For me, the sheer amount of student papers to grade, and the fact I’d rather sit behind a computer screen with Netflix than engaging in bar-banters/club-conversations, drew me to a Christian dating website. For my wife, a sea of San Francisco hipsters and haters. Either way, we met 5 years ago on the dating website Christian Cafe, thanks to a free trial. In the midst of middle-aged, mid-west women offering me akward-yet-thoughtful “you’re handsome, good-luck in your search” messages, and for Shereen a surplus of elderly Norwegian men offering her their “you’re pretty, maybe we can meet when I come to the US” messages, we still found each other. Fast forward a few years to a rainy Saturday, some rain boots, and a committed photographer, our story became less paper-and-pencil, and more ink and printing press.
It was always a family ritual to get in my dad’s Renault (a French car company prominent in Europe, but defunct in the US) station wagon, and drive out to rural San Diego to chop down the perfect Christmas tree. In the years that I had dated Shereen, our Christmas trees had only been tiny Trader Joe’s tabletop trees, or a plastic one Shereen scored at Target. So, when it came time to propose, I wanted to start the next step of our lives with a memory I’ve cherished all of mine. I contacted Summit Tree Farm and Michael James Photography to see if they’d be down to help with the surprise proposal and both obliged incredibly. The morning of, Summit Tree Farm showed me to a back part of their farm that I could decorate a proposal-tree without it being disturbed by other patrons. I then took pictures/videos/narrations, dropped a Google Maps pin, and tried to guide our photographer Mike to the spot I’d soon be proposing to Shereen. Like a champ, he waited in the rain, the pouring rain, to capture the perfect moment when Shereen and my’s story solidified into happily-ever-after.
Photos by Michael James Photography