Chelsea and Efrain

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How We Met

I met Efrain when I was about to give up on dating. Literally, I sat down to delete Bumble when I saw I had a notification from him. The Bumble app requires women to make the first move within 24 hours, or the match is gone forever. The notification said that Efrain extended the 24-hour window, giving me another chance to send him a message. I thought, what the heck! He’s already showing effort. I sent him a message and immediately there were sparks, which I just didn’t think could happen over an app. We talked about our hopes and dreams for the future, and what we were looking for in a relationship. We were on the same page since day one!

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We always said we wanted the adventure to be at the center of our relationship. We love spending our weekend hiking, scuba diving, and surfing. Within 1 year of dating, we went to all of the major Hawaii islands, took an international snowboarding trip, spent the holidays with my family in Texas, and celebrated my birthday in Colorado. We even went snowboarding in Hawaii believe it or not! Oh, and we got engaged!

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How They Asked

I’m a wedding and couples photographer in Hawaii, and I’ve photographed countless surprise proposals. My work has even been featured right here on How They Asked! Even so, I never saw my surprise proposal photoshoot coming!!

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It all started one day when I saw my good friend and fellow photog Rae Marshall post about needing a couple for a styled shoot. I have always loved Rae’s work and I knew that when the time came I would choose her to be our wedding photographer. Efrain also loves doing photo shoots with me so it was a no brainer to respond! For any non photogs out there, a styled shoot is basically a creative shoot for inspiration and portfolio work. We chatted about location, theme, wardrobe, even the vendor she was working with for the shoot. With each detail and change, I relayed all of the information back to Efrain.

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When we arrived at the location, Male’ana Gardens, my jaw dropped. It was a magical place, covered in lush greenery. Rae gave me the dress I would be wearing for the shoot and went to “set up” in the back. A very styled shoot thing to do! We walked down the path lined with palms and beautiful flowers until we saw Rae. I was ready to photoshoot it up, and I turned to Efrain to get into our first pose for the photos.

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That’s when he grabbed my hands and told me the entire thing was a setup. He was behind all the details and plans that Rae was messaging me. Every time I told him something, I was just repeating his own plan back to him! He told me that he knew from day one that he wanted to spend his life with me and he wanted me to know he was always going to be there for me. I cried before he even got down on one knee!

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The effort that he went through to surprise a photographer with their own proposal photography is a testament to how thoughtful this man is. He wanted it to be a special moment, with us doing something that we love together. Every time I see the photos I get to relive the moment, and I remember that I have the man of my dreams for the rest of my life!

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Special Thanks

Rae Marshall
 | Photographer
Male'ana Gardens
 | Venue/location