How We Met – by the photographer
So the person writing this is Michael and Chelsea’s mutual friend, and I’m submitting this story on their behalf for two reasons; one because I had the honor of accompanying them on this magical day with my girlfriend and my DSLR camera and happened to capture pure magic, and two, I fully believe these two have what it takes to make a long lasting and successful marriage and I think they are worthy to have their story shared in addition to the video I captured.
They would tell you with much reluctance they met in Vegas, of all places. They also would also tell you they took things slow that night and did not pursue the romance. Chelsea strongly believes that if they had, they wouldn’t have had a relationship after that.
Michael lives in Los Angeles and was in Vegas for work that week and Chelsea who lived in Portland, OR was in town for a bachlorette party. From there the two pursued the slow cooking long distance thing for a few months before Chelsea moved down to Los Angeles to be with Michael.
I, being the best friend of Michael, first met Chelsea at Coachella in 2013 when I met up with Michael. I was not only impressed with just how beautiful Chelsea is, but also how she had a humbling genuineness about her that you normally don’t see in that combination. Of course I thought they were a terrific pair as I can easily say the same things about my best bud Michael. He is, after all a handsome, intelligent, hardworking, gentleman, and one of those people I could call in the middle of the night with a problem.
How We Met – by the bride
It was love at first sight. Oh wait, it actually certainly was not! I had joined a friend at a bachelorette party one weekend in 2012 when I met this guy. He was British and cute, with an amazing accent. We had a short bit of flirting while buying liquor at the ABC store at 10 am on the first morning of what would become a life changing weekend. He said he was going to the Hard Rock pool, I said see you there. After returning, my best friend and I proceeded to drink a little more liquid courage than needed. By the time we showed up to the pool it was packed with no British cuties in sight. Until I see this tattoo. Lion’s crest, brown haired, hot body, I was certain he was who I met. I walked straight up to him and asked bluntly if he was “that British guy I met earlier”. He responds with a “right love, where ya been?”, with a strong British tone. His face was less familiar than I remembered, but it surely was him. His voice wasn’t the same, but I’m sure I just couldn’t remember. But it was that spark is his green eyes that I definitely didn’t remember. It was not him. I called his BS and pow we were off to the start of a budding romance. Despite what Vegas has for a reputation, it’s not all quick hook ups, drunk dancing and ‘what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas’ shenanigans. Michael and I really found each
other, connected, and started something real. We saw each other every few weeks. Either I would fly down to LA or Michael would spend the weekend in Portland OR with me. We took our time, but finally it was time for someone to move. I packed my essentials, and my cat, and headed for LA. It’s certainly been a whirlwind of change and challenges, but Michael has been by my side to support and love me.
how they asked – by the photographer
Chelsea wanted to be engaged before turning 30 and had mentioned that to Michael in passing. So, three days before her big “three-o, Michael swept her up on what was to be an early birthday celebration in Palm Springs. Chelsea, who is now best friends with my girlfriend was the one that invited us last minute to come along.
Along the way, Michael asked me if I would film it and the signal for when he would do it was he would say “isn’t this so beautiful, Josh can you take a photo of us?” So we headed off to Palm Springs and on the way Michael told us that we had to make a stop at Mount San Jacinto to get a T-shirt that his brother wanted, (terrible excuse) but we all bought it. My girlfriend who happens to be an avid hiker threw up her arms in joy and unknowingly re-enforced the idea.
So we get to the base, park and start the long gondola ride up; 10,384 ft to the summit…….a very long and scary way to go for a T-shirt. It’s the highest peak in riverside country and was famously quoted by John W. Robinson and Bruce D. Risher, authors of The San Jacintos, “No Southern California hiker worth his salt would miss climbing ‘San Jack’ at least once.” I agree.
We get to the summit and made our way up to the overlook tower were we could clearly see all of Riverside county, Palm Springs, Joshua Tree and beyond. It was a clear day and it was an instant 30 degrees cooler from where we started at the base. Michael pulled Chelsea in close to whisper a few inaudible words, then wrapped his arm around her giving her a sweet kiss. The two were in their own world and their relationship has a certain privacy to it that made me feel like a fly on the wall.
The video is a result of me actually hitting record when they thought I was taking a photo through the trip, and the result is something that you don’t see on expensive wedding videos. You feel that privacy.
how they asked – by the bride
Michael and I had been together nearly four years. I had known he was my person for quite a while. As my 30th birthday was approaching I was feeling kind of pressured. That feeling of where am I going, what am I doing and especially what have I done so far. I knew that Michael was serious. He had mentioned different ring designs, and since his best friend is an Italian raised jeweler, he wanted something made from him. I knew he was going to visit from New York in the summer, so I was feeling a bit sad I wasn't going to hit the engaged landmark before my birthday. But for Michael I was patient.
The weekend before my birthday I had randomly invited my friend Emilly and her boyfriend Josh to crash my Palm Springs weekend away with Michael. They agreed, but said they were driving over for the day. I thought it was silly they'd drive all that way just to hang out at the pool, but I carried on. On the drive, Michael mentioned a tank top he wanted to get for his brother from the Palm Springs Aerial Tram. Reluctantly I agreed since my friends hadn't been before. As we went up the gondola we were enjoying joking and taking photos as it moved quickly up the mountain. At some point I lost my balance for a bit. As I often do I had grabbed Michael’s belt loop to hold on to him. My hand was met with a quick swat. I looked at him, he had a surprised look on his face. I reassured him it was just my hand and we joked that he had thought someone might be trying to pickpocket him.
We got up to the top and took in the views. Our friends were taking turns taking photos of us and them together. Michael said he wanted one of just us and we got close together for the shot. Michael took me by the hands and said how much he loved me. I could feel the energy had completely changed. He was serious, kind of nervous, and he is so rarely either of those two things. I actually kind of giggled at the awkwardness and asked him with a bit of a tone “what are you doing?”. He responded with “I'm going to ask you to marry me!”. He then got down on one knee and pulled the ring out of his pocket he had been guarding earlier. I immediately started to cry, barely getting out the word “YES!”. I was blown away. I was even more blown away when I realized everything was being captured by Josh. The amazing video he created is something we will always cherish. Though I may have cried more than I wished to be photographed, it caught something so amazing. There is an incredible bond we already have and are continuing to create every day with our commitment to our future together.