It’s funny, somethings that seem very small to us (guys) aren’t small to women. As we began to drive towards our location for our engagement photo shoot I quickly realized this. As Stephanie looked over to me with a silent stare, I could tell she was worried that I hadn’t given this the importance that she had.
Sure it’s easy to think as I did that, this was just a photo shoot and that it was just “things” couples did prior to getting married. Then I put myself in Stephanie’s shoes. Her past, our relationship, everything that has led to this beautiful moment and then I saw what was happening. We were taking pictures that would last a lifetime, pictures that would reflect this moment in time. This moment in our relationship, it went well beyond pictures and it was then that I felt silly for thinking it was just a photoshoot.
I guess before diving into that day I should fill those in on the actual night that we got engaged and the backstory behind it.
It starts back in May of 2015 when I was leaving on a cruise with my family and younger brother for his 18th birthday. It was a cruise to celebrate, and be apart of a BIG moment at least for anyone turning 18. We did the weekend cruise that made it’s stop in the Bahamas. It was there, roaming around the city that I first laid eyes on the beginning of Stephanie’s ring. I already knew I wanted to marry her, it was more of a timing thing. But when I saw the ring at one of the jewelry stores there I saw the one that she had always wanted. She had pointed it out to me 5 months prior to me on a cruise that we went on for the New Year.
So I did it. I bought the ring!
Little did I know that I would wrestle with this ring more than most do I’m sure. I liked the ring, I just didn’t love it yet. So I took it to Miami with my older brother to another jeweler which was where he bought his ring for his wife. There I found the stone that I loved, the purity, the clarity, the color. It was just the perfect stone. So I asked them to keep the original stone it had and make this stone fit on the original ring I bought. They complied.
I would return a week later and pick up the newly assembled ring. The stone was perfect, I was in love. However, now I felt that the ring needed a little more of her vintage liking, it still looked to modern for her/my taste. Knowing clearly what she had wanted, I took the ring to ANOTHER jeweler this time in Boca Raton. Here I looked around and was disappointed to not find anything to my liking, until the saleswoman offered me a book where rings can be customized and a few hours later she showed me what would eventually become Stephanie ring design. I fell in love, told her I needed this ring she said perfect no problem and would have the ring ready for me.
Through this whole process I had never picked a day, a time or a location again I always KNEW I would marry her, just didn’t know when. With an urge to have both of our families there and not peak her interest as to why everyone was getting together I found the perfect date. My birthday.
The beautiful thing about my birthday is that the day before is my brother’s wife’s birthday, the actual day of my birthday is shared with my mom and also by Stephanie’s brother. The PERFECT day for her to not suspect a thing and have everyone be there.
I called Area 31 and reserved a private dinner room for my closest family and friends. The reason for Area 31 not only it’s a beautiful location but it holds a special meaning to Stephanie and I as it was where I “officially” asked her to be my girlfriend. So why not make it where I ask her to be my wife. Here is a picture that I took of her where fireworks just happened to go off in the background, it was a night though that had a special spark. It was the beginning of the rest of my life, even then I knew it to be true.
So with all the women in the family taking a role in this from having her sister in law take her to the bathroom, to having my mom, her mom, my sister in law and cousin hold up the signs asking the big question! We were ready. Everyone in place waiting for her to walk in and like something out of a movie, the waiter walks in behind the closed doors and everyone freaks out!!
Talk about adding more nerves as to what was really about to happen!
Then she pulled open the doors, everything in that moment froze. As cliche as it sounds, time does stop, everything else around her became blurred. My focus solely on her. Her heart jumping up, her eyes wandering in disbelief, it was a surreal moment. I took a knee. Asked her that question, to which her response was only something she would say.
“Stop. Babe oh my God. Babe no. Babe stop.”
Then tears. Then I hugged her and felt us becoming one in that moment.
I’m not sure what my wedding day will hold for us as far as feelings go but that day was surreal is all I can say. It was amazing, and it will truly be a day that I will never forget.
So that’s the backstory! Now back en route to our photoshoot. It was special, but I found it to be more comical than anything. Have you ever tried to pose as if you’re not being photographed? I know it sounds very easy but for whatever reason it took us maybe 30 minutes or more to get comfortable with these pictures being taken of us. I tried my best to relax Stephanie into a more natural state yet here I was wandering my eyes not even sure where to look.
“Do I look at the camera? Do I look away? Do I look serious?”
I continued with amateur questions until the photographer told us, listen I know you guys. Just be you, this was when I started to just crack jokes and make Stephanie laugh. It was in her laughter that I found calmness and myself. Not caring about the camera anymore and just falling in love with that smile and laugh that is contagious.
The picture turned out amazing and they caught some candid moments of what our relationship is really like. Full of love and joy. Not the ones that just look like they are happy on camera, no this was real and authentic what our relationship is like every other day of year. It turned out to be a magical day, even if the weather was bad, even if the ideal garden spot we wanted wasn’t available.
Most people I think would have been frustrated with the circumstances, weather, etc. Not her. She took it all in with a smile and a positive attitude another reason to fall more in love with her.
So here are a few pictures from that special day. I can not wait to marry her, but to do so we need to plan a wedding! So as I finish this I’m being eyeballed with the “you better hurry up because it’s wedding planning time!”