involved. She created a Thailand-themed display in our backyard and was going to propose then, but we ended up drinking a little too much so her second plan was foiled. She popped the question the next morning in our favorite place (our bed), surrounded by all our fur babies. It was so overwhelming to see how many people contributed and in the end it was a special intimate moment we shared.
TELL US ABOUT THE ENGAGEMENT RING(S) My ring is truly unique. She designed it with her family friends at Guzzetta Jewelers in Roseville, Calif. The design is a “Tois et Mois” setting so it’s not a full circle. At each end it has two emerald cut diamonds (my favorite vintage cut). It’s such a beautiful representation of our relationship, strong and independent individuals bound together forever (in platinum!) not to mention she had my father who works with wood create a spectacular custom ring box complete with the Celtic knots under the lid and a gold coin on top, with his brand burned into the bottom. Everything about it is one of a kind and not traditional in any way and I think that’s the perfect symbol for our partnership.
WHAT ARE YOU MOST EXCITED ABOUT PLANNING YOUR WEDDING? I’m most excited about creating something that will hopefully not resemble any other normal wedding. Everything down to the ceremony will be unique to us. We will consider it a success if all the people in our lives show up and get to know one another. There is nothing traditional about us and we want our day to reflect that. We want it to invite people to be fluid and mingle rather than be stuck to a table all night. We are hoping to make it a weekend affair rather than one night because that’s not enough time to really celebrate our love with the people we love.