How we met – Coincidentally Maria and I met about 6 years ago after we had both been hired at the same photography studio. But our first encounter was short lived as she only stayed with the studio for about 6 month, but we kept a lot of the same friends. It wasn’t until 4 years after that we reconnected through social media. Our conversations were very brief at first, but we eventually started talking about all of the things we enjoyed and it turned out we had a lot of the same interests.
At the time, I had been spending a lot of my time going hiking, and we had both agreed to a day hike together. We spent the next couple of weekends making up excuses to travel, take photos and be together. I had no idea what was going to become of our relationship, but from the very beginning we loved being together every chance we had, and almost 2 years later, that hasn’t changed a bit.
About a year ago Maria decided to join me as a wedding photographer. I love being able to share my greatest passion with the person I want to spend all my life with. Maria is also a baker, and a mother to a now 3 year old. She is the most loving, and caring woman I have ever met. Her and Gabriel (her son) have brought the best out of me, she pushes me to be strong, she encourages me to pursue all of my goals and ideas. She is incredibly creative and inspires me and motivates me every single day. She is the most incredible person, and a true blessing.
how they asked – I’ve known for some time now this is the girl I want to spend the rest of my life with, but I had no idea what this proposal was going to turn into. I knew I wanted to do something totally different, I wasn’t planning on big, just different. Just a few months ago Maria and I hosted our first photowalk meet up in Downtown Los Angeles. The turnout was about 15 people, but it was such a great experience, we met some new people, made some friends and spent the day taking photos and talking with each other. And before it was over everyone was already asking for the next one.
Shortly after that it just hit me, I wanted to ask her while we were doing the thing we loved to do most. She left for a week one time to visit her mother in Nebraska, and I used that opportunity to start setting the plan in motion. I met up with her younger sister Haidee to help me find the right ring. I also told her that I wanted to propose to Maria at our next photowalk which we hadn’t even set a date for. Maria and I spend so much time together, I wanted to make sure there was no possible way for her to find out, and because I was so nervous about the whole thing, I took every possible measure to make sure she never saw it coming. I left no evidence behind, I put the ring on layaway until the last week, and made sure no photos were taken of the ring. The only people that knew about my plans were Haidee, because she helped me find the ring, and she was the one who made and coordinated the Will You Marry Me signs. My friend Martha also knew, she is a photographer in the OC area, and I wanted her help in photographing every moment. I knew there would be more photographers there to capture everything, but because I didn’t want anyone to know what I was doing, I wanted to make sure at least Martha got every moment of it. My best friend Joshua was also in on it, he helped me video record the moment. Some of her other brothers and sisters knew what I was planning, because I had to convince them to go to the photowalk, but they did not know how or when I was going to do it.
Maria and I set the date for the photowalk and we started promoting it a month and a half before. At first, most of the same friends that went to the first photowalk had announced that they would be attending, and for me that would have been just fine. But just a few weeks before the walk, my friends over at IE Photo Rentals helped me promote the photowalk and even gave me a few items to give away at the raffle we were having. After that the photowalk started getting a lot of attention, and then I really started to get nervous. I would talk about it to Maria often and she would ask me things like, why are you so nervous about, and I had to remind myself not to give it away!
The planning for the PhotoWalk went perfectly, and on the day of the event everything was coming together. The entire morning I was a nervous wreck, I just wanted to make sure everything went smoothly. When we arrived to Laguna Beach, many of the photographers, friends and family members were already gathering. The amount of people that started showing up made me even more nervous. We brought treats for everyone and announced the giveaway would start in 2 hours. The beach was pretty packed, and we were not sure where to hold the giveaway, or even the group photo. The time finally came to do the giveaway, there was a nice big open spot right on the corner of Broadway and the PCH where the major road ends and the boardwalk begins. The giveaway was great, we gave away some camera cleaning kits, reflectors, cell phone lenses and even some Starbucks cards and everyone loved their prizes. I thanked everyone for coming out and finally squeezed everyone in for the big group photo. We had about 40 people in the group photo!
I set the camera a little extra farther away and set the timer to take the photo. I went back again and made everyone do a silly photo.
Finally on the third one I turned to Maria and asked her to go take the last photo, at that point all of my nightmares came true, she said no! If you know Maria, you know she is really shy and doesn’t ever try to be the center of attention. She finally agreed to go take the last photo! As soon as she took the first step away from us, I knew she wouldn’t look back and I turned and immediately looked for Haidee, who was behind the crowd holding the box and the ring in it towards me. I grabbed it really fast, took a few steps forward and took a knee, hoping all of the signs were already going up at this point. And they did, because it was the first thing Maria looked at after she pressed the shutter on the camera to snap the last photo. Then she looked at me, and then back and forth another time to put everything together. All I remember after that was everyone starting to cheer, cars honking and lots of pictures being taken.
It was really an incredible experience, all I had planned for was a surprise, but it was amazing to see everyone’s reaction to the proposal. My mother’s reaction was pretty great too, because she also had no idea what I had planned. By the way, she said yes! I can’t be any happier with the way everything went, I am so grateful to have had the support of all our family and friends and everyone who helped me put this together, Maria still can’t believe how I managed to put it all together!