Lauren-Gem and Mark

Image 1 of Lauren-Gem and Mark

How We Met

We’ve been together for 10 going on 11 years. We both went to the same high-school and one of our friends secretly invited us both over to his house one summer day without us knowing! Let awkwardness ensue, as it should being only 15 years old at the time. We ‘talked’ for a few weeks through MSN (lol!) before Mark officially asked me to be his girlfriend (through MSN, not that romantic, but he has made up for it over the years). We’ve been with each other ever since. Birthdays, semi formals, proms, sister and cousin’s weddings. After high-school, we both went to different schools and lived away from home and away from each other.

Image 2 of Lauren-Gem and Mark

Even through long distances and our young age, we always managed to push through any obstacles that came our way, missing each other, troubling times and the same questions, how are you guys still together? don’t you want to meet other people? you’re so young! I knew with Mark that if we could make it through those years we’d make it forever. Now, 26 going on 27 years old, we’ve been through so much, we’ve been to so many concerts, traveled, shared loss and gains, grew up together and now we’ve purchased our own home moving in together at the end of March. We are so excited to start this next step in life together, to have ‘beaten the odds’ and we both can truly say we are high-school sweethearts.

Image 3 of Lauren-Gem and Mark

Image 4 of Lauren-Gem and Mark

how they asked

I had booked a ‘snuggle session’ with photographer Sara Monika. My friend had a shoot with her and the photos were amazing so I knew I was going to get some good shots. I didn’t tell very many people I had booked the shoot, nor did I want to tell Mark! I was hoping to make it a Valentines day surprise, getting some photo’s taken to have them for our new home together. I ended up caving in and telling Mark, so he could be mentally prepared (ironic, I know.) Leading up to the day of the shoot, nothing seemed out of the ordinary with him or anyone else around me. Some of my friends hinted that oh maybe he would, but I was told our ring wouldn’t be ready till March so I brushed off all suspicions. Little did I know…Mark had contacted Sara and planned the proposal. We arrived at the shoot, changed into new outfits and did quite a few shots in different spots around the studio loft.

Sara asked for some music choices a few days before the shoot and she was playing all of our favourite bands and songs! I did mention it a few times saying I was so happy she took my list so seriously! Turns out Mark had help curate the playlist to ensure that all songs special to me were played, John Mayer’s Comfortable, Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zero’s Home and all things Mumford. He laughed at how oblivious I was to his involvement. Sara then asked me to take a few individual shots while Mark changed into a new outfit, still clueless, so she had me face one window – took some shots, had me face the other way – took some shots. At that time, she asked me to turn around to face mark I said “walk backwards?” she said “no, turn around”. And there he was, down on one knee with the ring we had designed together asking, “will you marry me?”

Image 5 of Lauren-Gem and Mark

Just as the photo shows, I was very surprised and very emotional and was holding myself up for a few minutes before Mark then said “so is that a yes?” I managed to squeak out “yes” through my tears. This whole time Sara is there snapping away, getting some of the most amazing photos of my life!

Image 6 of Lauren-Gem and Mark

After I stopped shaking and crying, we changed again and continued to get even more amazing photos together, as an engaged couple!

Image 7 of Lauren-Gem and Mark

After we wrapped up we sat in Mark’s car for a good hour face-timing friends and family sharing the news, asking who was available for a dinner the following day. Little did I know, Mark had another surprise planned. He made me cover my eyes for the next part while we drove around for what seemed like forever. I kept commenting, why are we driving in circles?! Once we arrived, Mark left me in the car for a moment and came back to me. He had to guide me, as my eyes were still covered, inside. It all of a sudden got a lot darker when I entered the doorway, Mark told me to open my eyes, and when I did both our families were there for a private lunch at our favourite restaurant Goodlake, in Etobicoke.

Again, I broke down in tears, hugged everyone, thanking them all for such a surprise, even though I had spoken to them just an hour ago not suspecting a thing! We had the best lunch, flowing champagne and just a great time altogether celebrating an occasion 10 years in the making. Once that wrapped up, we said our goodbyes and Mark and I heading downtown to spend a quiet night together at One King West, newly engaged.  We don’t have a wedding date set yet, but hoping for Spring or Fall 2018!

Image 8 of Lauren-Gem and Mark

Image 9 of Lauren-Gem and Mark

Special Thanks

Sara Monika
 | Photographer