How we met: John and I met on June 10th in 2012 at a restaurant in Atlanta. I was out getting over a break up with my girlfriends and he was finishing up a work engagement. Once my girlfriends and I had been seated we were approached by our waitress with drinks in hand that we had not ordered. She explained to us that they were from some gentlemen sitting in the bar, but was not allowed to disclose who they were from. As the night went on we continued to have drinks sent our way without a clue as to who they were from. As my best friend, Kasey and I approached the bar to get a drink from the bartender; our waitress suddenly stopped us and told us we had one more drink coming our way. It was at that point that my best friend and I needed to find out who our secret admirers were. It was then that I turned around and locked eyes with John, sitting at the head of a table of 6 gentlemen still in their business attire from the day. My best friend Kasey and I started over to their table and the rest is history…. I later found out that the evening we met, John sent a text to his younger brother Mike declaring “I found the girl I am going to marry!”
how they asked: About 3 months ago I had a photographer friend contact me and ask if it was ok to have a photographer friend of hers contact me regarding a potential lifestyle shoot. I told her that was no problem and I was looking forward to hearing from him. A couple weeks later a photographer named David Firestine contacted me regarding the shoot he was interested in doing with me. He gave me all the details and also explained I would be shooting with a male model as well. Upon getting all the details it turned out I actually knew the model I was going to be shooting with. As the weeks progressed the shoot date was set for 11/28/14 right after Thanksgiving Day. My friend the male model, ensured me David was wonderful and we were going to have a great time.
For the shoot David asked me to bring several evening gown options, preferably black or white. The night before the shoot, I was frantically trying to put all my things together and find several decent dress options. While packing my mother explains to me that while on her trip to China she had a gown made for me (not unlike my mother at all). She told me it wasn’t black or white but that it might work. The dress was beautiful and fit me perfectly.
The next morning I gather all my things and head to go get my hair, nails and make up done for the shoot. My best friend Julie, had called me a couple weeks prior and asked if I wanted to get my nails done, and my hair blown out with her while I was home because she desperately needed a mommy’s day out! Naturally it made perfect sense to have it done the morning of my shoot.
Upon arriving to the location for the shoot (The Georgian Terrace), David met me in the lobby and escorted me up to the suite where I would be allowed to change and get ready. After getting to the suite I was met by an old videographer friend of mine, Dragos, who used to work with me us while I was on Atlanta Falcons Cheerleading Squad. He told me he needed lifestyle footage for his website and that he would be with us throughout the shoot. None of this seemed weird to me at all, so I just continued to get ready. After David ended up choosing my mother’s gown that she had made for me for our “first look” he told me the male model, Tribble, was running late. I naturally didn’t think anything of it, and David said we would get started without him. We began shooting all over the hotel and as time went by he told me Tribble was just MIA and we would make do without him.
It was at that point that David and Dragos took me to the rooftop of the hotel. It was the most spectacular view that overlooked the entire city. As we continued to shoot David told me to face toward the city and to hold still so that he could get a few shots in. Suddenly I heard a voice in my ear whisper “Bella”. I turned around in complete shock and saw John standing there. I asked him what he was doing here? As he began to speak to me it took me a few minutes to actually realize what was going on and why David and Dragos were continuing to shoot and roll film. It was at that moment that John got down on knee at sunset and asked me to spend the rest of my life with him… I was in such shock; I nearly forgot to say, Yes!
After taking several photos together, we made our way down into the hotel restaurant bar where I was shocked and surprised yet again by my entire family and his waiting for our arrival to celebrate our engagement. It was a fairytale unlike anything I have ever experienced and I still can’t believe in the end it all led to John and I forever.
Photography by: David Firestine